Politico Co-Founder: Most Journalists I've Known Are Democrats

In one of the more honest admissions of the obvious, Politico co-founder Jim VandeHei has admitted that the majority of the journalists that he's known in his career at a variety of publications "vote Democratic."

"If I had to guess, if you put all of the reporters that I’ve ever worked with on truth serum, most of them vote Democratic," VandeHei said during the March 13th edition of C-SPAN's "Road to the White House" program. Video follows.

Thanks to the Washington Free Beacon for the catch.

This wasn't the first time that VandeHei has told the truth about what reporters think about Republicans and Democrats. Last year, he stated that he didn't think there were "any" reporters working in the business who believed that former Alaska governor Sarah Palin should become president of the United States.

While he is now more willing to talk about the Democratic dominance of the media industry, VandeHei's remarks contradict his earlier expressed belief that the news media favor "centrist" politicians and policies. Several months before his admission that the media dislike Palin, VandeHei wrote with his fellow Politico co-founder John Harris that the national political press is against "ideological zealoutry" and is "centrist:"

Conservatives are convinced the vast majority of reporters at mainstream news organizations are liberals who hover expectantly for each new issue of The Nation.

It’s just not true. The majority of political writers we know might more accurately be accused of centrist bias.

That is, they believe broadly in government activism but are instinctually skeptical of anything that smacks of ideological zealotry and are quick to see the public interest as being distorted by excessive partisanship. Governance, in the Washington media’s ideal, should be a tidier and more rational process than it is.

Assuming he hasn't come to a different opinion and that the infamously liberal Harris didn't write the above paragraphs, it appears VandeHei believes the media are biased in favor of centrist Democrats.

Unfortunately, as NewsBusters has persistently demostrated, liberal Democrats are far less likely to be labeled or be perceived as such by the national press. That makes sense, since one is less likely to perceive as extreme one's ideological fellows. While VandeHei may believe his colleagues favor moderate Democrats, in reality, this translates to a bias in favor of Democrats generally.

So while we can give kudos to VandeHei for admitting what surveys of journalists have consistently shown (see our recently released Media Bias 101 for full details), it looks like he may still have a ways to go before he can admit that liberal Democrats dominate the elite media, not centrist ones.

Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield, creator of NewsBusters and president of Dialog New Media, an internet marketing and design firm, left NewsBusters at the end of 2013