WFRV Furthers UW Tuition Freeze Narrative

WFRV CBS 5  |  8-11-2016


In its Thursday, August 11th 10:00 pm newscast, WFRV featured a story regarding recent demands by University of Wisconsin officials and Democratic lawmakers that the UW-System tuition freeze should be lifted. If you recall, the tuition freeze was initially implemented by the Republican controlled legislature and signed into law by Governor Scott Walker.  

The freeze, first imposed in the 2013-2015 biennial budget, and re-upped in the 2015-2017 budget, has been opposed by University officials claiming… “continued budget cuts and frozen tuition cannot be sustained.”

Supporters of the tuition freeze argue that the UW-System sits on a surplus of millions of dollars. The tuition freeze has saved UW-System students “$6,311 over four years,” and that the funding in place is more than sufficient to provide quality education, but administrators simply don’t want to face fiscal belt-tightening.

With the above preface in mind, watch WFRV’s coverage on this politically charged subject:

The bias is twofold. First, WFRV commits bias by Spin. Their report features the “detriment” caused by the tuition freeze. At the same time, ignoring positive aspects of the tuition freeze such as the thousands of dollars in savings on tuition costs by students and families. The brief mention about college affordability from Gov. Walker’s spokesperson is barely an afterthought.

Second, did you notice that WFRV only interviewed opponents of the tuition freeze (the UWGB Chancellor and Democratic state representative Genrich) ? The reporter stated that representative Genrich supports the freeze, yet he did not seem in favor of maintaining it in his interview.

Eric Genrich (D-Green Bay). “I would say enough is enough” 

WFRV Reporter “Representative Eric Genrich says he supports the freeze, but the state needs to help colleges with more funding”

By failing to interview a true proponent of the tuition freeze (of which there are many) opposite an opponent of the freeze, WFRV committed bias by selection of sources.

It chose to only let the voices of those seeking to end the tuition freeze be heard. In doing so, WFRV subtly creates the impression that the freeze is both “bad” and that it lacks supporters. We are certain many middle class households disagree.

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