The left-liberal skew of Western media

Emil O.W. Kirkegaard (Ulster Institute for Social Research, Denmark)
Jonatan Pallesen (Independent researcher, Denmark)
Emil Elgaard (Independent researcher, United States)
Noah Carl (Independent researcher, United Kingdom)


We gathered survey data on journalists’ political views in 17 Western countries. We then matched these data to outcomes from national elections, and constructed metrics of journalists’ relative preference for different political parties. Compared to the general population of voters, journalists prefer parties that have more left-wing positions overall (r’s -.47 to -.53, depending on the metric used), and that are associated with certain ideologies, namely environmentalism, feminism, social liberalism, socialism, and support for the European Union. We used Bayesian model averaging to assess the validity of the predictors in multivariate models. We found that, of the ideology tags in our dataset, ‘conservative’ (negative), ‘nationalist’ (negative) and ‘green’ (positive) were the most consistent predictors with nontrivial effect sizes. We also computed estimates of the skew of journalists' political views in different countries. Overall, our results indicate that the Western media has a left-liberal skew.


Media;Journalists;Media bias;Political bias;Cross-national;Survey;Poll

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