This week, center and left-rated media outlets showed story choice bias by omission in their lack of coverage on a GOP-led Congressional committee report that claims government agencies, think tanks, Big Tech companies, and academics worked together to suppress views on social media — mostly those coming from conservatives — during COVID and before the 2020 election.
In late 2022, the Twitter Files reporting done by independent journalists like Matt Taibbi (Center bias) and Michael Shellenberger exposed efforts by the federal government to censor information on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. While some accounts on the left were targeted as well, the censorship efforts took aim largely at conservatives, by as much as tenfold, according to Twitter CEO Elon Musk, who released the files to reporters upon taking ownership of Twitter (now called X).
This censorship effort was also expressed in the original reporting, leading the GOP-led Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, headed by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), to call Taibbi and Shellenberger to testify before Congress in March of this year.
On Monday, Rep. Jordan’s committee published a new report on the so-called “Censorship Industrial Complex,” a term coined by Taibbi and Shellenberger earlier this year to describe the U.S. government’s censorship efforts.
In the report, the Select Subcommittee said the Department of Homeland Security, Global Engagement Center (GEC) within the U.S. State Department, Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), and “‘disinformation’ think tanks and ‘experts,’” which included Big Tech companies and academics at universities like Stanford, worked together to stymie free speech. The committee reported that this was done via an agency CISA established in mid-2020 called the Election Integrity Partnership (EIP).
Those reportedly censored included conservative pundits like Candace Owens (Right bias), Jack Posobiec, and Charlie Kirk (Right bias), outlets like Newsmax (Lean Right bias), and The Babylon Bee (Lean Right bias), and politicians like Rep. Marjorie Taylor-Greene (R-GA), former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, and former President Donald Trump.
On Nov. 6, Rep. Jordan shared the committee’s report on X to a wide reception. The following day, CEO Elon Musk shared Jordan’s post with the caption, “This is a big deal.” As of Thursday afternoon, Jordan’s original post has been viewed over 55 million times, while Musk’s post stands in excess of 46 million views.
However, outlets from the left and center appear to disagree with Musk. As of Wednesday afternoon, AllSides did not find coverage of the story from any news outlets rated Center, Lean Left, or Left.
The story was covered by many outlets from the right, including Right-rated outlets The Blaze, Breitbart, Daily Caller, The Daily Mail, The Daily Signal, The Federalist, Fox News, Newsbusters, Newsmax, The Post Millennial, Red State, Townhall, and The Western Journal, and Lean Right-rated outlets The Epoch Times, New York Post, and Washington Examiner.
The lack of coverage by outlets from the left and center is an example of story choice bias by omission, demonstrating that outlets with these bias ratings did not find the story newsworthy enough to warrant attention.
The left and center’s ignorance of the story and the right’s embrace of it are both forms of story choice bias, similar to earlier this year when outlets on the right found it necessary to cover a speaking error by President Joe Biden in which he was misheard as saying “we cured cancer.” AllSides also analyzed this lopsided news coverage in a Media Bias Alert.
Andy Gorel is a News Curator at AllSides. He has a Center bias.
This Media Bias Alert was reviewed by Joseph Ratliff, AllSides Content Designer (Lean Left bias), Julie Mastrine, Director of Marketing and Media Bias Ratings (Lean Right bias), Johnathon Held, Bias Analyst (Lean Right bias), and Henry Brechter, Editor-in-Chief (Center bias).