Updated Oct. 26, 2023

In our hyperpolarized society, people often disparage or boycott brands that work with, are run by, or receive funding from people, groups or institutions whose politics they disagree with.

Well, if that describes you, you should probably hate or boycott AllSides – whether you are on the right, left or even center.

We are not actually advocating that you boycott us, of course. But we want to make it very clear that we are doing something different.

AllSides has done the seemingly impossible. We’ve found something that most people on both sides of the political aisle agree on: that respectfully listening to understand all perspectives is a solution to navigating our modern world, and that it’s worth investing in that outcome — for the good of democracy. The fact that both sides see our solution as worthy of pursuit makes us feel optimistic about the future.

That also means that at AllSides, you are sure to find someone involved who you don’t like or agree with. The AllSides audience is uniquely balanced. In that same vein, we have supporters you might consider “evil” from across the political spectrum.

That is essentially the point at AllSides.

Our mission is to free people from filter bubbles so they can better understand the world — and each other. Luckily, there are people and organizations on both the left and right ends of the political spectrum who share our goal and support AllSides in achieving it.

We’re proud to be a group that is bridging divides and is transparent about how we do it. If you want to hate us, that’s OK. We will proudly continue to work with people across the spectrum and be open about it.

So without further ado, here are reasons you might hate AllSides.

“AllSides is hiding a right or left-leaning agenda."

Our co-founders are from the left, right and center. John Gable is a lean right Republican, Scott McDonald is an Independent, and Joan Blades is a left Democrat.  This political mix is part of what makes AllSides great, and we are very proud and transparent about it — we even list the political biases of every AllSides staff member on our team page. Some remain active politically – active and effective enough to potentially upset the other side. Take a look at the TED Talk that John and Joan did together on bursting filter bubbles to see just how we work together across our differences for the common good.

AllSides is proud to include a mix of people from all over the political bias spectrum. Our editorial and bias teams are perfectly balanced with people on the left, center and right. We never publish a headline roundup or blog post without having people of different political biases look at it. Our bias ratings are not the work of one person or a small, elite group, but come from multipartisan expert panel reviews and ratings from thousands of Americans across the political spectrum.

Our founders have myriad biases, too. In the 1980s, prior to his career in technology, Gable was a professional Republican operative who worked for President George H. W. Bush, Senator Mitch McConnell, and the Republican National Committee. While he now lives in San Francisco, John is originally from Kentucky coal mining country, which has shifted from being a party dominated by the Democratic Party when John lived there to becoming a heartland of Trump supporters. He remains a proud, active Republican today.

Joan Blades, co-founder of Living Room Conversations and our nonprofit schools program, co-founded Moms Rising and, in 1998, MoveOn.org, which has raised tens of millions of dollars for progressive candidates and causes. She is from Berkeley — one of the most progressive areas in the country. She still lives there and remains a proud, active Democrat today.

Scott McDonald, co-founder of AllSides and technology lead, is a centrist and refers to himself as independent. He is less active politically, though did intern for Republican Slade Gorton in the 1990s. As an early online community entrepreneur, he remains dedicated to transparency, and that feeds his passion for revealing media bias across the political spectrum.

In addition to our multi-partisan team and co-founders, the AllSides audience is uniquely balanced. We regularly administer surveys on our website to discover the political bias of users. While the results typically fluctuate, our audience tends to represent an even balance of left, center and right users. If AllSides were very biased, we do not believe we would attract such a diverse and balanced audience.

An average of two back-to-back surveys found a perfect political balance of 29% left, 42% center and 29% right users. A Nov. 2022 survey found 35% of our users identified as mixed politically, 29% left of center, 33% right of center, and about 4% unsure. In the same survey, 45% of respondents identified themselves as Independent, 22% Democrat, 19% Republican, and 15% “something else.” A March/April 2023 survey found a 34% left, 28% center, and 38% right audience makeup. AllSides has consistently shown a very evenly balanced political audience that is unusual in the news media space, often within a margin of error of being perfectly balanced.

“Your team isn’t diverse enough.”

We frequently get compliments for how transparent we are about the political biases of AllSides team members. That sometimes also leads to concerns from the left and right.

For example, when we first wrote this (February 2019), there were twice as many people working for us who fall on the left side of the political spectrum than on the right (but the mix continually changes). While the team had more women than men, only 10 percent were people of color.

As of this writing (October 2023), our staff consists of 28% people on the left, 56% in the center, and just 16% on the right (the mix continually changes). The team used to have more women than men, but is now 70% men and 30% women. Our entire team is 34% people of color.

We might not have a team member from your area, but we do hail from all over the country: rural, sub-urban and urban. This provides us with a diverse mix of experience and values. Take a look at this map showing where AllSides team members and key partners are located. Beyond this, we have even more geographical and cultural diversity when you consider where our team members were raised, including places like Kentucky, Ohio, Washington and Western Pennsylvania, and countries including Russia, India and France.

While AllSides isn’t a perfect 50/50 split of men and women, liberals and conservatives, white people and people of color, our background is collectively diverse and we represent many different viewpoints, experiences and perspectives.

“Your funding comes from evil places.”

Most news media business models reward sensationalism and partisanship. In other words, their business models reward bad behavior.

AllSides created a unique business model that actually encourages good journalism. Instead of relying only on ad revenue that fuels clickbait and misinformation, our funding comes from a mixture of sources: Sustaining Memberships from our users, donations, services to nonprofits, newsrooms, and schools, and yes, some advertising revenue (less than 10%).

We provide services to schools and nonprofit organizations dedicated to bridging divides. If we were ever to lose our balance, we would lose these customers and the funds we get from them. We also raise money from individuals dedicated to balanced journalism, civil conversation and bridging divides.

Some of these organizations have received donations from individuals or organizations that fund partisan activities. Some of our individual donors have been active supporters in partisan politics on the left and right.

For example, we have partnered and received funding from some organizations that are dedicated to bridging divides, and many of these are run mostly by people from the left. Some have received money from people like Tom Steyer, billionaire donor and leader of progressive causes. He funded an impeachment campaign against Donald Trump, among other causes, and is often vilified by conservatives.

AllSides has also received funding from the Poynter-Koch Media and Journalism Fellowship, which, for one year, funded 50% of the salaries of AllSides employees who were fellows. Like Tom Steyer on the left, Charles Koch is a wealthy supporter on the right, supporting libertarian and conservative causes and candidates. The Koch Foundation often funds traditionally or classically liberal causes, such as free press, free speech, and education initiatives, and we have worked with it in that capacity, but Koch is often vilified by progressives.

We are proud to receive support from diverse groups like these. While some might cite this as a reason to hate us, we take a different view. The fact that people from both sides of the aisle believe AllSides holds a solution to our hyperpolarized and partisan society and are willing to invest in the solution gives us hope for the future of our nation.

“Both nonprofit and for-profit companies have dangerous biases and inefficiencies.”

Sometimes those on the right point out that nonprofits can become unaccountable and ineffective, wasting money or becoming almost entirely controlled by one big donor. Meanwhile, those on the left argue that for-profit companies can become sell-outs, compromising their social good mission in service of the Almighty Dollar. Some may be concerned that AllSides.com, a for-profit company, is vulnerable, especially now that we are pursuing outside investment. Or they may argue our nonprofit arm, the AllSides Education Fund, is vulnerable to being hijacked by a big money special interest with a partisan agenda.

Unlike other media companies that make money from bad practices like clickbait and bias, bad journalistic behavior would actually hurt our business and revenue, since credibility is the core benefit we provide. This is in part because we have established AllSides as a public benefit corporation. As a public benefit corporation, what sets AllSides apart from a regular corporation is that we balance the interests of stockholders, key stakeholders, and a specific public benefit. A regular corporation will just balance the interests of its stockholders and key stakeholders. But our executive leadership does not have to make purely profit-motivated decisions and can always do the right thing to support our mission — even if it’s not the most profitable choice. In other words, if some investor or business wants to give us a huge check to do something that goes against our principles, we can just say no. No fuss, no legal consequences.

Our bylaws, multipartisan co-founders, leadership, team, and remarkably balanced audience – that’s you! – ensure that we stay true to our mission.

One of our goals is to develop a media business model that rewards good behavior, unlike the modern media model most use, which encourages partisanship and tribal outrage. Yet some may wonder what would prevent our good mission of bursting filter bubbles and bridging divides from being thwarted by either a profit motive or partisan investor or donor.

We believe there are pros and cons to both nonprofit and for-profit models, and that is one of the reasons we work in both worlds – to balance out the dangers and to better support our mission.

In Sept. 2023, AllSides achieved GOLD status as one of the 17 Most Fundable Companies® by Pepperdine Graziadio Business School. Recognition as a Most Fundable Company® will enable AllSides to fulfill its dreams of reviving news media and helping to restore our democratic society. While we are still largely funded by Sustaining Memberships, minimal ads on our website, and services to newsrooms, schools, nonprofits, and other entities, there may be concerns about us pursuing outside investment for the first time. But the purpose of raising outside investment is to allow us to have an even greater impact — plus, we’ve designed AllSides to ensure balance is always maintained and to avoid the traps other media companies fall into.

AllSides is transparent about bridging divides.

For people who hate or fear the other side and want to build up anger, we’ve laid out plenty of points you can use. As you can see, AllSides has ties with a variety of groups, individuals and organizations that folks on the other side might find unsavory. But that's part of the point of AllSides: to bring together people who might otherwise disagree in order to work toward the common goal of understanding the world and each other better.

When we refuse to work with people who are different from us, we run the risk of not understanding them or being misled into thinking they are "evil." At AllSides, we strive to create friendly partnerships with those who are devoted to better understanding one another, and to work toward a feasible business and funding model that avoids unethical traps  — while we strengthen our democracy in the process.

If you still have honest concerns, check out some more answers in our FAQ. And if you are tired of the sensational outrage, deepening divisions and polarization that seem to be paralyzing our country and the rest of the world, we hope that you will consider AllSides as a friendly partner devoted to strengthening our knowledge and understanding of one another — in order to build a stronger democracy.

John Gable is the co-founder and CEO of AllSides.