Reasoning: Extreme Right, Propaganda, Some Fake News
World Press Freedom Rank: USA 45/180
CNS News, formerly known as Cybercast News Service was founded in 1998 by L. Brent Bozell III, who is the nephew of National Review founder William F. Buckley Jr. CNS News is owned by Media Research Center (MRC), which is a conservative content analysis organization based in Virginia, founded in 1987 by L. Brent Bozell III. Bozell is a conservative columnist and author of four books, however, according to a Daily Beast article former employees claim that Bozell uses Tim Graham, Director of Media Analysis, as his ghostwriter. As a result, according to a Slate article, the Quad-City Times (Iowa) dropped Bozell’s column.
Media Research Center (MRC) states its mission is “to expose and neutralize the propaganda arm of the Left”. CNS News describes itself as a news source “for individuals, news organizations and broadcasters who put a higher premium on balance than spin and seek news that’s ignored or under-reported as a result of media bias by omission.”
Terry Jeffery is Editor-In-Chief of CNS News and a complete list of staff for their parent company MRC can be found here, though some names were left off. For example, the Heritage Foundation states that Rebekah Mercer serves on the board of Media Research Center. Rebekah Mercer is the daughter of right-wing philanthropist Robert Mercer who heavily funded the Trump Campaign.
Funded by / Ownership
CNS News’ parent company is a conservative media watchdog called Media Research Center (MRC). According to charitynavigator.org ratings, Media Research Center (MRC) was awarded with an overall 2/4 star rating and with a 1 Star financial rating. A Politico article states that Bozell keeps the wealthy donor that helped start up the Media Research Center secret. To this day that donor is still unknown.
According to Sourcewatch, Media Research Center’s top donors are “Exxon Mobil and The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, Inc. The foundation donated $1.65 million to Media Research Center between 2001 and 2010.” Further, Desmog Blog reports that “according to publicly available 990 forms, the MRC has received over $4.1 million from the oil money-backed Scaife Family and $7,494,000 from the Mercer Family Foundation.” Public Integrity reports that “Mercer has heavily funded ultra-conservative media outlets, such as Breitbart News and Brent Bozell’s Media Research Center.” The website is funded through donations and online advertising.
Analysis / Bias
In review, CNS News consistently publishes news that favors the right and denigrates the left. Headlines and articles typically use moderately loaded wording such as this: Patrick Buchanan: Has the West the Will to Survive?. Within this article, there is not a single link to an external source to support Mr. Buchanan’s commentary. Further, Pat Buchanan has a mixed track record with fact-checkers. In another article, they use questionable language when referring to liberals/welfare recipients as thugs. News stories also typically offer limited sourcing, with most hyperlinks directing back to older CNS stories. Editorially, CNS News advocates for a free market with limited regulations as well as the promotion of human-influenced climate change denialism as evidenced by their support for the Heartland Institute, which is a climate change think tank funded by the fossil fuel industry.
Failed Fact Checks (Below is a list of failed fact checks either directly or indirectly tied to CNS News)
- In Oregon, do 15-year-olds have complete control over sterilization? – False
- Did the ACLU Complain That Trump Said ‘America’ Too Many Times in State of the Union? – False
- Did Melania Trump Hire an Exorcist to Cleanse the White House of Obama ‘Demons’? – False
- Are there more welfare recipients in the U.S. than full-time workers? – False
- Shrub found in wild during California highway project transplanted for $148,000; move wasn’t paid for with Obama-approved economic stimulus aid – Mostly False
Overall, we rate CNS News Questionable based on extreme right-wing bias, promotion of propaganda, and numerous failed fact checks. (6/18/2016) Updated (M. Huitsing 6/10/2020)