WBAY Puts on the Blinders

WBAY ABC 2  |  8-9-2016


In its August 9, 2016, 10:00 p.m. newscast, WBAY Channel 2 continued with the national media trend of drumming up negative news coverage of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump while at the same time featuring favorable news coverage of Hillary Clinton.

See if you can spot the bias by watching the two stories: one on Trump, followed by one on Clinton.

WBAY chose to focus on certain “ambiguous” comments Donald Trump made at a rally in North Carolina regarding supporters of the Second Amendment.  Though WBAY admits the remarks are “ambiguous”, the reporter only explains one-half of the ambiguity. The negative half that Donald Trump was encouraging citizens to shoot Hillary Clinton.  

What about the other half of the ambiguity?  That Donald Trump was recognizing that 2nd Amendment supporters are a very politically motivated group of voters who, if mobilized, could accomplish the impossible. This is bias by spin. That interpretation was just briefly mentioned by the anchor when she referenced Trump’s communication director’s statement.

WBAY Anchor “Trump’s communication director says he was praising the spirit of strong supporters of the second amendment.”

Next, WBAY features a story about Hillary Clinton and her efforts to encourage Congress to pass legislation to combat the Zika virus and her admonishment of the Republican controlled Congress for going into recess without passing said legislation.

Where’s the bias?  It is found in both how the stories were reported, but more importantly, what wasn’t reported.

WBAY committed bias by story selection in choosing to feature a negative story about Donald Trump’s “ambiguous” comments up against a favorable story about Hillary Clinton’s crusade to combat Zika.  They may have been proper in doing this, had there been no other news to report about Clinton that night.  

This, though, was not the case.  WBAY committed bias by story selection in choosing not to report two trending negative stories involving Hillary Clinton that had gathered national attention.  

First, a lawsuit was commenced against Hillary Clinton. It was brought by the parents of Sean Smith  (a State Department Information Manager Officer in Benghazi and former Air Force Veteran) and Glen Doherty (a CIA security contractor in Benghazi and former Navy Seal). Both men were killed by local Lybian and Al Queda linked terrorist groups alongside Tyrone Woods and US Ambassador Chris Stevens during the attacks on the US Consulate and CIA annex in Benghazi in 2012.

The lawsuit alleges that Hillary Clinton was both liable for their deaths based on her “extreme carelessness” while serving as Secretary of State, and for defaming the parents of the Sean Smith and Glen Doherty by calling them liars on national television.  

WBAY has provided ample coverage of the Trump University lawsuit; yet, when Hillary Clinton is sued for wrongful death, WBAY apparently concluded this was not newsworthy.

WBAY also chose not to report that at a Clinton rally in Kissimmee, Florida, the father of Omar Mateen (the man who murdered 49 individuals at a nightclub in Orlando in June) not only attended Clinton’s rally but was prominently sitting right behind her!  

That’s right, the father of a domestic terrorist, who has himself admitted to being a supporter of the Taliban and publicly stated homosexuals would be punished by god, was front-and-center at a Hillary Clinton rally.  

When initially asked about his presence, Clinton not only refused to provide an explanation but entirely ignored the reporter.  This is not newsworthy in WBAY’s assessment, apparently.  Perhaps it was because Mateen’s presence at the rally was unambiguous?

Thank you, WBAY, for providing us with a great example of bias by story selection.

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