Leaders at Facebook, Google, and a few top news sites contribute more to Democratic politicians.
By Elena Gooray
(Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
It looks like conservative fears about Facebook are (partly) true: The editors shaping the site’s content skew liberal. But so do top employees at a few of our other biggest media outlets.
Facebook’s news feed — now the world’s largest news distributor — has been mired in controversy since Gizmodo reported Monday that its stories are hand-picked by a small team of editors who have suppressed sharing from conservative sites. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has denied any bias and called for a summit with conservative leaders to show just how apolitical his company is.
Documents released to the Guardian show that Facebook’s list of “trusted sources” for news does include conservative outlets like Breitbart, the Drudge Report, and the Daily Caller. But there are other measures of an organization’s ideological leanings beyond their sources. Political data and crowdfunding site Crowdpac crunched the numbers to determine: Which political leaders do these sites’ leaders give money to?
Liberal ones, it seems — at least for the six organizations reported. Crowdpac found that political contributions from editors and executives at Facebook, Google, Twitter, the Washington Post, ESPN, and Yahoo have gone overwhelmingly to Democratic politicians (who they’re pretty reasonably classing as “liberals”). Google, Facebook’s biggest competitor for advertising revenue dominance, tied with Zuckerberg’s company for the most liberal-leaning contributions, beating out Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. (The farthest-right media leader Crowdpac reported was Amazon CEO and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos, who still scored liberal, but by a small margin.)
Being run by Democrat supporters doesn’t confirm that Facebook or any other organization presents information with strong liberal bias. And it’s no reason to support conspiracy theories about an all-powerful “liberal media,” given that the data represents a tiny fraction of news organizations — where would other mammoths like the New York Times, Wall Street Journal,and Fox-owning News Corp fall on the spectrum? But these numbers do suggest that conservatives may not be the first people Facebook’s content team would call up to, say, grab a beer.