- Wisconsin Media Check Foundation - http://www.wismediacheck.com -

Local Media Hypes Anonymous Sources

WFRV CBS 5 [1] |  5-11-2017


Anyone watching national media coverage of late can see an overabundance of stories casting the Trump Administration in a negative light. Aside from painting Trump in a nefarious light, these stories all share one thing in common: they’re based on accusations from anonymous sources.  

Now, certainly, the anonymous source has been the mainstay of journalism for decades; however, it’s difficult to recall in recent history so much reporting on so little definitive fact.

WMCF intentionally chooses to avoid discussing national media – our focus is on local media. However, when local media begins adopting the bad habits of the national, mainstream media, we have no choice but to react.

Recently, local news stations have begun featuring the reports of their national counterparts that are based completely on anonymous sources. Take, for just one example, this report on May 11 from Green Bay’s Channel 5 (WFRV) 10 pm newscast:

Now, this story started off as perfectly fair: the report featured President Trump’s statements concerning the FBI, and then featured counterpoints raised by Acting Director McCabe. But then, WFRV takes it a step further, by featuring statements by an unidentified “US Official” claiming that “there is a whole lot of interfering” and that “this is a crisis.”  

These are very serious accusations, which raise very serious questions; yet, nowhere is the identity of the speaker provided.

Now, certainly, individuals speak to reporters on the condition of anonymity all the time. Yet, we’re seeing an undeniable trend that report, after report, after report, are featuring serious accusations being lobbed by unidentified individuals. For all one knows, these “sources” could be completely fictional, or could hold a personal animus toward the Trump Administration.  

WMCF contends that the national media has abused the concept of the “anonymous source” for the purpose of furthering an undeniable political agenda, which is to take down Trump and his administration. In choosing to feature reports highlighting the statements from these “anonymous sources,” local media is complicit in furthering that bias.