Corey Lee Wilson
Campus World of Writing Warriors Program
Once unswerving defenders of the First Amendment, members of the press increasingly support restricting expression. Free speech is no longer sacred among young journalists who have absorbed the campus lessons about “hate speech”—defined more and more broadly—and they’re breaking long-standing taboos as they bring “cancel culture” into professional newsrooms.
Ask journalists, and they'll likely tell you they play things right down the middle. They strive to be "fair." They're "centrists." Sorry, not true. The profound leftward ideological bias of the Big Media is the main reason why America now seems saturated with "fake news." Journalists, besotted with their own ideology, are no longer able to recognize their own bias.
It wasn't always this way. A long-term study of reporters' leanings and attitudes, "The American Journalist in the Digital Age," shows that the drift toward liberalism has been going on for years within journalism. In 1971, Republicans made up 25.7% of all journalists. Democrats were 35.5%, and independents were 32.5%. Some 6.3% of responses were "other."
By 2014, the year of the last survey, the share of journalists identifying as Republican had shrunk to 7.1%, an 18.6 percentage point drop. From having near-parity with the journalist Republicans in the 1970s, Democrats today outnumber Republicans today by four to one. How can there be viewpoint diversity when the political ideology of journalists is skewed to the left?
Meanwhile, the share of journalists calling themselves "independent" has surged to 50.2%. In case you think the growing body of Independents qualifies as "the center," think again. Repeated surveys show that independents are usually left-of-center on social issues, but centrist on fiscal issues and many issue of governance. So, we should really characterize them as "moderate left."
This is bad news for journalists, and bad news for journalism! If Americans continue down their path of growing mistrust of the mainstream media, they will start looking for alternatives. Will they find new, more trustworthy sources of news? Or will they just turn it off entirely? Either one isn't good for journalists, or good for America.
The World of Writing Warriors (WOWW) Program aims to reverse this trend by promoting freedom of speech, viewpoint diversity and intellectual humility to campus newsrooms, media, and journalists. As John Stuart Mill wrote, “There needs protection against the tyranny of the prevailing opinion and feeling.”
To help address these viewpoint orthodoxies in journalism, the SAPIENT Being, in partnership with Fratire Publishing, are publishing 50 diverse and alternative viewpoint topics for journalist contributions and partnering for the next ten years.