Recently, the Washington Post, Yahoo News, Time, the Columbia Journal Review and a host of other news organizations reported on a Center for Public Integrity study detailing the federal campaign-finance filings of journalists, reporters, news editors, television news anchors and other donors working in journalism. The study found that 96 percent of those contributions – or about $382,000 – went to the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton, while the remainder went to Donald Trump.
But as we enter the final days of the most heated presidential campaign in modern U.S. history, not only major news agencies, but also their presidential polling partners, find themselves under increased scrutiny.
There is no evidence that any of the polling firms concerned have juiced their surveys or numbers in any way. Most pollsters, including those listed here, make much of their money doing corporate work and surveys, not political polling. However, perhaps there is an argument to be made for transparency among polling companies as to their donations – and journalists should be equally open.
Journalists’ disproportionately Democratic donations, revealed in The Center for Public Integrity’s study, reinforced the negative perceptions that a vast majority of American voters have of the news media – that they cannot be trusted, that they will work to elect the presidential candidate of their choice, and that Hillary Clinton is that candidate.
The Center for Public Integrity study concluded: “Conventional journalistic wisdom holds that reporters and editors are referees on politics’ playing field — bastions of neutrality who mustn’t root for Team Red or Team Blue, either in word or deed. But during this decidedly unconventional election season, during which “the media” has itself become a prominent storyline, several hundred news professionals have aligned themselves with Clinton or Trump by personally donating money to one or the other.”