AllSides recently conducted our April/May 2021 Blind Bias Survey, in which 1,455 people across the political spectrum blindly rated the bias of five media outlets: ABC News, USA Today, National Review, CBS News, and Reason.
The results confirmed our Lean Left ratings for ABC and CBC News, as well as our Lean Right rating for Reason magazine. Respondents rated National Review Lean Right on average, which differed from our rating of Right. On average, respondents rated USA TODAY Lean Left, which differed from our rating of Center.
The results triggered Editorial Reviews of USA Today and National Review. Editorial Reviews allow the AllSides team to review more content from outlets than a Blind Survey does. The USA TODAY review was inconclusive, so the Center rating remains; we will conduct further review soon. We opted to keep National Review rated as Right.
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Here is how to read the graphs in this post:
- The horizontal X-axis shows the self-reported personal bias of the respondent.
- The vertical Y-axis displays how many of the respondents in each bias category thought that the media outlet had a specific bias.
ABC News Bias Found to Be Lean Left, Close to Left
The results of our April/May 2021 Blind Bias Survey returned a Lean Left rating for ABC News’ bias, confirming our current rating of ABC as Lean Left.
A total of 1,147 people across the political spectrum rated ABC News as Lean Left on average.
People who self-identified as having a personal bias of Right rated ABC News as Left on average, and people with a Lean Right bias rated ABC as on the border of Left and Lean Left. All other bias groups rated ABC News as Lean Left on average.
A plurality of respondents who rate themselves as Lean Left rated ABC News as Center. Pluralities of people with a Left, Center, and Lean Right bias rated ABC as Lean Left; a plurality of people with a Right bias rated ABC Left.
USA TODAY Bias Rated Lean Left by Respondents
In the April/May 2021 Blind Bias Survey, the average rating from people across the political spectrum for USA TODAY was Lean Left. This was divergent from AllSides’ rating of USA TODAY as Center. The results triggered an Editorial Review, which was inconclusive; AllSides kept USA TODAY's rating as Center but planned a second review a month later.
A total of 1,020 people rated USA TODAY’s bias in this survey. People who self-reported they have a Left or Lean Left bias rated USA TODAY on average as being just between Center and Lean Left; respondents who rated themselves as Center, Lean Right and Right on average rated USA Today as firmly Lean Left.
A majority of people on the left rated USA TODAY as Center; a plurality of people in the Center rated USA TODAY as Center; a plurality of Lean Right respondents rated USA TODAY Lean Left; a plurality of people who rate themselves as Right rated USA TODAY as Left. The average rating of all bias groups was Lean Left.
National Review Rated Lean Right by Respondents; AllSides Keeps Right Rating Following Editorial Review
On average, respondents rated National Review Lean Right. Following an Editorial Review, AllSides opted to keep National Review rated Right.
On average, 1,093 people across the political spectrum rated National Review firmly Lean Right. People on the left and in the center all rated National Review as Lean Right on average; people on the right rated National Review between Center and Lean Right on average.
Pluralities across all bias groups rated National Review's bias as Lean Right; the second most common response among people on the left was Right, and the second most common response among people on the right was Center.
Survey Affirms CBS Bias Rating of Lean Left
On average, people across the political spectrum rated CBS news as Lean Left, affirming our rating.
A total of 1,053 people rated the bias of CBS in this survey. The average rating for CBS News from people across the political spectrum — people who identified as Left, Lean Left, Center, Lean Right, or Right — was Lean Left.
Among the groups of people who self-identified as Left, Lean Left, Center, or Lean Right, a plurality of respondents rated CBS News as Center. A plurality of respondents who rated themselves as Right rated CBS News as Lean Left. The second most common response for CBS from people with a Right bias was Center; the second most common response from people from all other bias groups was Lean Left.
Reason Magazine Rated Lean Right
On average, Reason was rated Lean Right by people across the political spectrum.
A total of 1,030 people rated the bias of content from Reason in this survey. The average rating for Reason from people who self-identified as having a Left bias was Lean Right, but close to Right; the average rating from people with a Lean Left bias was Right; the average rating for Reason by people in the Center and on the Right was Lean Right.
Taken together, the average rating across all groups was Lean Right.
A majority of respondents with a Left and Lean Left bias saw Reason as Right; a plurality of Center respondents also saw them as Right. A plurality of people with a Lean Right and Right bias saw Reason as Lean Right.
About the Survey
AllSides asked people across the political spectrum to identify their own personal political bias: Left, Lean Left, Center, Lean Right, or Right — using our Rate Your Bias tool. We then present them with 10 headlines from the outlet on two different days, and some coverage from the outlet of two major national news stories. We then ask them to provide an overall rating of the media outlet (Left, Lean Left, Center, Lean Right, or Right).
The content is stripped of any branding or information that would allow the participant to identify which publication the content came from. This ensures respondents’ pre-conceived notions of the outlet or brand don’t affect their ratings.
There is no "accurate" measure of bias – bias is largely in the eye of the beholder. What seems like a left-wing view to a right-winger may seem like a centrist view to a left-winger. That's why we survey Americans from across the country, of various ages, geographic locations, and political leanings. We also normalize the data and don’t let majority rule determine our ratings.