Where Does CNN Stand Politically?

Photo of the CNN building

Political Views in News

It’s a bit of a misconception that today’s news is wholly unbiased or not slanted in one direction or another. Whether it’s CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, or even NPR, each of these broadcast stations has its leaning toward reporting on the news and politics as a whole. CNN, in particular, is one of the more obvious examples of a cable news outlet having a clear favorite politically (rivaled only by Fox News).

In this brief overview, we’ll go over where CNN stands politically so that you can have a firm understanding of what their values are and what you can glean from their political reporting.

What is CNN’s Political News Stance?

According to All Sides Bias Ratings, CNN is rated as “Left” in political reporting and overall stances. Several studies and independent research have backed this, confirming their overall stance.

All Sides noted that from 2017 to 2021, CNN moved from “Center” to “Lean Left” to “Left.” While initially only meant for the online news outlets at CNN.com, by January 2021, it was determined that CNN’s TV/broadcast content matched their web content as being “Left.”

How was it Determined that they were Politically Left?

CNN went through several research studies to confirm their audience and political leanings. From blind surveys to third-party analyses to All Sides’ independent research, it was determined that the company was largely left-leaning politically.

Photo of Al Gore and John Berman
CNN anchor John Berman (R) with former presidential candidate Al Gore.

Blind Survey

Performed both in February of 2017 and later in November 2020, several blind surveys were performed to gauge how people perceived CNN and their political leanings. In the November 2020 blind survey, 2,285 people, across all political views, blindly rated CNN and their content. From this, it was overwhelmingly agreed that CNN was left-leaning politically.

In another, earlier blind survey between April 4th and April 7th of 2018, 1,994 people were asked to rate CNN’s political leanings. Over 35% said CNN was “Very Liberal” throughout the survey, and 22% said it was “Somewhat Liberal.” 22% either didn’t know or had no opinion on the issue, while 21% of the surveyed believed CNN was either “Somewhat Conservative,” “Very Conservative,” or considered “Centrist/non-partisan.”

In both blind surveys, AllSides collected two separate pieces of content from CNN’s website, removed any branding that would determine where they were from, and presented them to the participants. Across the political spectrum, the participants overwhelmingly agreed that it was either Left or Lean Left.

Independent Research

As with the blind surveys, AllSides performed their independent review on the site and the TV news platform. Using its different members across the political spectrum, AllSides’s noted a strong rating towards the “Left.” One member of AllSides in particular (self-identified as a Centrist) noted that CNN’s online homepage, at the time, was filled with anti-Trump and anti-GOP narratives.

In addition, it was discovered that CNN did not have any anti-Democrat or anti-left narratives or arguments. The station was further noted to be strongly left-leaning as they didn’t have any right-leaning sources. They also used very biased language while also outright omitting any facts that would, if included, argue against a left-leaning perspective.

Third-Party Analysis

Finally, AllSides reviewed CNN’s fact-checking section to determine any level of objectivity or unbias when looking over any political leader. It was found that the fact-checkers were very skewed towards Donald Trump and the GOP. On the other hand, Democrats, Joe Biden, or any non-Trump-related scenario was hardly ever focused on or reviewed.

Photo of Donald Trump in front of Airforce One
Donald Trump has repeatedly labeled CNN as ‘Fake News.’

Is CNN Fake News?

Because they are recognized for having a very biased approach to reporting news, many have argued that CNN is, in fact, “Fake News.”
While the definition regarding what constitutes “Fake News” varies depending on who you talk to, the consensus is that it includes information that is either fabricated or intentionally and willfully presented in a way that changes the overall meaning of the news.

In CNN’s case, it is up to your personal opinion on whether they would be classified as “Fake News.” While they have put out objectively false information, in many instances, they will either retract or correct the story when new information is presented. Similarly, while they will often take a Left-leaning or liberal stance on an issue, the information presented is still technically accurate, regardless of your political stance.

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