The Daily Mirror is a tabloid-style, UK-based publication often seen as a left-leaning counterweight to the Daily Mail. In the 1960s, the paper’s daily sales exceeded 5 million copies, making it a staple of the UK news environment. Today, it is maligned for sensational reporting and questionable journalistic practices. The Factual asks: how reliable is the Daily Mirror and how biased is its content?

How Does The Factual Rate News Sources? 

The Factual analyzes more than 10,000 news stories every day to help readers find the most informative, least-biased articles. Our news-rating algorithm scores each article along four metrics: (1) cited sources and quotes, (2) publication history, (3) writing tone, and (4) author expertise. These scores combine in a weighted average we call a Factual Grade, which ranges from 0–100%. (See our How It Works page to learn more about our algorithm.)

For this study, we analyzed ~1,000 articles each from 240 news sources. The average Factual Grade for the entire dataset was 62.5%. Based on these averages, we can compare the performance of news sites across the media ecosystem. The entire dataset can be explored in greater detail here.

How Factual Is the Daily Mirror? 

The Daily Mirror scored an average Factual Grade of 49.8%, placing it in the 9th percentile of our dataset. This score puts the Daily Mirror among the lowest 25 sites that we analyzed.

This low overall performance is driven by low scores across all metrics measured by The Factual. The site exhibits a low quality of cited evidence for its news stories: many articles lack any links to external sources or only link to other Daily Mirror content. Likewise, the site employs a wide range of authors who score poorly for topical expertise, meaning authors rarely cover the same topics consistently or only publish low-scoring articles. Finally, highly biased language is evident throughout the news stories we analyzed, dragging the scores down further.

Like any news source, scores for articles from the Daily Mirror vary widely based on these factors. For example, some scored above 60%, while many others scored below 40%.

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How Opinionated Is the Daily Mirror?

One of the metrics The Factual uses is the Writing Tone, which measures how opinionated the writing is in an article. For this metric, the algorithm looks for signs of subjective commentary (e.g., first person pronouns and unnecessary adverbs), as well as the emotional nature of selected words, and sees how prevalent they are for a given length of text. More neutral text receives higher ratings, with “0” being the most opinionated and “1” being the most neutral.

The Daily Mirror had an average Writing Tone score of 0.50, placing it in the 31st percentile in our dataset. This suggests that articles from the site often exhibit heavily opinionated language. This is typical of the paper’s tabloid style that features emotionally laden language, including in headlines such as “Bizarre ‘alien creature’ with long tail and ‘reptilian’ skull washes up on beach” and “President Joe Biden mocked for ‘Anchorman’ teleprompter blunder during speech.”

What Is the Daily Mirror’s Political Bias?

The Factual classifies news sites by political bias as either Left, Moderate Left, Center, Moderate Right, or Right. This classification comes from third-party assessments from media bias organizations such as AllSides and Media Bias/Fact Check (MBFC). Based on this data, The Factual assigns the Daily Mirror a Moderate Left bias. (In this instance, our classification is derived from MBFC alone, as AllSides has not rated the site.)

MBFC rates the Daily Mirror as “Left-Center” due to “​​story selection that moderately favors the Left.” They support this rating by highlighting the paper’s tendency to publish left-leaning articles (“The Brexit Zombies are going to eat this country alive”) and due to their endorsement of the Labour party in past elections. MBFC also warns that the Daily Mirror scores poorly for factual reporting, noting at least 9 failed fact-checks in recent memory. They warn of articles that are poorly sourced, ridden with emotionally laden language, or that offer “oversimplified content.”

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Who Owns the Daily Mirror?

The Daily Mirror is owned by major London-based publisher Reach plc (formerly known as Trinity Mirror), which owns  a total of 212 publications and websites, including the Daily Express and Daily Star. Marketing website and media platform The Drum noted in 2018 that Reach plc was actually the UK’s publisher with the most reach — 45.4 million people per month. The Daily Mirror is funded through advertising and subscriptions.

Why Does It Matter?

News articles always have some bias because all authors have some frame of reference within which they describe a story. Political bias ratings are helpful in understanding this framing.

However, it can be more beneficial to know how factual an article is based on quantifiable metrics that can be seen across the media ecosystem, such as cited evidence, author expertise, and writing tone. This is what The Factual ascertains. Reading several, highly rated articles from across the political spectrum helps counter the bias of any news source or story. To have the most factual news stories delivered to your inbox every morning, subscribe to our daily newsletter.

Published by Phillip Meylan

Phillip is a writer, researcher, and editor. At The Factual, he leads research efforts that utilize the company's ever growing data on the media ecosystem. He is also a contributor to FP Analytics, Foreign Policy's research and advisory division, and an adjunct fellow with the Center for Strategic and International Studies.