The leftist ratings firm NewsGuard criticized a Media Research Center study of the site’s ratings, calling it “fundamentally flawed.”
NewsGuard General Manager Matt Skibinski’s letter made multiple inaccurate claims about the study, which analyzed the NewsGuard ratings of media outlets. Skibinski claimed the study was “based on a tiny sample of cherry-picked data.” He continued: “NewsGuard has rated more than 7,500 news and information websites, but the NewsBusters analysis looked only at ratings of 24 websites it defines as right-leaning and 31 websites it defines as left-leaning--meaning the study examined a cherry-picked sample of just 0.7% of the websites we've rated.”
However, Skibinski’s claims that the list was “cherry-picked” and that MRC defined which sites were right-leaning and left-leaning are completely inaccurate. The MRC study relied on a list provided by AllSides — an independent organization given credence by the Poynter Institute — as a gauge. Skibinski claimed the “NewsBusters analysis looked only at ratings of 24 websites it defines as right-leaning and 31 websites it defines as left-leaning.” This is false. The characterizations of outlets as “left,” “lean left,” “right” and “lean right” were provided by AllSides, not the MRC.
Skibinski must not have read the disclaimer written in bold black letters at the bottom of the study, which clearly pointed this out. The complaint that the MRC didn’t look at all 7,500 sites it rated also mischaracterizes the purpose of the study. The study was based on a popular list compiled separately by AllSides which classified outlets by their “bias” on a left-to-right scale. The average NewsGuard score for “left” and “lean left” outlets was a high 93/100, while the average rating for “right” and “lean right” outlets was a low 66/100.
Even AllSides supported the MRC’s findings in its own separate report:
AllSides has written about instances in which some of NewsGuard’s highly-rated outlets published content that was untrue, slanted or biased; MRC has as well. In fact, we doubt any media outlet should have a 100% credibility rating. It seems NewsGuard favors large, legacy media outlets that we rate as Lean Left. These outlets are often seen as making up the ‘establishment press,’ and are the outlets that journalists themselves consider to be the most trusted, most established, most transparent, etc., due in large part to their own biases.
After complaining that MRC “cherry-picked” sites to include in its study, Skibinski proceeded to cherry-pick sites to prove NewsGuard wasn’t biased. He noted that his firm “rated many conservative-leaning websites as highly credible,” like The Daily Caller, which he touted “has a score of 92.5 out of 100.” However, our records show that NewsGuard had given The Daily Caller a low rating of “70” out of 100 around the time the study was published, not a “92.5” as Skibinski is now reporting.
Read Skibinski’s entire letter here: