Reporters are Not Economically Liberal

Eric AltermanAlso, lest we forget, journalists are not entirely immune to the seductions of affluence. While they are not nearly as well paid as the nation’s corporate, legal, or medical elite, high-level Washington and New York journalists do make considerably more money than most Americans. They have spouses who do too, and hence, live pretty well. According to a study conducted by the sociologist David Croteau, 95 percent of elite journalists’ households earned more than $50,000 a year, and 31 percent earned more than $150,000. He points out, “High levels of income tend to be associated with conservative views on economic issues such as tax policy and federal spending.” And journalists are no different. The journalists’ views on economic matters are generally consistent with their privileged position on the socioeconomic ladder, and, hence, well to the right of most Americans. They are more sympathetic to corporations, less sympathetic to government-mandated social programs, and far more ideologically committed to free trade than to the protection of jobs than are their fellow citizens.

—Eric Alterman
What Liberal Media?

4 thoughts on “Reporters are Not Economically Liberal

  1. That’s why I love to read journalists like Matt Taibi. His articles and books not only give no quarter to corporate malfeasance, but he even points the finger at the frauds who fail to investigate it.

    • I agree. I recently saw an old interview with him and Chrystia Freeland on Bill Moyers. And even though she sees the same problems and can rip the plutocrats just as much as Taibbi, she clearly has a certain respect for them. In some ways, she is part of them — even if only aspirationally. Taibbi has what reporters should have: the assumption that they are all a bunch of liars who are just trying to help themselves out. Which is what they are — like all of us, but with much much much more power and the kind of insulation that makes one delusional.

  2. My social class failed this country. The Upper Middle Class, the 10% less the 1%, used to be the leadership of liberalism. It used to be that my people, aligned with middle and working class Americans, held the 1% in check.

    In the Middle of the 20th Century, America’s petite elite stressed the idea that its young men should seek careers in journalism, law, politics and academia. It was the secular notion of a “higher calling.” Sometime around 1980, the purpose of a university education was to try to get a blue chips MBA and to make as much money as possible. Market principles replaced morality, neo liberalism became our religion, those who opted not to work in finance were labeled as “losers” and the “swift allocation of capital” became the new public service.

    The tragedy for my social class is that this alliance with the 1% may have elevated a few of the privileged into the ranks of the ultra privileged, it will ultimately kill the Upper Middle Class. The super rich have broken the Working Class and they have the Middle Class under siege. Whom will they attack once they have thoroughly broken the Middle Class?

    • Yes, Chris Hedges’ “liberal class.” If you look at this, you will also see that their standard of living has stagnated. Basically, I don’t mind, given that in general, you’re right: it is your fault! Actually, I’m not sure that I buy that theory. More and more I think that what we are seeing is quite natural. I don’t really think that the rich have ever needed a “middle” class to protect them from the prols. The rich can purchase their private armies for much less than you guys cost.

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