New York Times Liberal
September 2, 2012
In case you ever have occasion to wonder: Yes, the New York Times is definitely part of the liberal news media. Just take it from their own 2003-2005 “public editor” (“The public editor serves as the readers’ representative. His opinions and conclusions are his own”), Daniel Okrent:
Is The New York Times a Liberal Newspaper?
Of course it is.
. . . the social issues: gay rights, gun control, abortion and environmental regulation, among others[—]if you think The Times plays it down the middle on any of them, you’ve been reading the paper with your eyes closed.
. . .
Start with the editorial page, so thoroughly saturated in liberal theology that when it occasionally strays from that point of view the shocked yelps from the left overwhelm even the ceaseless rumble of disapproval from the right.
. . . it’s one thing to make the paper’s pages a congenial home for editorial polemicists, conceptual artists, the fashion-forward or other like-minded souls (European papers, aligned with specific political parties, have been doing it for centuries), and quite another to tell only the side of the story your co-religionists wish to hear. . . .
. . . for those who also believe the news pages cannot retain their credibility unless all aspects of an issue are subject to robust examination, it’s disappointing to see The Times present the social and cultural aspects of same-sex marriage in a tone that approaches cheerleading.
I also noted two years ago that I had taken up the public editor duties believing “there is no conspiracy” and that The Times’s output was too vast and complex to be dictated by any Wizard of Oz-like individual or cabal. I still believe that, but also see that the hive on Eighth Avenue is powerfully shaped by a culture of like minds — a phenomenon, I believe, that is more easily recognized from without than from within.
When The Times covers a national presidential campaign, I have found that the lead editors and reporters are disciplined about enforcing fairness and balance, and usually succeed in doing so. Across the paper’s many departments, though, so many share a kind of political and cultural progressivism — for lack of a better term — that this worldview virtually bleeds through the fabric of The Times.
As a result, developments like the Occupy movement and gay marriage seem almost to erupt in The Times, overloved and undermanaged, more like causes than news subjects.
Hat tip to James Taranto.
Bernard Goldberg also points out in Bias (read the whole thing) that the New York Times has not endorsed a Republican for president since Eisenhower.
As to the mainstream news media more generally, according to Pew, they have four times as many liberals as conservatives at the national level. In a 2007 Pew survey of people (journalists, producers, editors, and executives) working in the national news media (print and broadcast), 53% identified as moderate, 32% total as liberal (24% “liberal” + 8% “very liberal”), and only 8% total as conservative (6% “conservative” + 2% “very conservative”). These results are fairly similar to those of Pew’s similar surveys in 2004 and 1995. (Source: page 19 (55) of this PDF.)
I suspect that the makeup of the news media is even more skewed than these numbers would indicate. In their world, liberalism is “middle of the road”. It is possible that all of those 53% as well (the “moderates”) are significantly left of center.
For contrast, Pew helpfully explains that
Among the population as a whole, 36% call themselves conservatives — more than triple the percentage of national and internet journalists, and more than double the percentage of local journalists. About four-in-ten (39%) characterize their political views as moderate, while 19% are self-described liberals, based on surveys conducted in 2007 by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.
Gallup reports similar numbers, consistently finding that around 40% of the general population identify as “conservative” (or “very conservative”) and about 20% as “liberal” (or “very liberal”).
Related entry: “Washington Post Liberal”