How Ignorant is the Average Journalist? That’s a Rhetorical Question

Conservatives complain about media bias. Media  ignorance doesn’t get nearly enough play.

Earlier this week, one of the contestants on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” was asked the following:

Mt. Narodnaya is the highest peak in what mountain range separating Europe from Asia?

The choices were: A. The Rockies B. The Andes C. The Sierra Nevada and D. The Urals

Trending: Pelosi Tells Another Whopper

When I was in school, that would be a real brain-teaser – for the average third-grader.

The contestant got it wrong.

And he’s the news anchor on KATU, the ABC-affiliate in Portland Oregon.

When I worked in a newsroom, I found the young people coming into the media had no interest in learning about history, politics, economics or much of anything else.

In frustration, I’d ask them how they expected to cover a story, if they couldn’t put it in the proper context. It didn’t matter. They were J-school grads. They knew the pyramid style of writing a news story. Everything else was irrelevant.

This abysmal ignorance naturally inclines them leftward, which is why over 80% of journalists in the U.S. are registered Democrats.

Young journalists must guard their ignorance carefully – lest, at some point, they start to lean to the right, and find their careers in the media over.

EDITOR’S NOTE: I’ve had occasion to speak to several reporters or journalists over the years and have seen a marked change from the earlier encounters to the more recent.

In the more recent discourses, I have found journalist to be ignorant of many things along with their political blindness making them repel facts and history.

One encounter I had a journalist told me that none of our Founding Fathers intended for private citizens to own a firearm.

I began sharing quotes from some of our Founding Fathers, like this one from Thomas Jefferson, in a letter he wrote to Jacob J. Brown in 1808:

“I learn with great concern that [one] portion of our frontier so interesting, so important, and so exposed, should be so entirely unprovided with common fire-arms. I did not suppose any part of the United States so destitute of what is considered as among the first necessaries of a farm-house.” [Thomas Jefferson Letter to Jacob J. Brown, 1808. The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Memorial Edition (ME), Lipscomb and Bergh, editors, 20 Vols., Washington, D.C., 1903-04, 11:432.]

And then this statement written by Jefferson when he drafted the first Virginia Constitution in 1776:

“No freeman shall be debarred the use of arms (within his own lands or tenements).” [Thomas Jefferson: Draft Virginia Constitution (with his note added), 1776. Papers 1:353]

He then turned to the age old rhetorical ignorance when he said that the militia referred to in the Second Amendment referred only to the military and not the common person, I referred him to a statement made by George Mason, Father of the Bill of Rights, during the debate on the adoption of the Constitution and Bill of Rights:

“Mr. Chairman, a worthy member has asked who are the militia, if they be not the people of this country, and if we are not to be protected from the fate of the Germans, Prussians, &c., by our representation? I ask, Who are the militia? They consist now of the whole people, except a few public officers. But I cannot say who will be the militia of the future day. If that paper on the table gets no alteration, the militia of the future day may not consist of all classes, high and low, and rich and poor; but they may be confined to the lower and middle classes of the people, granting exclusion to the higher classes of the people.”

The journalist responded that he had never heard of George Mason and accused me of making up the quote.

Don Feder is correct in that many of the today’s journalists are uneducated and know little to nothing on history, American government or many other subjects and apparently are not even open to learning the truth. Sadly, it’s not just journalists, but many of today’s younger adults are also ignorant of history because real history is no longer taught in many of our pubic schools.


The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

Don Feder is a former Boston Herald writer who is now a political/communications consultant. He also maintains his own website,

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