In May 2004, the Pew Research Center for The People and The Press (in association with the Project for Excellence in Journalism and the Committee of Concerned Journalists) surveyed 547 journalists and media executives, including 247 at national-level media outlets. The poll was similar to ones conducted by the same group (previously known as the Times Mirror Center for the People and the Press) in 1995 and 1999. The actual polling was done by the Princeton Survey Research Associates.
Five times more national journalists identify themselves as 'liberal' (34 percent) than 'conservative' (just 7 percent). In contrast, a survey of the public taken in May 2004 found 20 percent saying they were liberal, and 33 percent saying they were conservative.
The percentage of national reporters saying they are liberal has increased, from 22 percent in 1995 to 34 percent in 2004. The percentage of self-identified conservatives remains low, rising from a meager 4 percent in 1995 to a still-paltry 7 percent in 2004.
Liberals also outnumber conservatives in local newsrooms. Pew found that 23 percent of the local journalists they questioned say they are liberals, while about half as many (12 percent) call themselves conservative.
Most national journalists (55 percent) say the media are 'not critical enough' of President Bush, compared with only eight percent who believe the press has been 'too critical.' In 1995, the poll found just two percent thought journalists had given 'too much' coverage to then-President Clinton's accomplishments, compared to 48 percent who complained of 'too little' coverage of Clinton's achievements.
Reporters struggled to name a liberal news organization. According to Pew, 'The New York Times was most often mentioned as the national daily news organization that takes a decidedly liberal point of view, but only by 20% of the national sample.' Only two percent of reporters suggested CNN, ABC, CBS, or NPR were liberal; just one percent named NBC.
Journalists did see ideology at one outlet: 'The single news outlet that strikes most journalists as taking a particular ideological stance — either liberal or conservative — is Fox News Channel,' Pew reported. More than two-thirds of national journalists (69 percent) tagged FNC as a conservative news organization, followed by The Washington Times (9 percent) and The Wall Street Journal (8 percent).