Regardless of intent, reporting just one side of a story is one of the classic forms of media bias.  And that’s exactly what KWCH-TV in Wichita did on a proposal to increase the minimum wage in Kansas.  Their sister station, WIBW-TV in Topeka, carried a version of the story that also failed to fairly examine the proposal.

HB 2022 sponsored by Rep. Jim Ward (D) Wichita would boost the Kansas minimum wage to $11 per hour in 2020 and and $15 per hour in 2021. The current minimum wage in Kansas is $7.25 per hour.  KWCH had comments from Ward and two business owners with favorable things to say, but said nothing about the negative impact on workers and businesses in states that increased the minimum wage. 

Telling both sides of a story is pretty simple in these days of the Google machine.  A September column in Forbes, for example, cites a study recently published in the American Economic Review that provides new evidence that increases in the minimum wage reduce employment in the long run.   Another Forbes article includes a long list of small businesses that say they were forced out of business by higher minimum wage requirements.

Some lucky employees get a pay increase (at least for a while) but many others lose their jobs.  A CNBC story discusses evidence that “…minimum-wage hikes result in workers being replaced by robots.”

If the results in Seattle are predictive, Kansas workers might be getting set up for something other than what promoters hope for. “Meanwhile,” reports the Washington Post,  “although workers were earning more, fewer of them had a job than would have without an increase. Those who did work had fewer hours than they would have without the wage hike.”

The Seattle experiment moved the minimum from $9.96 to $11.14 on its way to $15 an hour. The Post was reporting on a study commissioned by the City of Seattle. In that both the Post and the Seattle economists were pre-disposed to hope for a positive outcome, the report has even more value.

A future Sentinel article will have reaction from Kansas employers on the minimum wage proposal.

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