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 the level of bias present within AMN reporting.
How Does Biasly Rate News Sources?
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, biased 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 American Military News Politically Biased?
American Military News was given an overall 26%, or “moderately conservative” bias rating by the Biasly A.I. Bias Score, as well as a 22%, or “somewhat conservative” policy rating, meaning that it provides policy analysis from a mostly conservative perspective, and shows opposition to liberal politicians and policies.
Biasly’s scores closely align with determinations by other third-party bias research agencies. MBFC also ranked AMN somewhere between Center-Right and Right for “factual information that utilizes loaded words… to favor conservative causes,” stating that the failed fact checks were minimal but still present.
Readers like you are more likely to have a strong opinion of the American Military News based on your political leaning because of their tendency to favor conservative causes, the military, and people as represented by Biasly’s “Moderately Conservative” rating. In the remainder of this article, we’ll talk about ways to identify this bias so you can separate the opinions from the facts and become a more informed consumer of news.
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 American Military News Online Articles
When determining bias, some of the most common metrics used include Tone, Author, and Diction, which are the primary metrics we’ll focus on below. Tone refers to the attitude of the writing and is related to but distinct from diction, which is the writer’s word choices. The Author metric refers to the author of the article and his or her demonstrated stance on issues through past articles and social media posts.
The first article we’ll examine is entitled “Gun Owners of America to file lawsuit over Trump’s new bump stock ban.” Biasly has rated this article with a 19% analyst bias score, or “Somewhat Conservative.” Part of the reason for this rating is that, even though the author tries to maintain neutrality, the tone suggests that they oppose the ban.
This article begins and ends with a very informative, neutral tone. Overall, the author does a good job of keeping the news reliable and fact-based, but as the rating above showed, it wasn’t perfect. Towards the middle of the article, the author spends two paragraphs with no quotes or supporting images, simply an explanation of the ban. While it is minimal, the tone used by the author implies that they are encouraging the reader to believe that the ban is unconstitutional as well. For example:
“A bump stock does not change a semi-automatic gun’s ability to shoot one bullet per trigger pull, whereas a machine gun fires a rapid burst of bullets per single trigger pull. Instead, a bump stock enabled the trigger to be pulled quickly, simulating a higher rate of fire than a user can typically achieve with the unaided action of their finger.”
Similar to tone, since most of the information comes from external sources, the author maintains an informative stance. Minimal harsh diction is used, such as the ban “effectively” overturning previous rulings, because bump stocks are now being regulated under the same ban as machine guns, even though they are “unlike” them. These words are chosen carefully— they could be outlining how similar the two are, not how different.
The author, Laura Widener, serves as the managing editor of the publication and writes articles often. She is clearly experienced in journalism, having worked in the field for 6 years. Widener graduated from Liberty University— a private conservative Baptist university. Her views are overwhelmingly conservative, howsoever, her personal bias in this article remains minimal.
The largest reason for bias comes from what’s missing, not what’s there. The information included for opposing the ban comes mostly from Gun Owners of America, and there is little use of statistics, background, or testimonials from others with different opinions. There are no statistics proving how the prohibition of machine gun sales impacted gun-related crime, and there is no information about the motivation behind the new regulations. This makes it seem like the ban on bump stocks is completely senseless, which may not be accurate.
Overall, this article shows minimal bias. The author is careful to include information directly from a source and does not make any egregious claims or statements that show her own opinions. While this shows promise for the news source, it’s never ideal to judge based on only one example. To diversify the rating, we will analyze another news article, “Federal agency goes after NY sheriff who flew Trump flag; says he violated Hatch Act.” This article was rated with a bias score of 19% using the Biasly A.I. Bias Rating software, similar to the first article analyzed. While the main focus is fact-based reporting, the author chooses to focus on the victim in the situation who happens to be a conservative law enforcement officer.
In almost every sense, the two articles being analyzed are very similar. This shows consistency within the source, and the overall bias being present yet low. The tone of this article is informative and concise, emphasizing a sense of support rather than criticism for the officer who was found in violation of the Hatch Act.
Secondly, the diction is smooth and general as opposed to in other, more biased, publications. In truth, the amount of commentary from the audience is minimal in this piece. The bulk of the information is a direct quote either from the Office of Special Counsel, Sheriff Hilton, or an interpretation of the Hatch Act itself. Therefore, it is difficult to assume that the diction in this piece is loaded. The author maintained a neutral stance in language.
The author, “Liz” George, is the Managing Editor and National Security and Domestic Affairs Editor for American Military News. George comes from a military family and has worked for various other publications such as PBS, NBC Montana, and Citizens United. Most of her articles for AMN show similar journalistic integrity and focus on fact-based reporting.
In the first article, the author chose to leave out bouts of important information that could help readers form an independent opinion. In this second article, however, this is less so. While there is some sense of apologetic attitude toward the Sheriff, the information presented clearly states the charges, the violation, and the proposed solution.
Analysis of American Military News Opinion Articles
Before we answer this question, we need to draw the distinction between opinion and reporting. While reporting is intended to be neutral, giving the reader the facts and quotes from primary sources to let them form their own opinion, opinions are an outlet for columnists to express their personal views on the issues of the day. While we saw elements of factual reporting in the analysis above, the AMN opinion pieces don’t seek objectivity but prioritize putting forth an opinion instead.
Let’s take a look at the opinion article, “Op-ed: Guns, Politics and Media Influence.” From the get-go, this article is a stark difference from the two news articles previously analyzed. The author uses no direct source, loaded language like the term “anti-gunners” to describe pro-gun control groups, and claims that they have a sense of “righteous indignation.” The harsh language and omission of fact within the article narrow the scope of readership and show a lack of desire for neutrality.
In the second opinion article and the last article we will analyze from American Military News, we come across a much more neutral approach once again. “Greg Jordan: Preserving the memory of Pearl Harbor is important for future generations.” This op-ed takes a more narrative approach, assessing different film adaptations of the attack on Pearl Harbor in order to keep the story alive. The author recounts experiences watching different movies and speaking to veterans while expressing his desire to increase information relating to the event. However, the use of true bias is not as prevalent as in the first opinion article.
These articles, in addition to those above, are only a small representation of all of the American Military News content, but they indicate that the outlet is often characterized by many opinions — further underscoring the importance of knowing how to distinguish subjective writing from genuine reporting.
Who Owns American Military News?
American Military News was founded by Kellen Giuda in 2015. His background originally was in architecture until he began to work in the field of public policy on several campaigns. Giuda owned and operated a consulting firm for campaigns and policy for eight years. He was also born into a Navy family, with constant moving around and an interest in military operations. Giuda supported and boasted Republican views. Now, he boasts a strong anti-establishment, anti-corporation opinion following the recent trend in Republican opinion since 2019, shown below, on social media platforms like Twitter; he maintains his position as owner and CEO of AMN while also being a member of Business Executives for National Security (BENS), the Online News Association (ONA) and the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ).
Source: Pew Research
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.
Even though Biasly gave American Military News a 26% bias score, remember that bias varies by article, and American Military News does not exclusively publish conservative thought pieces. In fact, it is known to have produced some centrist and liberal-leaning articles before. Additionally, some article types will inherently have more or less bias; general news articles are known for being less biased than opinion pieces. And while every article you read will be biased to some degree, some stick to the facts better than others, which is why it’s so important to use Biasly’s News Check to help you determine the bias of what you read.