Bernie Goldberg, a former CBS reporter who is now with Fox News, thinks many of the self-identified “independent” journalists are liars who “know better than to tell the truth and tell the pollsters who they really are.” I suspect that Goldberg is onto something. Though surveys have found more ideological diversity in newsrooms outside the Beltway, a 1996 Freedom Forum poll of Washington correspondents found that 89 percent said they had voted for Bill Clinton in 1992.
I’ve known colleagues to be rather defensive on the issue of liberal bias. It couldn’t be that like Ivy League faculties, liberal editors tend to hire people who dress, think and vote as they do. No, there must be a more noble reason that liberal journalism self-replicates.
I’ve heard it before: Journalists are smarter than other people, so of course they’re liberal. (That’s right; we’re so clever that we work in a shrinking industry.) Or: Liberals are drawn to journalism because they question authority.
Problem: When groupthink prevails, the hive swarms best when presented with the scent of weakness in an outside authority. When a story makes Republicans look stupid, it inevitably becomes a big story everywhere. Think Todd Akin’s dim-witted “legitimate rape” remark in 2012. It was big news across the country.