Conservative critics of the media say some bias exists within a wide variety of media channels including network news shows of CBS, ABC, and NBC, cable channels CNN, MSNBC and Current TV, as well as major newspapers, news-wires, and radio outlets, especially CBS News, Newsweek, and The New York Times. These arguments intensified when it was revealed that the Democratic Party received a total donation of $1,020,816, given by 1,160 employees of the three major broadcast television networks (NBC, CBS, ABC), while the Republican Party received only $142,863 via 193 donations. Both of these figures represent donations made in 2008.<quoted text>
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A study cited frequently by critics of a "liberal media bias" in American journalism is The Media Elite, a 1986 book co-authored by political scientists Robert Lichter, Stanley Rothman, and Linda Lichter. They surveyed journalists at national media outlets such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the broadcast networks. The survey found that most of these journalists were Democratic voters whose attitudes were well to the left of the general public on a variety of topics, including such hot-button social issues as abortion, affirmative action, and gay rights. Then they compared journalists' attitudes to their coverage of controversial issues such as the safety of nuclear power, school busing to promote racial integration, and the energy crisis of the 1970s. The authors concluded that journalists' coverage of controversial issues reflected their own attitudes, and the predominance of political liberals in newsrooms therefore pushed news coverage in a liberal direction. They presented this tilt as a mostly unconscious process of like-minded individuals projecting their shared assumptions onto their interpretations of reality.
In a survey conducted by the American Society of Newspaper Editors in 1997, 61% of reporters stated that they were members of or shared the beliefs of the Democratic Party. Only 15% say their beliefs were best represented by the Republican Party. This leaves 24% undecided or independent.
A 2002 study by Jim A. Kuypers of Dartmouth College, Press Bias and Politics, investigated the issue of media bias. In this study of 116 mainstream US papers, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the San Francisco Chronicle, Kuypers stated that the mainstream press in America tends to favor liberal viewpoints. They argued that reporters who they thought were expressing moderate or conservative points of view were often labeled as holding a minority point of view. Kuypers said he found liberal bias in reporting a variety of issues including race, welfare reform, environmental protection, and gun control.
A joint study by the Joan Shorenstein Center on Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University and the Project for Excellence in Journalism found that viewers believe that liberal media bias can be found in television news by networks such as CNN. These findings concerning a perception of liberal bias in television news – particularly at CNN – are also reported by other sources.