Newsweek was founded in New York City as a news magazine in 1933 to compete with Time Magazine. While Newsweek has its origins as a print publication, it has expanded into an online news source as well, reaching around 100 million people each month. Newsweek was previously owned by the Washington Post Company from 1961 to 2010 until being purchased by Sidney Harman. In 2011 the publication merged with The Daily Beast until ultimately being sold to IBT Media in 2013 following an attempt at a digital-only publication in 2012. However, in 2022, Newsweek separated from IBT Media and has been embroiled in legal troubles with IBT since then. Today, Newsweek is both an online and in-print news source and can be found at www.newsweek.com.
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, 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 Newsweek Politically Biased?
While Newsweek has long maintained an image as a reputable news source with a moderately liberal bias, how true is this reputation? How biased is Newsweek under closer examination?
Newsweek scored an A.I. Bias score of positive 6%, categorizing it as Center-Right. In contrast, the Analyst Bias Score of Newsweek is negative 9%, placing it firmly as a Center-Left news source. While the Biasly A.I. and Analyst scores differ somewhat, they both agree that Newsweek is a fairly Moderate source with a bit of a liberal slant overall. However, this analysis only takes into account Newsweek’s online publications and its magazine articles might impact this rating a bit.
Other third-party bias research agencies such as Media Bias/Fact Check give Newsweek a similarly moderate analysis. Media Bias/Fact Check concluded that Newsweek has a right-center bias which was left-center previously, meaning they also view Newsweek as a fairly moderate source in terms of political bias but believe it leans a bit more conservative than liberal.
In a Pew Research study conducted in 2020, Newsweek was distrusted by more Republicans than it was trusted as noted below. Since this time, Newsweek has shifted from its Somewhat Liberal leaning to a Center/Moderate leaning, according to Biasly.
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.
It’s important to bear in mind that news media has an interest in keeping their audiences watching or reading. To do this, news publications will often intentionally cater to their audience’s biases to keep them reading. With this fact in mind, let’s examine a news article from Newsweek’s website.
Analysis of Newsweek Online Articles
Being a news magazine with a prominent online publication, Newsweek reaches tens of millions of people each month from its website. To get a better picture of Newsweek’s bias let’s take a look at a recent Newsweek article entitled “With Hungary and Turkey Banned, U.S. Hosts Divided Democracy Summit”.
According to Biasly’s breakdown of this article, the bias is rated as Center at 8%. Similarly, the policy leaning is rated at 4%, making it Center as well. Its portrayal of politicians was recorded as 16% negative with two negative statements and one positive statement toward Joe Biden. These sentiments make the article’s score lean a bit conservative, although not by much as the general tone of the article remains moderate. The article includes a few sentiments which are considered liberal and a few which are considered conservative, balancing out the bias in the article overall.
From the title of the article alone, you probably wouldn’t have an immediate reaction favoring one side or the other as the title does not use any kind of language to suggest either a liberal or conservative bias.
Several other articles by this author are rated by Biasly as Center, suggesting that the author generally writes from a fairly center viewpoint on the issues discussed. While not directly relating to the article in question, it is helpful to know the author’s bias when analyzing an article. Throughout the article, the author doesn’t use particularly strong language favoring one side or the other and presents itself as fairly moderate as a result.
While this article in particular is solidly Center, Newsweek carries a wide variety of articles from different authors who will have different biases. In addition to news articles like the one discussed, Newsweek’s website also includes a page for opinion pieces which, as the name suggests, are meant to convey the opinion of the author rather than factual reporting.
How Biased is Newsweek’s Opinionated News Section?
While Newsweek mainly focuses on news reporting, its website also features many opinion pieces by various writers of different political viewpoints. While these opinion pieces are certainly biased, that is the intention of these types of articles.
Newsweek does a good job of including opinion pieces from authors on both sides of the aisle, even featuring a debate of the week section on their opinions page which includes arguments on both sides of a particular debate, such as the death penalty. From immigration to the Russia-Ukraine war, Newsweek’s opinion section carries a variety of viewpoints only many political issues. This goes to show that while there might be bias overall in Newsweek’s reporting, the organization does a good job of including opposing viewpoints in its publication.
For example, the article “From Stanford to Israel, Mobocracy Triumphs Over Deliberation”, is fairly transparent in its conservative bias, and is placed on the same opinion page on the Newsweek website as an article titled “On Trans Day of Visibility, We Must Fight Anti-Trans Disinformation” which is similarly obvious in its liberal bias. While opinion news sections are bound to be especially biased, Newsweek circumvents this somewhat by including opinion pieces from both sides of the aisle.
Who owns Newsweek?
Chief Executive Officer Dev Pragad currently owns 50% of Newsweek while IBT Media CEO Johnathan Davis owns the other half. Pragad purchased his 50% share of the company in 2018 following criminal charges being brought against IBT Media and World Olivet Assembly/Olivet University, an evangelical organization with close ties to IBT Media. While Pragad has made attempts to distance himself and Newsweek from Olivet, legal battles are ongoing between the two groups and the future of Newsweek is certainly in question.
Newsweek’s journalists have maintained editorial independence and have covered this story in depth themselves. While the nature of the relationships between IBT Media, Newsweek, and the Olivet organizations might be concerning to many people, it seems the Newsweek’s journalists themselves have done a good job at distancing themselves from the situation as it mainly concerns management in the company. Regardless, the situation is worth knowing and more information can be found on Newsweek’s website here.
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.
Although Biasly’s analysis found Newsweek to be mostly Center at 6%, this can vary depending on the article. Given that other third-party bias research agencies rated Newsweek differently but altogether Moderate, you should always take a close look at individual articles rather than judging the news source as a whole. Biasly’s political leading score and other tools on Biasly.com can be essential tools for finding the bias of any particular article.