These media sources are slightly to moderately conservative in bias. They often publish factual information that utilizes loaded words (wording that attempts to influence an audience by using appeal to emotion or stereotypes) to favor conservative causes. These sources are generally trustworthy for information, but may require further investigation. See all Right-Center sources.
- Overall, we rate the Cato Institute Right-Center Biased. While Cato’s economic and environmental positions are strongly right, they also hold liberal positions through immigration and social liberty issues. In whole, this places them Right-Center as we weigh economic theory more heavily in the overall score. We also rate them Mixed for factual reporting due to misleading statements on climate change as well as some failed fact checks.
Factual Reporting: MIXED
World Press Freedom Rank: USA 45/180
The Cato Institute is an American libertarian think tank that is headquartered in Washington, D.C. It was founded as the Charles Koch Foundation in 1974 by Ed Crane, Murray Rothbard, and Charles Koch. In July 1976, the name was changed to the Cato Institute. The mission of the Cato Institute is to originate, disseminate, and increase understanding of public policies based on the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets, and peace.
Funded by / Ownership
The Cato Institute is a 501(c)(3) Non-profit think tank who’s current CEO and President is Peter N. Goettler. According to their about page “Cato receives approximately 80 percent of its funding through tax-deductible contributions from individuals, many of whom are responding to informative direct mail solicitations and program updates.” Cato offers an annual report that shows the percentages of money received as well as their IRS 990 form. The Cato institute is funded by a wide variety of organizations including Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, Charles Koch Foundation and Sarah Scaife Foundation.
Analysis / Bias
In review, The Cato Institute is a right leaning Libertarian think thank that advocates for privatizing many aspects of Government, such as schools and social security. Cato is also opposed to Campaign Finance Reform and often is criticized for climate change denial. While Cato advocates for right wing economic policies, they support socially liberal positions such as Gay Marriage, Marijuana Legalization and liberalized immigration.
Cato Institute uses moderately loaded language in their headlines and articles such as this: The Myth of the Cyber Offense: The Case for Restraint. This article, like most on Cato, is very well researched and sourced properly. However, on the side bar of the website they offer curated news from other sources that generally leans right such as the National Review and the factually mixed Federalist. Story selection typically revolves around limited government issues with a strong emphasis on free market capitalism.
When it comes to science, Cato Institute often publishes misleading or false information regarding climate science. While Cato does not deny that global warming is occurring and influenced by humans they also minimize the impact, which does not coincide with the consensus of science. Here is Cato’s position on Global Warming: “Global warming is indeed real, and human activity has been a contributor since 1975. But global warming is also a very complicated and difficult issue that can provoke very unwise policy in response to political pressure. Although there are many different legislative proposals for substantial reductions in carbon dioxide emissions, there is no operational or tested suite of technologies that can accomplish the goals of such legislation. Fortunately, and contrary to much of the rhetoric surrounding climate change, there is ample time to develop such technologies, which will require substantial capital investment by individuals.” This position has led to criticism.
A factual search reveals a few failed fact checks.
- “There has been no net global warming for over a decade now.” – FALSE
- “Common welfare programs give income of $43,330 or $20.83 an hour.” – MOSTLY FALSE
Overall, we rate the Cato Institute Right-Center Biased. While Cato’s economic and environmental positions are strongly right, they also hold liberal positions through immigration and social liberty issues. In whole, this places them Right-Center as we weigh economic theory more heavily in the overall score. We also rate them Mixed for factual reporting due to misleading statements on climate change as well as some failed fact checks. (7/12/2016) Updated (D. Van Zandt 1/23/2018)