60 Minutes journalist Lesley Stahl admitted that the press leans liberal and that’s why Democratic politicians believe “reporters are on their side” and thus expect glowing coverage or kid gloves from the mainstream media.
During a conversation with PBS NewsHour anchor Judy Woodruff at the Deadline Club of New York, Stahl said she was surprised that the press team for Democrat Jimmy Carter (whose administration supported the liberal Equal Rights Amendment) treated female journalists “as kind of second-class citizens.” Yet while the Reagan White House opposed the ERA, President Reagan’s press team “showed no sexism” against female reporters.
From the interview:
LESLEY STAHL: And I never could figure out why – I have figured it out. I’ve figured it out, finally. Here’s why, this is my personal analysis. Democrats think that reporters are on their side. They expect reporters to be kind to them and gentle. They expect it. Because they assume we’re liberals and we’re going to be on their side. And when we’re not, and when we’re tough, they feel betrayed. They feel that there’s been a family break of some kind.
The Republicans expect us to be tough and they just accept that we’re tough, and we’re all treated the same, it’s very professional. They don’t call you up at night and yell at you. Were you yelled at by the Jimmy Carter people?
JUDY WOODRUFF: By – yes.
STAHL: Yes. We all were. And that didn’t happen because the Republicans just accepted the – in those days – the First Amendment, they respected what we were doing, and it was all extremely professional.
WOODRUFF: I do think there’s something to that, about the Democrats and the Republicans. I also think that when Reagan came to town, he came from of course having spent, what, a couple of decades in Hollywood? He was used to a tough, scrutinizing press corps. He was used to having both favorable and very unfavorable things written about him, and so, I think he brought that comfort level. Maybe he didn’t like it, but he was just used to it and it kind of rolled off his back, didn’t bother him.