Monday, May 16, 2005

Liberal MSM (with Meanwhiles)

Instapundit and several other blogs have cited this survey from the University of Conneticut today. (JD, you got your wish, they surveyed the journalists and found out about their political leanings, YAY, now we can disagree about what it means.)

Asked who they voted for in the past election, the journalists reported picking Kerry over Bush by 68% to 25%. In this sample of 300 journalists, from both newspapers and TV, Democrats outnumbered Republicans by 3 to 1–but about half claim to be Independent. As in previous polls, a majority (53%) called their political orientation “moderate,” versus 28% liberal and 10% conservative…

You may want to read the whole article, it is very informative lots of juicy stuff, but since this came up into he comments before I will focus on the Liberal Journalists/normal people divide.
One of my concerns with this report is that it has an non representative sample.

However, the journalist part of this new poll, as with so many previous ones, seems to weigh its sample much too heavily toward managers, and so may not represent a true cross-section in the profession.

Of 300 surveyed–with 120 from TV and 180 from newspapers of different sizes–a lopsided 43% of them were news directors or editors, 4% TV producers, 5% news analysts and columnists and just 47% at the reporter level. One in three have spent 25 or more years in the field. They were overwhelmingly white (83%), largely male (70%) and relatively well-paid (with a significant number making more than $100,000).

So this could bring about some bias in the results, since there were so many very experienced journalists involved.

While the numbers from the public do show a growing distrust of the Liberal mainstream media, this is not necessarily an effect of their liberalism.

Journalists are politically not a representative sample of the American public. That is what this shows. And that is not at all surprising considering that Journalists themselves are not a representative sample of the American public in many other ways. The ones in this study were largely male, and well paid. 90% of the journalists had a college degree (compared to 23% of normal people). We should not expect the political leanings of a highly specialized group of people to look like the American public's. Would you expect the political leanings of all CEOs in the country to look like the American publics? Or even the political leanings of McDonald's employees?

Well if you would, you shouldn't. I think it would be rare to find any profession that is representative of the entire population. Every job requires certain characteristics of the workers, and Journalism probably more than most. Think about the sort of things required to motivate someone to be a journalist, it has to be a very specialized group of people. I think it would be nice if more conservatives were involved in the media, but the media is on its last legs anyway. And there are lots of good conservative bloggers!

I do not dispute the bias in the Media, I do not dispute that the media has been doing a crappy job, but I do not think that any of these things have to do with how liberal the media is. (I think some of the bias has to do with our own personal biases and) I think that they have to do with how lazy and or corrupt the media is. It is easier to talk about things that you agree with than it is to really question what is going on from an objective point of view. It is in their self interest to write stories that will get you recognized without fact checking them because this will guarantee exposure. Things like Memogate and NewsweeklyStupidity don't happen because they are liberal, these things happen because they have no incentive to do a better job. And it looks like blogs are starting to give them that incentive.

Blogs showed their growing influence among those polled as 83% of journalists reporting the use of blogs, with four out of 10 saying they use them at least once a week. Among those who use them, 55% said they do so to support their news gathering work. And even though 85% believe bloggers should enjoy First Amendment protections, 75% say bloggers are not real journalists because they don't adhere to "commonly held ethical standards."

well, neither do they.

MEANWHILE: Owlish makes a good point, what would the world be like if the media suddenly became a conservative media?

I will counter with, what if the media actually did its job, that is Reporting all of the Facts, and left the political grandstanding to the politicians. That must be my youthful idealism talking again.

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