American Military News was founded in 2015 to report issues related to the military and foreign affairs that may be glazed over by larger networks. According to their website, they pride themselves in accuracy, fact-checking, and simple news. We will attempt to analyze and interpret articles and ownership to further challenge this claim and come to an independent decision about AMN reporting and reliability.
Does Reliability Matter?
Reliability, in general, refers to how trustworthy or accurate information, or in this case, a news source is. If we consider this definition, it quickly becomes clear why reliability is important in media sources. If we can’t trust the things we read then there isn’t much of a point in continuing to consume content from that source, after all. So how exactly can we gauge the reliability of a news source anyways?
There are several potential measures of reliability to look out for when trying to determine whether a media source is reliable or not. Red flags for an unreliable article can include the presence of wild unsubstantiated claims, facts dependent on other unreliable sources, heavy use of opinionated language, and more. Some indicators of a reliable news source, on the other hand, include things like:
- Absence of subjective/opinionated language in articles
- Credible sources cited (e.g., neutral sources, .gov, .edu websites)
- Facts and statistics backed by multiple relevant outside sources
- Use of primary sources when possible (e.g., interviews, quotes)
- Information that remains consistent across news sources
So How Does American Military News Fare in its Reliability?
The political bias index developed by Biasly objectively assesses news organizations’ dependability. American Military News has a rating of 79% reliability on our meter, which suggests readers can trust most of American Military News’s content online. However, since there is an average, certain articles could be more or less trustworthy. Our findings are in line with those of other third-party raters, such as Media/Bias Fact Check which awarded American Military News a “Mostly Factual” grade most likely because they have retracted several stories in the past or had pieces that were not factual.
Let us analyze the supporting data for these rankings and discuss what to watch out for while searching for trustworthy news sources.
American Military News Accuracy and Reliability
The credibility of news organizations is significantly impacted by bias and political orientation. Like numerous other media organizations, Buzzfeed has occasionally been accused of prioritizing the liberal agenda above facts. We can evaluate the integrity of Buzzfeed’s news stories and deduce how well the publication supports assertions with evidence, and see whether this is indeed the case. We will check for selection and omission bias as we asses the articles’ correctness and factuality.
Selection bias is when stories and facts are selected or deselected, often on ideological grounds, to create a narrative in support of the new sources’ ideology. Omission bias, on the other hand, is when different opinions and political views regarding a situation are left out so that the reader is only exposed to the ideological perspective supported by the author. It’s important to keep in mind these two types of biases when trying to assess an article’s level of accuracy.
Biasly assigns a percentage score to accuracy, with one being the least accurate and 100 being the most. Ratings are calculated by weighing assertions with supporting evidence, the number of reliable internal sources, and the number of reliable external sources employed. A full page at Biasly’s website includes dependability and accuracy ratings for newly released American Military News news stories. As we previously stated, according to the reports analytics have assessed, AMN is generally 79% reliable. This score can vary from article to article, though, and the most extreme variations in dependability are caused by bias, notably omission, and selection bias. We will consider that AMN has a moderately conservative bias at 26% and is only 79% reliable according to Biasly. For example, they had one article that was 98% reliable titled,” U.S. Marine Corps account attacks Fox’s Tucker Carlson on Twitter, then deletes it, apologizes,” and another article called, that is only 29% reliable. As a result, stories displaying political leaning are less reliable than neutral ones.
To provide specificity, the AMN article mentioned above: ” U.S. Marine Corps account attacks Fox’s Tucker Carlson on Twitter, then deletes it, apologizes”, showcases a well-rounded and informative piece that can be trusted by individuals on any side of the political spectrum. The Author uses Twitter screenshots from the USMC themselves and from those who apologized while providing context about the Tucker Carlson statements.
The nature of the comments made by Carlson created an easy opportunity for the author to show their own opinion about them, but instead simply placed them in the article, and explained why the actions of the USMC were incorrect in legal terms. There is also a quote and explanation about members of government, like Ted Cruz, and their threats as a result of the action. The sources are balanced and the information is accurate, therefore the source can be considered accurate.
We will take a closer look at more examples like this below, providing a further investigation into the reliability of AMN’s articles. This will include its use of selection bias, omission bias, and the quality of its sources and facts used.
Analysis of Reliability in American Military News Opinion Pieces
Opinion-style journalism is a suitable venue for reporters to express their opinions and beliefs, even if excessive opinion might be something to avoid while producing a general news article. Although opinion pieces are less trustworthy because they are subjective, they can still be worthwhile to read to increase one’s understanding of various political viewpoints.
To complete this analysis, two articles will be showcased. The one mentioned above: “Op-ed: Guns, Politics, and Media Influence,” and a new one, an opinion piece as well, “Troops should not be used in presidential speeches ever – here’s why.” Neither of these articles was meant to be read or interpreted as a news piece, so bias isn’t as high of a consideration. However, reliability is.
Quality of Sources and Facts Used
In his Guns, Politics, and Media Influence op-ed, Dan Wos uses little to no sources and assumes common knowledge of facts. Many of the statistics and references made relating to the election in 2016 and gun-opposers are made without quotations, and without source. For all we know, the information could be a lie. While the information is true, an average reader would not necessarily be persuaded due to the lack of credibility, therefore reducing the reliability. The fact that there is not one quotation or research organization mentioned to speak about says enough.
The second article does include specific quotes, a video, and hyperlinked external sources pertaining to information that could be questioned. This article shares a large amount of bias with the Guns and Politics article, but it has increased reliability due to the way it shows facts and credible information. There is a direct quote from Mark Milley, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 2020, and an example of a time in which President Trump did the same as President Biden in this article. Despite this, there is no use of quotes from one who may oppose the view of the author, such as an expert stating that increased security tensions are the reason for the military presence or a representative of the Biden campaign who may have spoken about it.
While this article presents more sources and has more credibility, it lacks the nuance that decreases its reliability.
Selection and Omission Bias
Wos leaves out many key points in his article that would make it infinitely more reliable. There is a lack of information from the other side, there is actually none at all. The author fails to consider any statistics or studies, or even publications that bring to light how someone on the other side of the aisle may feel. One could say it is a successful article if that was not the intent, but there is a way to push an agenda while still being reliable, and this is not it. If one was looking to make an opinion using one article, expecting information that aids in that process, they would likely create a one-sided as a result.
In one final analysis, the second article is very similar. There is no concern for the opinion or the job of the military, instead only an attack on the president and on his security choices. The author chooses to select information and sources that will promote one specific idea and does not present opposing arguments, once again creating an echo chamber and continuing the article’s stance as unreliable for a reader on either side of the political spectrum.
In opinion pieces, issues with factuality, sources, selection, and omission are frequently present. The articles we’ve covered so far are mostly biased and exclude inadequate relevant background and information that may contradict the author’s position and provide greater context. As a news organization with a conservative slant, AMN has a small incentive to continue appealing to conservative viewpoints to maintain the interests of its sizable right-wing readership. But now that we’ve enumerated typical trustworthiness indications, you may stay current by keeping yourself informed on the most accurate news.
So, is American Military News Reliable?
Finally, it can be argued that American Military News is a semi-reliable news source. The more you research media reliability and accuracy, the simpler it will be for you to spot problems with sources, selection, omission, and factuality. To help with this, you can use Biasly’s News Bias Checker to uncover reliability problems and assist you in finding the most accurate and dependable news.