Link copied to clipboard!

Does The Gazette have Media Bias?

By · Feb 12, 2024 · 8 min read

Does The Gazette have Media Bias?

The Gazette is a newspaper company based in Cedar Rapids, Idaho, USA, that has been primarily serving Iowa with local news coverage and analysis for over 140 years. This news source also covers news across the U.S. and the world, which further presses the question: is The Gazette biased?

The award-winning company news source has a wide range of readers because of the variety of news they offer, which consists of sports, local news, international news, as well as local events. This article will focus on the writers at the Gazette, what news they focus on, and how they report such news to identify if any bias is present.

Similar Web found that most of the Gazette readers are in the United States, and the news source receives roughly 1.6 million views per month, further exposing the reliability of the news source to many individuals around the world.

How We Rate Bias

Biasly’s algorithms produce bias ratings to help provide multiple perspectives on given articles. Biasly has analyzed 200,000+ news articles from more than 3,200 news sources through our A.I. technology and team of political analysts to find the most factual, unbiased news stories.

Biasly determines the degree of political bias in news sources by using Biasly’s Bias Meter Rating, in which Biasly’s team analyzes media sources’ reliability and bias and produces three scores, a Reliability Score that measures the accuracy of media sources; an A.I. Bias Score, evaluated by A.I.; and an Analyst Bias Score evaluated by political analysts. These scores are rated based on seven rating metrics including Tone, Tendency, Diction, Author Check, Selection/Omission, Expediency Bias, and Accuracy. These metrics help our analysts to determine the political attitude of the article.

Our A.I. machine-learning system employs natural language processing and entity-specific sentiment analysis to examine individual articles and determine their bias levels. By analyzing the key terms in an article such as policies, bias phrases, political terminologies, politicians, and their nicknames, the algorithms can rate the attitude of the text.  Bias scores range from -100% and 100%, with higher negative scores being more liberal and higher positive scores being more conservative, and 0% being neutral.

Is Gazette Politically Biased?

Biasly’s bias meter rating is based on two scores, one from its computer algorithms which are based on A.I., and one from its Analysts. Biasly’s A.I. rating of the Gazette news source is rated as Somewhat Conservative. Opinion articles by writers generally contribute to the leaning of this news source on political topics such as gun laws and abortion.

Based on Biasly’s A.I. rating, the Gazette’s Bureau chief, Erin Murphy, seems to lean slightly conservative based on the style of reporting gender identity. An article titled “Removing gender identity from Iowa Civil Rights Act proposed by Iowa House Republican” written by the bureau chief in the Sioux City Journal exposes a slight bias in the choice of statements reported. The writer includes many commentary on the negative aspects of the removal of gender identity from Iowa’s Civil Rights Act.

Many commentary in the news article is similar to the following: “‘Oh, it’s horrible. I mean, it’s going to hurt a lot of people,’ said Keenan Crow, with the LGBTQ advocacy organization One Iowa.” Which can be a reflection of the writer’s personal opinion on the topic of gender roles. Taking this into consideration can help us better understand the role of writers’ personal bias in the reporting of news.

Similar web found that most users of the Gazette range from the mid-50s to late-60s and is a good reflection of the types of news that the readers frequent. In the image above, it is evident that news, US news, and Iowa are the most frequent types of news readers tend to gravitate towards.

Before we begin, we need to discuss bias. Bias is a natural function of humans, and we can express it both consciously and unconsciously. Bias is one of the most fundamental forms of pattern recognition in humans. This isn’t to lower the bar and say that “all things are biased,” but to explain the process in which we may come to trust certain news organizations that display patterns of coverage.

On the media’s part, there is an incentive to retain audiences, encourage them to purchase subscriptions, and rate products positively. Bias is a two-way street, people want to see news stories about things they care about, and the media needs viewers to continue their operations. This creates a positive feedback loop that influences what stories are covered and from what perspective. This also explains the actions of more liberal news organizations.

Analysis of Bias in the Gazette Online Articles

When determining bias, some of the most common metrics used include Tone, Tendency, Author, Diction, and Expediency Bias, which are the primary metrics we’ll focus on below.

  • Tone: This represents the attitude of the writing, formed distinctively but related to the author’s word choices or diction.
  • Diction: The specific words chosen by the writer.
  • Author: A metric related to the article’s author, taking into account their history of stance on issues based on past articles and social media posts.
  • Tendency measures how consistently an author shows bias in their work, including factors like their tone and perspective.
  • Expediency Bias relates to the immediate impression created by elements like the article’s headline, images, or summary, indicating if they favor a particular viewpoint.

When analyzing news articles, it is important to consider the perspective from which writers choose to portray the news. As addressed at the beginning of this article, the Gazette also covers international news. In one of the articles that addresses the conditions in Gaza in light of the war, writer Erin Jordan reports the news from the perspective of an American who has family in Gaza.

The news is being reported with an emphasis on the perspective of this individual and their concern for their family, which can portray the news in a slightly biased manner rather than simply giving the readers the facts of the current conditions of the war in Gaza. The following section from the reading shows a more specific example of the influence of this perspective.

“Hagie is a Jew, AbuDagga a Muslim. Their families live on opposite sides of a generations-old conflict. But the Eastern Iowans both fear for their loved ones in the Middle East, and wish there was a way for Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace.”

“Hamas, which controls the Gaza strip but is considered a terrorist group by the United States, launched an Oct. 7 surprise attack on Israel, killing 1,400 people and taking over 200 people hostage.”

The writer does include some facts about the current events of the war in Gaza; however, it is accompanied by a heavy presence of the perspective of the interviewee. The example above in the first paragraph can provide a closer look at the effects of the war on individuals both in Gaza and around the world.

However, the focus on this individual may influence readers to be persuaded to feel a certain emotion from the news reported. Which is one of the aspects of news reporting that shifts the focus from informative to persuasive. The tone in this article is very neutral as the author provides the information directly. The only parts in the article that may shift the tone, are the comments from the interviewee.

Another article from The Gazette to analyze, which reflects a neutral manner of reporting factual news, is the new execution style possibly being executed in Alabama. In this article, the writer not only portrays the news in a mostly centered manner but also includes commentary from individuals who oppose and support it.

Giving both perspectives is a good way of allowing the readers to get a sense of both sides and how the news could be good or bad. Which also allows the reader to pick who to side with.

“It’s terrifying, This is a situation where we have absolutely no idea what we are  walking into,’ the Rev. Jeff Hood, Smith’s spiritual adviser and a death penalty opponent, said Thursday morning.”

“A state attorney told the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals that it will be ‘the most painless and humane method of execution known to man.’”

These two references from the article are examples of different perspectives that allow the readers to see both sides of the news. This essentially provides further insight into the full story, including the facts, and expert opinions from knowledgeable individuals as well as regular civilians and their take. It is evident that this article also portrays a neutral tone. The choice of wording describes the events in an informative way without giving emphasis on any particular side.

Analysis of the Gazette Opinion Articles

In an opinion article by the Gazette, writer Todd Dorman addresses commentary from readers on evident bias in news reporting articles. While opinion articles are meant to portray the reader’s opinion on the chosen topic, news coverage is generally bias-free and meant to share the facts of the event in a neutral and informative way.

“For example, I prefer politicians who don’t lie thousands of times. I prefer leaders who don’t stoke racial divisions, demonize immigrants and throw children into squalid detention centers. I have a strong preference for officials who don’t badly mishandle our response to a deadly global pandemic, resulting in thousands of needless deaths. I prefer encouraging, not suppressing, voting.

“I prefer legislatures that don’t push petty, destructive policies through in the middle of the night and with little or no input from those affected. I prefer to live in a country where LGBTQ Americans have full civil rights protections and don’t have to fear being shoved back into the shadows. It’s my preference that we actually do something about systemic racism before more Black lives are lost.”

In the opinion piece posted shortly after the termination of another opinion writer at the Gazette, Lyz Lenz, which the news source refrained from commenting on, Todd’s personal beliefs on many political topics are described. From a section of the article above, we can see Todd’s ‘strong preferences’ lean more conservative, and he seems to be defending his stance against many Republicans who don’t agree.

The title of this opinion article, “Readers cheer Republican snub of The Gazette, scream ‘bias!’” contains slight bias in the way Republicans are referred to. The word ‘snub’ is commonly referred to as the disregard or purposeful lack of acknowledgment of someone. For reference, another section of the article included the following.

“You can’t defeat the biased police. You can only ignore the constant wailing sirens, do your job and stick to your guns. Trying to please them is a losing proposition.”

While addressing the bias accusations, this author’s choice of words ‘stick to your guns’ may have a double entendre. It is hard to determine what the author was trying to portray with this metaphor. Especially because the concept of sticking to your guns is favored by Republicans. And everything else in the article up until that point was leaning conservative. The author might have been trying to appeal to Republicans with this statement while still portraying a conservative stance.

Who Owns the Gazette?

According to The Gazette, the news source company is 100% independent. Therefore they are employee-owned and have a holding company known as Folience.

The president and CEO of Folience, Daniel Goldstein, Is looking to make the next 130 years of the media business more than just a newspaper website focused on news. They do not plan to change anything within the Gazette news source but plan to add more to their holdings to increase their diversification.

How to Evaluate and Uncover Bias

It can often be difficult to tell if the news you watch is biased. If you have settled on a news channel, it’s usually because you trust the information you are gaining. Unfortunately, many trust the information they are hearing because it confirms what they already believe. This is referred to as “confirmation bias.” It is important to challenge your beliefs and get third-party verification that what you are hearing is the full story. This is why we recommend using Biasly to compare different news stories side-by-side using our bias ratings to figure out what both sides think of a political issue.

Biasly’s A.I. rating of the Gazette does seem to align with the analysis of many of their opinion pieces, which takes a slightly conservative approach. However, different articles may not shed the same light. The analyzers of one of the news articles previously addressed above show a neutral reporting of facts. Therefore, the slightly conservative bias rating can apply to a good majority of their articles but does not necessarily mean that every single article will be biased in a conservative manner. Bias can be inevitable in many aspects, whether that is intentional or not. Therefore, using Biasly’s News Check can help identify bias in different news articles you read in real-time.


Most Popular

Looking to save time on finding the best news stories?
Get increased access to the site, as well as the best stories delivered to your inbox.

    I agree to the privacy policy and would like to receive email updates and promotions.

    Fighting fear with facts.
    Top stories and custom news delivered to your inbox, at a frequency that works for you.

      I agree to the privacy policy and would like to receive email updates and promotions.

      Copy link