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 Factual Is the Washington Examiner

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, the Washington Examiner scored an average Factual Grade of 70.2%. This grade is significantly above the average of 61.9% for all 245 news sources that we analyzed. This represents a very high score, placing the Washington Examiner in the 85th percentile of our dataset. 

The Washington Examiner’s is one of the most factual conservative-leaning publications in our dataset. This high-quality news is attributed to authors with significant expertise and the inclusion of extensive evidence in many articles. Additionally, the site largely avoids sensationalized or misleading content.

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?

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.

The Washington Examiner had an average Writing Tone score of 0.72, placing it in the 80th percentile in our dataset. This suggests the site consistently uses neutral wording in its reporting. This score is also significantly above the average (0.56) for all 245 sources that we analyzed. 

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 “Moderate 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.

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.