Thursday, August 17, 2006

JS Reporters Continue Bias Coverage of Gubernatorial Race

In the last ten days, Governor Doyle and Congressman Green have both made tax break proposals.

Doyle's plan is to allow Wisconsin residents to claim a tax deduction for health care premiums that are paid out of pocket. Green's plan is to suspend the sales tax on certain school supplies for one weekend in August.

Here's a rundown of the coverage from the Journal-Sentinel on the Doyle plan:

Title: "Doyle Proposes Health-Care Tax Break"
Subtitle: "Deductions for Health Premiums Would Cost State $50 Million a Year"
Fiscal Impact: "Doyle said the recommended new tax break for health-care premiums would cost the state treasury about $50 million a year, but it would offer the same deduction to about 637,300 families now enjoyed by the self-employed and others who must pay all their health insurance premiums."

Now here's the JS on Green's plan:

Title: "Green Proposes Back-to-School 'Tax Holiday' "
Subtitle: "Sales Tax Break Would Apply to School-Related Items"
Fiscal Impact: "Green estimated that the plan would save taxpayers - and thus reduce tax revenue for the state - between $5 million and $10 million a year."

To sum up, the cost of Doyle's plan gets fronted in the subtitle and highlighted in the second line of the article, while the cost of Green's plan is framed as merely a reduction in tax revenue and couched in a line about saving taxpayers money.

The Doyle article was written by Steve Walters and the Green article was penned by Walters and Greg Borowski, so this isn't merely a difference of journalistic style. The rhetorical framing of the two articles was blatant and undoubtedly purposeful. And the impact is significant.

As Bruce Murphy noted last month: "The Journal Sentinel’s coverage of the governor’s race looks increasingly suspect."

I think it's getting time to ring them up on charges.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

were you actually expecting a democrat to get a fair shake from steve walters?

he's a republican editorial writer who expresses his opinions under the guise of news reporting

gotta wonder which mjs exec that hack has embarassing pictures of

August 18, 2006  

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