John Doe Probe District Judge Ruling | Media Blackout

WFRV CBS 5  |  5-7-14 @ 5pm


Within 24 hours, two separate rulings came down related to John Doe investigations of conservative groups who supported Governor Walker in his 2010 recall election.

Tuesday, a federal District Judge ordered that the John Doe investigations be stopped, calling the secret investigations a violation of the conservative groups’ free speech rights. A conservative group had sued earlier, and called the John Doe probes politically motivated witch-hunts.

The Tuesday ruling was favorable news for the conservative groups who said they were being unfairly targeted, and it was favorable news for Governor Walker’s re-election campaign, as newspaper headlines noted Tuesday.

WFRV CBS 5 did not cover this favorable news for Governor Walker on Tuesday at 10 pm, as did all of its competitors. WFRV CBS 5 also did not cover this favorable news on Wednesday at 5 pm, as did all of its competitors. WFRV CBS engaged in what we call a media blackout on this story which was favorable to conservatives.

Between the 5 and 6 o’clock hour however on Wednesday, the favorable news turned into unfavorable news for the conservative groups and Governor Walker. An appeal was filed in the case Wednesday morning, and just before 6 pm a court injunction was granted. This move puts on hold the previous ruling; for the time being.

WFRV CBS 5 reported this development which is unfavorable to conservatives and Governor Walker in its 6pm broadcast, as well as at 10pm.

Anchor at 6 pm: “Less than 24 hours after a federal judge put a halt to a John Doe investigation into campaign spending and fundraising by conservative groups and Governor Scott Walker, an appeals court in Chicago has blocked that ruling.”

We applaud WFVR CBS 5 for lifting its blackout of this story. To avoid the appearance of bias WFRV CBS 5 should report on this story even when the news is favorable to conservatives, and to Governor Walker.

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