Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Thoughts on Why Journalists are Democrats

This piece from a writer at Psychology Today who self-identified himself as a liberal on why journalists are so overwhelmingly liberal themselves. This is something I've written about a good deal. I remember my first "professional" journalism job...I was hired as a reporter for the Florida State University Flambeau for the lordly sum of $50 a month. On my first day on the job I was being sent to cover a young Congressional candidate who was speaking on camput.

"You'll like the guy," my editor-in-chief and new boss said. "He's got all the right positions on the war, civil rights and guns."

Naive dweeb from Tennessee that I was, I stopped dead. "The right position on guns?" I asked.

"Yep," said my new boss. "He wants to ban them all."

That view was consistent throughout my career in the Mainstream Media. When I was working the NSSF Media Education Program, I'd spend time with top editors talking about guns (something the industry to my knowledge no longer does, BTW). It was always tense at first, and they were usually the first to raise the term "media bias." I turned that around and talked about some of the issues raised in this article, essentially the self-selecting nature of the media.

Here's an excerpt:
As it turns out, the preponderance of journalists are Democrats. And socialism, with its idyllic, “progressive” programs, has formed an increasingly important role in Democratic policies. Who wants to investigate a possible dark side of your own party’s plank?

We’ll get to that. First—why are most journalists Democrats?

Unsurprisingly, self-selection plays an important role in choosing a job. People choosing to do work related to prisons, for example, commonly show quite different characteristics than those who volunteer for work in helping disadvantaged youths. Academicians have very different characteristics than CEOs—or politicians, for that matter.

Harry Stein, former ethics editor of Esquire, once said: "Journalism, like social work, tends to attract individuals with a keen interest in bettering the world.” In other words, journalists self-select based on a desire to help others. Socialism, with its “spread the wealth” mentality intended to help society’s underdogs, sounds ideal.

Most journalists take a number of psychology, sociology, political science, and humanities courses during their early years in college. Unfortunately, these courses have long served as ideological training programs—ignoring biological sources of self-serving, corrupt, and criminal behavior for a number of reasons, including lack of scientific training; postmodern, antiscience bias; and well-intentioned, facts-be-damned desire to have their students view the world from an egalitarian perspective. Instead, these disciplines ram home the idea that troubled behavior can be fixed through expensive socialist programs that, coincidentally, provide employment opportunities for graduates of the social sciences.


Middle Man said...

Wvery interestink comrade...

Anonymous said...

The author is a PhD and professional engineer and a professor of engineering at Oakland University. And the author is female.

Just thought you might want to make note of that.

Overload in Colorado said...

Do we blame Woodward and Bernstein for a generation of journalists who think their job is to better the world instead of being reporters?

Anonymous said...

Oh, this phenomenon LONG predates Woodward & Bernstein.

Howard K. Smith, anyone? William Lloyd Garrison, anyone?

Radio, television, and newspapers have been the voice of the Enemy for as long as they have existed.