From climate change to abortion to immigration to foreign policy, news articles can frequently move between objective and subjective analysis issues. For readers seeking rapid access to the facts, this can mean a constant battle to separate critical updates of substance from opinion-driven analysis. 

Opinion isn’t always a bad thing — often highly opinionated writing is also substantiated with evidence and solid reporting. But American readers have expressed interest in “unbiased” news and perceive partisan news to be a major issue. The Covid-19 pandemic has reinforced that it is exceptionally difficult to contend with twenty-first-century problems when we can’t even agree on the facts.

To answer the call, The Factual assessed over 240 English-language news sites to find the best, most unbiased daily news sources. By cross-referencing scores for credibility and bias, The Factual identified the following five sources as the best options for unbiased news — based on data, not politics.

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What Is The Factual and How Does It Score Articles?  

At its heart, The Factual is an algorithm for assessing how informative and credible news articles are. It analyzes more than 10,000 articles a day and uses that information to produce a daily newsletter, inform a comprehensive news site and app, and produce a range of analysis and other media products. To learn more about the algorithm, visit our How It Works page.

For this analysis, we cross-referenced our Factual Grade and Writing Tone metrics from a dataset of over 240 major news sources. For each source, we analyzed 1,000 articles, producing an estimate of each site’s news output. These metrics include: 

  • Factual Grade: This is our proxy for credibility and shows roughly how reliable and informative each article is. This is based on four components: cited sources and evidence, author expertise, publishing site history, and writing tone. When combined together, this gives us a score between 0 and 100 for every article. When aggregated over thousands of articles, it tells us how well news sources perform.
  • Writing Tone: This is a sub-component of the Factual Grade and is an excellent indicator of overall bias. The Factual’s algorithm uses natural language processing to look 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.
  • Political Bias: The Factual classifies news sites by political bias as either Left, Moderate Left, Center, Moderate Right, or Right. This classification is derived from third-party assessments from media bias organizations such as AllSides and Media Bias/Fact Check. Political bias indicates how a story may be framed (i.e., from a liberal or conservative point of view), but does not indicate how opinionated or unsubstantiated an article may be.

Top 5 Unbiased Daily News Sources

  1. ABC News
    Average Factual Grade: 72.8%  |  Average Writing Tone: 0.82
    Political Bias: Moderate Left 

    ABC News is a household name in news and is popular for its broadcasting on television. However, our data shows that ABC excels at producing unbiased, informative daily news stories every day on its website.

  2. Reuters
    Average Factual Grade: 70.4%  |  Average Writing Tone: 0.86
    Political Bias: Center

    It’s hard to imagine the news world without Reuters and its expansive network of journalists that reaches every corner of the globe. The organization employs over 2,500 journalists worldwide and is a trusted go-to source for major American news sites on both sides of the political spectrum.

  3. CNBC
    Average Factual Grade: 71.5%  |  Average Writing Tone: 0.80
    Political Bias: Moderate Left

    CNBC showcases how having a long-established and reputable dedication to quality news coverage results in unbiased and highly factual reporting. Like ABC News, it may be best known for its television presence, but CNBC’s online presence is similarly formidable.

  4. Washington Examiner
    Average Factual Grade: 70.2%  |  Average Writing Tone: 0.72
    Political Bias: Moderate Right

    The Washington Examiner was established as the conservative counterweight to the Washington Post and has made a name for itself in Washington, D.C. for producing high-quality, well-researched journalism.

  5. Business Insider
    Average Factual Grade: 71.0%  |  Average Writing Tone: 0.70   
    Political Bias: Moderate Left

    Business Insider originally made its name as a top source for business-focused news, but today they offer quality, in-house coverage of daily events spanning politics, technology, health, and more.

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.