Journalists working in the national media have a liberal bias and generally do not know evangelical Christians, four of the top news reporters in the country said in a Wednesday panel discussion for Politico.
"The news media leans left — yes or no?" moderator Mike Allen of Politico asked.
Two of the panelists, CNN's Jake Tapper and The New York Times' Mark Leibovich, gave immediate one word answers – "yes." NBC's Kelly O'Donnell took a long pause before providing her initial answer — "In places, yeah, but not entirely." NYT's Peter Baker answered, "yeah, there are moments, but there is more to say about that."
After providing their short answers, the panelists spent several minutes discussing the nuances of the issue.
Leibovich said that as a journalist living in Northwest Washington, D.C., "none of my neighbors are evangelical Christians, I don't know a lot of people in my kid's preschool who are pro-life."
He does not discuss politics often with his colleagues, Leibovich added, but when he does he finds "clues that there is absolutely a leftward lean."
Tapper argued that the bias is "complicated and complex" and mostly due to the life experiences of the types of people who become reporters.
"Generally speaking," he said, most reporters in Washington, D.C. or New York City have never experience poverty, and were not raised, "like much of the country," in a military or evangelical Christian home. The best journalism takes place when reporters are aware of these biases, Tapper added.
Baker said that he does have evangelical Christians in his family, which has been "helpful to understand different parts of the country."
Beyond the liberal bias, Baker added, there are other biases that are even more influential in how reporters cover the news. Those biases are toward conflict, sensation, the quick and easy and the simplistic. "That's our bias, and that's what we have to fight every day."
Watch the full discussion below: