The Justice Department in Washington (Jim Lo Scalzo/European Pressphoto Agency)
The Justice Department in Washington (Jim Lo Scalzo/European Pressphoto Agency)

The Justice Department’s secret seizure of Associated Press phone records has by no means captivated the country. According to polling by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, 16 percent of Americans are “very closely following” the AP-Justice clash.

Among those close followers, however, there’s a trend developing, according to Pew:

Criticism of the DOJ is substantially higher among those who are paying attention to the story. By a 55% to 35% margin people who have followed reports about the AP phone records at least fairly closely disapprove of the DOJ’s actions. Attentive Republicans are particularly critical: they disapprove by a 66% to 28% margin.

With that, the field of public-policy polling has established a new record for utter predictability. Why would people who pay close attention to this story disapprove of officialdom? Perhaps because paying close attention, per force, means listening to the media complain about this “sweeping,” “unprecedented,” “chilling,” “overbroad” federal intrusion into the media.


Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.