The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground. —THOMAS JEFFERSON, 1788

Journalists are miserable, liberal, over-educated, under-paid, middle-aged men


[Ed. – All of them?]

Today, the term ink-stained wretches is exactly one-third accurate.

Journalists aren’t quite so blotched from pens and printers, now that the newspaper die-out has wiped out 50 years of advertising gains in a decade. With cleaner shirts, less paper, and worse pay, we’re more like carpal-tunnel wretches. We’re older on average than we used to be, slightly more moral, and far more lugubrious about the future of our profession.

Here is the state of the American journalist, according to a survey from Indiana University.

1. They’re more liberal.

Like the rest of the country, journalists feel more comfortable identifying themselves as independents rather than shacking up with a particular party. But among journalists who align with one of the two major parties, four in five said they’re Democrats.

Unambiguous proof of media bias? Perhaps. But this is a poll of all kinds of reporters and editors, not just political reporters. Plus, the rise of explicitly ideological media in the last generation, on TV and the Web in particular, makes the question of “bias” somewhat moot in many cases. If you’re getting your news from a source you understand to be liberal or conservative, you’re consuming the bias you’re seeking. If there were a tremendous shortage of conservative journalists to fulfill the demand for more conservative news, this might actually be good news for those conservative journalists: It should make it easier for them to find a job and demand a high salary.

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  • Xavier

    Journalists are miserable, liberal, over-educated, under-paid, middle-aged men

    1) J.E., you got some ‘splaining to do. 😉

    2) Oh, a non-biased article by the Atlantic. How refreshing. /

    Look, Conservatives dominate politics on the Internet. Why do you think liberals are trying to regulate Conservative bloggers? Why do you think they’re trying to shut down free speech online? Why do you think they’re trying to implement RealID?

    When I look at the bloggers I most enjoy and admire – Pamela Geller, the ladies at Victory Girls, Ann Barnhardt, Maggie Thornton, Sister Toldjah, Judi McLeod and others, (who will have to remain anonymous so I won’t be publicly ridiculed. Again.) it’s clear that Conservative women are at the forefront of the blogging world. The majority of liberal bloggers may well be sad, miserable, old men but the Conservative ladies rock.

    And I found the closing sentence of the Atlantic article very telling: “Today, we’re either more moral, less dedicated to The Truth, more scared of getting caught, or some combination of the three.” It’s also very interesting that the common practice of ignoring major stories or rewriting them to promote a specific agenda wasn’t questioned. But hey, who expects a truthful self-examination article from The Atlantic?

    • Howard Portnoy

      I guess some of us are miserable, middle-aged men… :-)