Kelly Riddell at the Washington Times has some shocking news which will doubtless send many of you to the fainting couch. If you check the number of journalists covering politics in America today who can be identified as belonging to one party or the other, the spread is actually nowhere near the breakdown you find among all the voters in the country.
A mere 7 percent of journalists identify as Republicans, and when they do give money to political campaigns they usually donate to Democrats, lending evidence to Republican presidential candidates’ claims that they are facing a hostile audience when they deal with the press.
As Republican candidates prepare for their fourth debate of the primary season Tuesday in Milwaukee, the people doing the questioning are increasingly in the spotlight, with their motives being questioned by the campaigns, voters and even by their fellow journalists.
And self-proclaimed Democratic journalists outnumber Republicans by 4-to-1, according to research by Lars Willnat and David Weaver, professors of journalism at Indiana University. They found 28 percent of journalists call themselves Democrats, while just 7 percent call themselves Republicans — though both numbers are down from the 1970s. Those identifying as independent have grown.
If there’s anything shocking in this study it’s that they actually found 35% of the journalists who were either willing to admit or could be traced to identifiable evidence that they were “officially” entangled with one party or the other. For the most part, unless one falls into the “opinion journalism” school of employment such as the evening line-up at MSNBC or Fox, identifying yourself is considered a naughty mark on your resume. Most of the folks doing what’s considered “hard news” go out of their way to avoid such a tag. When I interviewed Jake Tapper earlier this year he mentioned that he doesn’t even vote in national elections, even though the process is entirely private, just to keep himself out of the fray.
There are exceptions, of course. One of the most famous would be George Stephanopoulos, who actually worked for the Clintons directly before going into the news game, and then continued to work for them indirectly through his efforts for the Clinton Foundation. The results in terms of unbiased work for ABC have been obvious and disappointing to say the least.
The real problem here isn’t the 35% who can be identified by party affiliation; at least you can identify them and take that into account when judging their coverage. It’s the other 65% who are found at all levels of the business right up to the very top. Frankly, once you round all of them up I’d be shocked if even 7% of them showed up as Republicans. The media is dominated by liberals in a hive mind configuration, much like the nation’s university system. Liberals seem to be more drawn to the programs of studies which lead to such careers and once they’ve basically taken over the highest echelons of the profession they control the hiring of who else gets in the door later. It’s really a self-fulfilling prophecy in that regard.
So what to do about it? This is the portion of the column where I’m supposed to chime in with a laundry list of suggestions for how to correct the situation and restore some semblance of balance. Sadly, I only have one and it involves the ugly, dirty, use of money. If the conservatives are better at anything in this society it’s making money. So buy up more media outlets and take control of the hiring yourself. Beyond that… I’m fresh out of ideas.