Clinton Email Report Blackout & Spin

WBAY ABC 2 | WFRV CBS 5 | WLUK FOX 11 | 5-25-16

The ongoing scandal regarding Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email account and server while Secretary of State made national headlines on May 25th after a scathing report was released by the State Department’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) which you can read below.

In the report, the OIG concluded that Hillary Clinton utilized email in a manner that was “not an appropriate method” and if she had sought approval for the use of a private email and server it would have been denied based on “security risks”.

The OIG’s report contradicts Secretary Clinton’s ongoing claims that everything she did was permitted within the rules.  These articles by the Washington Post and New York Times have generally been viewed as quite condemning to Hillary Clinton.

This news event presented WMC with several forms of bias to address:

Bias by Story Selection:

If you watched WBAY’s 5 pm or 10 pm newscasts on the 25th, you would not have known anything about the OIG’s report since this channel chose not to report on the story at all.  This was not the first instance of local news stations avoiding such reports on the Secretary Clinton’s email tumult, and we suspect it won’t be the last.

Bias by Spin, Omission:

To their credit, WFRV, WLUK, and WGBA addressed the OIG report in their evening and nightly newscasts on May 25th.  NBC 26 has been previously called out by WMC for choosing to ignore this story.  But in this instance, they reported the story in a neutral and unbiased manner.

Unfortunately, other stations covered the Hillary Clinton/OIG report in a biased way. FOX 11 and CBS 5 committed bias by spin when they downplayed the report by stating “other Secretaries of State did it” and she was not in the wrong.

In fairness to both channels, the OIG report does note that Colin Powell also used a personal email account during his tenure.

However, WLUK and WFRV both omitted the key fact; which unlike Clinton, Colin Powell did not utilize email operating on a private residential server nor to the same frequency or extent. To put it in perspective, over 2,000 emails by Hillary Clinton have been retroactively classified. Whereas Colin Powell had two.

The Weekly Standard: “…Two of Powell’s emails have been retroactively classified. (He doesn’t think they should be.)…The Post reports that “1,600 Clinton emails” have been “retroactively classified all or in part, according to a senior congressional aide with access to the material, with the vast majority in the lowest-level category of ‘confidential.'” 22 of these 1,600 emails contained “top secret” information...

Fox News: “On the eve of Super Tuesday, the State Department released the final installment of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails from her private server, bringing the total to more than 2,000 emails containing classified information.

Furthermore, FOX 11 and WFRV 5 both failed to acknowledge that unlike Secretary Clinton’s predecessors (including Colin Powell and current Secretary John Kerry), she refused to meet with the OIG during its investigation.  Therefore, this is an example of bias by omission.


Leave a Comment