“This American Life” Bias and Reliability Overview

Ad Fontes Media rates “This American Life” in the skews left category of bias and as reliable, analysis/fact reporting in terms of reliability. “This American Life” is a weekly hourlong radio program and podcast that reports journalism told in stories, or “movies for radio.” The show, which launched in 1995, airs on more than 500 public radio stations in the U.S., with 2 million listeners. The podcast is downloaded by 2.8 million people per episode. The program, hosted by Ira Glass, has won several Peabody Awards and the first Pulitzer Prize awarded to a radio show or podcast. “This American Life” is produced in conjunction with WBEZ Chicago.

Overall score

The following are the overall bias and reliability scores of “This American Life” according to our Ad Fontes Media ratings methodology.

Reliability: 42.89

Bias: -9.22

A team of analysts at Ad Fontes Media – one conservative, one liberal, and one moderate – regularly reviews representative sample content to rate it in terms of bias and reliability. A weighted average of these ratings results in the overall score for the media source.

The team considers a variety of factors when rating content. To determine its reliability score, we consider the content’s veracity, expression, its title/headline, and graphics. We add each of these scores to the chart on a sliding scale, with the average of those creating the sample content’s overall reliability score.

To determine sample content’s bias score, we consider its language, its political position, and how it compares to other reporting or analysis from other sources on the same topic. We add each of these scores to the chart on a sliding scale, with the average of those creating the content’s overall bias score.

The bias rating, demonstrated on the Media Bias Chart®️ on the horizontal axis, ranges from most extreme left to neutral to most extreme right. The reliability rating, demonstrated on the chart’s vertical axis, rates sources on a scale from original fact reporting to analysis, opinion, propaganda and inaccurate/fabricated information.

Reliability scores for articles and shows are on a scale of 0-64. Scores above 40 are generally good; scores below 24 are generally problematic. Scores between 24-40 indicate a range of possibilities, with some sources falling there because they are heavy in opinion and analysis, and some because they have a high variation in reliability between articles.”

Bias scores for articles and shows are on a scale of -42 to + 42, with higher negative scores being more left, higher positive scores being more right, and scores closer to zero being the most neutral and/or balanced.

This page was last revised Aug. 23, 2021. For the latest data, including all sources, as well as sample content considered, please consult our Interactive Media Bias Chart®️.