WBAY Offers Unbalanced Report

WBAY ABC 2 |  8-1-2017

On August 1, 2017, during its 6pm newscast, Green Bay’s Channel 2 (WBAY) featured a story concerning the DNR’s approval of a Kewaunee County dairy farm expanding operations. Watch the story:


Can you spot the bias?

First, let’s start with the easy one: bias by selection of sources. Notice in the report that ample on-air time was provided to an opponent of the El-Na Farms expansion, yet no sound bite was provided by the proprietors of the farm. This might be excusable if El-Na refused to comment; however, the reporter cites comments made by the farm.

Next, in this story we see an example of bias by context and spin. The lead-in to the story by the anchor implies that El-Na Farms has actually caused groundwater contamination; and further, that expanding operations will result in El-Na causing even more contamination. WBAY makes these implications without offering any evidence to substantiate that El-Na, itself, has caused any problems.  

Last, WBAY commits bias by policy endorsement. There is no doubt that everyone wants safe groundwater; however, the way this story is presented creates the impression that preventing large dairy operations will, in and of itself, eliminate groundwater issues. This may or may not be the case, as assumedly small dairy farms who fail to exercise due care can equally cause significant ecological problems. Further, reports rendered on the subject have divergent opinions as to what, exactly, is contributing to groundwater contamination in Kewaunee County.

In short, WBAY fails to present all views regarding groundwater concerns surrounding large dairy farms, and instead appears to adopt the stance that large dairy farms and clean groundwater are mutually exclusive propositions.


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