A recent audit of Google results during the three days following the Dayton and El Paso mass shootings has revealed that CNN was featured in the “Top Stories” section 25% of the time for 10 different queries related to the shootings. 46% of the results came from three left-leaning legacy media outlets – CNN (25%), The New York Times (14%), and The Washington Post (7%).
The audit was conducted by AllSides, an organization dedicated to balanced news coverage, and looked at a total of 522 news articles between August 5 and August 7 for the following terms:
- Connor Betts
- El Paso
- Patrick Crusius
The audit focused on stories which appeared in the “Top Stories” section of Google’s results and looked at how often different news outlets were featured in this section.
The audit also found that just 4% of these 522 stories came from right-leaning news outlets, with 70% coming from left-leaning outlets and the rest coming from centrist outlets or outlets that have not yet been rated by AllSides.
AllSides says that it did review 70 right-leaning news sources during these three days and found that most of them covered the shootings. However only three right-leaning news sources – Fox News, National Review, and The Washington Examiner – appeared in Google’s “Top Stories” during this audit.
The results of this audit corroborate several other statements from Google executives highlighting CNN’s favorable treatment in Google results.
Most recently, Google-owned YouTube’s chief product officer proposed “positive discrimination” of “authoritative sources” like CNN. Before this, a Google executive said that Google shows CNN for 20% of searches for “Donald Trump.”
The support of big tech companies also isn’t the only way CNN has controlled the online narrative during major, newsworthy events. When the most recent 2020 Democratic debates took place, CNN used mass copyright claims to demonetize or remove political commentary videos featuring footage from the debates.