Reader’s Digest

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Reader's Digest - Right BiasRIGHT BIAS

These media sources are moderately to strongly biased toward conservative causes through story selection and/or political affiliation. They may utilize strong loaded words (wording that attempts to influence an audience by using appeal to emotion or stereotypes), publish misleading reports and omit reporting of information that may damage conservative causes. Some sources in this category may be untrustworthy. See all Right Bias sources.

Factual Reporting: MIXED

Notes: Reader’s Digest was founded in 1920 by husband and wife, DeWitt Wallace and Lila Bell Wallace. Reader’s Digest, is a consumer magazine based in Manhattan, New York City and is owned by publisher Trusted Media Brands, Inc. The CEO is Bonnie Kintzer, who took over in 2014 and the current editor is Bruce Kelley.

Reader’s Digest is a compact pocket sized magazine that is directly marketed through the mail. Reader’s Digest typically publishes condensed news and general interest articles that are able to be read quickly and easily.

According to the NY Times, RD is pushing toward a more conservative direction: “It is cutting down on celebrity profiles ramping up on inspiring spiritual stories. Out are generic how-to magazine features; in are articles about military life.”

“It’s traditional, conservative values: I love my family, I love my community, I love my church,” said Mary Berner, the president and chief executive of Reader’s Digest Association.

In review, Reader’s Digest reports news in “listicle” style such as “14 things you’ll know ….” and “9 things you didn’t know …”  Here is an example: “14 Things You Didn’t Know About Donald Trump” with the content selectively favoring President Trump, however it is thoroughly sourced by utilizing credible news sources such as Politico.comThe New YorkerWashington PostFortune MagazineHuffington Post (HuffPost)New York TimesWashington Times, and The Atlantic, as well as factually mixed sources such as CNN and Townhall.

In other “listicle” style articles they promote pseudoscience such as “30 Proven Foods to Help Prevent Cancer” and “45 Things Heart Doctors Do to Protect Their Own Hearts”, which cardiologists say is not true or unproven. Readers Digest also republishes stories from the social media platform, such as: “These Chilling Real Ghost Stories Will Make You Believe.” 

Trading Standards Institute UK criticized Readers Digest and according to a BBC article “Reader’s Digest is preying on the insecurities and vulnerabilities of older customers with misleading bulk mailings that claim promise the recipient a big potential prize payout and advising them not to discuss this with anyone else.”  

A factual search reveals that Reader’s Digest has a mixed fact check record that dates backs 70 years.

Overall, we rate Readers Digest Right Biased for story selection that favors the right and Mixed for factual reporting due to the promotion pseudoscience. (M. Huitsing 6/1/2018)