Just 3.4 Percent of American Journalists Identify as Republican: Survey

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The survey found that the percentage of Republicans in the journalism industry has declined substantially over the decades.

The percentage of full-time U.S. journalists who identify as Republicans has dropped significantly over the last decade, while journalists who said they are Democrats and Independents have increased, a study finds.

According to a survey by Syracuse University titled “The American Journalist Under Attack,” only 3.4 percent of journalists in 2022 identified as Republicans, compared with 36.4 percent of Democrats and 51.7 percent of Independents in the profession.
At the time the survey was concluded in April last year, 28 percent of Americans considered themselves Republicans, 28 percent identified themselves as Democrats, and 42 percent viewed themselves as Independents, according to a Gallup poll.

The survey found that the percentage of Republicans in the journalism industry has declined substantially over the decades.

In its first survey in 1971, 25.7 percent of journalists said they were Republicans. In 1982, the number dropped to 18.8 percent and further declined to 16.4 percent in 1992. It showed a slight increase in 2002 with 18 percent but plummeted to 7.1 percent in 2013 and to 3.4 percent last year.

The trend for journalists identifying as Democrats has remained relatively steady at around 35 percent over the decades. Last year’s figure of 36.4 percent marked the third-highest percentage of journalists identifying as Democrat since 1971, the survey noted.

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Notably, the survey showed that 60.1 percent of journalists said journalism in the United States was headed in the wrong direction. In comparison, only 22 percent said it was going in the right direction.

“When asked about the ’most important problem facing journalism today,’ the journalists mentioned these issues most often: Declining public trust in the news media (20.8 percent); shrinking local and community news coverage (12.8 percent); perceived bias and opinion journalism (12.7 percent); fake news (9.9 percent); disrupted business model (9.3 percent).”

The survey is conducted nearly every decade and covers many topics in the journalism industry, ranging from using social media in their daily work to job satisfaction, journalists’ age, women in the journalism workplace, comparative pay between genders, and educational levels, among others.

The study was based on an online survey of 1,600 U.S. journalists in various media organizations and conducted from January to April 2022.

Public Trust in Media Declines

According to an October Gallup poll, 39 percent of Americans did not trust the mass media, while 29 percent held very little trust. Only 32 percent reported having trust in the mass media.

The poll also found sharp partisan divisions in Americans’ views of the media. Only 11 percent of Republicans trusted the media, whereas 58 percent of Democrats and 29 percent of Independents expressed a fair amount of trust in the media.

Democrats have historically placed more trust in the media overall than Republicans, but the current gap of 47 points is the smallest since 2016. Since last year, Democrats’ confidence in the media has decreased significantly, from 70 percent in 2022 to 58 percent this year.

Another Gallup poll in July found that Americans were losing confidence in U.S. institutions. In the journalism business, only 18 percent of Americans trust newspapers, and just 14 percent trust television news—two of the five worst-rated institutions.
In last year’s poll on the honesty and ethical standards across various professions, 42 percent of Americans said journalists have “very low” or “low” ethical standards, while 35 percent rated them as average and 23 percent viewed them high.
A survey from Pew Research Center revealed that journalists and the general public differ markedly with regard to their views on “both-sides-ism,” which refers to whether journalists must always look to give equal coverage to all sides of an issue.

While 55 percent of journalists in the survey insisted that every side does not always deserve equal coverage in the news, 76 percent of Americans wanted the news to cover all sides equally.

Naveen Athrappully contributed to this report 

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