Wisconsin Public Radio Takes on Sheriff David Clarke

WPR  |  11/29/2016


We at Wisconsin Media Check Foundation haven’t had the opportunity to take the time to call-out bias committed by Wisconsin Public Radio. The local media in Northeast Wisconsin certainly keeps our volunteer spotters and writers busy enough. However, WPR recently ran two stories that, ultimately, caught our attention to the point where we feel compelled to “check” them.

First, let’s address the following story that was run on-air and online on November 29, 2016 titled:

Expert: David Clarke Would Be ‘Very Unusual’ Pick To Run Homeland Security Department

The headline speaks for itself.  This is bias by headline – it creates the assumption: “well if an expert says Clarke is an unusual pick, that cannot be a good thing.” Yet, when reviewing the article, there is nothing cited that would indicate that Clarke himself is “unusual,” or that a non-traditional (a more appropriate term) candidate like Clarke would not be able to successfully serve as head of DHS.

Nevertheless, the “expert” cited concludes that the only benefit Clarke would add to Trump’s cabinet is “loyalty” and the fact that he is black. Certainly, there are likely other experts in the field of political science who might share a contrary view, yet WPR chose not to feature those views.

Which segues to another story about Sheriff Clarke, featured online also on the 29th, titled:

Clarke Appears To Be Job Hunting With Trump

In this story, found here, we are presented with an excellent example of bias by source selection. Notice that WPR features a quote from “Scot Ross, executive director of the liberal group One Wisconsin Now,” which strongly condemns Sheriff Clarke, but does not feature a quote from a Wisconsin conservative group supporting Clarke.

Now, in fairness to WPR, they did apparently reach out to Clarke’s office for comment, but, if they were willing to reach out to critics of Clarke, why not supporters as well?

Ultimately, in choosing to run two stories in one day, both of which were critical of Clarke and neither of which featured proponents of Clarke, WPR has committed bias by selection of sources.

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