Note that this rating only refers to the online news at CNN.com, not CNN cable TV nor CNN Opinion/Editorial pieces. AllSides does not rate cable TV or radio bias. We changed the title of this page from CNN to CNN Web News on October 27th, 2017 to clarify this. AllSides rates the media bias for CNN Opinion/Editorial separately; it is rated Left. To see why we split CNN Web News from CNN editorial, please refer to our CNN Editorial Review from December 21st, 2017.
After conducting deep editorial analysis and analyzing user feedback, on March 27th, 2018, AllSides moved the Media Bias Rating for CNN Web News from Center to Lean Left. More details as to why we made the change can be found in our March 2018 blog post on the matter, as well as below.
After years of receiving feedback from AllSides users that our media bias rating of CNN Web News as Center was incorrect, we conducted an extensive editorial review in March 2018, after which we decided to move CNN Web News to a Lean Left rating.
For our review of CNN Web News, the entire AllSides team read CNN’s homepage and politics page every day for a week and compared it to other Center and Lean Left sources. We looked at the stories CNN chose to cover as well as the prominence certain stories held over others.
We found CNN Web News has a tendency to include a lot of Opinion and Analysis without labeling it clearly as such until afterreaders click through to the full article. This means CNN displays Opinion-level content alongside hard news on the homepage, making it look like the Opinion pieces are objective, fact-based news.
We also found that there are Left-leaning and Center articles featured on CNN, but the outlet never publishes a Right-leaning article. Note that a Center rating is assigned if we see a balance of biases being represented, which is not the case with CNN.
President Donald Trump and others have accused CNN of being fake news. Fake news can be defined in many ways, and can refer to either overtly false information, or information that is biased or manipulative in some way. AllSides explores whether CNN is fake news on the blog.
In October 2019, right-wing activist group Project Veritas published videos claiming to reveal the network's anti-Trump bias. In January 2020, CNN faced accusations of bias over its moderation of a 2020 presidential debate between Democratic candidates.
There has been ongoing disagreement among the AllSides community over CNN Web News' rating. We break down the numbers around CNN Web News' media bias here.
According to the 2014 Pew Research Study, Where News Audiences Fit on the Political Spectrum, 44% of CNN’s audience holds political values to the political left or left-of-center. About 17% of CNN's audience holds right or right-of-center political values (compared with 38% of all respondents to the survey). Roughly 40% of CNN's audience is considered to have mixed or center-aligned political values (compared with 36% of all respondents to the survey).
CNN Web News - Media Bias Ratings Prior to 2017
In general, the AllSides Media Bias Rating™ only evaluates the news section of a website. More often than not, that bias rating also matches the leanings of the editorial and opinion pieces from the publication. However, there are exceptions: some media outlets display a different bias on its opinion and editorial pages. For example, AllSides rates the Wall Street Journal media bias consistently as Center for its news pages, while the Wall Street Journal editorial section has a media bias of Lean Right.
The AllSides Bias Rating for CNN (Web News) reflects the media bias of CNN's online journalism, not the television news channel. In addition, this media bias rating only refers to the news articles at CNN.com, not Opinion/Editorial pieces. (The distinction between news and opinion are becoming increasingly blurred, especially on TV.) We rate the media bias for CNN Opinion/Editorial as Left.
The results from AllSides' January 2013 and October 2013 blind surveys, as well as data from a 2005 UCLA study of media bias all rated CNN as Center. However, the scores in both of the blind surveys were on the border of Center, leaning towards Left.
As of July 2016, the majority of 7,500 AllSides users agreed with our bias rating of Center for CNN Web News. When those who disagreed were asked what CNN’s media bias rating should be, on average they said Lean Left. These results suggested that CNN was on the border of Center and Lean Left, so further analysis continued. As of 2018, after extensive editorial review, AllSides changed CNN Web News media bias to Lean Left.
More About CNN
CNN was founded in 1980 by Ted Turner as a 24-hour cable news channel, the first 24-hour news channel at the tine. In April 2016, an executive of CNN said that the channel “is no longer a TV news network,” but “a 24-hour global multiplatform network.” CNN is among the world's leaders in online news and information delivery. Staffed 24 hours, seven days a week by a dedicated staff in CNN's world headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, and in bureaus worldwide, CNN relies heavily on its global team of almost 4,000 news professionals. The CNN website features the latest multimedia technologies, from live video streaming to audio packages to searchable archives of news features and background information. The site is updated continuously throughout the day. CNN is available in over 100 million American households. In 1998, the Four Freedom Award for the Freedom of Speech was awarded to CNN.