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Media Bias 101: What Journalists Really Think -- and What the Public Thinks About Them

Decades of Research Showing What Journalists Think, How Journalists Vote, What the Public Thinks About the Media, and What Journalists Say About Media Bias

Media Bias 101 summarizes decades of survey research showing how journalists vote, what journalists think, what the public thinks about the media, and what journalists say about media bias. The following links take you to dozens of different surveys, with key findings and illustrative charts. (Most recent update: May 2014)

A printer-friendly, fully-formatted 48-page version of the report (updated January 2014) is available in PDF format here (1.8 MB).

Part One: What Journalists Think

Surveys over the past 30 years have consistently found that journalists — especially those at the highest ranks of their profession — are much more liberal than rest of America. They are more likely to vote liberal, more likely to describe themselves as liberal, and more likely to agree with the liberal position on policy matters than members of the general public.

Early Polls of Journalists, 1962-1985 Added January 2014

Exhibit 1-1: The Media Elite

Exhibit 1-2: Major Newspaper Reporters Updated January 2014

Exhibit 1-3: The American Journalist

Exhibit 1-4: U.S. Newspaper Journalists

Exhibit 1-5: Survey of Business Reporters

Exhibit 1-6: Journalists - Who Are They, Really?

Exhibit 1-7: White House Reporters

Exhibit 1-8: The Media Elite Revisited Updated January 2014

Exhibit 1-9: Washington Bureau Chiefs and Correspondents

Exhibit 1-10: Newspaper Journalists of the 1990s

Exhibit 1-11: Newspaper Editors

Exhibit 1-12: The People and the Press: Whose Views Shape the News?

Exhibit 1-13: How Journalists See Journalists in 2004

Exhibit 1-14: Campaign Journalists (2004)

Exhibit 1-15: TV and Newspaper Journalists

Exhibit 1-16: Journalists' Ethics and Attitudes, 2005

Exhibit 1-17: The News Media and the War, 2005

Exhibit 1-18: Slate Magazine Pre-Election Staff Survey Updated January 2014

Exhibit 1-19: Indiana University Polls of Journalists Added May 2014


Part Two: How the Public Views the Media

A wide variety of public opinion polls have documented the fact that most Americans now see the media as politically biased, inaccurate, intrusive, and a tool of powerful interests. By a nearly three-to-one margin, those who see political bias believe the media bend their stories to favor liberals.

Exhibit 2-1: The People and The Press, 1997

Exhibit 2-2: What the People Want from the Press

Exhibit 2-3: ASNE Journalism Credibility Project, 1998

Exhibit 2-4: The People and The Press, 2000

Exhibit 2-5: Gallup Polls on Media Bias Updated January 2014

Exhibit 2-6: The People and The Press, 2003

Exhibit 2-7: Bias in the 2004 Presidential Campaign

Exhibit 2-8: Missouri School of Journalism 2004

Exhibit 2-9: American Journalism Review, 2005

Exhibit 2-10: CBS's "State of the Media," 2006

Exhibit 2-11: Institute for Politics, Democracy and the Internet/Zogby Survey

Exhibit 2-12: Coverage of the War in Iraq, 2007

Exhibit 2-13: Rasmussen Reports on Media Bias, 2007

Exhibit 2-14: Harvard's "National Leadership Index" Survey (2007)

Exhibit 2-15: Sacred Heart University Polling Institute (2007)

Exhibit 2-16: Public Reaction to Media Coverage of the 2008 Primaries

Exhibit 2-17: Rasmussen Reports on Campaign 2008 Bias

Exhibit 2-18: Public Overwhelmingly Saw Favoritism For Obama

Exhibit 2-19: Pew Study Finds Media Credibility Plummets

Exhibit 2-20: Confidence In Media Hits New Low

Exhibit 2-21: Trust and Satisfaction with the National Media (2009)

Exhibit 2-22: News Media Both Too Liberal and Too Powerful (2009)

Exhibit 2-23: 2010 Surveys Find Two-Thirds of Public Is “Angry” at the Media

Exhibit 2-24: Gallup Finds Media Distrusted, Public’s Confidence Low (2011)

Exhibit 2-25: Pew Finds Record Low Respect for News Media (2011)

Exhibit 2-26: Record High 67% See Political Bias in News Media

Exhibit 2-27: In Campaign 2012, Voters Saw Media Favoring Obama Added January 2014

Exhibit 2-28: Seeing Liberal Bias in the News (2013) Added January 2014

Part Three: What Journalists Say about Media Bias

Over the years, the Media Research Center has catalogued the views of journalists on the subject of bias. In spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, many journalists still refuse to acknowledge that most of the establishment media tilts to the left. Even so, a number of journalists have admitted that the majority of their brethren approach the news from a liberal angle.

Journalists Denying Liberal Bias Updated May 2014

More Journalists Denying Liberal Bias

Still More Journalists Denying Liberal Bias

Journalists Admitting Liberal Bias Updated May 2014

More Journalists Admitting Liberal Bias