Ars Technica — meaning “art of technology” — is the fitting name of a publication aimed at technology enthusiasts. A leading source for technology news, including technology policy, product launches, and the latest hardware and software, Ars Technica caters to a core readership, which they define as “Readers [who] have come to demand devotedness to accuracy and integrity, flanked by a willingness to leave each day’s meaningless, click-bait fodder by the wayside.” Given Ars Technica’s dedication to “accuracy and integrity,” The Factual asks: how factual are its articles and how biased is its content?

How Factual is Ars Technica?

The Factual’s news rating algorithm analyzes more than 10,000 articles a day along four metrics: author expertise, publication history, writing tone, and cited sources and quotes. (See our How It Works page to learn more.) For this study, we analyzed 1,000 articles each from 245 major news sources.

Over a dataset of 1,000 articles, Ars Technica scored an average Factual Grade of 72.59%. This is well above the average of 61.9% for all 240 news sources that we analyzed. It is also enough to place the site in the 92nd percentile of our dataset.

These high scores are partially explained by the site’s dedication to accuracy and extensive research, reflected through the extensive sourcing of information. Likewise, the site employs dedicated, experienced journalists to cover specific beats, leading to higher overall author expertise scores. 

Like any news source, scores for articles from Ars Technica varied widely. For example, some scored above 90%, while others scored below 60%.

Are you tired of vetting the news just to get the facts?
Get the best news in your inbox every morning. Determined by data, not politics.
Thank you!

Please check your email for instructions to ensure that the newsletter arrives in your inbox tomorrow.

Oops! Something went wrong.

How Opinionated is Ars Technica?

As part of each Factual Grade, The Factual measures how opinionated an article is using a sophisticated natural language processing algorithm, producing a score we call the Writing Tone. For this metric, the algorithm looks for signs of subjective commentary (e.g., first person pronouns, unnecessary adverbs), as well as the emotional nature of selected words, and sees how prevalent they are for a given length of text. Text which is less opinionated gets higher ratings, with “0” being the most opinionated and “1” being the most neutral.

Ars Technica had an average score of 0.63, placing it in the 56th percentile in our dataset. Overall, this suggests that articles from Ars Technica tend to lean toward a neutral writing tone. The average rating among all publications was 0.56, so Ars Technica’s score was slightly above average. 

What is Ars Technica’s Political Bias?  

The Factual classifies news sites by political bias as either Left, Moderate Left, Center, Moderate Right, or Right. The Factual derives this classification from third-party assessments from media bias organizations such as Media Bias/Fact Check (MBFC). Based on this data, The Factual assigns Ars Technica a Center political bias. 

MBFC ranks Ars Technica as “Least Biased,” their term for the center of the political spectrum. This score is due to minimal bias in story selection and limited use of loaded words in reporting. Moreover, MBFC notes that Ars Technica sticks to a topic area and has never failed a fact check.

Sensational headlines occasionally impact Ars Technica's otherwise unbiased rating. Such headlines include “Turkey crosses ‘red line,’ getting booted from F-35 partnership” and “NASA has 10 new astronauts, and they could not have joined at a better time.” 

Brietbart has accused Ars Technica of having a liberal bias, but MBFC’s review could find no evidence of an overt left or right political bias. 

Who Owns Ars Technica?

Acquired in 2008 by Advance, the parent company of Condé Nast, Ars Technica has offices in Boston, New York, Chicago, and San Francisco. Today, Ars Technica operates as Condé Nast’s only 100% digitally native editorial publication. 

Condé Nast owns a number of other publications, including the New Yorker, Wired, Vogue, and Vanity Fair, all of which The Factual scores as having a Left or Moderate Left bias. However, there is no evidence that Condé Nast’s ownership influences the journalistic output of these publications or Ars Technica.

Want to spend less time searching for the best news stories?
Get the best news in your inbox every morning. Determined by data, not politics.
Thank you!

Please check your email for instructions to ensure that the newsletter arrives in your inbox tomorrow.

Oops! Something went wrong.

Why Does it Matter?

News articles are bound to have 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, from cited evidence, to author expertise, to the 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 day’s most factual news stories delivered to your inbox every morning, subscribe to our daily newsletter.

Published by Kathryn Kelly

Kathryn is passionate about effective communication and storytelling. A lifelong learner, she graduated from USC in 2017, having studied creative writing and international relations. She joined the Teach for America Hawaii cohort while simultaneously obtaining her Master of Science in Education degree from Johns Hopkins University. On her free time, she enjoys taking art and yoga classes, eating hot pot, and surfing.