The Daily Caller is an online news source and self-identifies as a leaning-right source. Does this give them incentive to provide Americans with unreliable news favoring one side of the political spectrum?
By evaluating different aspects of reliability and dependability of all media outlets, Biasly looks to provide its readers with the most truthful and accurate information. In turn, this article investigates the accuracy of The Daily Caller and its news materials.
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 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
Consider the graphs below from the Pew Research Center, which deem that half of Americans are confident in their media. In addition, 40% of Americans believe the public has too much confidence in the news media.
Source: Pew Research Center
So How Does The Daily Caller Fare in its Reliability?
The political bias index developed by Biasly looks to assess the dependability and credibility of news organizations. Biasly’s reliability rating for The Daily Caller has an Analyst rating of 83% reliable, suggesting that readers can trust most of The Daily Caller’s content and a Computer reliability rating of 63% reliable, indicating a Grade C or Fair rating, on the quality of its quotes and sources. Since this is an average, this means that some articles can be more or less trustworthy than others.
Our findings are in line with third-party raters showing mixed and medium credibility because of their numerous failed fact-checks. By analyzing the supporting data for these ratings, we will discuss indicators of trustworthy news sources and determine whether or not The Daily Caller is one.
The Daily Caller Accuracy and Reliability
The credibility and reliability of news outlets are highly impacted by their bias and political orientation. In the media bias article for The Daily Caller, we discovered that The Daily Caller self-identifies to lean right to combat the majority of American news, which they say leans left. So, by evaluating the content of The Daily Caller’s articles, we will be able to see if they embody the integrity that a news organization should have. Additionally, we will scan for selection and omission bias to identify the article’s 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 for accuracy, with one being the least accurate and 100 being the most. These ratings are calculated by weighing claims with supporting evidence as well as the number of reliable internal and external sources used. A full page of reliability ratings for newly released The Daily Caller articles can be found here. Recall that Biasly’s analysts gave The Daily Caller a score of 83% reliable– will this vary from article to article, the most extreme variations and disparities in reliability come from omission and selection bias. Consider also ABC News, which is a liberal-leaning source and 78% reliable according to Biasly. They had one article titled “House passes anti-Asian hate crimes bill, legislation awaits Biden’s signature” and was rated 85% reliable and another contrasting article titled “Biden calls new GOP-passed Georgia law restricting voting access an ‘atrocity’” rated 42% reliable. This shows the variance in reliability between news sources as well as the idea that political articles that display a leaning one way or another are less reliable than neutral ones.
For example, The Daily Caller’s article titled “‘Our Goal Is To Implement Solutions’: Psaki Says The Whitehouse’s Goal Is To ‘Not Be Caught Up In Semantics’ About The Border Crisis’” is rated at 17% Conservative but is fairly close to the center. Concerning selection and omission bias, author Jordan Lancaster does not use any further sources or statements from anyone but White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki and her interview with New York Magazine:
“Daily Caller Senior White House Correspondent Shelby Talcott asked Psaki about a recent New York Magazine article about how the White House wants the public to view President Joe Biden as a moderate, when in fact he is governing more liberal.”
The article portrays a conservative stance due to portraying Biden doing a poor job with immigration and questioning the Biden administration for being moderate when the author wants to paint them as having the most liberal agenda. In response, Psaki states “Our goal is to implement solutions… not be caught up in semantics.” On the topic of the border situation, Psaki refers to the reduction in the number of children being detained and the number of hours they have spent in border patrol facilities.
We will take a look at more examples like this below and provide a further look into the reliability of The Daily Caller’s articles. This will include the use of selection and omission bias as well as the quality of sources and facts used.
Analysis of Reliability in The Daily Caller Opinion Pieces
Opinion-style journalism allows reporters to express personal opinions and beliefs, even though opinion is something that should be avoided in a general news article. In turn, opinion pieces are less trustworthy because they are subjective, but people enjoy reading them to broaden their scope of political viewpoints.
The reason for The Daily Caller’s mixed credibility is a result of several failed fact checks. For example, articles with dramatic and heavily loaded titles such as “Biden Administration to Fund Crack Pipes, Heroin” or “Hunter Biden Said He Paid Nearly $50,000 A Month To Live At House When Classified Docs Were Discovered, Document Shows.” These two examples have both failed fact checks and demonstrate The Daily Caller’s incentive to cater to their right-wing audience.
Quality of Sources and Facts Used
As far as opinion articles go, The Daily Caller doesn’t use too many external sources and typically relies on internal ones or entirely the opinion of the author. For example, “STEPHEN MOORE: Biden Is Waging An Absurd War Against This Abundant Clean Energy” features only one quote from Harold Hamm of Continental Resources’ “Game Changer” which follows:
“US natural gas prices have fallen by more than half while the rest of the world has seen their prices double or triple.”
Additionally, the following claims are made without any additional evidence or sources:
“The main reason is radical environmentalists want to end all natural gas and oil production, and force utilities and consumers to get our power and transportation fuels from unreliable and expensive wind and solar power.”
“Biden’s strategy appears to put Americans last. This explains why gas prices are back up to 4$ a gallon.”
As a result, the credibility of this article is diminished because there is a lack of concrete proof and evidence. Author Stephen Moore, who served as economic advisor to Donald Trump, clearly has an incentive to write poorly of the Biden administration, as he worked for his primary competitor. In turn, this example shows the limited quality of sources and facts used.
A second article “JOHN PHELAN: This State Is Reaping The Results Of Its Failed Leftist Policies” does use a plethora more sources, which we will look at below. There are seven quotes (all being short/medium length) and five sources used, including the following:
- Minnesota House of Representatives
- Center for the American Experiment (of which author John Phelan is their Economist)
- The Daily Beast
- The New Republic
Third-party sources rate the Center for the American Experiment to have a right bias, which is where a majority of the sources’ information and arguments come from. For example:
“To pay for all of this, the DFL raised a range of taxes, including sales and gas tax, imposed new ones, such as on home deliveries and newly legalized marijuana, and hiked a range of fees for things like cars and boats.”
Similarly, there is a lack of left sources and a heavy presence of right sources that criticize the Biden administration.
Selection and Omission Bias
Continuing the previous article, “JOHN PHELAN: This State Is Reaping The Results Of Its Failed Leftist Policies” focuses on tearing down the left side politics in its opening statement:
“If you want to know what the Left would do to America, pay attention to what it is doing to Minnesota.”
Beyond using extreme language to disparage Liberals, the author has omission bias by using right-leaning materials, including the Center of American Experiment where he works, which again is a right source. The only presence of a left source is the concluding statement of the article, referencing The New Republic:
“The New Republic argues that Minnesota shows ‘What Democrats Can Accomplish When They Control a Whole State.’ Sadly, we would not disagree. Pay attention.”
In turn, selection bias is present because the author selects only stories and facts that paint the Biden administration (in this case Minnesota’s left side) in a negative way. By bringing up only the negative including higher sales taxes, greater government spending, and the flight of Minnesota’s residents to other parts of the United States, Minnesota as a state is painted to be poorly managed which is done on ideological grounds because they are a very progressive state.
In conclusion, opinion pieces often have issues with factuality and sources and bias is frequently present. The articles we’ve covered so far are mostly biased and do not have enough relevant background information in the article to be completely accurate. As a news organization that leans right, The Daily Caller does have an incentive to cater to its right-leaning audience, which can explain the limited use of sources and facts as the author just wants to persuade and push their opinion without using significant resources and facts.
So Is the Daily Caller Reliable?
All in all, it can be argued that The Daily Caller does produce semi-reliable content, but it is important to fact-check and go over each article on a per-article basis to ensure what you are reading is true and be able to identify biases present. Beyond this, the more you research media reliability and accuracy, the easier it will be for you to identify the most credible news sources with limited presence of selection and omission bias and good quality of sources and facts used. Biasly’s News Checker is a super reliable tool for this to help you find the most dependable and accurate news.