News Interest Index: Many Say Coverage of the Poor and Minorities Is Too Negative

Aug 19, 2010

In evaluating news coverage of different groups, pluralities of Americans say that coverage of poor people and Muslims is too negative, while somewhat smaller percentages say the same about coverage of blacks and Hispanics.

Among eight groups tested, whites and middle-class people are the only groups that majorities say are treated fairly by the press; 57% say that news coverage of whites is generally fair while 56% say the same about coverage of middle-class people.

Notably, about a third (32%) say that coverage of wealthy people is too positive – the highest percentage for any group included in the survey. About as many see coverage of the wealthy as too positive as say it is generally fair (31%).

These are the results of latest weekly News Interest Index survey, conducted August 12-15 among 1,005 adults by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, which also finds that Americans continued to track the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico last week more closely than other major stories. With coverage of the leak down significantly, the public’s high interest likely reflects the perceived importance of the story; 44% say this was the story they followed most closely, while the spill accounted for just 3% of the newshole, according to the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.

Read the full report, Many Say Coverage of the Poor and Minorities Is Too Negative on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press' Web site.

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