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Q: Is the mainstream media predominantly liberal and, if so, why? ( No Answer,   6 Comments )
Subject: Is the mainstream media predominantly liberal and, if so, why?
Category: Reference, Education and News > Current Events
Asked by: nautico-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 21 Aug 2003 10:50 PDT
Expires: 23 Aug 2003 06:57 PDT
Question ID: 247329
The allegedly liberal bias of the mainstream media seems to provide a
bottomless pool of grist for rants by conservative pundits. They point
to the so called Eastern journalistic elite, reserving special
condemnation for the NY Times, CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, and NPR. Neocons
allege that not only are most of their commentators liberal, but that,
more dangerously, so are their straight news reporters. They see
coverage of the Iraq war as proof of the pudding, citing a highly
negative pattern of reporting on its rationale and our alleged lack of
success in terms of post-combat nation building progress. The
conservative media has countered by painting a much rosier picture and
by making no bones about its self perceived role as a cheer leading
section for the president's decision to preemptively invade Iraq,
apparently regarding such a role, that of patriotic booster, as not
only an acceptable posture for journalists, but an admirable one as

I have read many articles on the web that seek to prove or disprove
the predominance of liberalism in the national media, though the
former certainly outnumber the latter. I have the sense that most
conservative pundits did not begin as journalists, but in some other
field and one related to the making of public policy. They seem to
have felt compelled to enter journalism for the express purpose of
debunking liberalism and their liberal cohorts in particular.

I have two broad questions:

1) What clear evidence exists to demonstrate a preponderance of
liberal influence in the national media, and if indeed this allegation
is correct,

2) WHY are most journalists of a liberal bent? (Corollary question: if
there's something about journalism that's apt to attract more liberals
than conservatives, what is it that attracts some conservatives to
pursue a career in journalism other than a desire to provide

Request for Question Clarification by kriswrite-ga on 22 Aug 2003 16:24 PDT
Respectfully, you're asking for a lot of work on the part of a
Researcher (time spent tracking down evidence), yet only offering $5
(the Researcher would get 3.75 of that). You may wish to better match
your price with the amount of time a Researcher would have to put into
this question. For pricing guidelines, see:


Clarification of Question by nautico-ga on 22 Aug 2003 16:49 PDT
You are right. $5 is undoubtedly too meager a bid to attract a
researcher to answer this question at length, especially as it is
currently worded. But what if I were to limit my query to the second
of my two questions: WHY is the media dominated by liberals? Ann
Coulter recently wrote "Do you think a youngster growing up in a
Republican household would ever aspire to be a journalist? Not
likely." I am paraphrasing, as I now cannot find the quotation in her
column archives. I guess my principal question is the "why." If some
conservatives are attracted to journalism as a career, why not more?
There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: Is the mainstream media predominantly liberal and, if so, why?
From: neilzero-ga on 22 Aug 2003 15:49 PDT
The only way to conclude the mainstream media is not biased liberal
IMO is to define liberal differently than the usual definition by
conservatives and/or catorize all but the most extreme liberals as
 Long ago liberals were much like modern Libertarians = liberty =
freedom = lots less government. To me most modern USA liberal ideas
are proven failures and I think being a liberal is just a bad habit or
addiction, yet many well educated people have extreme liberal views,
perhaps for conspiritorial reasons.   Neil
Subject: Re: Is the mainstream media predominantly liberal and, if so, why?
From: pinkfreud-ga on 22 Aug 2003 16:20 PDT
" There is no question that journalists as a group are much more
liberal than conservative and much more so than the general public.
The independent media analyst S. Robert Lichter looked at 10 major
surveys on the political beliefs and voting patterns of mainstream
print and broadcast journalists from 1962 to 1996. As Lichter writes,
'the pattern of results is compelling.' The percentage of journalists
who were classified as 'liberals' were, survey to survey: 57, 53, 59,
42, 54, 50, 32, 55, 22 and 61. The percentage classified as
'conservative,' survey by survey: 28, 17, 18, 19, 17, 21, 12, 17, 5
and 9. Voting patterns and findings on specific issues (for instance,
regarding abortion, gun control or taxes) have consistently mirrored
these general attitudes.

Surveys since have shown no overall change in this dynamic. A 1996
survey of 1,037 reporters at 61 newspapers found 61 percent
self-identified as 'Democrat or liberal' or 'lean to Democrat or
liberal,'vs. only 15 percent Republican or leaning Republican. A 2001
survey of 301 'media professionals' by Princeton Survey Research
Associates found 25 percent self-identified as 'liberal,' 59 percent
as 'moderate,'and only 6 percent as 'conservative.' "
Subject: Re: Is the mainstream media predominantly liberal and, if so, why?
From: justaskscott-ga on 22 Aug 2003 16:50 PDT
Despite what pinkfreud has found, I should note that some of the most
influential media figures, outlets, and corporations are conservative
(think Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, and Clear Channel).  I also have the
sense that conservative Christian broadcasters are growing in
popularity and reach.  And more generally, the fact that large
corporations own many news media organizations might have a
conservatizing (if that is a word) effect on the stories that their
reporters publish.  Accordingly, to determine whether the media is
liberal, moderate, conservative, or some mix of these tendencies, it
may be necessary to go beyond the statistics about the political views
of reporters.
Subject: Re: Is the mainstream media predominantly liberal and, if so, why?
From: nautico-ga on 22 Aug 2003 16:54 PDT
It's unclear to me how neilzero's second paragraph remarks about
liberal ideas as proven failures relate to my questions.
Subject: Re: Is the mainstream media predominantly liberal and, if so, why?
From: kriswrite-ga on 22 Aug 2003 20:34 PDT
I am posting this as a comment, because it is my (educated) personal
opinion, not backed up with facts, which would take at least an hour
to dig up.

When conservative teens and college age kids see a market saturated by
liberal people, their tendency may very well be to either say "Yuck, I
wouldn't go into that job field for the world," or "I could never make
it in that job field because I'd have to be liberal."

The second is probably close to the truth. If the media is dominated
by liberals, then it's far more difficult for a conservative to get a
job in that field. This is *much more* true in the media than in any
other field because journalists all slant their stories according to
the particular view point of their editor/publisher. (The slant may be
more or less obvious in some cases, but as a professional writer,
lemme tell ya..."unbiased" news is virtually non-existent.) If the
editor or publisher doesn't like what a conservative journalist is
writing or reporting (because it opposes his or her outlook on life
and politics), out the door that conservative journalist goes.

So you can see, it's really not all that surprising that there are far
fewer conservative people in the media.

It is true that there are some big names in conservative media, but
there are far more big names that are liberal. Interestingly, many of
the conservative big names are primarily "big" because they ARE
conservative. (Rush Limbaugh, for example, originally became famous
because liberals were aghast at what came out of his mouth.)

All this said, the tide appears to be turning. There are more outlets
for conservative journalism now than there have been in years. And
interestingly, some media folk who always appeared liberal are now on
conservative stations and seem to be parroting the party line...or at
least keeping their opinions to themselves. (Geraldo Rivera on Fox
News comes to mind.)

Subject: Re: Is the mainstream media predominantly liberal and, if so, why?
From: nautico-ga on 23 Aug 2003 06:57 PDT
I guess we have beat this one to death and all outside a formal
answer, too. I enjoyed your speculation. My feeling is that young
conservatives no more aspire to work in a newsroom than they do to
become a professor of sociology. It's simply not part of their
ideological metabolism. Becoming a conservative pundit, though, is
something else entirely. Now that's just plain fun!

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