A Google News bias analysis, conducted by AllSides, found the news aggregator displayed articles from left-wing media sources far more often than sources from the right.
The 2022 AllSides Google News Bias Analysis found 61% of media outlets presented on Google News’ homepage over a 5-day period were from sources AllSides rates as on the left, with just 3% from outlets on the right.
The search term “election” returned no results from Center-, Lean Right- or Right-rated media outlets in the days leading up to the 2022 midterm elections. Twenty-eight percent of articles presented by Google News for this search term were from CNN (Left), and 16% of articles were from The New York Times (Lean Left).
Overall, the analysis found Google News presented stories from news sources with an AllSides Media Bias Rating™ of Left or Lean Left far more often than sources rated Center, Lean Right or Right. These findings corroborate AllSides’ Media Bias Rating of Google News as Lean Left overall. Google News’ homepage heavily favored content curated from CNN (Left bias), showing stories from this website most often (15% of total stories were from this outlet).
Sometimes, there were no news stories from Lean Right or Right-rated outlets present on Google News’ homepage at all.
Note that this analysis does not investigate whether the political leanings or biases displayed by Google News are intentional. While it is possible that the political leanings are overtly or covertly intentional, it is also possible they are accidental. These leanings could be a fair reflection of content available online, of the perspectives of the average online user, or of the greater effectiveness one political side has in promoting its perspectives online. Whether Google should provide a broader or more balanced diversity of perspectives, and whether that would support or hinder a healthier democratic society, is a philosophical or ethical question beyond the bounds of this analysis.
Two methods were deployed to analyze Google News’ overall bias: the first method involved collecting top stories that appeared on Google News’ homepage over a 5-day period from October 31 to November 4, 2022 — days leading up to the 2022 midterm elections — and the second involved collecting the top stories presented for select search terms.
More findings follow in this blog post. Visit the full report to view AllSides’ methodology, in-depth findings, and a full list of articles analyzed.
Google News Homepage Favors Lean Left Media Outlets
AllSides found about 44% of the articles on Google News’ homepage over a 5-day period were from outlets rated Lean Left, 17% were from Left-rated outlets, 25% from the Center, and 3% from the Right. The homepage featured no articles from sources AllSides rates as Lean Right over the five-day period. The remaining 11% of articles were from outlets that were Not Rated by AllSides.
Of those unrated outlets, over half were local or international outlets–many of which AllSides does not rate.
AllSides collected content at 10 different times across 5 different days; for 6 out of these 10 content collection times, there were zero articles from outlets on the right present on the Google News homepage.
The top 10 most prominent media outlets published on Google News encompassed 63% of all coverage (95 out of 151 articles). They are as follows, with the percent of total stories analyzed displayed for each:
Six of the top 10 outlets found on Google News’ homepage were rated as Lean Left by AllSides, and the top outlet – CNN – was rated Left. The final three outlets were rated Center.
None of the top 10 outlets were rated as Right or Lean Right by AllSides. In fact, Fox News (Right bias) actually took the 11th spot, encompassing about 3% of the 151 articles evaluated in this analysis.
Google News’ homepage featured outlets on the left the most when covering the news of the day. While there were a substantial number of Center articles as well, the perspective of the right was underrepresented, making up 3% of the articles found over the week.
Google News Search Results Favor Lean Left Media Outlets
The analysis found that Google News showed articles from left-leaning outlets more than outlets on the right or in the Center, regardless of the term searched.
While search terms crime and the economy resulted in a more diverse array of outlets, the search terms Biden, Trump, election, and abortion had a strong lean toward outlets rated Left or Lean Left by AllSides.
We pulled the top 5 articles returned under six different search terms – Trump, Biden, Election, Crime, Economy, and Abortion – over a 5-day period. A total 150 articles were analyzed, or 25 articles from each search term.
Across topics, 48% of the articles gathered were from Lean Left outlets, and 23% were from Left-rated outlets, 13% were in the Center, 3% were from outlets on the right, and 13% were Not Rated.
Of those unrated outlets, 37% (7 out of 19) were from U.S. Government agencies such as the White House, the Treasury, and the Chamber of Commerce. About 8% of the total articles were from local sources, many (but not all) of which were Not Rated by AllSides.
It was clear that the Google News algorithm favored left-leaning outlets in the results of search terms during the length of our analysis (October 31 - November 4, 2022). As previously noted, the search term “election” yielded zero results from media outlets in the center or on the right.
AllSides found something similar when searching the terms “Trump” and “Biden.” Over a 5-day period, no Lean Right- or Right-rated outlets were present in search results for either of these terms.
Six of the 25 (24%) articles returned under the search term “Biden” were from CNN. Four (16%) of the articles were from The White House and five (20%) were from Politico (Lean Left).
Search results for the terms “crime” and “economy” were more varied, though results for both terms still favored left outlets.
Previous Research on Google Bias
AllSides has previously conducted research on Google News bias, which have informed our Lean Left bias rating for Google News. A 2019 AllSides audit found Google’s “Top Stories” section, which often appears at the very top of Google search results, heavily favored liberal news outlets when searching for terms related to two mass shootings. A 2018 AllSides research report on Google News and Google News search results also found that the aggregator is biased toward Left and Left-leaning news sources.
Google News’ AllSides Media Bias Rating™ is also based on results from a 2019 Northwestern University audit that found Google’s “Top Stories” section favors just 20 media outlets, most rated Lean Left by AllSides.
Google News aggregated more content from sources on the left than sources on the right during the time frame analyzed, giving users an unbalanced perspective of major news headlines.
Biased search results have a grave impact on our understanding of important issues. When we don’t have the full picture and cannot access the full scope of views, we are more likely to polarize against one another. Heavily biased search tools harm our democratic society, our communities, and our families. The AllSides Balanced Newsfeed and Balanced Search tool are solutions that allow users to get the full picture and better understand multiple perspectives. Instead of being manipulated by partisan technology, our tools help people to think for themselves.
To view the full Google News bias report, which includes details on methodologies, click here.
Research by Clare Ashcraft, Bridging and Bias Assistant at AllSides. She has a Center bias. Visuals and research by Andrew Weinzierl, Research and Data Journalist at AllSides (Lean Left bias).
Reviews and edits by Julie Mastrine, Director of Marketing and Media Bias Ratings (Lean Right bias).