From the “Here’s a softball. Go ahead and hit it” file comes this breaking story from Indiana by way of the Washington Post: Most journalists are not Republicans.
The research, from two professors at Indiana University, contains mostly “duh” conclusions. Journalists think journalism is going in the wrong direction, newsrooms are shrinking, there aren’t many minority journalists, journalists are most likely to be college graduates, men make more than women, and journalists aren’t very satisfied with their jobs.
The Post’s Chris Cillizza headlines that fewer journalists are Republicans now. Just 7 percent acknowledge that.
You knew it, right? Those Democrats in trench coats.
And now, the rest of the story. They’re less likely to be Democrats, too, the study says:
Compared with 2002, the percentage of full-time U.S. journalists who claim to be Democrats has dropped 8 percentage points in 2013 to about 28 percent, moving this figure closer to the overall population percentage of 30 percent, according to a December 12-15, 2013, ABC News/Washington Post national poll of 1,005 adults. This is the lowest percentage of journalists saying they are Democrats since 1971.
Over the last several decades, three things have happened: 1) The number of Democratic-identifying reporters increased steadily prior to a significant drop in the latest survey 2) The number of Republicans has steadily shrunk with that number dipping into single digits for the first time ever in the new survey c) more and more reporters are identifying as independents. What seems to be happening — at least in the last decade – -is that journalists are leaving both parties, finding themselves more comfortable as unaffiliateds.
He also points out that the survey is of all journalists, not just political reporters.
There’s been a big jump in the “other” category, too, although it’s not clear what that means.
Comparing past surveys is a difficult proposition, however, because the Republican Party is a moving target. The party of 1971, is not the party of 2014, because in the age of RINOs (Republicans In Name Only), a significant wing of the party has been turned away. The study makes it appear that journalists are changing. They may not be.