- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 1, 2014

The nation’s newshounds appear to be straying from rigid allegiance to either the Republican or Democratic Party says some uncommon new research. “More journalists say they are independents. In 2013, about half of all journalists (50.2 percent) said they were political independents, up about 18 percentage points from 2002,” report David Weaver and Lars Willnat, a pair of political scientists at the Indiana University School of Journalism who managed to plumb the sentiments of more than 1,000 randomly selected American journalists.

“The number of those who identified with the Democratic Party dropped nearly 8 percentage points to 28.1 percent, while the number of journalists closer to the Republican Party decreased from 18 percent to 7.1 percent,” the pair say.

Yes, well. This still gives the Democrats an edge in media land, and could ensure the continuation of a left-leaning bias in news coverage. Or maybe not. But at least the media hordes largely agree on one thing. And only they can correct it.

“Six in 10 journalists (59.7 percent) say that journalism in the United States is going in the wrong direction,” the Indiana pollsters advise. Find more results in the Poll du Jour.


Consider the math of the White House Correspondents Dinner: There are about 200 authentic White House correspondents who belong to the White House Correspondents Association, an august group founded 100 years ago. But 3,000 people will show up Saturday night for the dinner itself.

Yes, there is a cast of thousands. They are done up in tuxedos, evening gowns and uncomfortable footwear — poised to ride escalators, murmur and shout, shuffle through security barriers and ultimately dine with President Obama.

Well, sort of. The diners mostly view him on the blazing jumbotron. Meanwhile, the big doings are so big that both C-SPAN and CNN will cover it live, while entertainment networks scrum at the red carpeted entrance point. The throng will tuck into a salad gussied up with poached pears, blue cheese and candied pecans. There’s a filet of beef, crab cakes, seasonal vegetables and desserts that include chocolate dipped strawberries, mousse lollipops and a chocolate pyramid.

The event itself includes pomp, circumstance, clever banter and regal moments serenaded by the dull roar of the crowd. The dinner has erroneously been deemed the “Nerd Prom” in past years, implying that journalists devolve into gawking drunks when celebrities and cleavage are around. This is not accurate.

The dinner is cheerful and elegant, despite its gargantuan size. It is a unique melange of politicians, celebrities, newsmakers, thought leaders, lobbyists, tycoons, failures, activists, operatives, eager newcomers, jaded veterans. Most importantly comes this statement from the sponsoring association, as a reminder to what the hubbub is really all about: “Proceeds from the White House Correspondents’ Association annual dinner go toward scholarships and awards that recognize aspiring and accomplished journalists.”


Well, it’s never too early. The Democratic Party already has taken aim at former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Mr. Bush has endorsed Thom Tillis, the former speaker of the North Carolina House, in his bid for the U.S. Senate seat in the Tar Heel State. But such modest events can supply a ready springboard for critics opposed to Mr. Bush, along with Charles and David Koch.

“Thom Tillis is a prime example of the extreme GOP candidates who are completely out of touch with the issues the American people care about. Jeb Bush may try to paint himself as a voice of reason in the Republican Party, but today’s endorsement makes clear that he’s part of the problem,” says Democratic National Committee press secretary Michael Czin. “Jeb Bush is throwing his support behind just another Koch-backed candidate who opposes the existence of a minimum wage, would block health options for women, and even wants to eliminate the Department of Education.”


The aforementioned Jeb Bush rules the GOP roost in the Sunshine State, meanwhile. He leads the Florida Republican primary field with 27 percent of the vote says a new Quinnipiac survey of voters in the state. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky is in second place with 14 percent, followed by Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida at 11 percent, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at 7 percent, and, at 6 percent each, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.

“With Jeb Bush making noises about a possible 2016 candidacy, his support among Republicans in the Sunshine State appears to be solidifying. He still trails Hillary Clinton in a general election matchup, but he is the only potential GOP nominee who gets within single digits of her,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the poll.

In a theoretical Clinton/Bush match-up in Florida, Mrs. Clinton nabs 49 percent of the vote, Mr. Bush 41 percent. And in the favorability arena among all voters, Mrs. Clinton gets a 58 percent, Mr. Bush 53 percent.


“I don’t think you could increase MSNBC’s ratings if you had a gun to people’s head.”

— Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, to Newsmax TV.


A gubernatorial campaign takes more than cute pink sneakers and a pro-choice filibuster, perhaps. Support for Wendy Davis, now vying for governor of Texas, has cooled among a pivotal group.

“We’re hopeful in Texas but we’ll be candid about the fact that we all understand that Democrats haven’t won Texas in a long time,” Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin, chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, told a friendly audience earlier this week.

The Davis campaign remains in full combat mode, with Mr. Shumlin as a newfound foe.

“The uninformed opinions of a Washington, D.C., desk jockey who’s never stepped foot in Texas couldn’t be less relevant to what’s actually happening on the ground,” says campaign manager Karin Johanson.


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92 percent of full-time journalists in the U.S. say they have at least a bachelor’s degree; 37 percent were journalism majors.

78 percent say that “investigating government claims” is extremely important; 69 percent say “analyzing complex problems” is extremely important.

63 percent say their workplace has “shrunk during the last year.”

58 percent approve the use of unauthorized confidential sources.

46 percent say getting information to the public quickly is extremely important.

40 percent say social media is important to their work.

12 percent say that journalism should concentrate on the “widest possible audience.”

Source: An Indiana University poll of 1,080 randomly selected U.S. journalists conducted Aug. 7-Dec. 20, 2013 and released Thursday.

Hurrahs, cat calls to [email protected]

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