Is the Daily Beast Biased?

By · Sep 18, 2023 · 10 min read

Is the Daily Beast Biased?

The Daily Beast was founded in 2008 and the website is owned by IAC Inc. It is a tabloid publication that focuses on scandals and scoops that other news organizations may not cover.

According to a 2021 article by the Press Gazette, The Daily Beast saw 36.2 million visits in July 2021 and has continued to attract around 30 million visits a month. Between 2013 and 2018, The Daily Beast doubled its traffic to 1.1 million readers a day and had the highest engagement of any digital-first news site. They also won 17 awards for journalistic excellence under the leadership of John Avalon.

In this article, we will analyze the newspaper’s coverage and editorial decisions to determine if there is a discernible political bias in their reporting. Through our analysis, we hope to provide a comprehensive answer to whether the Daily Beast is biased and shed light on the factors that contribute to media bias in general.

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 the Daily Beast Politically Biased?

Biasly’s rating for the Daily Beast is based on two scores, one from its computer algorithms which are based on A.I., and one from its Analysts. Biasly rated the Daily Beast with a Computer bias score of Very Liberal and an Analyst bias score of Moderately Liberal, which means, overall, it provides political coverage from an American liberal political perspective. Analyst scores are based on an average of at least 15 articles with each being reviewed by one liberal, moderate, and conservative analyst. The more articles rated by Bialsy’s analyst team for a particular source indicates a more accurate analyst score. As Biasly rates more articles, the scores will become more accurate. Praise for liberal politicians and policies as well as dislike toward Republican policies and politicians contribute to this rating.  Biasly’s scores closely align with determinations by other third-party bias research agencies.

Biasly’s scores closely align with determinations by other third-party bias research agencies. MBFC also ranked the Daily Beast as Left Biased for being  “moderately to strongly biased toward liberal causes through story selection and/or political affiliation.” and “… may utilize strong loaded words (wording that attempts to influence an audience by using appeal to emotion or stereotypes), publish misleading reports, and omit information that may damage liberal causes.”

Readers may be able to easily identify these biases since the Daily Beast exhibits strong biases towards liberal policies and politicians. 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 the Daily Beast Online Articles

Media Polarization
Media Polarization, Pew Research Center

According to a study done by Pew Reserach Center in 2012 the merger between Newsweek and the Daily Beast in 2010 saw “ Its combined audience grew about 50% in 2012, according to Nielsen Netview data”. Newsweek and the Daily Beast were a combined company for 3 years with it’s merger ending in 2013. Although the Daily Beast operated independently before the merger it was combined with  a liberal leaning news organization which helped grow its audience over the course of those 3 years.

Source: C-Span

Most notably at the time of the merger in 2010, Newsweek was owned by Sidney Harman. In 1977 Harman served as the Under Secretary of the United States Department of Commerce under the leadership of Democratic President Jimmy Carter. Later on Harman was married to Jane Harman who was a former U.S. Representative for California’s 36th congressional district, serving from 1993 to 1999, and from 2001 to 2011 as a member of the Democratic Party. Although that merger ended and IAC sold Newsweek to International Business Times, it is important to note that both IAC and Newsweek were owned and operated by people involved in the Democratic Party.

Sidney Harman, Wiki Commons
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 will look at is “Vivek Ramaswamy Wants to Rewrite the Constitution”. Biasly has rated this article as -66% on the Bias Meter, or “Very Liberal.” Part of the reason for this rating is that it portrays Republican Presidential Candidate Vivek Ramaswamy very negatively and includes negative sentiments about Donald Trump.

Biasly’s Politician Portrayal rating for this article is 84% Negative towards these politicians which shows its preferences against Republican politicians. The article includes 7 negative sentiments 2 positive sentiments for Donald Trump. The article is written about Presidential Candidate Vivek Ramaswamy and his policy ideas in regards to the United States Constitution.

Throughout the article, the author, Rotimi Adeoye, uses a negative tone to discuss Ramaswamy. He repeatedly draws parallels between Ramaswamy and Trump and attempts to paint them both as destructive for America.  Here are a few examples of such:

  • “But Ramaswamy’s policy plans, like Trump’s, are insidious; Ramaswamy wants to completely dismantle the foundations our country was built on.”
  • “Republicans like Ramswamy want to sling a wrecking ball on the pillars of the government; they want to throw aside parts of the Constitution that have made our democracy stronger.”
  • “Ramaswamy has adeptly embraced the anti-democratic undercurrents of the Trump era, taking it a step further by advocating for a complete reimagining of post-Civil War constitutional provisions.”
  • “Ramaswamy doesn’t want to push the country forward; he wants to send the country back in time to the pre-Civil War era, where racial caste dominated.”

These are just some examples of the author’s negative tone and strong diction towards both Ramaswamy and Trump. Adeoye continually writes that both politicians are undermining America’s democracy and his tone pushes the narrative that voters should be concerned about these men. There are also negative sentiments towards Republicans in general, he writes:

“Regardless of his standing in the party nomination process or the possibility of the ideas he’s supported, it’s essential to acknowledge the radical ideology he’s pushing. This is because it indicates where a segment of the Republican party is heading.”

The author does very little to discuss why Ramaswamy is pushing for ending birthright citizenship for those parents that crossed the border illegally and why he wants to raise the voting age from 18 to 25. The author links to two other articles that discussed Ramaswamy’s proposed policies and those articles are also very liberal-leaning and critical of those policies.

We can also look at the headline and accompanying image to see that the author’s intention in this article is to frame Ramaswamy as detrimental to Americas democracy. The headline “Vivek Ramaswamy Wants to Rewrite the Constitution” is far-fetched and definitely can be viewed as clickbait since he would not be solely capable of changing the U.S. constitution since making changes to the Constitution requires approval by two-thirds of Congress, as well as three-fourths of state legislators. He has proposed amendments to the U.S. constitution like raising the voting age to 25 unless a person passes a citizenship test or serves in the military and ending birthright citizenship. Both amendment suggestions are his response to a lack of national pride in the United States and the migrant crisis at the Southern Border.

The Daily Beast
Source: The Daily Beast, “Vivek Ramaswamy Wants to Rewrite the Constitution”

The image that follows the headline features Ramaswamy’s face tearing through the United States Constitution, obscuring the words “We the People”. His face has also been edited to make his skincolor red, which could be interpreted as him being dangerous.

Ultimately the authors spin the story to support one perspective. All of this suggests that the article was found to be left-leaning overall, which aligns with our analysis of the Daily Beast consistently publishing liberal-leaning articles.

Analysis of the Daily Beast Opinion Articles

Before we answer this question, we need to distinguish between opinion and reporting. While reporting is intended to be neutral, giving the reader the facts and quotes from primary sources lets them form their own opinion. Opinion-based journalism provides journalists with a platform to convey their opinions and convictions. Normally it’s advisable to steer clear of excessive bias when crafting impartial news pieces but opinion articles are inherently subjective. Therefore they are often less reliable but are still a great resource because they can offer valuable insight into complex issues that can be viewed from different perspectives.

Consider the opinion article  “Here’s Why Ron DeSantis Was Booed After a Racist Mass Murder in Jacksonville” The title alone shows bias because it contains language suggestive of a negative opinion of DeSantis. The author opens the article by stating that DeSantis has previously not condemned hate crimes in Florida adequately. The author, Ameshia Cross, then draws a parallel between these events and the mass shooting that occurred in Jacksonville. The author writes:

“On Monday DeSantis attended the vigil for the three victims of the hate crime and was roundly booed and told “you’re not welcome here.” His anti-Black policies lend themselves to that treatment.”

The author then lists multiple Florida laws that have been implemented in recent years under Governor DeSantis’s leadership. The author then argues that these laws are inherently racist but is unable to provide any data or evidence that supports this strong negative diction. She goes on to write at the end of the article:

“Why wouldn’t racists support DeSantis? He’s normalized de facto and de jure racism in Florida policy, and expresses frightening indifference to the most odious racists among his base. Who could be surprised that, in 2023 Florida, a swastika-wearing mass murderer wouldn’t hunt Black people for sport?”

These articles, in addition to those above, are only a small representation of all of the Daily Beast’s content. The Daily Beast Opinion pieces tend to be liberal-leaning but some are neutral. They do prefer to publish Liberal and they do not post conservative-leaning opinions. We know that opinion pieces are riddled with bias, but the news organization itself could remove bias by posting opinion pieces from opposite sides of the political aisle.

Who Owns the Daily Beast?

The Daily Beast is owned by IAC Inc. which is an American-based holding company that, according to its website “… is home to dozens of popular online brands and services used by millions of consumers each day.” They also own People magazine, Better Homes & Gardens, Southern Living, Entertainment, All Recipes, Food & Wine, and other lifestyle and entertainment publications.

Chairman Barry Diller
IAC Inc. Chairman Barry Diller, Wiki Commons

IAC Inc. is currently run by Chairman Barry Diller who is most known for founding the Fox Broadcasting Company and USA Broadcasting. In 1994 he was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame and is considered an influential figure in Television and media. He is a registered Democrat with an estimated net worth of $4 billion and has been described as a close ally of the Clintons.

Another notable Democrat who is involved in IAC Inc. is Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of former Democratic President Bill Clinton. Chelsea Clinton is the Director of the company and has made over $9 million in stock since taking on this role.

Although the Daily Beast is not directly operated by Barry Diller and Chelsea Clinton, it is a striking fact and should be taken into account when looking at IAC Inc. and its holdings.

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 the Daily Beast a Very Liberal bias score, remember that bias varies by article, and the Daily Beast does not exclusively publish liberal thought pieces. The Daily Beast does sometimes post neutral articles, but they do not publish any right-leaning articles or opinion pieces. Also, various kinds of articles naturally show different levels of bias. Think about it like this: regular news pieces are usually less biased than opinion articles. And even though all articles have some bias, some are just better at sticking to the facts than others, which is why it’s so essential to use Biasly’s News Check to help you determine how biased what you read is.


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