The Washington Examiner is a weekly magazine and news website formerly known for tabloid-style coverage of local DC news and politics. Today, it publishes high-quality, substantive news coverage, especially around conservative talking points. This perspective, however, leads some to question how bias may impact their news coverage. So, just how reliable is news from the Washington Examiner

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 Washington Examiner

The Washington Examiner scored an average Factual Grade of 64.3%, placing it in the 56th percentile of our dataset. The site’s moderate scores can be explained by inconsistent practices across the metrics that The Factual analyzes. For example, while some article uphold strong practices for sourcing information, including numerous external links and directs quotes, others are poorly sourced. Likewise, authors from the site exhibit a varying level of expertise, suggesting the site publishes many articles from new authors or authors who have only published other low-scoring articles. However, the site receives high scores for using neutral language in much of its reporting (see below).

Like any news source, scores for articles from the Washington Examiner varied widely based on factors like author expertise and cited evidence. For example, some scored above 80%, while others scored below 50%.

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How Opinionated Is the Washington Examiner?

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 Washington Examiner had an average Writing Tone score of 0.79, placing it in the 96th percentile in our dataset for this metric, the tenth-highest score. This suggests the site consistently use neutral wording in its reporting. This can be seen through headlines such as “Sarah Palin trails in special election for Alaska House seat” and “Russia threatens to sabotage European nuclear power plants.”

What Is the Washington Examiner’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 Washington Examiner a “Right” bias. 

MBFC labels Washington Examiner as having a “Right” bias and a “Mixed” rating for factual reporting due to several failed fact-checks and the utilization of sensationalist words. Headlines, such as “Trump’s manic Monday amid the Kavanaugh storm,” implement loaded language. Some articles, such as “The Air Force wants taxpayers to fund a fantasy football league” and “U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar described America as a ‘rotten country’,” failed MBFC fact-checks. MBFC also provides other headlines to substantiate the claim that the Washington Examiner is “100% Right,” or at least anti-left; titles like “Obama, the Great Divider when in office, lacks the credibility to lecture America” exhibit clear bias. However, MBFC notes that the actual content of the articles is written with less bias and tends to cite credible sources.

AllSides rates the Washington Examiner as “Lean Right” based on community feedback, blind surveys, and independent research. In a blind survey of users across the political spectrum, 40.97% of AllSides readers confirmed the site’s “Lean Right” bias. AllSides staff originally classified the site as “Right,” but an extensive editorial review led to a less extreme classification. In the same editorial review, AllSides observed that though the Washington Examiner chooses stories/headlines with conservative talking points, their stories are not necessarily presented in a sensationalist or exaggerated manner. AllSides also noted that Washington Examiner does occasionally showcase Democratic or Left-leaning points of view. 

Who Owns the Washington Examiner

Though the Washington Examiner is funded through an advertising and subscription model, it is owned by the Clarity Media Group, a company of American billionaire Philip Anschutz. Anschutz has a net worth of over $10 billion, is #50 on Forbes’s Richest People in America, and describes himself as a conservative Christian. Anschutz also owns the right-leaning Weekly Standard and has donates millions of dollars to right-leaning causes, including anti-LGBT groups, such as the Family Research Council, which has been labeled a hate group.  

When Anschutz conceptualized the Washington Examiner, he wanted to make a conservative parallel to the Washington Post. Politico relayed information from one former employee: “When it came to the editorial page, Anschutz . . . ‘wanted nothing but conservative columns and conservative op-ed writers.’” In March 2020, the Daily Beast reported that the site’s head editor had directed staff not to publish content that framed Fox News, a popular conservative outlet, in a negative light.

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Why Does It Matter? 

News articles 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, 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 day’s most factual news stories delivered to your inbox every morning, subscribe to our daily newsletter.

Article updated on September 22, 2022 to reflect new data.

Published by Vinay Umapathy

Vinay is a writer, director, and producer based in Brooklyn, NY. He currently works with teams as a digital media specialist and copyeditor, in addition to making short films with his friends.