Only 7 Percent of Journalists are Republicans
For the people who still think the mainstream media is not hopelessly biased against conservatism and Republicans, a new study from Indiana University might give you something to think about. Researchers took a survey of journalists and found that, while there may be some debate about how politically slanted the news is, there’s not much debate about the bias of the journalists themselves.
The results speak for themselves. Only 7 percent of journalists call themselves Republicans. When journalists give money to political causes, they opt for the Democrats. 28 percent of journalists identify as Democrats. That’s four times the number of Republicans. And who can even begin to know what political biases lurk in the heads of journalists who call themselves “independent.” Just keep in mind that “independent” doesn’t always mean “somewhere in the middle.”
But those results, stark as they are, don’t really even begin to tell the real truth about our nation’s political news coverage. According to a report from author Tim Groseclose, the field is really off-balance when you limit your survey to Washington journalists. Among the correspondents who bring us the stories that specifically shape how we view D.C. politics, more than 90 percent of them vote for Democrats.
Imagine what kinds of ideas about the world you might have if 90 percent of your teachers had been active atheists.
How would you view women if 90 percent of the people you grew up around despised them?
How would you look at America if 90 percent of your role models wanted to see it destroyed?
Mainstream news outlets have less control over the American psyche than they used to, but don’t think for a second that their day is through. You can have all the blogs and independent news sources in the world, and it doesn’t change the fact that most of the original reporting is coming from the same old journalists. It may be filtered through this lens or that lens by the time it gets to you, but it’s still the same source. It doesn’t matter if you watch it at 6:30 or read it on your phone.
And it’s not enough to just “be aware” of it. That’s a start – and a good one – but it’s not enough. You can be entranced by a point of view even when you know that it’s biased. Especially if you’ve been brainwashed for so long that you no longer really have a center of balance.
And it’s especially not enough to say, well, there’s always Fox News. Fox News is not seen as a counter-balance to the mainstream media, at least not by the mainstream media. It’s seen as a far-right organization…the conservative equivalent of MSNBC. But MSNBC is the outlier here. It’s a station without any purpose at all. It simply makes obvious what the regular NBC News makes oblique.
So what is enough? Well, regardless of what political party these journalists might belong to, they wouldn’t have an outlet unless their stations were making money. And they wouldn’t be making money if you weren’t subsidizing them through your cable subscription and your consumer dollars. And until the day comes that they’re not making money, and the reason why has been made clear, things are not going to soon change.