Oh, for goodness' sake; of course most journalists are Dems -- putting their money where their mouth is

Dateline: Sun 24 Jun 2007

I am stunned -- stunned -- by all the flap over Bill Dedman's MSNBC's report that, in a survey of broadcast, print, online, etc. journalists regarding campaign contributions, the majority acknowledged making financial donations to Democrats.

Here is the link followed by the lead:


"MSNBC.com identified 144 journalists who made political contributions from 2004 through the start of the 2008 campaign, according to the public records of the Federal Election Commission. Most of the newsroom checkbooks leaned to the left: 125 journalists gave to Democrats and liberal causes. Only 16 gave to Republicans. Two gave to both parties."

The list is even better, although hardly, as the Star's exec editor Dennis Ryerson used to like to say, revelatory. Guess what? Top writers/editors at The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, the New York Times and National People's Radio made contributions to Democratic candidates or left-wing causes. A couple of mopes at Fox and Forbes backed up Republicans. Big deal.

What does amaze me is Dennis Ryerson's namby pamby assertion in today's Star that "Vast majority of journalists stay out of politics."

He contends that the numbers in the MSNBC survey are "so small as to be next to meaningless." He has the audacity to report that "99.99 percent of journalists did the right thing and made no federal political contributions" (!) although he certainly does not know this for a fact and appears to be borrowing his logic from another Poynter writer, Chris Daly, a journalism professor who oddly arrived at the same conclusions in an online piece posted Friday. Ryerson does not quote this professor, but I know a stolen concept when I see one. Plagarism?

He also says, incredibly, "Most editors I know are sensitive to the allegation that a majority of journalists tend to be to the left of center politically, a perception strengthened by more than one survey. ..It is why many of us are concerned by such reports like the one done by MSNBC.com even thought, as I noted above, the number of journalists breaching the public trust is very small."

Give me a break. Everyone knows that "a majority of journalists" in this country identify with the left. Journalists see ourselves as crusaders, as wanting to right wrongs. Because, relatively speaking, journalists are not paid well (in comparison to businessmen, stockbrokers, etc.) we tend to identify not with the rich but with the disenfranchised. Hello, this is the Dem mantra. Or as Larry Duhe, a wire editor at the Evansville Press, said to me about 1000 years ago, in a fit of pique, furiously tearing what was no doubt a political story off the wires: "I don't see how any working person in this nation can ever be anything but a Democrat."

That's refreshing candor, as are some of the comments from the outed journalists in the MSNBC list of donors. "Everybody is in somebody's pocket," one contributor noted. That at least is a more realistic assessment of how the world works. Cynical? Yes. But guess what. 99.9 percent of journalists are also cynical.


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