The Daily Beast was founded in 2008 and has been described as a “high-end tabloid” by its former editor-in-chief, Noah Schachtman. The Daily Beast focuses on scandals and scoops and prefers to cover stories that the mainstream media may ignore. According to the Daily Beast’s Code of Ethics, they state that “… our goal is to tell the truth. To that end, journalists must strive to hold themselves to high ethical standards: aiming for honesty, fairness, and accuracy while avoiding conflicts of interest.”
At Biasly, we endeavor to evaluate the accuracy and dependability of all media outlets. Let us further investigate the reliability and accuracy of the Daily Beast.
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 anyway?
There are several potential measures of reliability to look out for when trying to determine whether a media source is reliable. 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 the Daily Beast Fare in its Reliability?
The political bias index developed by Biasly objectively assesses news organizations’ dependability. Biasly’s reliability rating for The Daily Beast has an Analyst rating of 77% reliability on our meter, which suggests readers can trust most of the Daily Beast content online, and a Computer reliability rating is 60%, which indicates a Fair rating, or Grade C, on its source and quotes quality. However, they have published false claims and misinformation in the past.
Let’s examine the data that backs these rankings and delve into what to look for when seeking reliable sources of news.
The Daily Beast’s Accuracy and Reliability
The credibility of news organizations is significantly impacted by bias and political orientation. The Daily Beast prioritizes clickbait headlines and gossip to entice people to read their articles. We will assess the credibility of the Daily Beast’s news articles and determine the extent to which the publication supports claims with evidence. We will check for selection and omission bias as we asses the articles’ correctness and factuality.
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 Daily Beast news stories. As we previously stated, according to the articles analytics have assessed, the Daily Beast is generally 77% reliable. This score can vary from article to article, though, and the most extreme variations in dependability are caused by bias, notably omission, and selection bias.
Let’s compare The New York Post which has a very conservative bias at 68% and has a reliability score of 48% according to Biasly A.I. rating. For example, they had one article that was 73% reliable titled “Texas bill would give $300M in unused COVID funds to farmers for migrant damages” and another article called, ““Pentagon scrambles to implement new vaccination and testing mandates”,” that is 100% reliable. This shows that although the articles are published by the same news organization, the accuracy of the stories can vary by article.
For instance, the Daily Beast article titled, “Eastman Dares Critics to Find Damaging Emails. They’re Already Public.” is rated by Biasly at -34% “Moderately Liberal”. Concerning the selection and omission bias, the author William Vaillancourt uses Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle” interview with John Eastman as his main source of quotes. The Daily Beast article directly links to a Video clip of the Fox News interview with Eastman and uses that to derive some of their quotes for the article.
The author also quotes an email that Eastman had sent back in January of 2020 and the author links a Washington Post article as the source of those emails. Below is one email that the author quotes as proof that “Eastman persisted in trying to get Vice President Mike Pence to not certify the electoral votes, begging his counsel to break the law.”
“So now that the precedent has been set that the Electoral Count Act is not quite so sacrosanct as was previously claimed, I implore you to consider one more relatively minor violation and adjourn for 10 days to allow the legislatures to finish their investigations, as well as to allow a full forensic audit of the massive amount of illegal activity that has occurred here,”
It is important to note that the email Vaillancourt quotes is only a small section of one email. The Washington Post article includes multiple emails that were sent between Trump’s lawyer John Eastman, and Vice President Mike Pence’s chief counsel, Greg Jacob. This is the only email that the author includes as key evidence of Eastman violating laws and attempting to overturn the 2020 election.
Other sources include previously published Daily Beast articles that are also critical of Eastman and Donald Trump. The author focuses heavily on sources and quotes that are negative and liberal-leaning. The quotes are accurate, although some are partial quotes leaving out context, and the interpretations of such may be questionable to say the least. The author could have considered more reputable sources besides the Washington Post, Fox News, and The Daily Beast. Biasly gives this article a Reliability rating of 60% “Grade C” due to the article having a low number of Opposite Sources with different viewpoints. The author also used a low number of different sources.
We will take a closer look at more examples like this below, providing a further investigation into the reliability of the Daily Beast’s articles. This will include its use of selection bias, omission bias, and the quality of its sources and facts used.
Analysis of Reliability in the Daily Beasts Opinion Pieces
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.
The Daily Beast Opinion pieces tend to be liberal-leaning but some are neutral. Although they do seem to post a balanced amount of Liberal and Neutral opinion pieces, 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. Many of the opinion pieces are not just liberal but very liberal and because these articles rely on quotes from other liberal sources, they can not be viewed as reliable.
Quality of Sources and Facts Used
The Daily Beast is not the best at using reliable sources from both sides of the ideological divide and citing facts as evidence when it is a political story. If the story is about a national emergency or an event, then the Daily Beast does a better job of sticking to the facts.
For instance, think about, “Nikki Haley Is Starting to Look Like a Real Threat to Trump” In this article from Matt Lewis, he used 11 quotes. Many of these quotes were from polls that had been conducted after the debate, as well as quotes from Nikki Haley during the first GOP Primary Debate.
In addition to that, the author’s 6 sources for the article were as follows:
- Nikki Haley, former Governor of South Carolina and former U.N. Ambassador for the United States.
- A poll conducted before and after the first GOP Primary debate by The Washington Post, FiveThirtyEight, and Ipsos
- An Emerson College Polling survey was conducted after the first GOP Primary debate.
- Mike Pence, former Vice President of the United States.
- The Daily Beast Opinion Piece, “Nikki Haley Is the Latest ‘Adult in the Room’ to Exit With Pie on Her Face”
- The Washington Examiner, “Nikki Haley’s chameleon candidacy”
Overall, the quality of the sources is good and includes both direct quotes from the GOP debate as well as statistics from two separate polls conducted around the time the debate occurred. The author relies heavily on other Daily Beast articles as well as The Washington Post, The Washington Examiner, and 19th News. These sources are diverse and offer opposing viewpoints, so the author is not relying solely on liberal or conservative sources. The evidence points to the author being somewhat fair in his article even though it is an opinion piece. Biasly’s rating system gives this article a “Grade B” at 80% reliable. Biasly’s Reliability Score provides a rating of the quality of sources and quotes used in the article including their uniqueness and diversity. Biasly reached its “Grade B” rating by analyzing the sources used in the article. This article received an Excellent rating for using a very high number of different sources and for a very high number of total sources. It also received a fair rating for the number of opposite sources used and quote length.
It is Moderately Liberal in its bias rating given the fact that the article includes some negative sentiments towards Nikki Haley and Donald Trump.
Selection and Omission Bias
In another example from The Daily Beast, we see an author who relies heavily on one source for their article. The article, “CNN Host Forces Vivek Ramaswamy to Admit Comparing Ayanna Pressley to KKK Grand Wizard Was ‘Fringe’” by Corbin Bolies is a story that only uses a very limited number of sources. The author relies on a CNN State of the Union segment that featured CNN journalist Dana Bash and Republican candidate for President Vivek Ramaswamy. In the CNN segment Bash is questioning Ramaswamy’s comments where he compares Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) to a Ku Klux Klan grand wizard.
- “…He said her words were ‘the words of the modern grand wizards of the modern KKK.’”
- “The Grand Wizard of the KKK would be proud of what they would hear her say because there’s nothing more racist than saying that your skin color predicts something about the content and your viewpoints to support your ideas,” he said.”
The Daily Beast article does include a quote from Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) that caused Ramaswamy to make his comparison. She stated back in 2019 that they “don’t need any more brown faces that don’t want to be a brown voice.” This is the only quote by Rep. Pressley that the Daily Beast article includes but portrays the Daily Beast’s attitudes toward Vivek Ramaswamy. However, it does quote a fundraising email sent out by her team that comments on what Ramaswamy said about her.
“A GOP candidate referred to Ayanna as ‘a modern grand wizard of the KKK’ because she speaks out against racial injustice,” … “This is backward and harmful, but that is the point.”
This negative tone is present throughout the article as the author fails to mention that Rep. Pressley received backlash for the comments she made in 2019. Although her comments were not originally viewed as racist, she was accused of targeting black congressional leaders.
“…seemingly taking a stab at the Congressional Black Caucus, which is allied with Pelosi. ‘We don’t need any more black faces that don’t want to be a black voice.’
Pressley denied she was targeting those black leaders. Her spokeswoman, Lina Francis, said afterward that Pressley was trying to make the point that ‘diversity at the table doesn’t matter if there’s not real diversity in policy.’”
The author focuses solely on the CNN State of the Union segment which has a very negative tone against Ramaswamy. The use of Dana Bash’s rhetoric during the interview on the show exhibits the author’s lack of care for reliable and unbiased sources. Dana Bash repeatedly attempts to paint Ramaswamy as someone who is deaf to the atrocities that the KKK committed against African Americans.
“How on earth is she a modern grand wizard of that kind of an organization? … the KKK ‘lynched people, they raped people, they murdered people, they burned their homes.’”
The author does not include any other sources concerning the KKK, leaving the reader with only Dana Bash’s quotes to conclude Ramaswamy’s comments. The GOP presidential candidate does attempt to explain his controversial statement to viewers but is repeatedly shut down by Bash who only focuses on the more extreme physical violence that the KKK exhibited from the 1860’s – 1970’s.
The articles we’ve covered so far are mostly biased and exclude adequate relevant background and information that may contradict the author’s position. They also prevent many claims with little to no evidence with extremely strong diction supporting left-leaning ideologies. As a news organization with a mostly liberal slant, the Daily Beast is incentivized to continue appealing to liberal viewpoints to maintain the interests of its sizable left-wing readership. Now, that we have gone through some indications of trustworthiness, you can feel more confident in keeping yourself informed with the most accurate news.
So Is the Daily Beast Reliable?
Finally, it can be argued that the Daily Beast is a semi-reliable news source with a less-than-stellar reputation for journalistic integrity given its focus on fringe stories and gossip which have led to lawsuits. The degree of truth in its publications fluctuates a lot and could be blamed on its focus on clickbait headlines to attract its readers. You should expect misinformation and bad sources when reading celebrity news and other gossipy stories but political and other serious news should not be handled the same way.
Readers have to be diligent in vetting their news sources. It is important to cross-check articles from different news organizations and to pay attention to the sources and quotes used in articles. The more you practice these methods, the easier it will be to spot unreliable articles. For additional resources and tips, you can use Biasly’s News Bias Checker to uncover reliability problems and assist you in finding the most accurate and dependable news.