PHOTOGRAPH BY CAROLYN KASTER / AP
ASSOCIATED PRESS | 9-12-2016
As we have stated in the past, WMCF generally does not call out bias committed by national news sources, such as the Associated Press, Reuters, NBC News, etc. Our focus is on local bias committed by local journalists. Yet, every once in a while we come across an example of non-local bias so inappropriate, we have no choice but to “check it.”
Check out this story featured on WLUK Fox 11’s website on Monday, September 12th.
At first blush, the story may seem innocuous: President Obama believes Hillary Clinton is fit for the White House. No real surprise there, and nothing particularly controversial in the actual text of the story.
However, did you happen to see the “Tweet” conveniently placed within the body of the story:
Now, put in context, the Tweet was promoting a satirical piece published in the New Yorker. However, satire has zero place in actual news coverage, especially when it is inserted insidiously so that an ordinary reader glossing over this story on Fox 11’s website may not even realize what they are seeing is supposed to be sarcasm, not fact.
In a brief search, it appears that this story was canned and formatted by the Sinclair Broadcast Group and possibly pushed out to the websites of all of their broadcast affiliates. WACH FOX 57, WWMT CBS 3, KATV ABC 7 are just a few examples of their affiliates that have the exact same embedded media and Twitter posts.
In fairness to Fox 11, it did not author the story – the Associated Press did. Although we are uncertain if this satire placement was due to the Associated Press or Sinclair Broadcast Group having placed it; Fox 11 is nevertheless complicit in allowing this story to be featured on its website.
With the wholly inappropriate Tweet contained therein. In doing so Fox 11 has committed bias by commission and bias by placement.
Perhaps Fox 11 and other Sinclair Broadcast Group affiliates would be best served (as would its viewership) in leaving political satire to publications like the Onion.