Revelations that the National Security Agency (NSA) has been monitoring all kinds of communication has struck a chord with the American people at a deeper level than most recent would-be government chicanery has. Maybe another reason to think so? People actually are offering some praise for the media or at least appreciating its value.
When was the last time the past, current and future punching bag has gotten notable respect? Pew Research notes that in the wake of the NSA revelations and others regarding the IRS, its research has 70% of respondents saying the press criticizing politicians “keeps them from doing things that should not be done.” And support for the media as watchdog has increased 10 points since 2011.
Also, Republicans, Democrats and independents all seem to appreciate the watchdog role at about the same level, ranging from 67% to 69%.
The biennial research on media attitudes from Pew was conducted July 17-21 among nearly 1,500 adults.
The renewed respect across the board for the press -- where the Guardian and Washington Post played crucial roles in breaking the NSA news -- might be more than even the media would give itself credit for. Members sure would like to believe they have that much influence in keeping politicians on the straight and narrow.
Pew also notes young people are more likely to offer up that news organizations hold politicians accountable, indicating the NSA perhaps curtailing civil liberties could be a reason.
Of course, it would be a lot to ask for anyone who believes the press has done well with NSA reporting to translate that to overall respect for the media. Right in line, almost 70% said news reports are often inaccurate; 76% said coverage tilts to one side; and 75% said news organizations are “often influenced by powerful people and organizations.”
That sure doesn’t appear to be the case with the NSA imbroglio. Corner that 75% and they may actually change their take.