NBC 26 Takes on Infrastructure Spending

WGBA NBC 26 | 3-9-2017


On Thursday, March 9, 2017, NBC 26 (WGBA) featured a news package concerning a recent “report card” issued by the Society of Civil Engineers grading the nation’s infrastructure. First, watch the report:

In this case, NBC 26 commits bias by commission and policy endorsement in featuring this report. How? Let’s break it down.

WMCF takes no issue with the basic premise of the report:  a group of civil engineers believe the current state of the nation’s bridges, roads, railways, etc., could be much improved. We think anyone who has driven in Wisconsin or elsewhere could agree with this sentiment.

In this case, though, NBC 26 commits bias by policy endorsement by featuring the uncontested opinion that the only way to properly fund infrastructure is to raise the federal gas tax to 25-cents. Certainly, there must be alternatives to funding infrastructure aside from a straight-up tax increase.  

Take, for example, President Trump’s proposal create an infrastructure bank that would give tax credits to private investors, intended to generate revenue to finance infrastructure projects. This alternative (and others) is nowhere mentioned in the report, leading viewers to conclude that the only option is a tax increase.

Secondarily, NBC 26 commits bias by commission. Notice, the report creates the impression that President Trump isn’t doing enough regarding infrastructure, yet Trump’s plan far exceeds any infrastructure plan presented by his predecessor, Barack Obama.

In many respects, Trump is going against his own party in proposing such a mammoth plan, yet, like most initiatives being proposed by Trump, it just isn’t good enough. Repeatedly presenting stories that put one side in a negative light is bias by commission.

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