Cable News Network (CNN) is an American basic cable and satellite television news channel owned by the Turner Broadcasting System, a division of Time Warner. CNN was founded in 1980 by American media proprietor Ted Turner as a 24-hour cable news channel. Upon its launch, CNN was the first television channel to provide 24-hour news coverage, and was the first all-news television channel in the United States.
While the news channel has numerous affiliates, CNN primarily broadcasts from the Time Warner Center in New York City, and studios in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles. Its headquarters at the CNN Center in Atlanta is only used for weekend programming. CNN is sometimes referred to as CNN/U.S. (or CNN Domestic) to distinguish the American channel from its international sister network, CNN International. As of August 2010, CNN is available in over 100 million U.S. households. Broadcast coverage of the U.S. channel extends to over 890,000 American hotel rooms, as well as carriage on cable and satellite providers throughout Canada. Globally, CNN programming airs through CNN International, which can be seen by viewers in over 212 countries and territories.
As of July 2015, CNN is available to about 96,374,000 cable, satellite, and telco television households (82.8% of households with at least one television set) in the United States.
The Cable News Network was launched at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on June 1, 1980. After an introduction by Ted Turner, the husband and wife team of David Walker and Lois Hart anchored the channel's first newscast. Burt Reinhardt, the executive vice president of CNN at its launch, hired most of the channel's first 200 employees, including the network's first news anchor, Bernard Shaw.
Since its debut, CNN has expanded its reach to a number of cable and satellite television providers, several websites, and specialized closed-circuit channels (such as CNN Airport). The company has 42 bureaus (11 domestic, 31 international), more than 900 affiliated local stations (which also receive news and features content via the video newswire service CNN Newsource), and several regional and foreign-language networks around the world. The channel's success made a bona-fide mogul of founder Ted Turner and set the stage for conglomerate Time Warner's eventual acquisition of the Turner Broadcasting System in 1996.
A companion channel, CNN2, was launched on January 1, 1982 and featured a continuous 24-hour cycle of 30-minute news broadcasts. The channel, which later became known as CNN Headline News and is now known as simply HLN, eventually focused on live news coverage supplemented by personality-based programs during the evening and primetime hours.
The first Persian Gulf War in 1991 was a watershed event for CNN that catapulted the channel past the "Big Three" American networks for the first time in its history, largely due to an unprecedented, historical scoop: CNN was the only news outlet with the ability to communicate from inside Iraq during the initial hours of the Coalition bombing campaign, with live reports from the al-Rashid Hotel in Baghdad by reporters Bernard Shaw, John Holliman and Peter Arnett.
The moment when bombing began was announced on CNN by Shaw on January 16, 1991, as follows:
This is Bernie Shaw. Something is happening outside. ... Peter Arnett, join me here. Let's describe to our viewers what we're seeing... The skies over Baghdad have been illuminated. ... We're seeing bright flashes going off all over the sky.
Because it was unable to immediately broadcast live pictures from Baghdad, CNN's coverage of the initial hours of the Gulf War had the dramatic feel of a radio broadcast – and was compared to legendary CBS news anchor Edward R. Murrow's gripping live radio reports of the German bombing of London during World War II. Despite the lack of live pictures, CNN's coverage was carried by television stations and networks around the world, resulting in CNN being watched by over a billion viewers worldwide.
The Gulf War experience brought CNN some much sought-after legitimacy and made household names of previously obscure reporters. In 2000, media scholar and director of the Center for the Study of Popular Television at Syracuse University, Robert Thompson, stated that having turned 20, CNN was now the "old guard." Shaw, known for his live-from-Bagdhad reporting during the Gulf War, became CNN's chief anchor until his retirement in 2001. Others include then-Pentagon correspondent Wolf Blitzer (now host of The Situation Room) and international correspondent Christiane Amanpour. Amanpour's presence in Iraq was caricatured by actress Nora Dunn in the role of the ruthless reporter Adriana Cruz in the 1999 film Three Kings. Time Warner-owned sister network HBO later produced a television movie, Live from Baghdad, about CNN's coverage of the first Gulf War.
Coverage of the first Gulf War and other crises of the early 1990s (particularly the infamous Battle of Mogadishu) led officials at the Pentagon to coin the term "the CNN effect" to describe the perceived impact of real time, 24-hour news coverage on the decision-making processes of the American government.
September 11 attacks
CNN was the first cable news channel to break the news of the September 11 attacks. Anchor Carol Lin was on the air to deliver the first public report of the event. She broke into a commercial at 8:49 a.m. Eastern Time that morning and said:
This just in. You are looking at obviously a very disturbing live shot there. That is the World Trade Center, and we have unconfirmed reports this morning that a plane has crashed into one of the towers of the World Trade Center. CNN Center right now is just beginning to work on this story, obviously calling our sources and trying to figure out exactly what happened, but clearly something relatively devastating happening this morning there on the south end of the island of Manhattan. That is once again, a picture of one of the towers of the World Trade Center.
Sean Murtagh, CNN vice president of finance and administration, was the first network employee on the air. He called into CNN Center from his office at CNN's New York City bureau and reported that a commercial jet had hit the Trade Center.
Daryn Kagan and Leon Harris were live on the air just after 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time as the second plane hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center and through an interview with CNN correspondent David Ensor, reported the news that U.S. officials determined "that this is a terrorist act." Later, Aaron Brown and Judy Woodruff anchored through the day and night as the attacks unfolded, winning an Edward R. Murrow award for the network. Brown had just joined CNN from ABC to serve as the breaking news anchor.
CNN has made archival files of much of the day's broadcast available in .
2008 U.S. election
Leading up to the 2008 U.S. presidential election, CNN devoted large amounts of its coverage to politics, including hosting candidate debates during the Democratic and Republican primary seasons. On June 3 and 5, CNN teamed up with Saint Anselm College to sponsor the New Hampshire Republican and Democratic Debates. Later in 2007, the channel hosted the first CNN/YouTube presidential debates, a non-traditional format where viewers were invited to pre-submit questions over the internet via the YouTube video-sharing service. In 2008, CNN partnered with the Los Angeles Times to host two primary debates leading up to its coverage of Super Tuesday. CNN's debate and election night coverage led to its highest ratings of the year, with January 2008 viewership averaging 1.1 million viewers, a 41% increase over the previous year.
2016 U.S. election
Driven by live coverage of the year's US presidential election, 2016 was CNN's most-watched year in its history. Throughout the campaign, the network aired unedited coverage of many of the Trump campaign rallies. Aides for Republican candidates Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, and Ted Cruz accused CNN president Jeff Zucker of undermining their candidates during the Republican primaries. Zucker acknowledged that it had been a mistake to air so many of the campaign rallies. CNN also drew criticism during the election for hiring former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who was still being paid by and was effectively working on behalf of the campaign.
Trump administration, AT&T purchase
The presidency of Donald Trump has led to many prominent controversies involving CNN. The network was accused of bias during its coverage of the 2016 campaign; current CNN president Jeff Zucker defended its extensive coverage of Trump, noting among the Republican candidates, he was the most willing to give on-air interviews. Likewise, there were accusations by both Trump and supporters of Bernie Sanders, that CNN focused too much on Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton; during his speech at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Trump referred to CNN as the "Clinton News Network".
In January 2017, CNN reported that Trump had been briefed on a classified dossier which detailed compromising personal and financial information that had allegedly been obtained by the Russian government. While CNN did not publish the dossier, Trump criticized the network during a press conference the following day, and refused to take a question from CNN reporter Jim Acosta, claiming that the network was "fake news". On June 26, 2017, CNN investigative journalists Thomas Frank, Eric Lichtblau, and Lex Haris voluntarily resigned after the network retracted an online article which incorrectly connected Trump aide Anthony Scaramucci to a $10 billion Russian investment fund. The network apologized to Scaramucci and admitted that the online story did not meet their editorial standards. Zucker responded by stressing that the network needs to "play error-free ball" when it comes to any future stories about Trump.
In July 2017, Trump posted a video on Twitter of himself tackling Vince McMahon on the ground during WrestleMania 23, edited to replace McMahon's face with a CNN logo. The clip was considered to be a further expression of his opinions regarding the network's quality of coverage. Later that month, a group of democratic senators led by Amy Klobuchar issued a request for information over allegations that the Trump administration was planning to use CNN as "leverage for political gain" in the process of clearing the proposed acquisition of its parent company Time Warner by AT&T—a purchase which was first announced in October 2016. The Daily Caller reported that, in particular, the administration was seeking the removal of Jeff Zucker as CNN president. Although Trump had promised to block the acquisition entirely during his presidential campaign, Trump's transition team later stated that the government planned to evaluate the deal without prejudice.
Following the announcement of the acquisition, AT&T CEO Randall L. Stephenson stated that the company was "committed to continuing the editorial independence of CNN". In August 2017, Deadline.com reported that AT&T had considered spinning off CNN and its stake in TMZ post-acquisition. In October 2017, Stephenson downplayed the possibility that the ongoing tensions between Trump and CNN could affect the deal, stating that he "[didn't] know what the relevance of CNN is in terms of an antitrust review", and that AT&T did not plan to make managerial changes to Time Warner properties that were operating well, such as CNN. Later that month, CNN launched a new promotional campaign, "Facts First", in an effort to combat false perceptions over the quality of its reporting. Using an apple to demonstrate metaphors for fake news and "alternative facts" (in particular, suggesting that one could persistently opine that the apple was actually a banana, despite the fact that it was an apple), the ads publicize a commitment to fact-checking and accurate reporting, as part of a new mission statement acknowledging that "while opinions matter, they don't change the facts." The ad became the subject of parodies, including one by The Daily Caller (which reversed the ad, and amended the slogan with "unless we are reporting on Trump"), and Stephen Colbert (which closed with the line "Now orange you ready to impeach?"), and was criticized by conservative publishers, republican politicians, and on social media.
On November 6, 2017, Stephenson met with Makan Delrahim, assistant Attorney General of the United States Department of Justice Antitrust Division, to discuss antitrust and concentration of media ownership concerns surrounding the acquisition, and possible options for satisfying them. Two days later, major media outlets publicly reported that the Justice Department had recommended that either the entire Turner Broadcasting group, or DirecTV, be divested as a condition of the merger. The Financial Times went further, stating that it had specifically demanded the divestment of CNN. Stephenson denied these reports, stating that he never offered to, nor had any intentions to sell CNN. CNN's media analyst Brian Stelter noted that media outlets were interpreting the alleged recommendations as being either a genuine concern for AT&T's scale following the merger, or a retaliatory measure by the Trump administration against CNN.
At the DealBook conference in New York City the next day, Stephenson denied that the Department had demanded the divestment of CNN at all (stating that he had have "never been told that the price of getting the deal done was selling CNN"), and that the company aimed to "get to a negotiated settlement". However, he stated that if they were unable to do so, AT&T was "prepared to litigate". In a statement to CNBC, a Department of Justice official backed Stephenson, denying that there were any specific demands to divest CNN during the discussion, and considering the claims to be "shocking" and an attempt to politicize the situation. The official added that the Department had officially recommended either abandoning the deal entirely, or divesting DirecTV or Turner, but that it was open to other options for quelling antitrust concerns. The same day, the watchdog group Protect Democracy sued the Department of Justice to seek information on whether the Trump administration had "improperly interfered with the Department's review of the merger between AT&T and Time Warner, or has acted in that matter based on the President's personal dislike of CNN's protected speech." The group had issued a Freedom of Information Act request for these details, but the Department had not responded.
CNN's current weekday schedule consists mostly of rolling news programming during daytime hours, followed by in-depth news and factual programs during the evening and primetime hours.
The network's morning programming consists of Early Start, an early-morning news program hosted by Christine Romans and Dave Briggs at 4–6 a.m. ET, which is followed by New Day, the network's morning show, hosted by Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota at 6–9 a.m. ET. Most of CNN's late-morning and early afternoon programming consists of CNN Newsroom, a rolling news program hosted by John Berman and Poppy Harlow in the morning and Brooke Baldwin in the afternoon. In between the editions of Newsroom, At This Hour with Kate Bolduan at 11 a.m. to noon Eastern, followed by Inside Politics with John King, hosted by John King at noon Eastern, and Wolf with Wolf Blitzer at 1 p.m. Eastern.
CNN's late afternoon and early evening lineup consists of The Lead with Jake Tapper, hosted by Jake Tapper at 4 p.m. Eastern and The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, hosted by Wolf Blitzer at 5–7 p.m. ET. The network's evening and primetime lineup shifts towards more in-depth programming, including Erin Burnett OutFront at 7 p.m. ET, and Anderson Cooper 360° at 8–10 p.m. ET, followed by CNN Tonight with Don Lemon, hosted by Don Lemon at 10 p.m. to midnight Eastern.
CNN launched new series in the 9 p.m. ET timeslot for the 2014–15 season, such as John Walsh's The Hunt, This Is Life with Lisa Ling, and Mike Rowe's Somebody's Gotta Do It. Jeff Zucker explained that this new lineup was intended to shift CNN away from a reliance on pundit-oriented programs, and attract younger demographics to the network. Despite this, Zucker emphasized a continuing commitment to news programming, as the 9 p.m. hour can be pre-empted as needed for expanded coverage of news events. These changes coincided with the introduction of a new imaging campaign for the network, featuring the slogan "Go there". In May 2014, CNN premiered The Sixties, a documentary miniseries produced by Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman which chronicled the United States in the 1960s. Owing to its success, CNN would produce sequels focusing on the 1970s and 1980s for 2015 and 2016 respectively.
Weekend primetime is dedicated mostly to factual programming, including the reality series Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, along with topical documentaries and specials under banners such as CNN Presents, CNN Special Investigations Unit and CNN Films. The network's weekend morning programming consists of CNN Newsroom (simulcast from CNN International) at 4–6 a.m. ET, which is followed by the weekend editions of New Day, hosted by Christi Paul and Victor Blackwell, which airs every Saturday at 6–9 a.m. ET and Sunday at 6–8 a.m. ET and the network's Saturday program Smerconish with Michael Smerconish at 9 a.m. Eastern and replay at 6 p.m. Eastern. Sunday morning lineup consists primarily of political talk shows, including Inside Politics with John King, hosted by John King at 8 a.m. Eastern and State of the Union, hosted by Jake Tapper at 9 a.m. Eastern and replay at noon Eastern, and the international affairs program Fareed Zakaria GPS, hosted by Fareed Zakaria at 10 a.m. Eastern and replay at 1 p.m. Eastern, and the media analysis program Reliable Sources with Brian Stelter, hosted by Brian Stelter at 11 a.m. Eastern.
CNN's political coverage in HD was first given mobility by the introduction of the CNN Election Express bus in October 2007. The Election Express vehicle, capable of five simultaneous HD feeds, was used for the channel's CNN-YouTube presidential debates and for presidential candidate interviews.
In December 2008, CNN introduced a comprehensive redesign of its on-air appearance, which replaced an existing style that had been used since 2004. On-air graphics took a rounded, flat look in a predominantly black, white, and red color scheme, and the introduction of a new box next to the CNN logo for displaying show logos and segment-specific graphics, rather than as a large banner above the lower-third. The redesign also replaced the scrolling ticker with a static "flipper", which could either display a feed of news headlines (both manually inserted and taken from the RSS feeds of CNN.com), or "topical" details related to a story.
CNN's next major redesign was introduced on January 10, 2011, replacing the dark, flat appearance of the 2008 look with a glossier, blue and white color scheme, and moving the secondary logo box to the opposite end of the screen. Additionally, the network began to solely produce its programming in the 16:9 aspect ratio, with standard definition feeds using a letterboxed version of the HD feed. On February 18, 2013, the "flipper" was dropped and reverted to a scrolling ticker; originally displayed as a blue background with white text, the ticker was reconfigured a day later with blue text on a white background to match the look of the 'flipper'.
On August 11, 2014, CNN introduced its most recent graphics package, dropping the glossy appearance for a flat, rectangular scheme incorporating red, white, and black colors, and the Gotham typeface. The ticker now alternates between general headlines and financial news from CNNMoney, and the secondary logo box was replaced with a smaller box below the CNN bug, which displays either the title, hashtag, or Twitter handle for the show being aired or its anchor. In April 2016, CNN began to introduce a new corporate typeface, known as "CNN Sans", across all of its platforms. Inspired by Helvetica Neue and commissioned after consultations with Troika Design Group, the font family consists of 30 different versions with varying weights and widths to facilitate use across print, television, and digital mediums.
In August 2016, CNN announced the launch of its new initiative, CNN Aerial Imagery and Reporting (CNN AIR). It is a drone-based news collecting operation to integrate aerial imagery and reporting across all CNN branches and platforms, along with Turner Broadcasting and Time Warner entities.
On July 27, 2012, CNN president Jim Walton announced that he was quitting, after a 30-year tenure at the network. Walton remained with CNN until the end of that year. In January 2013, former NBCUniversal president Jeff Zucker replaced Walton.
CNN launched its website, CNN.com (initially an experiment known as CNN Interactive), on August 30, 1995. The site attracted growing interest over its first decade and is now one of the most popular news websites in the world. The widespread growth of blogs, social media and user-generated content have influenced the site, and blogs in particular have focused CNN's previously scattershot online offerings, most noticeably in the development and launch of CNN Pipeline in late 2005.
In April 2009, CNN.com ranked third place among online global news sites in unique users in the U.S., according to Nielsen/NetRatings; with an increase of 11% over the previous year.
CNN Pipeline was the name of a paid subscription service, its corresponding website, and a content delivery client that provided streams of live video from up to four sources (or "pipes"), on-demand access to CNN stories and reports, and optional pop-up "news alerts" to computer users. The installable client was available to users of PCs running Microsoft Windows. There was also a browser-based "web client" that did not require installation. The service was discontinued in July 2007, and was replaced with a free streaming service.
The topical news program Judy Woodruff's Inside Politics was the first CNN program to feature a round-up of blogs in 2005. Blog coverage was expanded when Inside Politics was folded into The Situation Room (Inside Politics later returned to CNN in 2014, this time hosted by the network's chief national correspondent John King.). In 2006, CNN launched CNN Exchange and CNN iReport, initiatives designed to further introduce and centralize the impact of everything from blogging to citizen journalism within the CNN brand. CNN iReport which features user-submitted photos and video, has achieved considerable traction, with increasingly professional-looking reports filed by amateur journalists, many still in high school or college. The iReport gained more prominence when observers of the Virginia Tech shootings sent-in first hand photos of what was going on during the shootings.
In early 2008, CNN began maintaining a live streaming broadcast available to cable and satellite subscribers who receive CNN at home (a precursor to the TV Everywhere services that would become popularized by cable and satellite providers beginning with Time Warner's incorporation of the medium). CNN International is broadcast live, as part of the RealNetworks SuperPass subscription service outside the U.S. CNN also offers several RSS feeds and podcasts.
On April 18, 2008, CNN.com was targeted by Chinese hackers in retaliation for the channel's coverage on the 2008 Tibetan unrest. CNN reported that they took preventative measures after news broke of the impending attack.
The company was honored at the 2008 Technology & Engineering Emmy Awards for development and implementation of an integrated and portable IP-based live, edit and store-and-forward digital news gathering (DNG) system. The first use of what would later win CNN this award was in April 2001 when CNN correspondent Lisa Rose Weaver covered, and was detained, for the release of the U.S. Navy crew of a damaged electronic surveillance plane after the Hainan Island incident. The technology consisted of a videophone produced by 7E Communications Ltd of London, UK. This DNG workflow is used today by the network to receive material worldwide using an Apple MacBook Pro, various prosumer and professional digital cameras, software from Streambox Inc., and BGAN terminals from Hughes Network Systems.
On October 24, 2009, CNN launched a new version of the CNN.com website; the revamped site included the addition of a new "sign up" option, in which users can create their own username and profile, and a new "CNN Pulse" (beta) feature, along with a new red color theme. However, most of the news stories archived on the website were deleted. As of 2016, there are four versions of the website: the , the , the , and the . Readers can choose their preferred version, but, in the absence of a selection, the server determines an edition according to the requesting IP address.
CNN also has a channel in the popular video-sharing site YouTube, but its videos can only be viewed in the United States, a source of criticism among YouTube users worldwide. In 2014, CNN launched a radio version of their popular Television programming on TuneIn Radio.
In April 2010, CNN announced via Twitter that it would launch a food blog called "Eatocracy," which will "cover all news related to food – from recalls to health issues to culture." CNN had an internet relay chat (IRC) network at chat.cnn.com. CNN placed a live chat with Benjamin Netanyahu on the network in 1998.
CNNHealth consists of expert doctors answering viewers' questions online at CNN's "The Chart" blog website. Contributors include Drs. Sanjay Gupta (Chief Medical Correspondent), Charles Raison (Mental Health Expert), Otis Brawley (Conditions Expert), Melina Jampolis (Diet and Fitness Expert), Jennifer Shu (Living Well Expert), and Elizabeth Cohen (Senior Medical Correspondent).
On March 7, 2017, CNN announced the official launch of its virtual reality unit named CNNVR. It will produce 360 videos to its Android and iOS apps within CNN Digital. It is planning to cover major news events with the online, and digital news team in New York City, Atlanta, London, Hong Kong, San Francisco, Dubai, Johannesburg, Tokyo, and Beijing.
On November 28, 2016, CNN announced the acquisition of Beme for a reported $25 million. On November 29, 2016, Matt Hackett, co-founder of Beme, announced via an email to its users that the Beme app would be shutting down on January 31, 2017. Since the shutdown of the app, it was announced that CNN intended to use the current talent behind Beme to work on a separate start-up endeavor. Beme's current team will retain full creative control of the new project which is slated to release in the summer of 2017. Beme have also brought on other internet stars such as the host of Vsauce 3, Jake Roper, as Head of production, who features prominently in Beme's co-founder, Casey Neistat's vlogs.
In October 2012, CNN formed a film division called CNN Films to distribute and produce made-for-TV and feature documentaries. Its first acquisition was a documentary entitled Girl Rising, a documentary narrated by Meryl Streep that focused on the struggles of girls' education.
In July 2014, Cumulus Media announced that it would end its partnership with ABC News Radio, and enter into a new partnership with CNN to syndicate national and international news content for its stations through Westwood One beginning in 2015, including access to a wire service, and digital content for its station websites. This service is unbranded, allowing individual stations to integrate the content with their own news brands.
Over the years, CNN has launched spin-off networks in the United States and other countries. Channels that currently operate as of 2014 include:
- CNN Airport
- CNN Chile – a Chilean news channel that launched on December 4, 2008.
- CNN en Español
- CNN International
- CNN TÜRK – a Turkish media outlet.
- CNN-IBN – an Indian news channel.
- CNN Indonesia – an Indonesian news channel that launched on August 17, 2015. (co-owned with Trans Corp)
- CNNj – a Japanese news outlet.
- CNN Philippines – a Filipino news channel launched on March 16, 2015.
CNN has also launched television and online ventures that are no longer in operation, including:
- CNN Checkout Channel (out-of-home place-based custom channel for grocery stores that started in 1991 and shuttered in 1993)
- CNN Italia (an Italian news website launched in partnership with the publishing company Gruppo Editoriale L'Espresso, and after with the financial newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, it launched on November 15, 1999 and closed on September 12, 2003)
- CNN Pipeline (24-hour multi-channel broadband online news service, replaced with CNN.com Live)
- CNN Sports Illustrated (also known as CNNSI; U.S. sports news channel, closed in 2002)
- CNN+ (a partner channel in Spain, launched in 1999 with Sogecable)
- CNN.com Live
- CNNfn (financial channel, closed in December 2004)
CNN launched two specialty news channels for the American market which would later close amid competitive pressure: the sports news channel CNNSI shut down in 2002, while business news channel CNNfn shut down after nine years on the air in December 2004. CNN had a partnership with Sports Illustrated through the sports website CNNSI.com, but sold the domain name in May 2015. CNNfn's former website now redirects to money.cnn.com, a product of CNN's strategic partnership with Money magazine. Money and Sports Illustrated were both Time Warner properties until 2014, when the company's magazine division was spun off into the separate Time Inc.
CNN operates bureaus in the following cities as of February 2017. Boldface indicates that the city is home to one of CNN's original bureaus, meaning it has been in operation since the network's founding.
- Atlanta (World Headquarters)
- Los Angeles
- New York City
- San Francisco
- Washington, D.C.
In parts of the world without a CNN bureau, reports from local affiliate station the network will be used to file a story.
In a joint study by the Joan Shorenstein Center on Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University and the Project for Excellence in Journalism, the authors found disparate treatment by the three major cable channels of Republican and Democratic candidates during the earliest five months of presidential primaries in 2007:
The CNN programming studied tended to cast a negative light on Republican candidates – by a margin of three-to-one. Four-in-ten stories (41%) were clearly negative while just 14% were positive and 46% were neutral. The network provided negative coverage of all three main candidates with McCain faring the worst (63% negative) and Romney faring a little better than the others only because a majority of his coverage was neutral. It's not that Democrats, other than Obama, fared well on CNN either. Nearly half of the Illinois Senator's stories were positive (46%), vs. just 8% that were negative. But both Clinton and Edwards ended up with more negative than positive coverage overall. So while coverage for Democrats overall was a bit more positive than negative, that was almost all due to extremely favorable coverage for Obama.
CNN President Walter Isaacson met with Republican Party leaders in Washington, DC in 2001 saying afterwards "I was trying to reach out to a lot of Republicans who feel that CNN has not been as open covering Republicans, and I wanted to hear their concerns," As CNN founder Ted Turner stated, "There really isn't much of a point getting some Tom, Dick or Harry off the streets to report on when we can snag a big name whom everyone identifies with. After all, it's all part of the business." However, in April 2008, Turner criticized the direction that CNN has taken.
In October 2016, WikiLeaks published emails from John Podesta which showed CNN contributor Donna Brazile passing the questions for a CNN-sponsored debate to the Clinton campaign. In the email, Brazile discussed her concern of Clinton's ability to field a question regarding the death penalty. The following day Clinton would receive the question about the death penalty, verbatim from an audience member at the CNN-hosted Town Hall event. According to a CNNMoney investigation, the debate moderator Roland Martin of TV One "did not deny sharing information with Brazile."
Awards and honors
In 1998, CNN received the Four Freedom Award for the Freedom of Speech.