Good dog, bad dog

According to recent Pew surveys, Americans positively view news media as political watchdogs, discouraging leaders "from doing things that should not be done." However, just 29% of Americans think news reporting to be accurate, down from an 55% in 1985.

Partisan politics also play a role in supporting press criticism of political leaders.
In the most recent survey, 65% of Republicans said press criticism of political leaders does more good than harm; in four surveys during the Bush administration, far fewer Republicans expressed this view (51% in 2001; 43% in 2003; 44% each in 2005 and 2007).

Democrats, by contrast, have become less supportive of a watchdog role for the press than they were during the Bush administration. In September, most Democrats (55%) saw more benefit than harm from press criticism of political leaders, but that was down substantially from 71% in 2007.
What most Americans agree on is the major loss were the news media to completely disappear, including regional and national television, newspapers and websites.

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