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Pew Survey: Press Is Too Easy on Trump, Clinton

According to a new Pew poll, 27% of those surveyed say the news media have been too easy on GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, while 23% say too tough (Trump has signaled he is in the latter camp), and 37% say the media has been fair.

That is in contrast with 2012, when roughly the same number of people thought the media had been too easy on Republican candidate Mitt Romney as thought it had been too tough (20% and 21%, respectively), and 2008, where 15% thought the media had been too easy on John McCain and 23% too tough.

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The survey found that people thought Hillary Clinton was getting off too easy, too, but that was consistent with past Democratic candidates.

According to the survey, 33% thought the media had been too easy on Clinton, 16% too tough, and 37% said they had been fair.

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In 2012, 28% thought Obama had it too easy, while 15% thought he had it too hard. In 2008, the numbers for Obama were 31% and 7%, respectively.

Not surprisingly, the "too easy on Trump" label for the media is driven mostly by Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, says Pew, while Republicans and leaners are driving the "too easy on Clinton" storyline.

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Increasingly fewer Democrats and Republicans are saying the media are treating their candidate fairly. In 2008, eight in 10 Dems said the media treatment of their candidate was fair while only six in 10 did in 2012 and not quite five in 10 do today. Republicans are down from almost seven out of 10 in 2008 to four out of 10 today.

The survey was conducted Sept. 15-18 among 1,000 U.S. adults 18-plus. for more on the methodology, go here.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.