Media fair to Romney and Obama? New survey says, mostly, yes

Nearly half of Americans think the media have been fair to the presidential candidates this year, while smaller percentages say the coverage has tilted in favor of either President Obama or Republican challenger Mitt Romney, according to a new poll.

The feeling that Obama gets an easy ride is particularly pronounced among Republicans, 60% of whom said coverage of the president has been too easy, according to the survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. Just 29% of Democrats, in contrast, say that stories about Republican Romney have been too easy.

The complaint that media elitists won’t give a break to Republicans has been a regular theme of conservative politics for decades. With the growth of the Internet and Fox News in recent years, that viewpoint gets a much more frequent and fervent airing. Fox frequently airs reports of how other news outlets are skewing the news and how only the cable outlet is a “fair and balanced” alternative.

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Some 46% of the public says the coverage of Romney has been fair, according to the Pew study, while about equal numbers said the coverage of the Republican has been too easy (20%) as say it has been too tough (21%).

As for Obama, 46% of respondents said the media have been fair to the president, while 28% said it has been too easy and 15% said it has been too tough. The rest said they weren’t sure.

Pew interviewed 1,005 Americans between Sept. 20 and 23.

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