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Expert calls presidential election press coverage 'challenging' for journalists

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at the 2016 National Association of Black Journalists' and National Association of Hispanic Journalists' Hall of Fame Luncheon at Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, Friday, Aug. 5, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Is the media giving Donald Trump an unnecessarily hard time? What about Hillary Clinton? How fair do you find the press these days and are the challenges to cover a campaign, greater than ever?

"I think the political press is among the most dishonest people I've ever met,” is a claim made often on the campaign trail by Republican nominee Donald Trump.

Chief Political Correspondent Scott Thuman spent time analyzing coverage with the Newseum Institute’s Gene Policinski.

"Is the media being tough enough, or too tough, on both candidates?" he asked.

Policinski replied, "I only push back on the word tough. I think that 'challenging' is a better word and if someone interprets that as tough...then tough."

He said being analytical doesn’t mean there’s an agenda and from Trump’s taxes to Clinton’s emails, neither is getting a pass from the press.

"It's the job of the people who go to work every day as a journalist to say, 'give me the details' and if you get the details and they don't seem to mesh, to say these don't mesh--that's not being tough. I think that's being a surrogate for the public," expressed Policinski.

A survey done in partnership with the Newseum shows about 70 percent of people believe there’s bias in the media but others, including Policinski suggests reporters for the most part don’t favor a certain candidate, they just favor a really good story.

"What sometimes I think that comes to, is that people who are only watching in their silo, they don't realize there's this other coverage going on, all they're hearing is their one side."

So how can you tell if there’s a balance?

"I always say that's the one word test. If I can say the word 'Benghazi' and you know what I mean, that's been covered!"

"So if someone says, a wall?" asked Thuman.

"That is likely Trump's proposal to build a wall along the border with Mexico," Policinski pointed to as evidence for his theory.

However, he warns the press should also have perspective. After all, controversial claims by candidates are nothing new. Remember LBJ’s famous ‘Daisy’ ad, he questioned?

"There was the claim that Goldwater would lead us into nuclear war because he was such a hawk. Well I mean, is that any more outrageous than what we're hearing now?"


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