A questionable source exhibits one or more of the following: extreme bias, consistent promotion of propaganda/conspiracies, poor or no sourcing to credible information, a complete lack of transparency and/or is fake news. Fake News is the deliberate attempt to publish hoaxes and/or disinformation for the purpose of profit or influence (Learn More). Sources listed in the Questionable Category may be very untrustworthy and should be fact checked on a per article basis. Please note sources on this list are not considered fake news unless specifically written in the reasoning section for that source. See all Questionable sources.
- Overall, we rate Metric Media LLC right-center biased and Questionable based on a lack of transparency, the publication of false information, and nondisclosure of over 1000 imposter websites that are designed to look like local news sources.
Reasoning: Imposter Websites, Lack of Transparency, False Claims
World Press Freedom Rank: USA 45/180
Founded in 2019, Metric Media LLC publishes a network of over 1000 conservative-leaning websites that purport to be locally based with names such as the Auburn Times, Jonesboro Times, and Tucson Standard. The website does not offer an about page, but does provide a list with links to their 1000+ websites with the statement “Metric Media LLC is a digital firm managing the online presence of the portfolio of local news sites known as Metric Media.”
All of the websites in the network use the same format and offer the same about page that reads “Metric Media was established to fill the void in community news after years of decline in local reporting by legacy media. Our approach is to provide objective, data-driven information without political bias. We provide 100% original reporting, including to share as much data as possible from government and other publicly available sources.”
Metric Media LLC also has a relationship with Locality Labs, which provides software-driven news stories written by an algorithm. Locality Labs is owned by Brian Timpone who is an American conservative businessman and former journalist. For more information on Locality Labs and Media Mettrics network of pseudo-local websites please see this article from the Columbia Journalism Review.
Metric Media LLC lacks transparency as they do not have an about page that describes their conservative agenda, nor discloses funding and ownership, or that most news stories are algorithmically created.
Funded by / Ownership
Although the Metric Media LLC website does not disclose ownership, each of their local news websites states on their about pages that they are owned by the Metric Media Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit news content provider. The CEO of Metric Media is conservative political consultant Bradley Cameron. The foundation is funded through donations and grants but lacks transparency as they do not disclose who their donors are. Metric Media LLC websites receive revenue through advertising and donations to the Metric Media Foundation. Based on the size and scope of this operation it is assumed that the Metric Media Foundation provides the majority of funding to both Locality Labs and Metric Media LLC.
Analysis / Bias
In review, the Metric Media LLC website simply lists all of the websites in their network. Each website has the same design and about page. The websites all have local sounding names even though they are generated from a centralized location. News on the websites is broken down into the following categories: Business, Politics, Real Estate, Local Schools, Government, and Directory. Articles and headlines on the local websites generally do not use emotional wording such as this Thomas H. Tuberville’s campaign committee refunds $5,600 to John M. Mcinnis III. This story like most is very short and is sourced properly from the Federal Election Commission. When it comes to sourcing algorithmically derived news they generally rely on credible sources such as Cato, the Census Bureau, and the CDC. For the most part, the algorithmically created news stories are factual.
A small portion of news articles featured on Metric Media LLC websites is original content created by freelancers. These freelancers are not geographically located where the pseudo-paper is. Editorially, they often promote Republicans over Democrats such as this OPINION: Three Reasons Grand Rapids Should Vote to Re-Elect President Trump. Further, they have reported false information regarding the Coronavirus such as this State Report: Kent County COVID recovery rate 99.94% through June 30. This information is false.
In general, the algorithmically written news is factual and displays little bias, however, original content often holds a right-leaning conservative bias and sometimes is not factual.
Failed Fact Checks
Overall, we rate Metric Media LLC right-center biased and Questionable based on a lack of transparency, the publication of false information, and nondisclosure of over 1000 imposter websites that are designed to look like local news sources. (D. Van Zandt 10/21/2020)