WBAY ABC 2 | 10-3-2016
Bias: Systematic Attack
Note: This is Part 1 of a two part feature concerning bias committed by WBAY Channel 2. In this part, WMCF will address the bias discovered. In Part 2, WMCF will address WBAY’s response when “checked.”
On Monday, October 3rd, WBAY Channel 2 featured a story on its website titled:
AP FACT CHECK: Trump distorts 90’s economic downturn
The story is part of a trend we are seeing more frequently in the media. Fact checking statements made by political candidates. Now, certainly, the media has every right to “call out” a public official or candidate if that individual’s statements are false or misleading.
Although the AP’s criticisms contained in this particular “Fact Check” appear to be more of just opinion rather than fact, WMCF’s overall concern with this piece is far deeper.
Upon doing some further digging, the following facts were discovered concerning WBAY:
1. Since August 1, 2016, WBAY has featured approximately 15 AP Fact Check pieces on its website
2. Of these 15 featured, 13 specifically targeted Donald Trump (or statements made by Trump)
3. The other 2 pieces did address statements made by Hillary Clinton, but also criticized Donald Trump
Can you spot the bias?
Well, it’s certainly there, but WMCF concedes none of the typical categories of bias that we use quite fit. Yes, this could possibly be defined as bias by story selection; or possibly, bias by commission. This is one of those rare occasions where we have to interpose a new category because none of our normal categories fit: Bias by Targeted Attack.
Let’s take a look at some of the recent headlines featured by WBAY since August 1st:
Clearly, the AP and WBAY have taken the position that Hillary Clinton’s statements are not subject to the same level of factual scrutiny as Donald Trump’s. Why? Has Hillary Clinton proven herself as a pillar of veracity?
Just this year alone, haven’t there been numerous examples of Hillary Clinton having been exposed for not telling the truth? Was Clinton’s statement that half of Trump’s supporters are “deplorable” true?
According to recent polling, more Americans find Donald Trump more trustworthy than Hillary Clinton, yet the AP and WBAY have taken it upon themselves to exact a “truth telling” crusade against Donald Trump – and only Donald Trump.
It is one thing to take on the mantle of “fact checking” statements made by political candidates, but it is clear that “AP Fact Check” is intentionally targeting Donald Trump, while choosing to give Hillary Clinton a pass. WBAY is complicit in committing bias when it chooses to allow these AP pieces to be featured on their website.
The intentional choice to critique the statements made by one – and seemingly just one – political candidate can only be classified as bias by a systematic attack. Stay tuned for Part 2 of this Analysis: WBAY’s response to being “checked” on this particular issue!