WGRZ: Real news, or infotainment?

Our local NBC broadcast affiliate, WGRZ Channel 2 News, has been making marketing decisions as of late that seem to fundamentally devalue the broadcaster’s journalistic brand. After years of criticism that the station favors particular politicians based on the magnitude of their media buy, they seem to be confirming the claim.

The station is now operating vehicles that “journalists” drive around town:

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Some have called it “a mobile advertisement for the Cuomo Administration disguised as journalism.”

Channel 2’s journalistic quality has fallen far below that of it’s chief rival, WIVB Channel 4 News. The competitor has leveraged it’s more experienced newscasters to deliver a more credible and substantive broadcast.

In the just past primary elections, WGRZ refused to cover the Senate campaigns of Kevin Stocker, who prevailed, or Al Coppola, who lost by fewer than 350 votes. They refused because they are closely aligned with, and playing defense for, incumbent Mark Grisanti.

However they were quick to cover Antoine Thompson’s primary challenge extensively, and in a disparaging light. Some are asking if the station’s coverage of Mr. Thompson has been racially biased — particularly their coverage during his 2010 loss. It’s widely thought that the station’s coverage of him was brutally disrespectful.

The station’s journalists have also had a long habit of taking plum political jobs for politicians and government agencies. Critics have long wondered if those journalists are trading good coverage now for jobs later.

With branding that basically endorses the Governor for reelection, the station shamelessly broadcasts staggeringly weak political journalism.

Most political operatives have already discredited the station as “infotainment,” and they wonder for how long viewers will deem them credible sources of information.

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One comment

  1. WGRZ has been, for lack of a better way to describe it, $hitting the bed sort of speak in regard to journalistic ethics. Their coverage is clearly 1-sided. Cue to the anti SAFE-ACT rally in Niagara Square back in January of 2013 when they reported “Only a couple hundred attendants showing”… my jaw dropped. At least three thousand people from all over Western New York braved the bone-chilling wind to hear the speakers that day. In the end, WGRZ is all fluff and no stuff. Always been that way since I was a kid and always will be…

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