In late January 2006, a CBS News/New York Times poll asked 1,229 adults about their attitudes toward the news media as part of a 'State of the Media' segment on the CBS Evening News. The poll found the public's view of the media divided by partisanship, with self-identified Democrats most confident of the media's ability to report news 'fully, accurately and fairly' and 'tell the truth' all or most of the time, and Republicans expressing much more skepticism.
The poll discovered 'large majorities of Democrats and liberals (about seven in 10 of each) think the news media tell the truth all or most of the time. About half of Republicans and conservatives agree.'
Four out of every ten respondents (including 47% of self-identified Republicans) said they thought the news media tell the truth 'only some of the time or hardly ever.'
Just over a third of adults (36%) said they had 'not very much' confidence or 'none at all' in the news media's ability to report the news 'fully, accurately and fairly.' Nearly half of Republicans (48%) expressed little confidence in the news media, while three-fourths of Democrats (75%) said they had 'a great deal' or 'a fair amount' of confidence in the media.
More than a third of respondents (35%) said the media have been 'harder on George W. Bush' compared to other presidents, compared to just 18 percent who said the media have been 'easier on George W. Bush.'
Three out of five Republicans (61%) said they thought the news media had been harder on Bush than previous presidents. A third of independents (36%) and one out of ten Democrats (11%) agreed.
Virtually no Republicans thought media coverage of Bush has been easier than past presidents, but 16 percent of independents and 34 percent of Democrats said coverage of Bush has been softer.