Admission: Journalists are Liberals Not Interested in Facts and Truth

-By Warner Todd Huston

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?


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  • You did a good job of twisting his words. "...most journalists I know are liberal." He didn't say most journalists are liberal.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    There have been many studies and polls that show that most journalists are liberals.

  • From the NY Times:
    THE PUBLIC EDITOR; Is The New York Times a Liberal Newspaper?
    By DANIEL OKRENT Published: July 25, 2004

    OF course it is.

    The fattest file on my hard drive is jammed with letters from the disappointed, the dismayed and the irate who find in this newspaper a liberal bias that infects not just political coverage but a range of issues from abortion to zoology to the appointment of an admitted Democrat to be its watchdog. (That would be me.) By contrast, readers who attack The Times from the left -- and there are plenty -- generally confine their complaints to the paper's coverage of electoral politics and foreign policy.

    I'll get to the politics-and-policy issues this fall (I want to watch the campaign coverage before I conclude anything), but for now my concern is the flammable stuff that ignites the right. These are the social issues: gay rights, gun control, abortion and environmental regulation, among others. And if you think The Times plays it down the middle on any of them, you've been reading the paper with your eyes closed.

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