Telemundo Anchor Smokescreens Clinton E-Mail Story

November 1st, 2016 8:00 AM

One of the most insidious forms of bias in the media is through anchor framing of an otherwise neutral story. The most recent example comes via Telemundo's coverage of the reopened FBI investigation into the Clinton e-mail scandal.

Here's how anchor María Celeste Arrarás framed last night's report by Rogelio Mora-Tagle:

MARÍA CELESTE ARRARÁS, ANCHOR, TELEMUNDO: Today, Hillary Clinton criticized the FBI's decision to examine new e-mails without proof of any irregularities, with such little time (remaining) before an election. Uh, as you know, these were emails that came from a close collaborator of hers that was married to a person that is under investigation. Meanwhile, her rival Donald Trump warned of the possibility of a constitutional crisis if Clinton is finally elected. Rodrigo Mora-Tagle has that report next.

Rogelio Mora-Tagle's report was fairly straight-up. Mora-Tagle named names, described things as they were, and didn't mince words on both sides. There was equal time devoted both to Trump and Clinton, and Democratic statements critical of James Comey were offset by White House Press Secretary John Earnest's praise of the embattled FBI director. Mora-Tagle closed the segment with an NBC-SurveyMonkey poll indicating that 55% of respondents believed that the reopened investigation was "very important". All in all, a very balanced segment.

In fact, the report was so solid that it completely undermined and offset María Celeste Arrarás' awful framing. Whereas Arrarás mentioned "a close collaborator of hers", Mora-Tagle properly identified Huma Abedin as "Clinton's right hand". Whereas Arrarás described "close collaborator" Abedin as married to a "person that is under investigation", Mora-Tagle rightly identified Abedin's husband as Anthony Weiner.

As you'll recall, this isn't the first time that Arrarás superimposes her imagined thoughts on to a news story in furtherance of a narrative. In the past, she's literally put words in the Pope's mouth by interpreting a broad statement on immigration as a criticism of opponents of comprehensive immigration reform, and she injected a pro-Clinton narrative into a totally random story that had zero to do with the 2016 elections.  

Therefore, it should come as a surprise to absolutely no one that Arrarás would take it upon herself to determine that the new e-mails contained "no proof of improprieties", or that she did her very best to obscure and muddy basic facts of the story before viewers could see the report.

In the end, reporting won out over bias. Telemundo viewers got to see a very fair account of the events that have turned this presidential race on its head. Mora-Tagle's report was strong enough to blow past Arrarás' smokescreens and deliver the truth to Telemundo viewers.