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Is Independent Journal Review ( Reliable?

By · Feb 29, 2024 · 7 min read

Is Independent Journal Review ( Reliable?

As Independent Journal Review  is still relatively young (founded in 2012) and is classified as being conservative, questions about reliability are bound to come up. Is IJR containing bias and lack of trustworthiness due to its political tendency? At Biasly, we endeavor to evaluate the accuracy and dependability of all media outlets. Let us investigate the reliability and accuracy of Independent Journal Review.

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 IJR Fare in its Reliability?

The political reliability index developed by Biasly objectively assesses news organizations’ accuracy and trustworthiness. IJR’s overall Reliability Score has been rated as ‘Excellent’ by Biasly. This rating is a weighted average of two distinct scores: the Fact Analysis Score and the Source Analysis Score, each evaluating separate components of Buzzfeed’s Reliability. When computing the Average Reliability of the article the Fact Analysis score is more heavily weighted. These ratings are as follows in the next two paragraphs:

Buzzfeed’s Fact Analysis Score is ‘Excellent,’ which suggests readers can trust most of Buzzfeed’s content online. The Fact Analysis score focuses more on the accuracy of claims, facts, and sources presented in the article and any hints of selection and omission bias, which we will discuss further in the article.

Buzzfeed’s Source Analysis Score is ‘Good,’ which suggests readers can trust some of the sources, links, and quotes provided by the news source. This score, which is based on A.I., focuses on assessing the quality of sources and quotes used including their number, lengths, uniqueness, and diversity.

Let us analyze the supporting data for these rankings and discuss what to watch out for while searching for trustworthy news sources.

IJR Accuracy and Reliability

The credibility of news organizations is significantly impacted by bias and political orientation. Based on assessments, Independent Journal Review has been regarded as a right/conservative media source.

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 IJR news stories.

As previously stated, according to the reports analytics have assessed, IJR is generally Excellent in its reliability rating. Consider also ABC news, which has a somewhat liberal bias and has only a Good reliability rating, according to Biasly. For example, they had an article that was rated with an ‘Excellent’ Fact Analyst Score titled “House passes anti-Asian hate crimes bill, legislation awaits Biden’s signature,” and another article called, “Biden calls new GOP-passed Georgia law restricting voting access an ‘atrocity'” that had only a ‘Fair’ Source Analysis Score. As a result, stories displaying political leaning are less reliable than neutral ones.

For example, the IJR article titled “Joe Biden Gets Major Fact Check After Public Outcry” is rated at Center. Regarding selection and omission bias, the author, George C. Upper III, provided a satisfactory response to Joe Biden’s claim. However, he failed to interview a labor union to gather their perspective on Joe Biden’s attitude. Additionally, to illustrate the public outcry, the author relies on some posts from the platform X, which may be insufficient to support his claim. One of his sources, Politico, reported about Biden:

“even deployed two Cabinet members — Labor Secretary Marty Walsh and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg — on Thursday to sell Senate Democrats on voting to prevent a work stoppage and impose the rail deal minus the sick leave workers wanted”

The article displays a stance at the center due to sources used, though it portrays Biden as anti-union, which is compatible with many of IJR’s news. However, the author failed to adjust the sources and could not escape from being commentary. The author would be more comprehensive if he included interviews or labor union comments. For that reason, the article can be considered as mostly reliable.

In order to assess the credibility of IJR’s articles, we will review more examples like this belo and provide a further investigation. This will include its use of selection bias, omission bias, and the quality of its sources and facts used.

Analysis of Reliability in IJR Opinion Pieces

Independent Journal Review has pieces on their website that are classified as “commentary”. Usually commentary or 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 commentary and 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.

IJR’s opinions have caused some concerns in the past with their reliability due to their tendency to promote conservative ideologies. The sources and quotations make the reader question the credibility of IJR. One example of this can be seen in the article “Commentary: Trump Used Walls To Stop Border Sex Predators, Harris Wants To Use Coffee.” which was presented as a news report. The title conveys a  negative tone about Kamala Harris and a supportive view about Donald Trump, which hints at an unfavorable view of Democrats. Their pessimistic attitude towards Kamala Harris affects their commitment to publishing reliable news and only satisfies right-wing readers.

Quality of Sources and Facts Used

Independent Journal Review often uses different sources in its articles; however, it is crucial to be aware of the quality and credibility of those sources. For example, in the article titled “House Republicans Move to Repeal Law That Biden’s DOJ Has ‘Weaponized’ to Imprison Pro-Lifers” The author Jack Davis used only 11 quotes. Of those 11 quotes, six of them are short, four of them are medium-length, and one is long quotes.

Additionally, the author’s 10 sources for the article were as follows:

  • S. Code Freedom of access to clinic entrances
  • A bill introduced by Rep. Chip Roy (Republican)
  • House Rep. Chip Roy of Texas (Republican)
  • The Daily Signal Article (Conservative-leaning)
  • Office of Public Affairs
  • An X account called CannCon
  • A letter by Rep. Chip Roy (Republican)
  • An X account, Ryan Matthew Neuhaus
  • Tom McClusky, director of government affairs at CatholicVote
  • Andrew Bath, general counsel for the conservative legal firm

The quality of the sources looks mixed, but the main problem arises from the inclusion of social media accounts, and non-experts on the issue, which reduces the reliability of their quotes. Moreover, most of the quotes come from Republican Rep. Chip Roy, with the rest being negative personal opinions of people. While the article is rated as center-right, the author’s bias towards right-wing sources is evident, and the overall source quality is average. More alternate views could have strengthened the piece.

The author, Jack Davis, relies heavily on right-wing sources such as Republican Rep. Chip Roy of Texas and Tom McClusky, director of government affairs at CatholicVote. The author quotes a lot and provides key information to guide readers’ perspectives. Consequently,  although this article is rated at the center, it is still a controversial source about the law used to jail pro-life activists.

The article from above, “Commentary: Trump Used Walls To Stop Border Sex Predators, Harris Wants To Use Coffee” is an example of a good informative piece with qualified sources and quotes, despite the right-wing tendency throughout the article. The author incorporates various news sources such as The Wall Street Journal and NBC along with statistical sources like the World Population Review. The only problem with the article is that the author uses the Western journal as a source many times, which can affect the article’s reliability.

Selection and Omission Bias

In another example from IJR, it is evident that the author has a tendency to support the right wing, though he strives for objectivity. The article titled “‘Lose That Idea’: Data Reporter Shoots Down Notion Trump Cannot Win in 2024″ by Bradley Cortright primarily discusses the possibility of Trump winning the 2024 elections but lacks information about why he might be re-elected and why Joe Biden may struggle to win. Also, the quotes only come from one source, a CNN senior data reporter. The total number of quotes is only four, with two being short and two being medium-length. Here is a quote from the CNN reporter:

 “This idea that Donald Trump can’t win the general election, I want you to lose that idea. This race is very, very close, and Donald Trump is polling better right now than basically at any point during the entire 2020 cycle,”

The article mentions the possibility of Trump winning the 2024 election but does not provide a comprehensive explanation for this assertion. Relying on a single source to support this argument is insufficient. Additionally, the article lacks an examination of why Joe Biden might face challenges in winning against Trump. The title of the article implies a focus on right-wing opinions about the 2024 presidential election, but it does not deliver on this promise.

In the article discussed earlier, “House Republicans Move to Repeal Law That Biden’s DOJ Has ‘Weaponized’ to Imprison Pro-Lifers” the author omits the comments or views from left-wing or Democratic Party and arranges the title for the ideologies of the right. The author does not consider the alternative views and displays the issue from only one view, which diminishes the article’s credibility.

Moreover, none of the sources has opposite views, and all have conservative stances. The quote by Andrew Bath, “The FACE Act has been weaponized by this administration,” It can be seen that the Biden administration is posed unfavorably with strong diction without any alternative perspectives, indicating selection and omission bias. Because of all this, the author weakens the article’s trustworthiness and makes news like these look like opinion articles

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 adequate relevant background and information that may contradict the author’s position. As a news organization with a central stand, IJR 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 IJR Reliable?

After reviewing, it can be determined that the Independent Journal Review is a reasonably reliable news source. Some articles have more bias than others, but generally, the content from IJR is a reliable way to get news. 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.


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