The Washington Post has a Lean Left media bias. AllSides rates The Washington Post bias as Lean Left with high confidence.
Table of Contents
- February 2020 Blind Bias Survey
- March 2013 Blind Bias Survey
- AllSides Community Feedback
- Presidential Endorsements
- Washington Post Audience Demographics
- Third Party Claims of Washington Post Bias
- Funding, Financing, and Ownership
- About The Washington Post
February 2020 Blind Bias Survey
A February 2020 AllSides blind bias survey found that the Washington Post maintains a Lean Left bias, though close to Center. During a blind bias survey, people who hail from all sides of the political spectrum and a diverse array of ages and geographic locations rate the bias of content from a media outlet blindly, meaning all identifying branding and information is removed.
Our February 2020 blind bias survey found that on average, participants rated content from the Washington Post as on the border of Center and Lean Left. However, a majority of respondents who identified themselves as Left or Lean Left indicated they believe the Washington Post is Lean Right, a puzzling and unusual outlier that impacted the overall average. Participants who describe themselves as politically Center, Lean Right and Right all rated Washington Post content as Lean Left. After assessing results of the blind bias survey, AllSides determined that Lean Left is still the best bias rating for Washington Post.
March 2013 Blind Bias Survey
A March 2013 AllSides blind bias survey found that The Washington Post has a Lean Left media bias.
AllSides Community Feedback
A majority of over 7,000 community members agreed with a Lean Left AllSides Media Bias Rating as of July 2016. Among those who disagreed, 66 members gave the newspaper an average bias rating of 58.8, putting The Washington Post on the boundary of a Lean Left and Center media bias rating. These results, along with a 2005 UCLA study measuring media bias, reinforce AllSides' Lean Left Washington Post bias rating.
The Post has endorsed Democratic presidential candidates for at least nine presidential elections and has never endorsed a Republican for president.
In 2020, the Washington Post kept with precedent and endorsed Democrat Joe Biden for president.
Washington Post Audience Demographics
A 2014 Pew Research Center survey found the majority of the Washington Post audience — 61% — has left-of-center political views. Just 7% of Washington Post consumers are consistently conservative; 20% are of mixed political persuasion.
Third-Party Claims of Washington Post Bias
The Washington Post was sued for defamation on February 19, 2019, following allegedly biased media reporting on a viral video of Covington Catholic High School students in January 2019. Attorneys for Covington student Nick Sandmann claim the Post published seven "false and defamatory articles." The complaint states:
"... [T]he Post engaged in a modern-day form of McCarthyism by competing with CNN and NBC, among others, to claim leadership of a mainstream and social media mob of bullies which attacked, vilified, and threatened Nicholas Sandmann ("Nicholas"), an innocent secondary school child. The Post wrongfully targeted and bullied Nicholas because he was the white, Catholic student wearing a red "Make America Great Again" souvenir cap on a school field trip ...
[T]he Post knew and intended that its false and defamatory accusations would be republished by others, including media outlets and others on social media."
The publication has been accused of both liberal and conservative biases over the years. American journalist and commentator Bill Moyers said that in the months leading up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the Post ran "more than 140 stories on its front page promoting the [Iraq] war, while contrary information 'got lost,' as one Post staffer told [journalist Howard] Kurtz."
In a study published in April 2007, a group of Yale professors found that study participants who were given a free subscription to the Post were 7.9–11.4% more likely to vote for the Democrat candidate for governor than those assigned to a control group. However, people who received a free subscription to the Washington Times, a conservative paper, were also more likely than controls to vote for the Democrat. The study authors said a sampling error might have played a role, as well as the fact that the Democrat candidate had more conservative positions than is typical for a Democrat, and "the month prior to the post-election survey was a difficult period for President Bush, one in which his overall approval rating fell by approximately 4 percentage points nationwide. It appears that heightened exposure to both papers’ news coverage, despite opposing ideological slants, moved public opinion away from Republicans."
According to a 2009 Oxford University Press book by Richard Davis on the impact of blogs on American politics, liberal bloggers link to The Washington Post and The New York Times more often than other major newspapers; yet, conservative bloggers also link often to liberal newspapers.
Funding, Financing and Ownership
Note: Funding and ownership is not taken into account when determining AllSides Media Bias Ratings. While it's true ownership and financial interests can affect what goes to print, our bias ratings are determined by assessing the bias of content only. We provide financial and ownership information as an FYI to our readers.
In October 2013, Amazon founder, president, and CEO Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post via his holding company Nash Holdings for $250 million in cash. The paper had long been controlled by the Graham family (Graham Holdings Company).
About The Washington Post
The Washington Post is a major American daily newspaper published in Washington, D.C. It is the most widely circulated newspaper in the Washington metropolitan area and widely read around the country. The newspaper has won 47 Pulitzer Prizes. It employs around 800 journalists and had a 2015 daily circulation of 356,768. Its digital circulation was 1,000,000 in 2018.