AllSides recently conducted our November 2020 Blind Bias Survey, in which 2,285 people across the political spectrum blindly reviewed the bias of 5 media outlets: CNN (online news only), Fox News (online news only), New York Post, Politico, and Reuters.
In this blog, we’ll tell you a bit about how the survey was conducted, and give a summary of the results for each outlet.
The results led us to change the AllSides Media Bias Rating™ for CNN from Lean Left to Left, affirmed our ratings for Fox News (Lean Right) and Politico (Lean Left), and led to a deeper review of Reuters and New York Post.
Reuters is rated Center by AllSides, but survey results turned a Lean Left bias. An Editorial Review led AllSides to keep Reuters rated Center (Editorial Reviews allow us to assess the outlet's content over a longer period of time than a bias survey. We want your feedback — vote on whether you agree here).
New York Post is rated Lean Right by AllSides; survey results showed a bias between Center and Lean Right, though closer to Center. An Editorial Review led us to keep New York Post as Lean Right.
A total of 2,285 people took the survey — 266 participants with a self-reported Left bias; 572 with a Lean Left bias; 679 with a Center bias; 615 with a Lean Right bias, and 136 with a Right bias.
Note that blind surveys offer robust data but have limitations. Blind surveys alone do not always determine our ratings, because these surveys ask respondents to assess content taken from a relatively small moment in time. The surveys don't include photos, content published over a long period of time, or other elements. Therefore, we also use other methods to arrive at a final bias rating, such as Editorial Reviews, third party data and independent reviews.
About the Survey
In this survey, we asked people across the political spectrum to identify their own personal political bias: Left, Lean Left, Center, Lean Right, or Right — and then we ask them to look at content from major media outlets and give the outlet an overall rating on that same scale (Left, Lean Left, Center, Lean Right, and Right).
The content — headlines and content from articles — is stripped of any branding or information that would allow the participant to identify where the content came from. This ensures their pre-conceived notions of the outlet or brand don’t affect their ratings.
Remember, 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.
CNN: AllSides Moves CNN’s Bias Rating to Left
The blind bias survey led us to shift the AllSides Media Bias Rating™ for CNN’s web news content from Lean Left to Left.
On average, people who self-reported that they are on the left rated CNN as being between Lean Left and Left; people in the center and on the right found CNN on average to be Left. The average rating from all people across the political spectrum was Left.
Note that this rating is for CNN’s online, web content only — not its broadcast, cable TV content. We also rate CNN’s Editorial/Opinion content separately; its bias now matches that of the news section, and both are Left.
Fox News: Survey Affirms Lean Right Rating
The blind bias survey affirmed our rating of Lean Right for Fox News. The average rating from people across the political spectrum was between Center and Lean Right for Fox.
Pluralities across all groups — liberals, conservatives, and centrists — found Fox to be Lean Right. Participants who identified themselves as on the right or in the center on average rated Fox News as being right between Center and Lean Right; people on the left rated Fox on average as firmly Lean Right.
Note that AllSides rates the online content on FoxNews.com only. AllSides does not rate the bias of broadcast TV or radio content.
New York Post: Respondents Say It Has a Center/Lean Right Bias; AllSides Keeps Lean Right Rating
Participants in our blind bias survey on average rated the New York Post as between Center and Lean Right, though closer to Center. This triggered an Editorial Review, in which the AllSides team decided to keep New York Post’s Media Bias Rating™ as Lean Right.
Breaking down the results further: On average, people with a Left bias rated New York Post as Lean Right; people with a Lean Left or Center bias rated NY Post as between Center and Lean Right. People on the right rated New York Post as a firm Center.
A plurality of people on the left rated New York Post as Center. A majority of people who have a Center or Lean Right bias rated it Center, and a plurality of people on the right rated it Center.
The second most popular response for all groups was Lean Right, except for people with a Right bias. For that group, the second most popular response for New York Post was Lean Left.
The results triggered a Jan. 2021 Editorial Review by the AllSides team; we opted to keep New York Post’s bias rating as Lean Right. For details about the Editorial Review, and to vote on whether or not you agree with our rating, head over to the New York Post’s source page here.
Politico: Lean Left Bias Rating AffirmedThe average rating for Politico from people across the political spectrum was a firm Lean Left, affirming our Lean Left rating.
The results signified near universal agreement of Politico’s bias on average. The average rating for Politico from people of all biases — Left, Lean Left, Center, Lean Right, or Right — was Lean Left.
A plurality of respondents across all bias groups rated Politico as Lean Left. The second most common response across all groups was Left — except for people who rated their own bias as Left. For this group, the second most common response for Politico was Center.
Reuters: Respondents Say It has as Lean Left Bias; AllSides Keeps Center Rating
On average, respondents across the political spectrum rated Reuters clearly Lean Left.
The average rating for Reuters from people on the Left was between Lean Left and Center; the average rating from all other groups — people who are Lean Left, Center, Lean Right or Right — was a firm Lean Left.
A plurality of respondents who self-identified as Lean Left, Center, Lean Right, and Right rated Reuters Lean Left; the most common response from those with a Left bias was Center.
AllSides currently rates Reuters as Center. The results triggered an Editorial Review, in which AllSides opted to keep Reuters’ rating as Center. Remember, blind surveys alone don’t always determine our ratings because they offer participants only a small snapshot in time, while Editorial Reviews allow the AllSides team to review photos and an outlet’s content over a longer period of time.