Press Fairness for Obama, Romney

Photograph by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Members of the media work on laptops during the third day of the Republican National Convention.

Let’s be fair:

There is no consensus about the fairness of the press when it comes to coverage of President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney — the Pew Research Center’s survey finds.

Nearly half of those surveyed — 46 percent — say the coverage of the Republican Party’s presidential nominee has been fair, while among those who see a bias 20 percent say the press has been too easy on the GOP nominee and 21 percent say too tough.

The same percentage — 46 percent — says coverage of Obama has been fair. Yet among those who perceive a bias, 28 percent say the press has gone too easy on Obama, with 15 percent calling the coverage too tough.

Four years ago, Pew’s Andrew Kohut reports, “there was a larger disparity in impressions of how the press was covering the candidates.” In October 2008, more said the press was being too tough on Republican Sen. John McCain (23 percent) than too easy (15 percent.)

Nearly one third (31 percent) said the press was being too easy on candidate Obama, while just 7 percent said it was being too tough. At that time, just 38 percent said coverage of Republican running mate Sarah Palin was fair.

The newest survey found that 45 percent of Republicans think the press has been too tough on Romney – almost identical to the 44 percent who said this about coverage of McCain in October 2008. By comparison, 26 percent of Democrats think the press is too tough on Obama, though this has increased substantially from just 9 percent four years ago.

The survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press was run Sept. 20-23 among 1,005 adults. In fairness to them, the results carry a possible 3.7 percentage point margin of error.




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