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Is the Washington Free Beacon Biased?

By · Oct 3, 2023 · 7 min read

Is the Washington Free Beacon Biased?

The Washington Free Beacon is an online news media publication, founded in 2012 by the Center for American Freedom. Since its inception, the Washington Free Beacon has since become a journalistic staple in the realm of conservative news media. Between 2012 and the present day, the Washington Free Beacon has broken a number of conservative-interest stories.

Unlike more decidedly moderate publications, the question of whether or not the Washington Free Beacon is a biased publication remains relatively straightforward.

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 Washington Free Beacon is biased and shed light on the factors contributing 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. a 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 Washington Free Beacon Politically Biased?

Due to the highly conservative nature of its reporting, the Washington Free Beacon is no stranger to facing scrutiny on the topic of political biases. However, Free Beacon embraces its stance as a more fringe publication than some of its journalistic counterparts. This is embodied by their slogan that reads, “The Washington Free Beacon: Covering the Enemies of Freedom the Way the Mainstream Media Won’t.”

Biasly’s A.I. Bias Score for the Washington Free Beacon sits at +68% “Very Conservative” in its political orientation. The publication’s policy-leaning score also aligns with this rating, indicating that it provides political coverage from an American conservative political perspective. This is evident through its praise for conservative politicians and policies, as well as its critique of liberal positions.

Just like with any news organization, bias can manifest differently in various articles and authors. Biasly’s scores for the Washington Free Beacon are reflective of the publication’s overall political leaning, but individual articles may exhibit varying degrees of bias depending on the topic and author.

Analyzing Bias in Washington Free Beacon Articles

When determining bias, Biasly examines common metrics, including Tone, Tendency, Diction, Expediency, and Author, which are crucial in understanding the publication’s perspective. Tone refers to the overall attitude of the writing, while Diction focuses on the author’s word choices. The Author metric considers the writer’s demonstrated stance on issues through past articles and social media posts.

One article we’ll analyze is titled “Massachusetts Governor Calls In National Guard Amid Growing Blue State Freakout Over Migrants.” Biasly rates this article as +24% on the Bias Meter, indicating a “Somewhat Conservative” perspective. The article is authored by Free Beacon journalist Robert Schmad, who allows a conservative tone to bleed out into the contents of the article. The title itself suggests a favorable stance towards conservative policies and their impact on the economy, namely in the dictive choice within the title that reads “Blue State Freakout”. This highly opinionated first impression is a facet of the article’s expediency bias, which are the first observable biases that we are provided with through the header, summary, and headlining photograph.

The article’s tone is consistently supportive of conservative policies, stating:

“Residents of blue cities and states appear fed up with the inability of their leaders to handle the inflow of immigrants. “

While the language used is not overtly extreme, it clearly presents a favorable view of conservative policy approaches and a disfavorable attitude towards the agenda of the Democratic Party. The notion that “blue cities” are “fed up” with the shortcomings of the immigration policies implemented by Democrats holding local office implies both disfavor upon the Democratic leadership, as well as an implied pity on the part of the residents –as though the cities’ residents are needlessly suffering at the hands of the Democratic Regime. The tone from this excerpt alone conveys a distaste for Democrat-run cities, as well as a tone of injustice on behalf of the Americans who reside in said “blue cities”.

The diction of the article further supports the conservative perspective, using negative language when discussing the perceived failures of the Massachusetts democratic regime, and their subsequent reluctance in relying on conservative immigration policies. For example, in reference to the state of immigration in New Jesey, the author details how New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy (D) “abandoned” his pro-immigration stance. The author’s use of “abandoned” in this context is a deliberate choice in diction that implies a desertion of personal values by Democrats, as “abandoned” holds a negative connotation as opposed to a more neutral choice of diction –such as “withdrew” or “discontinued”.

Regarding Schmad, the author, the article does not explicitly mention the writer’s political affiliations or past biases, making it difficult to ascertain their specific leanings. However, the content of the article aligns with the Washington Free Beacon’s overall conservative orientation. In the same vein as the article, Schmad’s twitter is awash with expletives describing the nature of Democratic America, as well as retweets of Niki Haley, Donald Trump, and the Washington Free Beacon’s posts –all in some way supporting the right-wing platform.

It’s essential to recognize that opinion pieces may inherently carry more bias compared to straight news reporting. While the Washington Free Beacon may publish some news articles with less bias, it is known for producing opinion pieces that lean towards conservative viewpoints.

Uncovering Bias in Opinion Articles

Opinion articles from the Washington Free Beacon often reflect a conservative slant, with titles and language suggestive of a right-leaning perspective. For instance, an opinion article titled “Biden Spox Says She Wakes at 4:30 A.M., Preps All Day for (Largely Worthless) Press Briefings” indicates a pro-conservative bias right from the title –deliberately stating that press briefings given by White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre are “largely worthless.” This sets up a pretty aggressive conservative bias and negative tone off of simply the title, implying that the work of the Biden Administration and those within it are pointless and unimportant.

The contents of the article itself focuses on the daily routine of Ms. Jean-Pierre, namely how she starts her morning at 4:30 A.M., and the absurdity this creates when juxtaposed with her arguably ineffective job performance. The author, Thaleigha Rampersad, produces a sarcastic quote on the ludicrous news of Jean-Pierre’s early mornings:

“This was shocking news to anyone who has ever watched Jean-Pierre bumble her way through a White House press briefing.”

This quote invokes a highly sarcastic tone, stating that it is “shocking news” Ms. Jean-Pierre rises at 4:30 A.M., in relation to Jean-Pierre’s inadequacies and tendency to “bumble her way through a White House press briefing.” The irony created being that it is preposterous for one to wake up so early, a hallmark of productivity, yet still be so ill-prepared for one’s daily tasks. This sarcasm and mockery produces a conservative bias that bleeds from title to conclusion.

It’s important to distinguish between reporting and opinions when evaluating bias. While reporting aims to be neutral and present facts without favoring any particular side, opinions offer columnists a platform to express their personal views and biases on a given subject.

The Washington Free Beacon’s opinion pieces frequently include diction that supports conservative positions, using terms that resonate with a conservative audience and convey a particular ideological standpoint. Such articles are more likely to appeal to readers who share similar conservative views and may not seek objective reporting.

Who Owns the Washington Free Beacon?

The Washington Free Beacon is a privately owned, for-profit publication. The website is largely backed by the monetary contributions of Paul Singer, a well-known American hedge-fund manager, billionaire, and most importantly, conservative advocate.

Paul Singer
Pictured: Paul Singer, Courtesy of Steve Marcus/Reuters

The sitting chairman of Free Beacon is Michael Goldfarb, a conservative political journalist and well-connected figure in the realm of politics. Neither Singer nor Goldfarb shy away from the right-wing leanings of the publication. While having only been in operation for 11 years, the Washington Free Beacon has already made a name for itself as a pillar of conservative journalism.

Michael Goldfarb
Pictured: Michael Goldfarb, Courtesy of Michael Goldfarb

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.

The Washington Free Beacon is widely recognized as a conservative news outlet, and its reporting and opinion pieces tend to align with popularly held conservative perspectives. Biasly’s A.I. Bias Score and policy leaning score both indicate a strong conservative bias in the publication. However, as with any news organization, individual articles and authors can vary in their bias levels. When reading news from the Free Beacon or any other outlet, it’s essential to be aware of bias indicators such as the tone of the text or the connotations of the language used, and to seek a diversity of perspectives to ensure a well-rounded understanding of the issues at hand. Using tools like Biasly’s News Check can aid in identifying and comparing bias across different news sources, helping readers become more informed consumers of news media.

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