(Logos courtesy of respective media outlets. Graphic by AllSides)

Last week, AllSides published its new Google News bias analysis which found the bias of the news aggregator skews significantly in favor of sources on the left, particularly those with a Lean Left rating. AllSides found 63% of the articles that appeared on Google News in 2023 were from the left, a 2% increase from AllSides’ 2022 analysis. Just 6% of outlets curated were on the right. 

The study was widely viewed on X, earning over 71 million impressions after being retweeted by Elon Musk, Tim Pool  and others, and was written about by several media outlets, mostly from the right. A few Center-rated outlets also covered the findings, while Lean Left and Left-rated media outlets did not cover the analysis.

Outlets that covered the story included Straight Arrow News (Center bias), UnHerd (Center bias), Breitbart (Right bias), HotAir (Lean Right bias), Just The News (Lean Right bias), NewsBusters (Right bias), and The New York Post (Lean Right bias). It was also referenced in an op-ed in The Hill (Center).

Several outlets that AllSides has not yet evaluated for media bias also covered the story.

In addition to news coverage, commentator Tim Pool analyzed AllSides’ findings on his podcast, Timcast, and reposted AllSides’ content on X several times. Pool’s dialogue prompted commentary from several other notable figures including Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH), and X owner Elon Musk.

Absence of Coverage from the Left

The coverage by media outlets on mostly one side of the political spectrum is becoming an increasingly common trope; one where widespread dialogue around a story on social media sites like X does not always translate into formal media coverage.

While scanning for coverage, AllSides found Google News itself returned coverage of our analysis from Straight Arrow News, UnHerd, and The New York Post on the first page of search results, although several factors related to the user, their query, location, and other details go into determining how high search engines will display results.

How Right-Rated Media Covered AllSides’ Findings

The story was covered mostly by the right, but the angles varied.

Breitbart framed its coverage around Sen. J.D. Vance’s commentary, in which he called for Google to be broken up. Just The News and The New York Post centered their coverage around AllSides’ analysis itself.

The New York Post included an exclusive statement from a Google spokesperson who said the methodology of AllSides’ analysis is “flawed,” although they did not provide further context:

“Our systems do not take political ideology into account, and we go to extraordinary lengths to build our products for everyone. This study’s methodology is flawed, while reputable third parties have investigated our results and found no evidence to support allegations of bias.”

NewsBusters, an outlet focused on “exposing and combating liberal media bias 24/7” and providing immediate exposure of “national media bias, unfairness, inaccuracy, and occasional idiocy,” displayed sensationalism in its headline: “YIKES! New AllSides Study Shows Google News Pro-Leftist Bias Got WORSE.” It also included an emotionally charged opinion statement in its lede, saying Google’s new motto should be “Be evil,” yet the remainder of its article largely stuck to the facts, sometimes interlacing statements with subjective language.

Why We’re Reporting This

Internally, we discussed whether we should report on the media’s reaction to our work. Generally, we are not surprised by the omission of coverage from the left, or that the news made waves on X, where criticism of powerful institutions is common, including by Musk. However, we still felt the hole in media coverage was notable, considering the traction the story received on social media, and did not want to turn a blind eye to bias just because it included us.

Additionally, AllSides sincerely appreciates outlets and commentators that have elevated our work. However, we believe it’s still our duty to point out forms of bias we notice within news coverage so readers can better understand the news they’re reading and the sources they’re reading it from. 

Seeing and understanding media bias is crucial, as it is how readers can free themselves from filter bubbles and get a more balanced representation of what’s happening in the world around them.

Andy Gorel is a News Editor and Bias Analyst at AllSides. He has a Center bias.

This piece was reviewed and edited by Andrew Weinzierl, Bias Research Manager and Data Journalist (Lean Left bias), Krystal Woodworth, Growth Specialist and Executive Assistant (Center bias), Julie Mastrine, Director of Marketing and Media Bias Ratings (Lean Right bias), and Malayna Bizier, Content Intern (Right bias).