Newspaper Archive

State Budget Surplus

January 19, 2014 at 4:54 PM


WFRV CBS 5 Green Bay
State Budget Surplus
1-16-14 @ 10pm


Bias by Placement

Bias by Placement is a pattern of placing news stories so as to downplay information supportive of conservative views.

This station was the only one in its market which did not report news of the $977 million budget surplus in its 5 and 6 pm newscasts; not a single word mentioned of this significant state news in those early evening broadcasts. The story, of course, reflects positively on the conservative governor and the policies he's put in place.

Despite ignoring it at 5 and 6, this station did finally cover the budget surplus in its 10 pm newscast. However, it downplayed the positive news by using the word "allegedly" in the anchor's introduction of the story.

Anchor: "Area lawmakers are reacting tonight to new estimates about the current state's two year budget, which will end in 2015 allegedly with a $1 billion dollar surplus. And the question now is what to do with that cash."

The anchor could have instead said: the two year budget will end in 2015 with a projected $1 billion surplus.

The word "allegedly" casts suspicion; while "projected" is factual and does not lead the viewer in one way or another. The reporter went on to attribute that projected surplus to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau.

Also, the way the anchor's introduction was written, it downplayed the good news. The introduction to this story could have emphasized the good news and placed it higher.

For example: Good news for Wisconsin tonight: Wisconsin now has a one billion dollar budget surplus, according to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau. Lawmakers will now debate what to do with that cash.


Tags: p
Category: News Front Placement

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