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PEJ Study: News Organizations Get Low Marks For Health Care Coverage

News organizations are getting low marks for their coverage of the health care debate, according to the latest Weekly News Interest Index from the Pew Research Center and its Project for Excellence in Journalism.

According to the index, 72% of respondents said the media have done a poor (40%) or fair (32%) job of explaining the details of various healthcare proposals.

About the same percentage (70%) say the media have done a poor (37%) or only fair (33%) job of reporting on the real-world effects of those proposals.

A majority (62%) also say they have not done a very good job of explaining the political debate either.

The disaffection is driven somewhat by politics.

According to the index, 46% of Republicans say the media has done a poor job of explaining the effects of the proposals on individuals, and 43% of independents agree, while only 24% of Democrats hold that opinion.

For the second week, the healthcare debate was the most-covered story in the major media.

The index is based on a phone survey of about 1,000 people 18-plus conducted by Opinion Research Corp. The margin of error is plus or minus approximately 3.5 percentage points.