WKOW Commits Bias by Policy Endorsement

WKOW |  8-17-2017


On August 17, 2017, during its evening newscast, Madison’s Channel 27 (WKOW) featured a ridiculously biased, “gotcha” story titled:  

Co-sponsor of campus free speech bill won’t say if he’d support white supremacist speech at UW

Watch the story:

Can you spot the bias? It’s twofold.

First, WKOW commits bias by policy endorsement. Here, the entire premise of the report is that the Campus Free Speech Act is a bad law because it would potentially prohibit UW officials or students at UW schools from “shutting down” speech that they may find distasteful or offensive.

Second, WKOW commits bias by spin. Here, the entire report is geared to make it seem like Republican House Speaker, Robin Vos, agrees with white supremacist viewpoints because he supports a law that would protect a white supremacist speaker from being prevented from speaking on a UW campus.

What the reporter fails to acknowledge is that the law would also protect a Black Panther speaker, a Nation of Islam speaker, or a Chicago Bears fan extolling the virtues of Mike Ditka. This story is on par with local media’s other attempts to undermine supporters of the Campus Free Speech Act.  

Lastly, did you notice the draconian graphic featured throughout the report?

This biased graphic subtly leads viewers to believe that the Campus Free Speech Act is a pro-Nazi speech law. Nazi’s are bad, so this law must be bad – this is the thought process WKOW attempts to invoke in its viewers.

Again, the law promotes granting the opportunity for anyone and everyone to speak freely on any issue without fear of reprisal – regardless of whether administrators or students like what is being said.

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