Fox 11 Embeds Bias

WLUK FOX 11  |  5-24-2017

On May 24, 2017, both on its website and during its nightly newscast, Green Bay’s Fox 11 (WLUK) featured coverage of the Federal Congressional Budget Office (CBO) review of the Republican-backed substitute for Obamacare. Needless to say, bias was abound.

First, watch the newscast:

Can you spot the bias? Here, it’s all about the lead-in. Notice that anchor, Tom Milburn, starts the story by stating: “for the first time, the numbers lay out just how many people could lose coverage . . . “ 

In other words, Fox 11 leads with a negative instead of a neutral, such as “for the first time, the numbers lay out that both people could lose coverage, but that the federal deficit could be reduced.”

This is bias by commission. Furthermore, the report, like most reports on the subject, fails to recognize that Obamacare – in its current state – is simply not sustainable. In other words, Fox 11 makes it seem like Obamacare is a viable alternative when it is not. This is bias by context.

Now, let’s turn to Fox 11’s web coverage of the same story.

Here, we see a completely different, but far more obvious bias: bias by source selection and graphic.

In the past, WMC has criticized local media for embedding biased social media (i.e., Facebook and Twitter) content within news stories. This report takes it over the top, featuring a total of 18 social media links embedded in the story, of which 11 of those posts featured negative opinions, including statements such as: “House GOP rushed through AHCA before bothering to learn it would cost 23 mill their insurance. They will deservedly lose majority for this.”  

We again question the purpose of featuring biased social media commentary embedded in a news story? It seems doing so can be for only one purpose: to vicariously spew opinions under the guise that they are someone else’s.

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