How we determined this rating:
Editorial Review: Aug 2023
- Community Feedback: ratings
- AllSides has medium confidence in this bias rating.
Unless otherwise noted, this bias rating refers only to online news coverage, not TV, print, or radio content.Learn about our bias rating methods
About FactCheck.org's Bias Rating
FactCheck.org is a fact check source with an AllSides Media Bias Rating™ of Lean Left.
What a "Lean Left" Rating Means
Sources with an AllSides Media Bias Rating of Lean Left display media bias in ways that moderately align with liberal, progressive, or left-wing thought and/or policy agendas. A Lean Left bias is a moderately liberal rating on the political spectrum.Learn more about Lean Left ratings
Bias ReviewsWe use multiple methods to analyze sources. Learn how we rate media bias.
FactCheck.org Moved from Center to Lean Left in AllSides August 2023 Small Group Editorial Review
A small group of AllSides reviewers — one person each with a bias on the left, center, and right — reviewed content from FactCheck.org for media bias. The team noted that FactCheck.org displayed bias in terms of its story choice and the other outlets it commonly referenced, which were mostly on the left. The team also noticed FactCheck.org was more likely to fact check former President Donald Trump and other Republicans than Democratic officials, however, it did periodically fact check President Biden also.
Additionally, as of August 2023, over 16,000 AllSides readers voted on the AllSides Media Bias Rating for FactCheck.org. On average, those who disagreed with the rating of Center thought FactCheck.org showed a bias of Lean Left. The AllSides team did not review this data before conducting its Small Group Editorial Review, but readers’ sentiments appear to confirm the team’s findings.
FactCheck.org Shows Story Choice Bias
At the time of review, topics frequently covered by FactCheck.org included Donald Trump, the August 2023 GOP Debate, claims made by conservatives, COVID-19, vaccines, and climate change.
The panel noted FactCheck.org frequently analyzed claims made about vaccines or pharmaceutical companies, and it often showed favor of perspectives held by elites.
Articles reviewed included:
- RFK Jr.’s COVID-19 Deceptions
- Republicans Oversell Archer’s Testimony About Hunter and Joe Biden
- Biden Cherry-Picks Unemployment Record
- Viral Video Repeats Bogus Claim About Vaccines and Visible Ailments
- High Winds, Drought Conditions Led to Maui Fires, No Evidence Intentionally Set
- No Support for Viral Claim That COVID-19 ‘Lockdowns’ Are Returning This Fall
- FactChecking the First GOP Debate
- FactChecking Trump’s Interview with Carlson
- Conservative Posts Misrepresent Royalty Payments to Fauci and Collins
FactCheck.org Rated Center in April 2020 Independent Review
Previously, an April 2020 Independent Review returned a bias rating of Center for FactCheck.org.
An AllSides reviewer found FactCheck.org seemed to have a disproportionate number of fact check articles focusing on President Trump and other top Republicans, indicating what may be a slight Lean Left bias. FactCheck.org's “About” page stated that it monitored "the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players." The focus on the Trump administration could have been due to the fact that FactCheck.org editors considered the administration to be the most major political player at the moment; or it could be an indication of a slight Left bias. The site did include some fact check content on Joe Biden and other Democrats, but fact check claims focusing on Trump seemed to dominate the site during the 6-month window from which content was reviewed.
Some FactCheck.org headlines during the first week of April 2020 included:
- Biden’s False Claim on Trump’s Response to Coronavirus
- Trump Falsely Claims He Inherited ‘Empty’ Stockpile
- Video: Trump’s Misleading Attacks on Cuomo
- Trump, Biden Spin China Travel Restrictions
At least one FactCheck.org headline AllSides found during this review showed bias by presenting an opinion as fact. In this piece, Pence Moved Slowly in Combating HIV Outbreak, FactCheck.org noted that "an unusually high number of HIV cases in Scott County, Indiana, was first spotted by health authorities in November 2014. Pence did not declare a public health emergency and authorize a needle exchange program for the county until March 26, 2015." Whether or not this four-month time period constituted moving quickly or slowly is a subjective matter and would depend on an individual's perspective and bias, making the headline biased.
Community FeedbackFeedback does not determine ratings, but may trigger deeper review.
As of March 2024, people have voted on the AllSides Media Bias Rating for FactCheck.org. On average, those who disagree with our rating think this source has a Lean Left bias.
Confidence LevelConfidence is determined by how many reviews have been applied and consistency of data.
As of March 2024, AllSides has medium confidence in our Lean Left rating for FactCheck.org. An Editorial Review or Blind Bias Survey has affirmed this rating, or multiple reviews have returned differing results. If we perform more bias reviews and gather consistent data, this confidence level will increase.
Established in 2003, FactCheck.org is a nonprofit owned and operated by the Annenberg Public Policy Center, a political advocacy center that is part of the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. In addition to Annenberg’s headquarters at the university in Philadelphia, it also has an office in Washington D.C.
According to Annenberg’s website, President Joe Biden is a faculty member at the school.
On its website, FactCheck.org calls itself a “nonpartisan, nonprofit ‘consumer advocate’ for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics.” It says its goal is “to apply the best practices of both journalism and scholarship, and to increase public knowledge and understanding.”
Third-Party Accusations of FactCheck.org Bias
Some, including nonprofit Capital Research Center, have accused FactCheck.org of being biased to the left.
"[FactCheck.org's] parent organization, the Annenberg Public Policy Center, was established by Walter H. Annenberg, the former publisher of TV Guide and the Philadelphia Inquirer, President Richard Nixon’s ambassador to Great Britain, and a Republican. But over time the organization moved to the left," Capital Research Center writes in an article about "Dishonest Fact Checkers."
Capital Research Center writes that Annenberg Public Policy Center’s director, Kathleen Hall Jamieson, recruited Brooks Jackson (a former reporter for Associated Press, Wall Street Journal, and CNN) to found FactCheck.org. Jamieson "has also served on the board of the Center for Public Integrity, a left-leaning investigative journalism nonprofit that receives funding from left-wing hedge fund manager George Soros."
Capital Research Center says that FactCheck.org has "not been brazenly partisan, despite being very much a creature of the mainstream media. It has taken Democrats to task on a number of fronts," but that both FactCheck.org and Politifact go "far beyond what they say they do, claiming to fact-check subjective things like political rhetoric that are not susceptible to fact-checking."
FactCheck.org Ownership and FundingFunding and ownership do not influence bias ratings. We rate the bias of content only.
Owner: Annenberg Public Policy Center
FactCheck.org is owned and operated by the Annenberg Public Policy Center, which describes itself [retrieved Sept. 2023] as a “premier communication policy center,” and is part of the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
According to its “Our Funding” page [retrieved Sept. 2023], FactCheck.org discloses donations it receives that are greater than $1,000. It reported its disclosed funding for the 2023 fiscal year as follows:
- Annenberg Foundation: $796,691
- Facebook (Third-Party Fact-Checking Program): $339,279
- Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: $276,024
- Individual donors: $122,183
- National Science Foundation: $7,955
- Facebook (National Association of Black Journalists fact-checking fellowship program): $4,244
In addition to its disclosed funding, FactCheck.org states the following:
“We do not seek and have never accepted, directly or indirectly, any funds from unions, partisan organizations or advocacy groups. We do not accept funds from corporations with the exception of Facebook, which provides funding as part of Facebook’s initiative to debunk viral deceptions, and Google, which provided a one-time grant to support our COVID-19 coverage in 2020. Neither corporation seeks nor is given any control over our editorial decisions.
Our policy is to disclose the identity of any donor who contributes $1,000 or more. We also disclose the total amount, average amount and number of individual donations.
Donors have no control over our editorial decisions.”
The one-time grant FactCheck.org received from Google was part of a Google News initiative that aimed “to produce fact checks about COVID-19 immunization misinformation and short bilingual video explainers.” It received this funding alongside television giant Univision’s Noticias Univision program.
A March 2021 press release regarding the grant said the following:
“We worked with Univision’s talented staff during the last two months of the 2020 election and we are excited to continue working with them on COVID-19 misinformation,” said Eugene Kiely, director of FactCheck.org. “Univision is the primary news source for Hispanics in the U.S. This gives us an opportunity to reach a larger and more diverse audience.”
“The pandemic and misinformation have disproportionately affected the Hispanic community,” said Jose Zamora, senior vice president of strategic communications at Univision News. “This exceptional partnership between Univision Noticias and FactCheck.org, with the support of the Google News Initiative, allows us to work with one of the most respected fact-checking platforms in the U.S. to continue and amplify our fight against misinformation and ensure that Latinos have access to accurate information. Univision Noticias is committed to serving its community through journalism and fact-checking; this partnership allows us to fulfill both purposes and our mission.”