WFRV CBS 5 | 3-7-16 @ 5 p.m.
All the news stations in the Green Bay market covered the story on March 7, 2016 which centered on the college writings of State Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley.
The writings were dug up by a liberal special interest group with an agenda. That, in and of itself does not demean any potential news value of any particular story, but it is a relevant fact.
When agenda-driven groups use the media to further their cause, viewers should be informed. In this specific case, the liberal group One Wisconsin now held a news conference to present decades-old information which smears the Supreme Court justice candidate they oppose.
WFRV CBS 5 was the only Green Bay station which did not inform its viewers of the political leanings of One Wisconsin Now when it reported the story on Justice Bradley at 5 p.m. In contrast, competitors WBAY ABC 2 as well as WLUK FOX 11 and WGBA NBC 26 each referred to One Wisconsin Now as “a liberal group.”
We have noted that WFRV has a pattern of labeling when conservative groups are at the center of the news. For example, WFRV labeled the conservative group which presented undercover video of a former State Senator who ultimately resigned; as well WFRV identified as conservative the group at the center of a lawsuit related to the Scott Walker John Doe probe. (You can search our archives to find the instances in which WFRV did not label a liberal group pushing an agenda.)
By not labeling One Wisconsin Now as a liberal group in the story about Justice Bradley, WFRV gave the group and its agenda credibility. It is, however, our contention that the viewer should decide whether One Wisconsin Now and the information it released is credible or whether it is “politics as usual.”
WFRV should not hide from its viewers the political leaning of One Wisconsin Now.
Here is the text WFRV presented:
WFRV Anchor: “With four weeks to go until elections, Wisconsin’s Supreme Court race is getting personal.
A Wisconsin political group released articles written by State Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley when she was in college.
In the columns she made numerous insults including homophobic remarks, her lack of sympathy towards AIDS patients, and that people who voted for Bill Clinton in 1992 were “stupid or entirely evil”.
The group One Wisconsin Now, who unearthed the articles, is calling on Bradley to step down. …”