Charges of media bias have been flying like a bloody banner on the campaign trail. Newt Gingrich excoriated the “elite media” in a richly applauded moment during one of the Republican debates. Rick Santorum chewed out a New York Times reporter. Mitt Romney said this month that he faces “an uphill battle” against the press in the general election.
Meanwhile, just about every new poll of public sentiment shows that confidence in the news media has hit a new low. Seventy-seven percent of those surveyed by the Pew Research Center in the fall said the media “tend to favor one side” compared with 53 percent who said so in 1985.
But have the media really become more biased? Or is this a case of perception trumping reality?