NYT Columnist Tierney: Press Corps Is "Heavily Democratic"

The New York Times' resident iconoclast columnist (anti-recycling, pro-gas tax) John Tierney unloads on liberal bias in the media in his Tuesday column (sub. req'd). The piece from libertarian-leaning Tierney comes with the usual Times' head-scratcher of a headline, "Where Cronies Dwell," but the text box gets right to his point: "The left has a lock on journalism and law schools."

Behind the TimesSelect paid-content firewall, Tierney writes that while he thinks journalists do try not to impose their personal prejudices on their stories, the real bias resides in what sort of stories they aren't writing. "Journalists naturally tend to pursue questions that interest them. So when you have a press corps that's heavily Democratic -- more than 80 percent, according to some surveys of Washington journalists -- they tend to do stories that reflect Democrats' interests. When they see a problem, their instinct is to ask what the government can do to solve it."

Later Tierney notes: "A lot of young conservatives and libertarians have simply given up on the traditional media, either as a source of news or as a place to work. Instead, they post on conservative blogs and start careers at magazines like The Weekly Standard and Reason, knowing these credentials will hurt their chances of becoming reporters for 'mainstream' publications -- whereas a job at The New Republic or The Washington Monthly wouldn't be a disqualifying credential."

An MRC study from 1989 showed how that liberal trend continues once reporters actually gain media positions: "News reporters overwhelmingly prefer contributing to liberal opinion journals, writing 315 articles in the last 42 months, compared to 22 in conservative ones….The media's favorite freelancing outlet is The New Republic, which carried 112 articles by major reporters, producers, or executives during the study period." Apparently, nothing's changed.

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