There was a time when Republicans and Democrats could agree about at least one thing when it comes to journalism: The media's criticism of the nation's leaders helps to keep the politically powerful in line.
Now, no more.
While a new survey released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center shows that a majority of all Americans support the idea of the media functioning as a watchdog, there's a sharp — and sudden —divide in how both parties view the role of journalists.
Nearly nine-in-ten Democrats — 89 percent — told pollsters that criticism from news organizations "keeps political leaders from doing things that shouldn't be done." Only 42 percent of Republicans say the same, with the majority of Republican adults — 56 percent — saying that such criticism "keeps political leaders from doing their job."
The nearly 50-point gap is even more striking because it has developed within the last year.
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