Note that this rating only refers to the news web pages at CNN.com, not CNN cable TV nor CNN Opinion/Editorial pieces online or elsewhere. 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.
On March 27th, 2018, the AllSides Media Bias Rating™ for CNN Web News moved from Center to Lean Left. After conducting deep editorial analysis and analyzing user feedback, we changed the rating. 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 as such until after readers click through to the 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 doesn’t just have to mean Center reporting — we also assign a Center rating if we see a balance of biases being represented, which is not the case with CNN.
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.
CNN Web News - Media Bias Ratings Prior to 2017
In general, the AllSides Media Bias Rating™ only evaluates the news section of the news website. More often than not, that bias rating also matches the rating for the news source through other media (print, television, radio), and generally also matches the leanings of the editorial and opinion pieces from the publication. However, there are exceptions. For example, the media bias ratings for the Wall Street Journal consistently show a down-the-middle Center media bias for its news pages, while the editorial section clearly has a media bias of Right.
The AllSides Bias Rating for CNN (Web News) evaluates the media bias of CNN's online journalism, not the television news channel.
This media bias rating also 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 have rated the media bias for CNN Opinion/Editorial as Left.
The results from our original January 2013 and October 2013 blind surveys conducted by AllSides and the UCLA 2005 study 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 about 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, the average of their votes was Lean Left (as of 2018, AllSides' media bias rating of CNN Web News has changed to Lean Left). All of those results suggested that CNN was on the border of Center and Lean Left, so further analysis continued.
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.