New Study: Media 'Journalists' Tweets Are More Radically Leftist Than Bernie

P. Gardner Goldsmith | February 21, 2020

Among the many well-known songs by musical group The Talking Heads is “Once In A Lifetime”, which sees lead singer David Byrne repeating the refrain, “Same as it ever was” as Jerry Harrison’s raw keyboards rise like an apocalyptic aural tide.

That phrase certainly applies to the “Talking Heads” of the dinosaur “news” media.

As John Sexton reports for Hot Air, a new “study” by three university professors repeats the results of numerous other studies going back decades and showing that the majority of pop journalists (defining “journalist” has always been problematic, since most who adopt that label are involved in overt or subtle editorializing) embrace ideas that are even more radically leftist than socialist Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

But, get this, despite that obvious finding, the profs claim these journalists are completely trustworthy and unbiased.

That’s right.

An academic study by a trio of professors claims to have proven there is no such thing as media bias despite the fact that the same study found most journalists are much father left than the average Twitter user. In fact, a majority of journalists, based on their Twitter interactions, are somewhere to the left of Bernie Sanders.

Sexton also quotes from the study, which offered graphical analyses of Twitter interactions, and the results, based on key-words:

As can be seen, journalists are dominantly liberal and often fall far to the left of Americans. A full 78.1% of journalists are more liberal than the average Twitter user. Moreover, 66% are even more liberal than former President Obama, 62.3% are to the left of the median Senate Democrat (in the 114th Congress), and a full 14.5% are more liberal than Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (one of the most liberal members of the House).

The conclusions of the researchers?

First, the glaringly obvious.

In short, journalists are overwhelmingly liberal/Democrats and many journalists appear to be far to the left of the average American.

The second conclusion offered by the researchers (Hans J.G. Hassell of Florida State, John B. Holbein of University of VA, Matthew R. Miles of Brigham Young University) is based on a series of e-mails they sent to “reporters”:

(This was) a separate part of the study which directed emails at hundreds of journalists offering to let them sit down with a new candidate for office (one who didn’t exist but the journalists didn’t know that). In both cases the letter was identical except that in some cases the candidate was described as left-wing and in others as right wing…

We know where they’re headed, and we already know their attempt to determine whether the “journos” are biased based on this weak protocol is utterly meritless.

Having sent out the emails the authors then waited to see who would respond and whether those responses would favor one side of the aisle over the other. What they found was no statistical difference

But the key here is not whether the journalists cover the hypothetical “right-wing” candidate at all, but HOW they cover that candidate or any story in which there might be a so-called “right-wing” versus “left-wing” dichotomy – and that assumes that there are only those possible options. Libertarians often find themselves nowhere on this scale.

If the researchers had wanted to do a bit more work, they might have contacted the Media Research Center, because analysis of media bias has been at the heart of MRC operations for decades.

For example, The MRC has made it easy for these so-called “researchers” to access information like this, from an Executive Summary on media bias:

In their 1986 book, The Media Elite, political scientists S. Robert Lichter, Stanley Rothman and Linda S. Lichter reported the results of their survey of 240 journalists at the nation’s top media outlets: ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Time, Newsweek and U.S. News & World Report. When asked about their voting patterns, journalists admitted their preference for Democrats… Lichter’s team focused on journalists at the very top national news organizations. Other surveys of journalists have discovered that the whole profession shares the same liberal bent, although the media elite’s liberalism is the most extreme…

How extreme?

Journalists Picked Carter over Reagan: In 1982, scholars at California State University at Los Angeles asked reporters from the fifty largest newspapers for whom they voted in 1980. The breakdown: 51 percent cast a ballot for President Jimmy Carter and another 24 percent chose independent candidate (and liberal Republican Congressman) John Anderson. Only 25 percent picked conservative Ronald Reagan, who won 51 percent of the public’s vote that year.

And then there’s this:

Journalists Picked Mondale over Reagan: In 1985, the Los Angeles Times polled news and editorial staffers at newspapers around the country, weighting the sample so that newspapers with large circulations were more heavily represented. Once again, pollsters discovered a heavy Democratic skew. When asked how they voted in the 1984 election, more than twice as many chose liberal Walter Mondale (58 percent) over the conservative incumbent Ronald Reagan (26 percent), even as the country picked Reagan in a 59 to 41 percent landslide.

And this shiny example of where the pop media elites have stood for a long time:

Huge Majorities for Dukakis and Clinton: In 2001, Stanley Rothman and Amy E. Black updated the Media Elite’s survey of journalists, and learned that reporters continued to select Democrats. “Three-quarters of elite journalists (76.1 percent)...voted for Michael Dukakis in 1988, and even larger percentages (91.3 percent)...cast ballots for Bill Clinton in 1992,” they reported in the Spring 2001 edition of The Public Interest. Voters were far less exuberant about those liberal candidates, as just 46 percent chose Dukakis and only 43 percent picked Clinton, who nevertheless won a three-way race.

And, of course, these biases continually find their way into not only what the reporters and editors decide to cover, but what they weigh for importance (the placement of a story, or lack of placement, in an old newspaper or within the half-hour of a news show, for example), the amount of space or time devoted to a story, the wording of a story, the headline attached to it, the people interviewed for “additional context or color” and the follow-ups.

These are things I noticed when I was about ten years old. I didn’t need a “study” to see the patterns and know that no “reporter” can be “objective”. As philosopher Emmanuel Kant observed, all humans are subjective creatures, and the most we can ask is that people try to be fair in their reporting. But many leftists have become so accustomed to unconstitutional statutes and pejorative, prejudiced, labels, they are blind to their own biases.

So, for example, when I suffered through a “panel” on “objective journalism” at Boston University, I noticed that every panel member was a leftist who said he or she was involved in “reporting” to “fight the man in his three-piece suit in his high-rise office.” The participants literally repeated this phrase from person to person.

Later, when our “teaching assistant” gathered us and asked what we thought, I was the only one in our little circle who said, “Did anyone else notice that this supposed panel on ‘objective journalism’ wasn’t even fair-handed in its choice of participants?”

She had no idea what I meant.

Blind. Utterly blind to her own leftist bias.

So I added, “Every so-called ‘journalist’ up there was opposed to free enterprise, absolutely hostile to it. Yet you never noticed this, never noticed that nowhere on that stage was anyone who could offer a different perspective.”

That was in 1985.

As the Talking Heads said, it’s “the same as it ever was.”