Admission: Journalists are Liberals Not Interested in Facts and Truth

Polk Award-Winning Rolling Stone writer Michael Hastings made a startling set of admissions on CSPAN, recently. Not only did he admit that most “journalists” are liberals, but he implied that they really aren’t interested in just reporting the facts of stories. Instead he said they are filled with a liberal “moralistic righteousness” and their goal is to “afflict” those they disagree with.

In the discussion, Hastings laid out how he sees his work as a journalist. “I think any journalist worth his salt often has a real moralistic kind of righteousness to them somewhere in their soul… and we talk in grand terms about ourselves, you know, afflicting the powerful and comforting the afflicted,” he told the CSPAN host.

Not much “objectivity” going on there, is there?

In the video segment featured by Townhall, Hastings is initially asked about his “prestigious” Polk Award and this discussion led CSPAN’s Brain Lamb to ask Hastings about the ideological mindset of Polk Award winners. This brought Hastings to his admission.

Of course, if one has to explain how “prestigious” an award is, one should suspect it ain’t that prestigious! Prestige is something that others should assign to you, not something you should assign to yourself.

Now, you might recall Mr. Hastings as the man whose 2010 Rolling Stone article eventually led to the firing of General Stanley McChrystal. Hastings caught some off-record carping by McChrystal’s staffers the revelation of which made the General look bad to his political leaders. Even then, many might have questioned Hastings’ actions by actually publishing those unguarded and casual, off-record conversations. It smacked of agenda or gotcha journalism.

But as we see in this interview, as far as Hastings is concerned, that is what journalists are supposed to do. They are supposed to approach their work with a “moralistic” agenda guiding them. They aren’t supposed to just publish the facts and let readers decide. They are supposed to “afflict the powerful” and that with all the left-wing political ideology such a crusade implies.

For those of you not able to see the video, here is the meat of the discussion:

Brian Lamb: “Is it fair to say that the Polk Award winners are usually liberal journalists?”

Michael Hastings: “Um, probably. I mean most journalists I know are liberal.”

BL: “Activist journalists. I mean activist people, would you consider yourself an activist?

MH: “I think any.. no, no… I think any journalist worth his salt often has a real moralistic kind of righteousness to them somewhere in their soul. And I think that’s a, you know, we’re gonna protect the — and we talk in grand terms about ourselves, you know, afflicting the powerful and comforting the afflicted.”

One can just feel Hastings’ discomfiture with his admission as he struggles with his reply. With his first thought that he doesn’t consider himself an “activist,” he seems to have a vague feeling he shouldn’t be admitting all this, but he does it anyway.

Naturally we aren’t surprised by the whole affair.

Finally, I know what many of you are going to say. Many of you are going to be rolling your eyes asking me if I think this is new. Of course I don’t think that the sentiments that Hastings related is in any way “new.” But what is unusual is to see a “journalist” admitting out in the open like this to his and his fellow’s blatant bias. That and it is my job to report on these things, so please stop with the “are you surprised” rejoinders, will ya?

Shortlink:

Posted by on February 3, 2012.
Filed under corruption, Culture Of Corruption, Democrats, Liberals, Media.
Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago-based freelance writer, has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and is featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart's BigGovernment.com and BigJournalism.com, RightWingNews.com, CanadaFreePress.com, RightPundits.com, StoptheACLU.com, Human Events Magazine, among many, many others. Additionally, he has been a frequent guest on talk-radio programs to discuss his opinion editorials and current events. He has also written for several history magazines and appears in the new book "Americans on Politics, Policy and Pop Culture" which can be purchased on amazon.com. He is also the owner and operator of PubliusForum.com. Feel free to contact him with any comments or questions, EMAIL Warner Todd Huston: igcolonel .at. hotmail.com "The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it." --Samuel Johnson

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  • http://iSnark.ak4mc.us/ McGehee

    Afflicting the comfortable obviously doesn’t include questioning the #Occupant of the United States, most powerful man on earth.

    Then again, he’s the first most-powerful-man-on-earth to spend his entire first term complaining that The Man™ is keeping him down.

  • jim_m

    I remember, years ago now, the WSJ did a piece on agenda driven journalism.  In it they quoted people from several professional journaist organizations such as the Asian American Journalists Association, the National assoc of Black Journalists, etc.  The message being delivered by these groups and bythe J-schools was that journalists were supposed to report news in ways that favored the political agenda of their ethnic group.

    The other take home was that when surveyed on why they wanted to be journalists, J-Schools students didn’t say that they wanted to inform or educate people, they said that “they wanted to change the world”.  J-Schools are selecting for activists. 

    All that and they still pretend to be objective.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EU5DQWQTTHTPO4A4ZYSL3AAV2U Adjoran

    Before Watergate, journalists were rarely college graduates.  Reporters learned their trade on the job, many starting out as copy boys, then covering garden clubs and ribbon cuttings until they worked their way up to the crime beat and finally to cover City Hall and politics.  Their goal was clear, concise writing to give the reader all the pertinent facts of the events, not to influence their thinking in any way.

    Before Watergate, there were almost no “schools of journalism” at the college level, most schools had a few journalism classes in the English Department – usually taught by the professors least qualified to teach Shakespeare or American Fiction, few students thought to go into the field.

    After Watergate, the demand for journalism classes soared.  Universities respond to demand because they don’t want to lose students to the competition, but this didn’t mean there were suddenly more qualified faculty to teach the classes, just the same old liberals who weren’t smart enough to teach real English classes.  Virtually none of the professors had ever worked in journalism, so they taught what they knew:  liberalism.

    As these grads flooded the workplace, editors felt pressured to hire the “college degreed” rather than the less-educated but more experienced staffers at the papers.  So real reporting was crowded out by agenda journalism.  This has been going on for a full generation.

    Hastings and Dave Weigel (who blew the whistle on the Journolist propaganda cabal) were not criticized for saying things that were not true, but for exposing the truth which proves inconvenient to the myths.

  • Brucehenry

    Wow. Facts — you can sure twist ‘em, can’t you?

    Where did this dude say that journalists’ goal is to afflict “those they disagree with?” Have you never heard that expression, “afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted?” It’s a FIGURE OF SPEECH.

    Lamb ASKS the guy about the Polk award, and he answers the question. I would suggest that any award that has been given to Seymour Hersh and Carl Bernstein has some prestige attached to it, in the view of investigative journalists. Just because you never heard of it doesn’t mean it’s not prestigious, dude. Putting quote marks around the word “prestige” makes you look like a rube. Sorry.

    And his “admission” that most journalists are liberals is, sorry, not surprising. It’s not even an “admission.” You make it sound as if expert interrogator Brian Lamb tricked him into saying something he didn’t mean to say. I don’t see that.

      Most people who have been educated in the humanities — art, literature, philosophy, history — are liberal. At least that’s been my experience. Plus, reality has a well-known liberal bias.

    If you and Townhall think this interview is some kind of Gotcha, you should probably think again.

    • Brian_The_Adequate

      “  Most people who have been educated in the humanities — art, literature, philosophy, history — are liberal. At least that’s been my experience. Plus, reality has a well-known liberal bias.”
      Most people educated in fields that deal with reality (eg Chemistry, Physics, Engineering etc) are conservative.  You state (correctly) that in opinion based fields of study more people are liberal.  Therefore your own argument invalidates the conclusion that reality has a liberal bias.

      • Brucehenry

        “Reality has a well-known liberal bias” is a line made famous by Steven Colbert. I didn’t mean for it to be taken as some kind of serious “conclusion.”

        And I’m not even 100% sure that humanities majors are mostly liberal, just that that has been my experience. Are you so sure that chemists, physicists, and engineers are conservative? Data?

        • jim_m

          I can tell you that science and engineering majors are not all conservative. I have seen plenty of liberal scientists and engineers.

          Actually, where I see conservatives is in sales and marketing. 

  • Wild_Willie

    Brucy again gets it wrong. You have a liberal, relatively known reporter admitting that they are liberal and go with that view point.

    Contrary to that thinking, GW Bush prayed alot, so he was cramming his faith down our throats. That was the liberal creedo.

    When the GOP candidate wins the presidency this November, it would be better to make a jounalist do his or her work insteat of parroting DNC talking point. For instance:

    Reporter: Mr. President, the democrats on the hill say you are obstructing their bills.

    Romney or Gingrich: Well, check to see if the accusation is true before you ask me that question. Do some digging.

    ww

    • http://wizbangblog.com/author/rodney-graves/ Rodney G. Graves

      Donald Rumsfeld for Press Secretary.

  • herddog505

    This is why the left hates Fox News and talk radio: “Those people aren’t playing the game!”

    It’s really a form of bigotry: “conservative” journalists are a minority – and a hated minority – as far as the left is concerned.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_R7FMXY3DZP7JF7SGSPIOSLLXNE Stephen

      lol… Fox News is the worst of the bunch when it comes to bias and dishonesty.

      • Walter_Cronanty

        Well, class, how wrong is Stephen? A slight miscalculation?  Perhaps his progressive tendencies blind him on certain subjects?  Or, he’s pulllin that sheet out of his azz, again.
        From a study on media liberal bias published by UCLA in 2005: “The
        fourth most centrist outlet was “Special Report With
        Brit Hume” on Fox News, which often is cited by liberals as an egregious
        example of a right-wing outlet. While this news program proved to be right of center, the study found ABC’s “World News Tonight” and NBC’s “Nightly News” to be left of center. All three outlets were approximately equidistant from the center, the report found.”
        From a book published in 2011 by the political science professor at UCLA who co-authored the above study: “”Every mainstream national news outlet in the United States has a liberal bias.”
        “Supposedly conservative news outlets are not far right. For
        instance, the conservative bias of [Fox's] Special Report is
        significantly less than the liberal bias of CBS Evening News.”

        Sorry Stephen, you’re wrong again.

        • http://wizbangblog.com/author/rodney-graves/ Rodney G. Graves

           To no one’s surprise…

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_G7YIUZMXOD5JGZZTCYMVA75KFU Shadow

         Not yet but they are getting there fast as they fall all over themselves presenting the leftist view and try to please the elites.

      • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EU5DQWQTTHTPO4A4ZYSL3AAV2U Adjoran

         Suck on it, Shirley.

        • Brian_R_Allen

          Don’t call me Surely!

  • Brucehenry

    Where in the interview does the interviewee imply that journalists are “not interested in facts and truth”?

  • GarandFan

    Liberal journalism is doing so well in the market place.  The NYT’s just dropped $40 MILLION, and both NewSpeak and Time magazine are shrinking in readership and physical size.

  • Rance Frayger

    Interesting how your view of the world can color your interpretation of a Hastings’  statements.

    Is there anyone here who would deny that those who uncovered “Rathergate” and people like Andrew Breitbart and James O’Keefe  are possessed with a fair amount of “moralistic righteousness” and their goal is to “afflict” those in power.

    • jim_m

      The difference is that those who uncovered Rathergate were after the truth and those who committed Rathergate were perpetrating a fraud to further their agenda.

      • Rance Frayger

        Did I say anything about those who perpetrated Rathergate?
        No, I did not.
        I expressed the belief that those who uncovered Rathergate were possessed with a certain amount of  “moralistic righteousness”.

        From what I can find, Hastings and Rolling Stone had nothing to do with Rathergate on either side.

        • Jwb10001

           Rathergate was exposed by a right wing blog not a news outlet, there’s a difference if nothing more than the right wing blog self identifies as such the media in general doesn’t do that.

    • Jwb10001

      Let’s change one word in your statement and see if it still applies:

      Is there anyone here who would deny that those who PERPETRATED “Rathergate”
      are possessed with a fair amount of “moralistic righteousness” and their goal is to “afflict” those in power.

      No actually they were not being moralistic because basically they were lying, this is a problem when their point of view overcomes their better judgemet.

      • Brian_R_Allen

        …. 
         they were lying, this is a problem when their point of view overcomes their better judgemet ….

        “Judgement” overcome by point of view or the manifestation of the abject amorality of 960s-epidemic pathological narcissism (as suffered by the Cli’tons and willfully by the infected-by-sought-out-contageon Obamas, eg) — in place of any recognizable morality?

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_R7FMXY3DZP7JF7SGSPIOSLLXNE Stephen

          “infected-by-sought-out-contageon Obamas”

          Meds alert on aisle 3, STAT!

  • Oysteria

     
    “Is there anyone here who would deny that those who uncovered “Rathergate” and people like Andrew Breitbart and James O’Keefe are possessed with a fair amount of “moralistic righteousness” and their goal is to “afflict” those in power.”

    Actually, no. I’d say their goal was to expose what the establishment media refuse to in order to inform people.  The fact that establishment media is “afflicted” is a side bonus.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_425GVKQCLFZMQYYENR7CJBRDVA jb

      The unfortunate example of Breitbart and O’Keefe is, they both actually lied. They both selectively edited video to produce the exact opposite of what actually happened, and didn’t even offer up the rest of the context until they were forced to.

      Expressing an opinion means losing objectivity. Altering facts is lying.

      • http://wizbangblog.com/author/rodney-graves/ Rodney G. Graves

         Show proof.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_425GVKQCLFZMQYYENR7CJBRDVA jb

          Here’s a couple of Breitbart’s lies:

          http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/frame_game/2010/07/amen_canard.html

          “Based on a two-minute video excerpt of Shirley Sherrod’s speech at an NAACP dinner last year, [Breitbart] accused her of practicing racism as a federal employee. He neglected to mention that in the excerpt, she was clearly talking about events in a different job 20 years ago. And when the rest of the video turned up, it proved that her story was about transcending her old racial resentment.

          And here’s a couple of O’Keefe’s lies:

          http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/04/07/maddow-raw-tapes-show-okeefe-lied/

          “…The unedited tape of O’Keefe’s visit
          to the ACORN office in San Diego, however, includes a shot of his arm as
          he opens the door to leave, and he is clearly wearing a nicely
          pinstriped dress shirt. [Not dressed as a pimp, as he claimed.]

          “The edited video released by O’Keefe also appears to show an ACORN
          employee advising him on how to smuggle underage girls into the United
          States….in the previously unreleased portion of
          the video, the employee continues asking very detailed questions about
          O’Keefe’s phone number and the exact time and location of the girls’
          arrival
          ….

          “According to Jerry Brown’s report (pdf),
          “Immediately after the couple left, Vera telephoned his cousin,
          Detective Alejandro Hernandez, at the National City Police Department

          [and said] that a self-admitted prostitute had been to the office and
          was discussing human smuggling.”

          There you have it. Let me know if you need more.

          • http://wizbangblog.com/author/rodney-graves/ Rodney G. Graves

            “Based on a two-minute video excerpt of Shirley Sherrod’s speech at an
            NAACP dinner last year, [Breitbart] accused her of practicing racism as a
            federal employee. He neglected to mention that in the excerpt, she was
            clearly talking about events in a different job 20 years ago. And when
            the rest of the video turned up, it proved that her story was about transcending her old racial resentment.”

            Nope.  Brietbart presented that piece as a critique of the NAACP in that NO ONE in the audience responded negatively to Sherrod’s initial statement which suggested she had practiced racism as a federal employee.  The full video was published shortly thereafter in a follow on story.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QYDHF7W7HFEEG4D7M7P4GVUACU Richard E

            Furthermore, Rodney, the NAACP SUPPLIED that piece of video to Breitbart, and it was NOT edited.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_425GVKQCLFZMQYYENR7CJBRDVA jb

            Richard, you’re entirely wrong.

            1) Breitbart did NOT receive the original Sherrod video from the NAACP. Not even he claims this.

            2) Breitbart did NOT claim the video came to him already edited from someone else, until people started pointing out how heavily and selectively edited it was, and how deceptively out of context.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_425GVKQCLFZMQYYENR7CJBRDVA jb

            “Brietbart presented that piece as a critique of the NAACP in that NO ONE
            in the audience responded negatively to Sherrod’s initial statement
            which suggested she had practiced racism as a federal employee. “

            Whether Breitbard is critiquing Sherrod OR the NAACP, that doesn’t change anything. Breitbart is STILL misrepresenting Sherrod’s words by removing the context.

            The context makes it clear that Sherrod is talking about the transformation of her own views. That’s why no one in the audience responds negatively – they know the context, which Breitbart removed.

            But let’s say you accept Breitbart’s mysterious, convenient “other person” he received the video from, completely as it was.

            Wouldn’t the good journalistic thing to do, be to contact Sherrod and offer her the chance to make statements about it?

            If actual journalism was the point, as opposed to making someone look as bad as possible by lying about them.

          • http://wizbangblog.com/author/rodney-graves/ Rodney G. Graves

             How is Sherrod’s defamation case coming along?

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_425GVKQCLFZMQYYENR7CJBRDVA jb

            Apparently well for her, as far as I’ve found. His two attempts to dismiss have been refused.

            http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/07/judge_sherrod_defamation_suit_against_breitbart_ca.php

          • http://wizbangblog.com/author/rodney-graves/ Rodney G. Graves

             Pin your hopes on that jb.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_425GVKQCLFZMQYYENR7CJBRDVA jb

            Well, I’m looking at the evidence, so I don’t feel a need to pin my hopes on anything.

          • Oysteria

            If I remember this correctly, the edited portion of the Sherrod video that Breitbart showed was what he recieved – already edited.  He claimed to have first contacted the NAACP and they did not respond.  And as it turns out, they had the full video and condemned her without even looking at it.

  • Brian_R_Allen

    …. Before Watergate, there were almost no “schools of journalism” at the “college level” ….
    Just like now.

    Although there are some at colleges and at about the Al-Fredo Gore-leone/John Thorne-Heinz-Kohn-Kerry level.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_425GVKQCLFZMQYYENR7CJBRDVA jb

    The problem – and it is a problem – is that newspaper editors and video show producers are more conservative. And media outlet owners are nearly always conservative.

    So it doesn’t matter how liberal the journalists are supposed to be. They turn in stories that please their bosses or they get canned. Their editors foster stories their bosses like, or their editors get canned.

    How else do you think Judith Miller got to run her unsubstantiated pro-Iraq-invasion nonsense through the NY Times for a good year, helping us get mired in that worthless war?  As only one example.

  • http://wizbangblog.com/author/rodney-graves/ Rodney G. Graves

    Those paying attention should note that being “…more conservative..” than reporters in general does not move editors and producers far from the left field stands.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_425GVKQCLFZMQYYENR7CJBRDVA jb

      Those paying attention should also note that editors and producers are actually at least moderate, and more often instead conservative.

      Editorial columnists’ overwhelming conservatism, as one example:
      http://mediamatters.org/reports/oped/

      • Gizzy2

        Mediamatters? really, a Soros funded spin factory.

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