Friday, January 05, 2007

Majority Believe Iraq Coverage Biased, Who Woulda Thunk It?

Poll: Majority Believe Iraq Coverage Biased

Most Americans are convinced that media coverage of the conflict in Iraq is inaccurate and portrays the situation as being worse than it actually is, a new survey shows.

According to the Gallup News Service, a December survey of a representative sample of 569 adult Americans revealed that fully 56 percent believe that major news media coverage of the situation in Iraq is generally inaccurate while only 4 out of 10 Americans agree that it is accurate.

Moreover, the survey showed that by a 61 percent to 36 percent margin, those who feel that the Iraq coverage is inaccurate say it is because the media make the situation there appear worse than it actually is.

Responses from survey participants showed that two-thirds of Republicans believe that the news media's coverage of Iraq is both inaccurate and makes the situation there appear worse. Only one-quarter say that news media coverage is accurate.

On the other hand, a majority of Democrats (55 percent) say that news media coverage of the situation there is accurate, with most of the rest saying that it is inaccurate and biased toward making the situation there appear better than it really is.

Other survey results:

56 percent believe the news media provide an inaccurate account of the situation in Iraq while 41 percent see it as accurate.

35 percent believe the media makes the situation appear worse than it is, while only 20 percent think it makes the situation better than it is. Three percent had no opinion and 1 percent were unsure.

Broken down by party affiliation, barely 5 percent of Republicans think the media makes the situation appear better, while 25 percent of independents and 32 percent of Democrats take the position that it does.

Just 25 percent of Republicans think the coverage is accurate, but 42 percent of independents and as many as 55 percent of Democrats think it is accurate.

The survey results are based on telephone interviews with a randomly selected national sample of 1,013 adults, ages 18 and older, conducted Dec. 18-20, 2006. For results based on this sample, one can say with 95 percent confidence that the maximum error attributable to sampling and other random effects is ±4 percentage points.

For results based on the sample of 569 adults who say the news media have been providing an inaccurate account of the situation in Iraq, the maximum margin of sampling error is ±5 percentage points.

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