WGBA Channels National Narrative

WGBA NBC 26 | 11-14-2016

In its November 14th 5 p.m. newscast, Channel 26 (WGBA)  featured a national NBC News report concerning Donald Trump’s appointment of Steve Bannon as the senior advisor. Bannon, former head of Breitbart News, served as the Trump campaigns CEO during the election and has often been a target of liberal media attacks.  

In setting up the news report, WGBA’s anchor leads by describing Bannon as a “hard right ideologue.” The NBC News package then proceeds to judge some unidentified Breitbart News supporters as “extremist and racists,” with a sound-bite stating that Bannon is: “more concerned about reinstating the power of white people in the United States.”

As we have stated in the past, normally WMC focuses its attention on bias committed by local media. However, we have increasingly grown frustrated with local media’s ambivalence to the bias contained in third-party news content that is featured in nightly newscasts and on local news websites. Nevertheless, we will focus our attention on WGBA’s anchor’s statements.  

In this case, we see bias by labeling. First, the anchor’s lead-in description of Bannon as a “hard right ideologue” is biased because the media seldom – if not ever – “pegs” left-leaning politicians or activists as “ideologues.”

Take, for example, Sen. Bernie Sanders: a self-professed socialist. During the Democratic Party primaries, never did local media refer to him as a “hard left ideologue.” Why not?  Because the term “ideologue” is a subtle term used by the media to imply “extreme beliefs,” and left-leaning positions are not considered extreme.

Updated 11-28-2016 to reflect a correction of an excerpt on the homepage.

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