A mere 7 percent of journalists identify as Republicans, and when they do give money to political campaigns they usually donate to Democrats, lending evidence to Republican presidential candidates’ claims that they are facing a hostile audience when they deal with the press.
As Republican candidates prepare for their fourth debate of the primary season Tuesday in Milwaukee, the people doing the questioning are increasingly in the spotlight, with their motives being questioned by the campaigns, voters and even by their fellow journalists.
And self-proclaimed Democratic journalists outnumber Republicans by 4-to-1, according to research by Lars Willnat and David Weaver, professors of journalism at Indiana University. They found 28 percent of journalists call themselves Democrats, while just 7 percent call themselves Republicans — though both numbers are down from the 1970s. Those identifying as independent have grown.
Among Washington correspondents, the ones who dominate national political coverage, it’s even more skewed, said Tim Groseclose, author of “Left Turn: How Liberal Media Bias Distorts the American Mind.” More than 90 percent of D.C. journalists vote Democratic, with an even higher number giving to Democrats or liberal-leaning political action committees, the author said.
“There’s something in the DNA of liberals that makes them want to go into jobs like the arts, journalism and academia more so than conservatives,” Mr. Groseclose said. “Even if you’re just trying to maximize profits by offering an alternative point of view, it’s hard to find conservative reporters. So it’s natural the media is more liberal.”
The bias factor has become front-page news after last month’s GOP presidential debate, which aired on CNBC, and which has drawn consistently bad reviews for how the moderators handled the questioning.
John Harwood, a CNBC and New York Times reporter who has written pieces on why Republicans are bad for the economy, asked front-runner Donald Trump if his run “was a comic book version of a presidential campaign.” Mr. Harwood later demanded that former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a Baptist minister, say whether he believed Mr. Trump had “the moral authority” to be president. Mr. Huckabee didn’t take the bait.
“The Democrats have the ultimate super PAC — it is called the mainstream media,” Sen. Marco Rubio, one of the candidates on the stage, said to strong applause from the partisan Republican audience.