Bias Rating: LEFT
Factual Reporting: MIXED
Press Freedom Rating: MOSTLY FREE
Media Type: TV Station
Traffic/Popularity: High Traffic
MBFC Credibility Rating: MEDIUM CREDIBILITY
Founded in 1980 by Ted Turner, The Cable News Network (CNN) are an American basic cable, satellite television channel, and website. CNN was the first 24-hour cable news channel; however, by April 2016, a CNN executive officially described the channel as “no longer a TV news network” and instead as “a 24-hour global multi-platform network.” CNN has multiple stations covering many countries around the world. They have been inaccurately characterized as fake news by former President Trump and many of his supporters.
On 11/30/2021, Prime Time Host Chris Cuomo was suspended indefinitely for inappropriately aiding his brother, former Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo, over sexual harassment allegations.
On 02/02/2022, CNN President Jeff Zucker resigned due to failure to disclose a relationship with a colleague.
Funded by / Ownership
CNN Global owns the Cable News Network, which is part of Warner Bros. Discovery, an international mass media, and entertainment conglomerate corporation led by the Discovery CEO. Cable subscriptions and advertising generate revenue.
In review, CNN presents straight news coverage with a left-leaning bias in story selection that is often critical of the right. For example, during the 2016 Presidential Election, Pew Research concluded that most CNN stories covering President Donald Trump were negative. While less dramatic, Pew also determined that more stories were negative toward Presidential candidate Mitt Romney in 2012.
Editorially, CNN’s programming almost exclusively favors the left. For example, a typical panel discussion will feature 4 to 8 guest commentators, one being a Republican, such as Rick Santorum. This creates a situation where left-leaning voices drown out the right. Prominent news hosts include Wolf Blitzer, Erin Burnett, Jake Tapper, Anderson Cooper, and Don Lemon.
CNN typically utilizes loaded emotional words in sensational headlines such as this: Trump pounces on Justice Department report findings. They usually source their news appropriately through credible reporters/journalists and through hyperlinking to credible media sources. However, CNN has failed several fact checks from Politifact. It should be noted that these fact checks were almost exclusively from guests on their numerous talk shows and not from the reporting of actual news, which tends to be factual. TV hosts have also failed fact checks by IFCN fact-checkers.
Further, CNN has retracted published stories that have been deemed as lacking evidence. Finally, CNN has published misleading information regarding GMOs that utilize loaded fear-based headlines such as this: FDA allows genetically engineered ‘Frankenfish’ salmon to be imported to US. CNN has also used known purveyors of pseudoscience as experts on discussion panels such as the Food Babe.
A 2014 Pew Research Survey found that 44% of CNN’s audience is consistently or primarily liberal, 40% Mixed, and 20% consistently or primarily conservative resulting in CNN being preferred by a more liberal audience. Further, a Reuters institute survey found that 45% of respondents trust their news coverage and 37% do not, ranking them #6 in trust among the major USA news providers. Finally, a consensus review of the most prominent media raters determined that CNN is left-biased and of medium credibility.
Failed Fact Checks
- “I was able to go and buy an automatic weapon … Most people can go out and buy an automatic weapon.” – FALSE
- “1 percent of candidates that (the National Rifle Association) endorsed in 2012 won.” – FALSE
- “ISIS lures women with kittens, nutella.” – MOSTLY FALSE
- “Trump’s claim that there are 13 Democrats on Mueller’s team is also false,” – FALSE
- Coronavirus: Facial Hair Recommendations Not Shared By The CDC – FALSE
- If President Trump decides to deploy the U.S. military domestically, he would be “mobilizing U.S. military troops on American soil for the first time since 1807.” – False (Corrected)
- “Greenland’s ice sheet has melted to a point of no return, according to new study” – Low Scientific Credibility
Overall Bias and Credibility Rating
Overall, we rate CNN left biased based on editorial positions that consistently favor the left, while straight news reporting falls left-center through bias by omission. We also rate them Mixed for factual reporting due to several failed fact checks by TV hosts. However, news reporting on the website tends to be sourced appropriately with minimal failed fact checks. (5/16/2016) Updated (D. Van Zandt 06/01/2022)
Last Updated on June 1, 2022 by Media Bias Fact Check
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