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.
- Overall, we rate The Federalist a borderline Questionable and far-Right Biased based on story selection and editorial positions that always favor the right. We also rate them Mixed for factual reporting due to the promotion of pseudoscience and three failed fact checks.
Factual Reporting: MIXED
World Press Freedom Rank: USA 45/180
The Federalist is an English-language online magazine that covers politics, policy, culture, and religion. The Federalist has been described as influential in conservative and libertarian circles. The site was co-founded by Ben Domenech and Sean Davis and launched in September 2013. The current editors are David Harsanyi and Mollie Hemingway
Funded by / Ownership
According to the website, The Federalist is a wholly independent division of FDRLST Media. The website is funded through online advertising as well as paid subscriptions to newsletters.
Analysis / Bias
The Federalist is a news and opinion website that reports with a right-wing bias that typically favors the right and denigrates the left. There is the frequent use of loaded emotional language such as this: The New York Times’ Hit Piece On Mike Pence Is Anti-Christian Bigotry, Plain And Simple. In general, The Federalist sources all of their information to credible mainstream outlets, however, they sometimes use sources that we have rated mixed for factual reporting such as the Daily Caller.
According to an article from the left-leaning Daily Beast, The Federalist was openly critical of Donald Trump before he won the election, but has since become a strong supporter of his Presidency and agenda. Further, In November 2017, The Federalist came under criticism from both conservatives and liberals for publishing an opinion piece by Ouachita Baptist University philosopher Tully Borland defending Roy Moore’s dating of teenagers while he was in his 30s and arguing that such behavior was “not without some merit if one wants to raise a large family.”
When it comes to reporting on scientific issues The Federalist often does not align with the consensus of experts in the field. For example, in this article the author claims that “I am a skeptic when it comes to climate change. To be clear, I don’t doubt that the climate changes — obviously it does. I don’t doubt that human activity has an effect on this change. What that effect is, and to what extent it influences the entire system, I don’t know. As a scientific concept, I have no opinion on climate change.” The author does seem to have an opinion on Climate change when he states “So, simply put, I am a climate change skeptic because the people advocating it do not act as if it were a verified scientific conclusion.” Although the author freely admits he is not an expert and cannot generate an opinion on the scientific concept; he does not need to have an opinion because there is strong scientific consensus on the impact of human-influenced climate change.
The Federalist has also promoted pseudoscience claiming that there is a link between Abortions and Breast Cancer. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists there is “no causal relationship between induced abortion and a subsequent increase in breast cancer risk.”
Failed Fact Checks
- Obama twice described Americans as “lazy” during a town hall meeting in Laos. – MOSTLY FALSE
- “Longstanding whistleblower rules (were changed) just before submittal of the fake whistleblower report.” – FALSE
- “As we have learned, the Intel Inspector General (IG) changed the rule after the complaint was known in order to allow hearsay complaints, but the IG dishonestly backdated the rule change so that damage could be done to President Trump.” – PANTS on FIRE (cites false Federalist report that was never corrected)
- More people who wear masks become sick with COVID-19 compared to non-mask wearers, therefore masks don’t work or are making us ill – False
- “Mask mandates do nothing to stop [the spread of] COVID[-19]”; There is “overwhelming scientific evidence” that masks do not work – Inaccurate
Overall, we rate The Federalist a borderline Questionable and far-Right Biased based on story selection and editorial positions that always favor the right. We also rate them Mixed for factual reporting due to the promotion of pseudoscience and four failed fact checks. (8/8/2016) Updated (D. Van Zandt 11/12/2020)