CBS 58 | 6-13-2017
During its June 13, 2017 newscast, Milwaukee’s CBS 58 (WDJT) featured a story concerning GE moving a portion of its Milwaukee operations to Canada. No doubt, this is certainly a newsworthy event; however, watch how the story was portrayed:
Can you spot the bias? Where to begin . . .
First, this is a perfect example of bias by spin. Here, CBS 58 portrays the plight of these GE employees as one caused by Donald Trump.
Notice the reporter states that the decision to close the plant came before Trump was elected. How, then, is this his fault? Well, according to the story, it is because Donald Trump (or Paul Ryan) are not stopping the plant relocation, despite the unsubstantiated, unattributed, and unfounded assertion by the reporter that “75% of [employees] believed his promise that he would keep jobs in America and voted for him.”
Nowhere in this story does the reporter question the economic policies of the Obama administration as being a cause of these workers’ unemployment. Instead, the fault lies with Trump for not fixing the economic calamities created during his predecessor’s term fast enough – a classic example of spin.
Next, notice there is no mention of the efforts Trump has undertaken since taking office to stop jobs from leaving the country. Certainly, Trump cannot be expected to stop every job from being exported, and he cannot be accused of not trying. Nevertheless, CBS 58 would have you believe Trump is turning a blind eye on factory workers. Furthermore, the story implies that there was something Trump could have done but didn’t, yet fails to cite what it was that GE could have been provided by Trump to entice them to stay. This is bias by lack of context.
Next, we see bias by selection of sources.
In addition to citing unnamed “employees” who claim that “75%” voted for Trump and were relying on him to stop GE from relocating the plant, CBS 58 interviews a local union representative, who criticizes Trump.
The fact that a union president would criticize a Republican is not shocking. Nor is the fact that CBS 58 chose not to feature an alternative point of view on this topic.