08/08/2006 - The public is of two minds about news reports that the government has been secretly examining the bank records of American citizens who may have ties to terrorist groups. By a margin of 50%-34%, Americans think that news organizations have hurt rather than helped the interests of the American people with these reports. However, an even larger 65%-28% majority believes that these news accounts told citizens something that they should know about.
Partisanship is strongly related to how people think about these questions. Democrats are almost unanimous (82%) in believing that the public needed to know about the government's bank monitoring program. Republicans are evenly divided on this question – 45% say it was something the public should know about, 47% say the public did not need to know.
By the same token, while nearly seven in ten Republicans (69%) believe the press reports have hurt the interests of the American people, relatively few Democrats agree (38%). Instead, a 46% plurality of Democrats regards the press reporting as beneficial to the public's interest.
Read the full report Public Conflicted About Press Reports Of Bank Record Monitoring on Pew Research Center for the People & the Press Web site.