Bias Rating: LEFT-CENTER
Factual Reporting: HIGH
Press Freedom Rank: MOSTLY FREE
Media Type: Website
Traffic/Popularity: High Traffic
MBFC Credibility Rating: HIGH CREDIBILITY
Founded in 2007 by two former Washington Post Journalists, John F. Harris and Jim VandeHei, Politico is a news and opinion website based in Virginia, USA. Currently, Matthew Kaminski is the editor-in-chief. In 2016, Jim VandeHei left Politico and is now the co-founder and CEO of Axios. They describe their vision as “Politico strives to be the dominant source for politics and policy in power centers across every continent where access to reliable information, non-partisan journalism, and real-time tools creates, informs, and engages a global citizenry.”
It distributes content via the internet, the Politico newspaper, radio, and podcasts. In Washington, D.C., its coverage includes the U.S. Congress, lobbying, media, and the presidency. They also have their own bi-monthly magazine that covers politics, news, and opinions.
On 5/2/2022, Politico released an unprecedented and controversial draft of the SCOTUS decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade.
Funded by / Ownership
On 8/26/2021, German publisher Axel Springer purchased Politico for a reported 1 billion dollars. Axel Springer owns numerous publications, including Bild, Business Insider, and Fakt. Politico has a subscription-based service called Politico Pro, launched in 2010 for professionals, such as lobbyists and analysts, which provides policy intelligence coverage on technology, energy, and other sectors.
Politico.com does not require a subscription. Their print newspaper is available for free in Washington D.C.; however, it is subject to a subscription fee outside of DC and overseas. Both the website and print editions feature advertising.
Analysis / Bias
Both sides of the political spectrum have accused Politico of having a left or right bias. For example, Media Matters for America, a progressive media watchdog group in Washington, has accused them of having a “Republican tilt.” Politico also published an article criticizing Obama for not being a strong supporter of Israel: “Obama’s Jewish Problem.” In another article, they state that Liberals are not as tolerant as they say they are: “Why Liberals Aren’t as Tolerant as They Think.” Further, an article criticizing Democratic Socialism: “Down Goes Socialism,” and another criticizing Bernie Sanders, “Bernie’s army in disarray.” Lastly, according to the Poynter Institute, Politico is balanced.
The right-leaning Daily Caller had also criticized Politico for having a liberal bias when they compared a New York Times headline to Politico’s Playbook headline by claiming that it “Extended further to the left than the NYT on this headline.”
A 2014 Pew Research Survey found that 59% of Politico’s audience is consistently or primarily liberal, 16% Mixed, and 26% consistently or mostly conservative. This indicates that a more liberal audience prefers politico.
In review, Politico occasionally publishes listicles such as “All of Trump’s Russia Ties, in 7 Charts.” They also publish articles with minimally loaded words such as “Ocasio-Cortez warns Trump Jr. about subpoena power in response to the meme” and the source to credible media outlets such as Reuters and the NY Times. However, they sometimes use emotional headlines: Establishment looks to crush liberals on Medicare for All. They also have a content partnership with the South China Morning Post, which we rate Mixed for factual reporting.
Editorially, they provide a balance of opinions in the past, as evidenced by the criticism they have received from both sides. However, since our last review, many more op-eds and news stories favor the left through story selection and wording, such as this Republicans gripped by dread as multiple crises swirl, and this Trump official pressured CDC to change report on Covid and kids. They generally report news factually and recently with a more left-leaning bias in both story selection and editorial positions.
Failed Fact Checks
- None in the Last 5 years
Overall, we rate Politico Left-Center biased based on story selection and editorial positions that slightly favor the left. We also rate them High for factual reporting due to proper sourcing and a clean fact check record. (5/18/2016) Updated (M. Huitsing 05/03/2022)
Last Updated on May 3, 2022 by Media Bias Fact Check