Four Times More Journalists Identify as Liberal Than Conservative

A survey conducted late last year and released Monday, by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, confirmed the obvious -- that compared to the views of the public, conservatives are under-represented in national journalism while liberals are over-represented. Jennifer Harper of the Washington Times discovered the nugget buried deep in the annual “State of the Media” report from Pew's Project for Excellence in Journalism and FNC's Brit Hume on Tuesday night highlighted the findings from the survey of 222 journalists and news executives at national outlets:
Only six percent said they considered themselves conservatives and only two percent said they were very conservative. This compares with 36 percent of the overall population that describes itself as conservative. Most journalists, 53 percent, said they're moderate. 24 percent said they were liberal and eight percent very liberal.
Only 19 percent of the public consider themselves liberal. And it's not much of a leap to presume many of the 53 percent who describe themselves as “moderate” are really quite liberal.

Hume's item on the March 18 Special Report with Brit Hume on FNC:
A newly released survey indicates that conservatives in the national press corps are a lonely lot. 585 [the total of national, local and Internet] journalists were polled by the Project for Excellence in Journalism. Only six percent said they considered themselves conservatives and only two percent said they were very conservative. This compares with 36 percent of the overall population that describes itself as conservative.

Most journalists, 53 percent, said they're moderate. 24 percent said they were liberal and eight percent very liberal. The Washington Times quotes project deputy director Amy Mitchell as saying that the findings are about the same as in a similar survey done four years ago.
The MRC's “Media Bias Basics” has a section with the numbers from 2004, which are indeed very similar.

Harper's March 18 Washington Times article: “Right underrepresented in press's diversity.”

The political ideology question is #36 on page 55 of the PDF with the results for the survey conducted September 17 to December 3, 2007. For national broadcast journalists (97 polled), zero percent call themselves “very conservative” while 6 percent said they are “very liberal.”

Overall, only 8 percent of those at national outlets attend church or synagogue weekly.

The political ideology results were summarized in “Section III” of the report released on March 17 by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, “Financial Woes Now Overshadow All Other Concerns for Journalists The Web: Alarming, Appealing and a Challenge to Journalistic Values.” The relevant portion:
Journalists' Ideology

As was the case in 2004, majorities of the national and local journalists surveyed describe themselves as political moderates; 53% of national journalists and 58% of local journalists say they are moderates. About a third of national journalists (32%), and 23% of local journalists, describe themselves as liberals. Relatively small minorities of national and local journalists call themselves conservatives (8% national, 14% local).

Internet journalists as a group tend to be more liberal than either national or local journalists. Fewer than half (46%) call themselves moderates, while 39% are self-described liberals and just 9% are conservatives.

Among the population as a whole, 36% call themselves conservatives -- more than triple the percentage of national and internet journalists, and more than double the percentage of local journalists. About four-in-ten (39%) characterize their political views as moderate, while 19% are self-described liberals, based on surveys conducted in 2007 by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center