News publications have the opportunity to purchase an AllSides Media Bias Audit™ of their reporting to learn how people from across the political spectrum view their content, and why. In addition to this deep dive and recommendations for how they can improve their systems or balance, they also get a new or updated AllSides Media Bias Rating™ and discover if they are an exemplary news media outlet that meets our strict criteria qualifying them for AllSides Balance Certification™. Balance Certified™ outlets receive a special badge to display on their news sites. 

How does AllSides remain objective when a newsroom is paying us to audit news bias? Aren’t we incentivized to manipulate our bias ratings to give out more Balance Certification badges and make more money?

How can any bias audit or rating be objective?

This is a problem overall. Any individual can rate the political bias of a source, and many organizations do. The challenge is that bias is very subjective, and so the ratings are vulnerable to the bias of the people doing the rating.

At AllSides, our standard is to provide bias ratings that reflect the average judgment of all Americans, who have an opportunity to review the content without knowing who wrote the content. We use our patented system to do this. By taking into account thousands of pieces of feedback from thousands of Americans, we avoid our own biases overly influencing how we rate a source.

How does an AllSides Media Bias Audit™ work?

During an AllSides Media Bias Audit, a news source’s content undergoes our patented and proprietary bias review system. Exemplary news media outlets that meet our strict criteria for balance can achieve an AllSides Balance Certification™, indicating the outlet issues reporting that is substantially free from partisan political bias or equally balances left, center, and right perspectives. 

AllSides ensures our bias audits remain totally independent, fair, and free of outside influence by using a system that, unlike others, is protected from being driven from our own biases. 

Here’s how:

  • AllSides Media Bias Ratings™ are designed to reflect the average judgment of all Americans, not just a panel of insiders. Ratings are driven by a balance of input from experts and ordinary people across the political spectrum. During a Bias Audit, we use multiple methodologies to rate bias, including Editorial Reviews by a multipartisan team and Blind Bias Surveys of Americans.
  • Blind Bias Surveys are taken by people all across the nation and political spectrum — not anyone internal at AllSides. The survey reveals the average perception Americans have of news content, not what AllSides team members or our clients think.
  • Our expert Editorial Review panels consist of individuals across the political spectrum. We ensure equal representation from the left, center, and right, enabling a comprehensive review of news content. Panelists are trained to spot various types of bias and to understand their own biases in comparison to the broader American political culture. They have no incentive — financial or otherwise — to tweak a rating to satisfy a client.

But what happens when someone pays you to rate them?

AllSides takes numerous measures to remain objective, independent, and fair when news outlets are being audited or seeking Balance Certification™.  AllSides has no financial incentive to manipulate ratings or dole out an excessive number of Balance Certifications, and we take additional steps to maintain the integrity of our bias ratings.

To further ensure independence from financial influence, AllSides requires that clients always pay for a Media Bias Audit before they discover if they qualify, or don’t qualify, for Balance Certification. AllSides does not receive any additional money if a media outlet achieves Balance Certification. This eliminates any financial incentive for AllSides to manipulate ratings, because we get zero money from Balance Certification itself.

At AllSides, we prioritize independent and unbiased audits. Our approach involves incorporating different perspectives, utilizing Blind Bias Surveys, and maintaining a balanced expert panel. We remain independent from our clients' influence through a clear payment process, receiving no monetary value from Balance Certification™, and openly sharing the final bias rating with readers. Trust and transparency are at the core of our mission to adequately measure bias and provide balanced information to news consumers.

Learn more about AllSides services for publications and journalists here.