Channel 5 Demonstrates Bias Regarding Protests

WFRV CBS 5  |  2-13-2017


On Monday, February 13, 2017, Channel 5 (WFRV) presented a doozey of a story regarding the “Day without Latinos, Immigrants, & Refugees” demonstrations in Milwaukee.  First, watch the report here.

Can you spot the bias?

Well, there are several forms presented.  Let’s address them one at a time.

First, the overarching bias:  bias by policy endorsement. Here, the reporter presents the story from the sole perspective that Sheriff David Clarke’s decision to enroll in the Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement 287(g) program is bad.  

This is demonstrated by the following commentary from the reporter:

“Feeling protected, safe, and welcomed is how many say America makes them feel. But when new laws give law enforcement more power, and immigration becomes a key issue, that security disappears.”

Aside from the fact that this statement is a non sequitur – it simply doesn’t make sense –  the reporter implies that empowering law enforcement to enforce laws diminishes public safety, at least for some.

When a reporter goes beyond reporting the facts and endorses the liberal view of which policies should be enacted, or affirms the liberal criticism of current or past policies, this is bias, and that is exactly what has taken place here.

Next, the reporter commits bias by source selection.  Notice, there are no interviews of individuals who support Sheriff Clarke’s decision – instead, we only see interviews of individuals who claim that the ICE 287(g) program will have adverse affects on themselves and the community as a whole. By failing to offer differing points of view on a subject as controversial as immigration enforcement, bias comes into play.

Lastly, this report contains bias by spin. Nowhere does the reporter acknowledge that individuals who have entered the United States illegally are, in fact, violating the law. Instead, the reporter presents the issue as one of individuals being improperly targeted by law enforcement for no good reason – that it is unfair that illegal immigrants should have to “watch out for the police,” as one interviewee put it. 

In choosing to portray illegal immigrants as “innocent victims” of law enforcement, while refusing to recognize the fact that these individuals have, in fact, violated US law, the reporter commits bias by spin.

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