- Overall, we rate Townhall Right Biased and Questionable based on consistent one-sided reporting that always favors the right and numerous failed fact checks.
Factual Reporting: MIXED
World Press Freedom Rank: USA 45/180
Founded in 1995, Townhall is an American politically conservative website and print magazine that was previously published by the Heritage Foundation. In 2006, Townhall was purchased by Salem Media Group. According to their about page “Townhall.com is the #1 conservative website. Townhall.com pulls together political commentary and analysis from over 100 leading columnists and opinion leaders, research from 100 partner organizations, conservative talk-radio, and a community of millions of grassroots conservatives.” TownHall.com features commentary by various conservative columnists and guest commentary by politicians. Weekly contributors include Ben Shapiro, Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter, Marina Medvin, John Stossel, Dennis Prager, and others. Guest contributors have included Eric Trump, Donald Trump Jr., and Lara Trump. The current editor is Jonathan Garthwaite.
Funded by / Ownership
Townhall is owned by Salem Media Group, which owns numerous right-leaning Christian based radio stations across the USA. According to Open Secrets Salem Media Group donates 100% to Republicans and right-leaning PACS. The website is funded through online advertising.
Analysis / Bias
In review, Townhall almost exclusively publishes news articles that favor conservatives and utilizes strongly loaded language such as this: Shove It, House Democrats: Another Trump-Russia Story Blows Up. This story is sourced to the left-leaning Axios and right-leaning Fox News. In another article with loaded language, by Rush Limbaugh’s brother David: Abortion Extremism Exposing Left’s Moral Contradictions, there is not a single source listed to support Mr. Limbaugh’s claims.
In general, Townhall presents story selection that always favors the right and uses negative wording to describe the left. There is little balance in story presentation with all information favoring the right without presenting a left perspective or counter-argument. The opinion columnists associated with Townhall have poor fact check records such as Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter, and Ben Shapiro. Straight news reporting is generally sourced properly and factual, though worded to favor the right, while guest blog posts have a very poor track record with fact-checkers.
Failed Fact Checks
- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau “passed a rule giving the agency unprecedented power to shut down businesses, no matter what the reason, at any time it wishes.” – Pants on Fire
- There were more people on welfare than working in 2013. – False
- A group of Somali teenagers used hammers to physically attack and injure several passersby at a train station in Minneapolis in May 2019. – Mostly False
- “Ninety-four percent of small businesses will face higher taxes under the Democrats’ plan.” – Pants on Fire
- Says Ronald Reagan “got the Saudis to flood the market with cheap oil.” – Mostly False
- “The mayor of Livermore California explains Trump’s popularity and success.” – False
- Muslim organizations or a mosque kept most of the $238,634 raised for the victims of an October 2018 mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. – False
Overall, we rate Townhall Right Biased and Questionable based on consistent one-sided reporting that always favors the right and numerous failed fact checks. (7/19/2016) Updated (D. Van Zandt 8/20/2020)