These media sources are moderately to strongly biased toward liberal 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 liberal causes. Some sources in this category may be untrustworthy. See all Left Bias sources.
- Overall, we rate Sludge Left Biased based on story selection that almost always favors the progressive left. We also rate them High for factual reporting due to excellent sourcing practices and a clean fact check record.
Factual Reporting: HIGH
World Press Freedom Rank: USA 45/180
Founded in 2018, Sludge produces investigative journalism on lobbying and money in politics. According to their about page “We scour traditional lobbying disclosures and campaign contributions, but our primary focus is all the ways that money influences politics that don’t fit established patterns and often don’t have to be disclosed.” Sludge also discloses their writing team along with bios on their about page.
Read our profile on United States government and media.
Funded by / Ownership
Sludge does not openly disclose an individual owner, however they do disclaim “Sludge was launched as part of the First Fleet of newsrooms on Civil, a journalism platform that uses cryptoeconomics to guard against low-quality content and censorship. Once the platform is fully launched, Sludge will be accountable to holders of the Civil token, who will use internal governance mechanisms to affirm the integrity and commitment to journalistic standards of Sludge and other newsrooms on the protocol, according to the guidelines in the Civil Constitution. In addition, every article published by Sludge will be permanently published on the Ethereum blockchain.” Revenue is derived through membership fees and Kickstarter campaigns.
Analysis / Bias
In review, Sludge produces news stories and journalism in the categories Climate, Defense, Hate, Health, 2020, and Tech. For this review, we will do an overall analysis of each category and provide a supporting example that accurately reflects bias.
- Climate: A general review of the climate category reveals a strongly left-leaning bias with most stories detailing how the fossil fuel industry is funding politicians and PACs. For example this story: Climate Caucus Founder Is a Fossil Fuel Favorite. This story is credibly sourced to NBC News, The Guardian, and Open Secrets. Overall, climate is left-biased.
- Defense: A general review of the defense category reveals a left-leaning bias with most stories detailing how money influences hawkishness and corporate influence. For example, this story details how Koch Industries profits from defense contracts: As Charles Koch Cultivates Anti-War Image, Koch Industries Profits from Defense Contracts. Sourcing for this story comes from the Charles Koch Foundation, USAspending.gov, and several official military sources. Overall, defense is rated as left-biased.
- Hate: This category profiles how corporations and foundations profit or promote hate. For example, this story, which indicates Google is profiting from hate group advertising: Google Is Profiting From Notorious Hate Group’s Ads. Sourcing comes from the Southern Poverty Law Center, Washington Post, Atlantic, and many other credible outlets. Overall, hate is rated as left-biased.
- Health: This category primarily focuses on big pharma’s role in politics. For example, Chair of Pharma-Funded Blue Dogs Pushes for Drug Company Protections in New NAFTA. This story is properly sourced to Prospect Magazine, The FDA, and Open Secrets. Overall, health is rated as left-biased.
- 2020: This category shows how corporate money is influencing candidates. It highlights both the establishment Democrats and Republicans. For example, this article: Super PAC Backing ‘Middle-Class Joe’ Is Led by Lobbyists, Corporate Consultants, and Democratic Fundraisers. This story is properly sourced to Bloomberg, Propublica, and Politico to name a few. Overall, 2020 is rated Left Biased.
- Tech: This category covers tech cover-ups and the influence of money from tech companies, for example, this: The Facebook Settlement Amounts to Bribery of a Federal Agency. This story was republished from the American Prospect. Overall, Tech is rated, Left-Center Bias.
In general, story selection favors the progressive left through opposition to corporate influence in politics, and all information is very well sourced to credible information and outlets.
Failed Fact Checks
Overall, we rate Sludge Left Biased based on story selection that almost always favors the progressive left. We also rate them High for factual reporting due to excellent sourcing practices and a clean fact check record. (D. Van Zandt 11/2/2019) Updated (8/17/2020)
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