Data from Syracuse University. Visualization by AllSides.

The American media has a bias problem, and it’s fueled in part by an imbalance of Republican and Democratic journalists.

Just 3% of journalists, or three out of 100, identify as Republican, according to a study published in 2022 by Syracuse University.

Syracuse University

The study from Syracuse’s Newhouse School of Public Communications polled 1,600 U.S. journalists in early 2022. Of those polled, only 3.4% were affiliated with Republicans, compared to 36.4% Democrats, 51.7% Independents, and 8.5% other. 

Over the past 50 years, the percentage of journalists identifying as Republicans has plummeted while the percentage identifying as Democrats has remained consistent. Independents have grown significantly. In 1971, 25.7% of journalists identified as Republicans, 35.5% Democrat, 32.5% Independent, and 6.3% other.

The decline of ideological diversity has coincided with tanking audience trust in the media, with just 7% of Americans saying they have a “great deal” of trust in news media.

While newsrooms may struggle to find trained journalists who contribute to ideological diversity, any journalist can learn to write without bias creeping into their work. AllSides Media Bias Audits™ help editors and journalists to see and mitigate bias in their news writing.

AllSides bias audits are already being used in 40 newsrooms nationwide, and use our patented bias rating methodology, which combines the input of experts and ordinary Americans across the political spectrum, to provide feedback to journalists and editors. To date, our audits have helped media outlets in the two largest markets in the country — Los Angeles and New York City — go from Lean Left to Center ratings in just two years.

Bias remains an issue in many newsrooms. Syracuse published its data about the lack of ideological diversity in newsrooms in May 2022, but it didn’t make national headlines until December 2023. And even when it did, some ignored it.

Very few media outlets in the center and on the left covered the data, showcasing an example of bias by omission. Straight Arrow News (Center and Balance Certified™ by AllSides) was the only Center outlet to cover it, and Mediaite (Lean Left) was the only outlet on the left to cover it. 

AllSides found more frequent coverage on the right, including from Fox News (Right), Western Journal (Right), The Epoch Times (Lean Right), and Washington Times (Lean Right).

And as these newsrooms struggle to find balance, companies that aggregate their content aren’t doing much better.

AllSides has found that Google News, one of the world’s most popular news aggregators, has a clear bias in favor of left-leaning content. And it’s not alone — six out of eight major news aggregators studied by AllSides Lean Left.

Most major news aggregators show a bias in favor of left-rated news sources, according to AllSides analyses of Google, Apple News, Yahoo!, Bing, and other popular aggregation sites.

Two things are true: 1) popular, legacy media outlets tend to be aggregated more, and 2) legacy outlets tend to lean left.

RELATED: Most News Aggregators Biased to the Left, including Google, Apple, Bing: AllSides Analysis

While there is a lack of right-leaning journalists, right-leaning content has been found to do better on some social media platforms, including Facebook, where right-leaning content gets higher engagement, and X/Twitter, which in 2021 found (using AllSides Media Bias Ratings™) that its algorithm amplified right-leaning news media 4% more than the left

Journalists can work with AllSides to ensure balance in their content, and readers can take matters into their own hands by using the AllSides Balanced Search and daily balanced newsfeed to beat media bias and get the full picture.