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Local news media political views?


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Generally, they manage to keep their political and social proclivities out of public view, but the local ratio of Liberals to Conservatives is about the same as the national ratio.

In 2004, the highly regarded Pew Research Center surveyed a cross section of media people on this very subject. 34 percent identified themselves as Liberal, while only 7 percent identified themselves as conservative, A five to one ratio.

So, to answer your question, based on the 2004 Pew Survey and a similar survey done this year, it's safe to assume that a fairly big majority of Houston TV and Radio News people are Liberals and vote Democratic, and a small minority are Conservative and vote Republican or Libertarian. And that's just the way it is.

I recently retired after 45 years in Houston radio news, and I am personally acquainted with a great many of the people we hear on the radio and see on TV, and, honestly, I cannot tell you who is what. Wisely, they all do a pretty good job of keeping their opinions to themselves, and we almost never talked politics at our news parties and social gatherings at various watering holes around town.

Edited by FilioScotia
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Thanks brijonmang. Most local news people are smart enough to keep their political opinions out of their reporting. I've observed that the few who do express opinions are at non-commercial outlets, like Pacifica and NPR.

The difference is that local commercial news outlets want the broadest audience demographics they can get, and they know a station loses half its hoped-for audience when it is clearly "taking sides." Over the years a fair number of radio and TV reporters have lost their jobs for being too "open" with their politics.

I remember a Hispanic reporter getting fired from KTRK for getting too involved in some Hispanic issues. In Dallas, a TV anchor was fired for introducing a political candidate at a campaign rally. Those are just two examples. There are others, but their experience proves that local media outlets are serious on the subject of political neutrality.

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  • 5 months later...

FiloScotia is right. In a market like Houston being openly political is not good for ratings. There's only one anchor in town whose politics I can guess at, but it would only be a guess. The only guy whose politics I really knew was reporter Jack Cato -- a conservative. But i got that straight from him and not his reporting.


But Houston has been the home of some guys who went on to become very well known for their politics, namely Cal Thomas and Dan Rather. You could throw Kay Bailey Hutchison and Dan Patrick in there as well.

Edited by Retama
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You're right about Jack Cato. He and I were friends for many years going back to the 1950s. In private he made no secret of his conservative leanings, but on the air he was straight down the middle. That was easy for him because 99 percent of the stories he covered were crime stories which don't have a political angle. There's no such thing as a conservative or liberal murder, or fatal car accident.


Jack did come out of the closet in his last few years when he left TV and got into politics. He was elected County Treasurer as a Republican -- twice. He was one of the greatest guys I ever knew and I still miss him.

Edited by FilioScotia
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  • 2 weeks later...

In retrospect, I recall a topic being done on this a while back. Time to fast forward...


In reality, while basic cable has the ubiquitous examples of MSNBC catering to a left-leaning audience and Fox News a right-leaning one (albeit of the "big government conservative" variety), bias is in actuality nearly impossible to spot in local news.


To clarify further, just because the Dallas Morning News has a conservative bent does not mean that Channel 11 is a conservative mouthpiece, and just because Channel 2's one-time owners had ties to the Democratic Party (Bill Hobby, anyone?) does not mean Channel 2 is a bastion of leftist indoctrination. In a nation so deeply enshrined in freedom of speech, et. al., it is critical that members of the media maintain an objective tone both for the sake of their country and for the sake of their jobs. That means no boasting about "Obama sucks" or "Republicans are evil", except maybe during vastly overlooked editorial segments where Houston's own economic interests are at stake.


In other words, there is nothing political about local news, because at the end of day people want to hear the facts...you're not going to get facts from a politically biased opinion show. And don't get me started on celebrity gossip, which is supposed to be a no-no in a market with major international economic interests and implications, unpredictable weather and atmospheric volatility, and a locally strong if nationally overlooked (and in some areas, much-maligned and cursed) sports culture.


I may be wrong, but the news is supposed to give you what you NEED to know, NOT what you want to hear.

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