Bias Check: The American Spectator

The American Spectator is a news site that was rated by AllSides to be Right-biased. According to AllSides, a resources that rates bias in the media, a right bias means that the outlet shows favor for traditional values, conservative economics, and a decreased role of the federal government. AllSides readers’ indicated that they strongly agreed with the rating for The American Spectator. To find out if they were right, I began to read laterally about the source to see what others were saying about it.

The American Spectator’s current Web Logo

To begin, I did a Wikipedia search for ‘The American Spectator.’ This led me to the Wikipedia entry for the site which can be found here. Wikipedia labels The American Spectator as a “conservative U.S monthly magazine covering news and politics.” Later on in the entry, they say that The American Spectator follows a tabloid format, meaning they put a lot of emphasis on sensational stories, gossip, and pop-culture. The Wikipedia entry also links to some criticism of the site from sources like the Economist, The Guardian, and the Atlantic.

I followed the link from the Wikipedia page to the Economist article called, “Conservative “Jackass.”” In this article, the Economist takes a shot at The American Spectator by questioning their journalist’s integrity. One of the American Spectator’s journalists had pretended to be a protester and stormed the Air and Space Museum causing them to shut down. The author of the Economist article states, “This isn’t exactly shocking; it’s a modest but clear violation of journalistic integrity, the sort that would get you disciplined at a mainstream publication but isn’t terribly surprising for a partisan cheerleading organ.” So, not only does the Economist criticize The American Spectator for this particular incident, but also for lacking journalistic integrity and being partisan. By reading laterally on The Economist, I found that AllSides rates them as leaning left but the public strongly disagrees and MediaBiasFactCheck found them as “least-biased” or center with 55% of their audience agreeing. This shows that The Economist is not hypocritical in their criticism of The American Spectator.

Other mentions of The American Spectator almost entirely focused on the aforementioned incident between the journalist and the protestors. The Guardian wrote a story on it here and within it they linked a story done by the Washington Post on the same event so I went upstream and found it here. Both news outlets condemn the story and the source for publishing it. Wikipedia also linked to an article by The Atlantic that also condemned the incident. The reporter calls the whole incident “an amateurish conservative media on display.”

From what I found out by reading laterally and going upstream, I can say fairly confidently that I do agree with AllSides right rating for the American Spectator. To be accused of being amateur, partisan, and without journalistic integrity shows that their bias is intense enough to be called out by other publications.

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