Why Is WTAP So Biased Against My Group?

By: Roger Sheppard
By: Roger Sheppard

The question we get so often...often from both sides of the same issue!

I had an interesting call recently from a friend in Washington County.

He was concerned because he had not seen any coverage of Governor John Kasich’s recent visit to Washington County on our 6pm or our 11pm news that evening. He said that if it had been Democratic Governor Strickland, we would have covered it like a blanket.
He also shared with me that some high-powered businessmen at the event saw our Todd Baucher there covering the event and made the statement that it would never get on the news, because WTAP is anti-Republican.
Let me ask you something.
Why would WTAP expend the manpower and resources to send Mr. Baucher to cover the Governor and then, when he returned from that story, decide that we’re not going to use it because the Governor (surprise-surprise!) was a Republican?
That defies belief.
The person said he only watches WTAP News at 11 and since it was not on that newscast, be figured we had not run anything.
WTAP does six separate newscasts each weekday – Daybreak, WTAP News at Noon, WTAP at Five, WTAP News at Six, FOX Parkersburg News at 10, and WTAP News at Eleven. We treat each one as importantly as the others.
As many of you know, we have recently transitioned our local newscasts to HD which has presented us with many technical challenges but will be well-worth it when all is said and done. Some of those technical issues prevented us from being able to present the story about Governor Kasich as we would have liked in our 11pm newscast on the day of his visit.
But WTAP DID run footage from the Governor’s visit on our FOX Parkersburg News at 10 newscast that evening, we ran a short interview with him in each of the three half-hours of Daybreak on Wednesday morning, on our WTAP News at Your Desk webcast, and a complete story on WTAP News at Noon on Wednesday.
Just because we didn’t run the story in our 6pm or 11pm newscasts, does NOT mean we didn’t carry the story.
People often criticize us for repeating stories from one newscast to another but we know that not every person sees every newscast. By the same token, people (such as this one) criticize us when we do NOT run the same story in each newscast, if they happen to watch only one newscast and a story they’re interested in doesn’t run.
As broadcasters, we often find ourselves trying to be all things to all people. And everyone knows that’s impossible. But, we’ll keep trying!
I also shared with this caller that we routinely get criticized by people in Wood County for covering too much news from Washington County and the state of Ohio. By the same token, we get calls from people in Washington County, saying we cover too much West Virginia news. The people I seldom hear any complaints from are the good people of Pleasants County, who probably get the least coverage of anyone in our three-county service area.
And I would be happy to meet with any political group or citizens’ group that feels it has not received fair coverage from WTAP, because it feels we don’t like what it stands for. Nothing could be further from the truth.
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