As a working, independent journalist for over 15 years now, I can attest that there is, in fact, a liberal bias in the media. In fact, 37% of journalists identify as liberal, while just 7% as conservative, according to the Washington Post. The rest, myself included, are independent.
Having written for dozens of moderate outlets such as CNN and even Fox News and MSNBC—the most extreme publications for American news bias—I also have a lot of insight into why that is. Here’s why.
- Mainstream media is mostly produced in big cities. New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago to name a few. As such it is largely staffed with local journalists, who live in communities that value more government programs than people living in “fly over” states.
- News attracts more social crusaders with progressive ideals. Conservatives usually believe you change the world on your own, as this excellent report shows. Liberals, on the other hand, expect and want collective taxes and government to solve problems. Both have their merits, but journalism tends to attract people who want the state to solve society’s problems first and foremost.
- Top journalists usually come from the most liberal schools. So even if they’re not living in a blue city, they’re being educated by a mostly blue university, which further indoctrinates them or at least exposes them to liberal-leaning ideas.
Consequently, many journalists live in a bubble, reports both Pew and Politico. They’re out of touch with what a major half of America thinks and believes, most recently when it came to electing a Molotov cocktail into the White House just for the sheer chaos of not electing another, suspect politician into office.
As a result of that, conservatives tend to gravitate towards alternative, often misleading news that better represents their views. Instead of fighting bias with more objectivity, they fight it with more bias, and the vicious cycle continues.
What can we do about it?
I believe we must stop consuming 24 hour news, which is more “entertainment/distraction/fear mongering” than it is helpful and empowering news. That’s a fact. Real news doesn’t happen 24 hours a day. It’s mostly trivial news with no real consequences to the larger world.
Secondly, I recommend getting most of your hard news from the Associated Press, which is the most objective outlet I know of.
Lastly, rather than avoid bias media, just take their news with a grain of salt. For example, The New York Times is an incredible publication, even if it leans liberal. Trust that they really are trying, even if you don’t always agree with their politics. They don’t outright lie, although their bias does skew their reporting sometimes.
In short, it’s news. Stop getting so worked up about it. There’s a lot more important things going on in your own village.