A Look Back at America's 2021

Headline Roundup December 30th, 2021

As 2021 comes to a close and the U.S. begins to reflect on the past year, we're starting to see clear similarities and differences in which stories were considered most important across the political spectrum.

President Joe Biden's first year in office, the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic and the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan were deemed the year's biggest stories by news outlets on all sides. Right-rated outlets often focused on media bias in coverage of these major stories, as well as Biden's purported failures on COVID-19, foreign policy, inflation, supply chain issues and the immigration crisis at the southern border. Left-rated media typically focused on the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, Twitter's ban on former President Donald Trump, and new laws on voting and abortion as being among the year's biggest or most important stories.

One opinion writer for CNN Business (Lean Left bias) named "our imperiled democracy" and Jan. 6 as 2021's biggest news story. A writer for USA TODAY (Lean Left bias) focused on 2021's top "tales of perseverance, bravery and the will to survive." And some bridging-focused outlets highlighted bipartisan election reforms, efforts to quell partisan redistricting and other common-ground victories as the year's biggest takeaways.

From the Left

This year brought a dizzying mix of triumphs and setbacks in Washington, where lawmakers have grappled with everything from a deadly pandemic to an assault on democracy itself.

While President Joe Biden used his inauguration speech to call for unity, division has run through nearly every aspect of US politics.

Here are some of the biggest political stories of 2021:

January 6

Just six days into the year, the US Capitol insurrection defined 2021 in US politics.

The unprecedented attack on democracy, which began as members of Congress worked to certify the results...

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From the Right

Throughout 2021, the mainstream media has been caught or forced to correct multiple stories that turned out to be misleading or not true. From debunked stories such as the Steele dossier to new concerns over inflation, mainstream outlets badly reported on some of the biggest news stories of the year. 

Here are the top 10 most outrageous examples of the mainstream media reporting false or misleading stories this year. 

In April, videos emerged of a police officer shooting a Black teenager named Ma’Khia Bryant in Columbus, Ohio, after Bryant lunged at another...

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From the Center

As we approach RepresentUs’ 10-year anniversary in 2022, I want to celebrate all the work we’ve done and the continued momentum of our anti-corruption movement while also recognizing the severe threats to democracy ahead.

I co-founded RepresentUs — the nation’s largest grassroots anti-corruption organization — in 2012 to fill a glaring gap in the democracy advocacy space. Too many nonprofit groups were directing their efforts solely toward the 25 percent or so of the country who identified as liberal, despite the fact that majorities of Americans of all political stripes support...

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