Media Blackout | 7-31-2016
During the week of June 21, 2016, we heard plenty of jabs from the Democrat presumptive presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on all our local televisions affiliates.
Each of our local station’s newscasts highlighted video and soundbites of an energized and smiling Hillary Clinton while portraying the presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump as unfit for the presidency and dangerous for the economy. She delivered this carefully crafted zinger, “He’s written a lot of books about business; they all seem to end at Chapter 11.” The clips aired on every station and at every airtime.
The same day as Hillary’s speech, Donald Trump delivered a series of counterpoints on Twitter, such as: “How can Hillary run the economy when she can’t even send emails without putting entire nation at risk?” And, “Hillary took money and did favors for regimes that enslave women and murder gays.” @realDonaldTrump. These retorts, though, were not mentioned as part of the coverage of Hillary’s speech – instead, less critical Tweets casted by Trump were featured.
More troubling, though is that on the following day, Donald Trump made a widely publicized speech matching Clinton’s accusations against him point-for-point. Fox 11 was the only local station that reported on Trump’s major speech of the week.
WBAY, WFRV and WGBA made the clear decision to highlight Clinton’s speech, while ignoring Donald Trump’s rebuttal. This is a classic example of “bias by story selection” – intentionally providing favorable coverage to one candidate while ignoring favorable coverage of another.