2016 Election coverage on ABC is themed Your Voice, Your Vote. A campaign in itself, for the network to convince voters that they're simply providing you with the raw facts, and it is up to each viewer to decide which way to swing based on the coverage they digest from the ABC channel/internet platforms.
Is that really what’s happening though? Like a lot of news outlets, the first click onto the ABC News website, is an alarming headline and photo regarding Donald Trump front and center, big and bold. While I’ll make the argument that on more days than not, this is the case for ABC, I will also admit that today in particular, there is justification in leading with a Trump story, because he gave his highly anticipated immigration speech yesterday.
The article contains several moments of fact checking on things Trump claims. For example they include a tweet from the President of Mexico that states Mexico will not pay for the wall, paired with a direct quote from Trump saying they will, from his speech. There are also several side stories, visible while viewing the speech and the article tagged along, stating that Trump is back to where he started with immigration after the speech, and a whole “Fact Check” ing article about his immigration policy.
This paragraph struck me the most. ABC mentions that Trump’s speech was emotional when widows and parents of dead children told stories about their deceased and is very careful by putting quotes around “illegal immigrants” to make sure it is clear that those are Trumps words, not theirs.
However, in the same paragraph, even in the very next sentence, ABC makes a direct comparison to Clinton, in what looks like an attempt to lift her up after talking down her opponent for the entire article. They aren't careful to clarify gun violence or law enforcement by putting it in quotes to show that those are her words and not theirs like they felt the need to do for Trump’s set of grieving parents.
The whole time you read the main recap article from Trump’s speech, it is obvious that ABC wants you to watch. I’m not sure that its Trump’s speech they're trying to catch your attention with, though. Both at the top of the article, and in a pop up side box as you scroll down, last night’s speech is playing. But the ad that plays before it starts, is a pro-Hillary campaign ad that directly calls out Trump. And it doesn't end there.
After the speech concludes, a new video automatically begins playing. This time, a story about Hillary. It is a piece first discussing her remarks about Trump’s visit to Mexico saying it takes more than dropping in and then heading home after a year of insults.
So they show you Trump’s speech, write about everything that is wrong with it and in the moment it is over, show you that, hey, Hillary Clinton isn't a fan either. Although the story goes on to show the number of people who dislike her is growing, the main theme was that she is out there doing what she can to make things right, and talking about how wrong Trump is.