Media Matters: Report: Op-Ed Pages Dominated by Conservatives

September 12, 2007
10:29 AM

CONTACT:  Media Matters
Karl Frisch: 202-756-4103

Report: Op-Ed Pages Dominated by Conservatives
Unprecedented New Study of U.S. Dailys Shows Conservatives with Distinct Advantage in Syndicated Op-Eds
Report is Attached as PDF or Available Online

WASHINGTON - September 12 - Media Matters for America today released "Black and White and Re(a)d All Over: The Conservative Advantage in Syndicated Op-Ed Columns," a comprehensive and unprecedented analysis of nationally syndicated columnists from nearly 1,400 newspapers or 96 percent of English-language U.S. daily newspapers. Because of the time, labor, and difficulty involved in gathering such a wide scope of detailed information about America's newspapers, no one has ever before determined exactly where syndicated columnists are published. The report shows that conservative syndicated columnists are carried in far more newspapers, with much greater audience reach than their progressive counterparts, giving them a distinct advantage in the marketplace of ideas.

Among the report's key findings:

  • Conservative Syndicated Columnists Dominate Daily Newspapers -- Sixty percent of the nation's newspapers print more conservative syndicated columnists every week than progressive syndicated columnists. Only 20 percent run more progressives than conservatives, while the remaining 20 percent are evenly balanced.
  • Conservative Syndicated Columnists Reach Millions More Than Progressives -- In a given week, nationally syndicated conservative columnists are published in more than 153 million newspapers. Progressive columnists, on the other hand, are published in 125 million newspapers.
  • Top Syndicated Columnists Are Mostly Conservative -- The top-10 list of columnists, sorted by the number of papers in which they are carried or by the total circulation of the papers in which they are published, includes five conservatives, two centrists, and only three progressives.
  • In Region After Region, Conservative Syndicated Columnists Enjoy Advantage -- In eight of the nine regions into which the U.S. Census divides the country, conservative syndicated columnists reach more readers than progressive syndicated columnists in any given week. Only in the Middle Atlantic region (which includes New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania) do progressive columnists reach more readers each week.

"Together these results prove what many have suspected for years -- that our opinion pages are consistently skewed to the right, allowing conservatives a disproportionate advantage in shaping public opinion," said David Brock, President and CEO of Media Matters. "The integrity of our nation's newspapers is at stake when the debate of today's pressing issues is dominated entirely by one side of the argument," Brock said.

About the Report and Media Matters for America

Media Matters amassed information on 201 nationally syndicated columnists published by nearly every daily newspaper in the country. Contacting each paper individually to ask which syndicated columnists are published, we obtained information from 1377 newspapers, or 96 percent of all English-language daily newspapers in the United States.

This study is unparalleled in its scope and level of detail. Despite the enormous influence of America's op-ed pages, no one has ever before determined where syndicated columnists are specifically published. Previous examinations of syndicated columnists relied on data provided by the syndicates themselves, while Media Matters contacted each and every English-language daily newspapers to ensure the highest level of accuracy.

Media Matters is a not-for-profit, progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.

Report is Available at: