Former CNN anchor Chris Cuomo has joined startup cable network NewsNation, where he’ll be hosting a primetime show this autumn – is the media company conservative or liberal?

Cuomo appeared as a guest on Dan Abrams’ primetime NewsNation show on Tuesday (July 26, 2022).

The outlet announced shortly afterwards that it had hired him. 

“NewsNation believes in the work I am doing with the Chris Cuomo Project”, a Business Wire press release quotes Cuomo as saying. “I look forward to building something special here.”

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NewsNation bills itself as neither conservative nor liberal

NewsNation is a nationwide subscription television network owned by the Nexstar Media Group.

Nexstar’s current largest insider shareholder is reportedly John Muse; its chief executive is Perry Sook. 

According to an article published on the NewsNation Now website in 2021, the media company was rated “neutral in bias” and the “most reliable” in the January 2021 edition of the Media Bias Chart.

On the most recent version of the Media Bias Chart, however, NewsNation falls between “Middle” and “Skews Right”. Nevertheless, Ad Fontes Media currently rates NewsNation in the “Middle” category of bias, and as “reliable” in its analysis and fact reporting. 

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Is NewsNation conservative or liberal in practice?

When it first came into being, NewsNation was touted as an “unbiased” alternative to Fox News, MSNBC and CNN, the Los Angeles Times reported in April 2021

But despite other networks receiving “record numbers of viewers”, Nexstar’s NewsNation suffered “minuscule ratings and internal strife over allegations of meddling in news coverage”, the Times adds.

The outlet cites “media industry veterans” who believed the exodus of NewsNation’s top editorial executives was the result of interference from upper management, and “concerns that the channel would lean more to the political right and away from its stated mandate to be unbiased”.

Variety also reported on what it called “conservative bias concerns” at NewsNation.

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How does NewsNation’s political leaning and bias compare to others?

Ad Fontes Media is a Colorado-based media watchdog organization. Its Media Bias Chart rates numerous media sources on two scales.

These are political bias (which runs from left to right) and reliability. 

The New Yorker calls Ad Fontes “non-partisan”. Meanwhile, academics have questioned the thoroughness of the Bias Chart, and argued that it is actually detrimental to media literacy efforts

But it is still of interest to some people. Ad Fontes rates NewsNation’s reliability as marginally better than CNN and significantly better than Fox News. Fox News falls between Skews Right and Hyper-Partisan Right; CNN falls under Skews Left.

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What are the political leanings of Nexstar’s board of directors?

Analyzing the potential political bias of every member of Nexstar’s board of directors is not within the scope of this article. 

However, data is available on each member’s political campaign contributions going back, in some cases, over two decades.

Chairman Perry Sook, for example, donated to the political campaigns of 2016 Republican candidates Orrin Hatch, Paul Ryan and John Boozman. 10 years ago, in 2012, John Muse’s political campaign contributions also appear to have skewed right.

However, in 2020, he appears to have made more contributions to Democratic candidates. Perry Cook also appears to have ceased donating to partisan political campaigns. Read more on Campaign Money.