Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: An Insult To All Of Wisconsin

Six months ago, I got fed up with the biased and dishonest reporting and editorials that filled the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.  Because of this, I took what was a big step for me and cancelled my subscription to the paper.  It was a big change to my morning ritual, but not one that I regret.  And they keep giving me reasons to know that I did the right thing.

The most recent and most egregious example why the paper is not worth the paper it's printed on, and why they do not deserve my money or yours, is in this morning's editorial.  In said editorial, they complain that the upcoming recalls are "unnecessary" and "expensive" (emphasis mine):
So not only are the recall elections ugly and unnecessary, they're expensive - and offer even more reason for campaign finance reform that requires transparency from all groups. In fact, these recalls may offer the best argument for holding such elections only in the cases of exceptionally egregious behavior by a politician.

To reiterate a point we made earlier: The Journal Sentinel is not making any recommendations in the recalls that will be held the next two Tuesdays.

Recalls over policy arguments are unwarranted. Such arguments are best resolved on the floors of legislative bodies or at the ballot box during regular elections. Recalls should be used to punish gross malfeasance or corruption - something that cannot wait for the normal election cycle - not to overturn the results of an election or to dispute policy differences.
This is just plain and simply insulting to the majority of Wisconsinites. What the paper is saying is that money is much more important the basic worker rights, basic human rights, the economy, the ecology, our children's education, public safety, transparency in government, or having a government of the people, by the people and for the people.

And it is also duplicitous and dishonest of them to say this.

There is Randy Hopper, who got his mistress a comfy job with the state, and may have voted fraudulently for the past year.

There is Alberta Darling who is tied up with all sorts of electioneering scandals with various right wing groups.

Dan Kapanke's scandals go way back with the misuse of campaign funds.

Likewise, it's been common knowledge for a long time that Luther Olsen was pushing ethanol only because of his personal and his family's interest in it, being corn farmers and all that.

And is there anything that any of the Republicans have done or are doing that doesn't have the Koch brothers written all over it?  Funny thing, I don't remember seeing their names on any of the ballots last year, but they sure do seem to be running the show right now.  How can it not be corruption if an extremely well-moneyed special interest like the Koch Brothers are able to call the shots and have laws passed that benefit only them?

But these recalls are about more than the corruption, much less some "disagreement on policy."

The people are righteously angered by the slashing to education of our children, the slashing to funding to aid our most vulnerable and the stripping of our rights.  And yes, even if you don't belong to a union, your rights, and your earning potential, have also been stripped away.

What MJS can't or won't admit to, is that this isn't about policy, this is about what's right and about our rights.

And before they going mewling about the cost associated with the recalls, they would be well served to remember that the recalls wouldn't be happening if the Republicans weren't as corrupt and maleficent as they are. What's next from them? Saying that a suspected criminal should be set free to go on another crime spree, because a trial would be too expensive?  For them to complain about the cost is just another example of their habit of blaming the victim.

If insulting every single Wisconsinite wasn't egregious enough, if putting money over the concerns of human rights wasn't insulting enough, MJS ups the outrage by complaining that there isn't enough exposure of how much money is being spent, where is it coming from and where it is going. The wrap up their tirade with this:
At the very least, give voters the transparency to know who is spending all that money and how much is being spent.

Conservative groups should disclose the information voluntarily. But legislators need to rethink the current system and require the transparency that voters deserve.
Actually, I am glad to see them say this. And I would strongly suggest that they start the balling rolling with full disclosures on their part and on the part of Journal Broadcasting.

If MJS wants full transparency in regards to the money, they should start with themselves. How much money did they dump into killing the paid sick leave law because Journal Broadcasting CEO Steve Smith was part of the lawsuit against it? How much money does it cost to have radio squawker Charlie Sykes giving free air time to Walker, Darling, and the other Republicans? How much money was spent in MJS simply regurgitating Republican press releases instead of, you know, actual journalism? How much did MJS spend pointing out One Wisconsin Now is a lefty group, but printing trash from WPRI as gospel truth or giving space to Republican political operative Esenberg as some self-proclaimed legal scholar?

When they come clean about all of those things, plus the other papers, TV stations and radio stations they own, then they can complain all they want about the costs being put forth to defend the rights of Wisconsin citizens.

But I won't hold my breath until then.

So what do we do now about the biased and dishonest reporting from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel?

Obviously, the first order of business would be to stop giving them our money. If you haven't canceled your subscription, this really should spur you into doing that.  Secondly, if you need to place an ad, look at alternative sources like alternative papers (Shepherd Express for example), Craig's List, eBay, or other online resources.  And if they think this sort of garbage will get people to line up and subscribe to their online version, they've got another think coming.

A boycott of their advertisers would not be realistic. They are way too far spread and have too much of the market cornered.  But because of their near monopolistic control of the media, we can make sure that we elect leaders who will restrengthen and enforce anti-trust and anti-monopoly laws so that Journal Broadcasting can't do their version of Newspeak.  The media should be there to act as watchdogs of government, not as its public relations spokesperson.

It was a sad day when the paper stopped being a credible news source.  But for them to cross the line and start insulting the citizens of Wisconsin with their blatant and egregious political bias goes beyond the pale.

1 comment:

  1. There's no given stipulation for recalling someone. The state constitution does not indicate that it has to be some egregious form of behavior. Just that you're able to collect the needed signatures. And WI is fairly stringent in that as well, compared to other states. I haven't read the JS for years, nor do I watch local TV or listen to their radio hatefest. Walker is not governor if Sykes et. al. didn't give constant interviews and propaganda to his cause. These days it's John Mercure that does the flogging, in the guise of an actual 'reporter'. What a joke. It really is bad when you have to read the blogs to get a sense of what is really going on. They have replaced what used to known as journalism.