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Fact-Checking is an Active, Ongoing Effort

Laura Hazard Cohen explains that “First-generation fact-checking” is no longer good enough. Here’s what comes next: “Fact checkers need to move from ‘publish and pray’ to ‘publish and act.’” “The idea that fact checking can work by correcting the public’s inaccurate beliefs on a mass scale alone doesn’t stack up,” write representatives from Full Fact…

Three Fundamental Failures: Employment, Income, and Poverty

An earlier post addressed Walker’s Fundamental Failure to meet his jobs pledge even after eight years. The record is much worse: years of corporate subsidies and meddling in the marketplace for preferred businesses & political cronies have produced failures of employment, income, and poverty. (Small town officials who copied this approach on the local level, as…

Public Money for Unskilled Manufacturing Jobs is Money Wasted

In times of historically low unemployment, communities are simply wasting public money when they subsidize unskilled manufacturing jobs.  The jobs, jobs, jobs mantra only makes sense in conditions of unemployment, unemployment, unemployment. Despite relatively low unemployment, ‘community development men’ in places like Whitewater still push business subsidies for companies using unskilled labor.  Pretending that dead-end…

What Can Be Done About Rural Newspapers (Even Though It Probably Won’t Be)?

Yesterday I wrote that Another Local Paper Changes Hands. With the failure of legacy publishing, what are rural communities to do? (Obvious point: FREE WHITEWATER is not an online newspaper – never aspired to be, never will be. This is a website of independent commentary: aligned with no faction, beholden to no faction.) A few…

Rural Population Drain

Thirteen years ago, local notables in small-town Whitewater, Wisconsin insisted that Whitewater was the very center of the universe.  When that claim didn’t entice newcomers, these same men began to claim the very opposite, that Whitewater wasn’t doing better because no one knew where the city was. (Both of these claims are silly: billions of…

Coming & Going Depend on Doing

Originally posted 5.3.19, updated 5.17.19. Although another candidate has withdrawn from the final pool of applicants for a new UW-Whitewater chancellor, conditions that led to the present (stretching over the last two chancellors’ tenure) matter more than the immediate and futile hope that a single appointment will overcome years of the wrong direction.  Genuine change…

Despite Denials, Foxconn’s Empty Buildings Are Still Empty

This morning, Joe sent along a comment mentioning a story about Foxconn from the national technology website The Verge. (Many thanks for the pointer.) Josh Dzieza reports One month ago, Foxconn said its innovation centers weren’t empty — they still are (“Foxconn still hasn’t done anything with the buildings it bought in Wisconsin”): Last summer,…

America’s Best Know Better

A story from the Wall Street Journal‘s Valerie Bauerlein explains the damage that the Foxconn scheme has done to ordinary people in Foxconn Tore Up a Small Town to Build a Big Factory—Then Retreated (“The iPhone maker got fat incentives to build a $10 billion LCD plant that largely hasn’t materialized on land where Mount…

The Media’s ‘Post-Advertising’ Future

Nationally and locally, the media (whether profit or non-profit) continue their significant transformation: the decline of print, the rise of (interactive) digital media, and the collapse of a middle-of-the-road partnership of boosterism between mediocre newspapers and middling officials. Print’s doomed, and so is digital that merely repeats the same banal style of contemporary print. Traditional…

Foxconn Confirms Gov. Evers’s Claim of a Renegotiation Discussion

Yesterday, Gov. Evers was proved right on a key contention about Foxconn. Earlier this week, Evers released a letter to Foxconn executive Dr. Louis Woo in which Evers mentioned that Foxconn had sought to “suggest several changes to the existing agreement.” Gov. Evers also stated that Woo had also met with Vos and Fitzgerald and…

‘Migration Key To Wisconsin’s Workforce’

For many years – and despite nearly a decade of corporate welfare and crony capitalism from the WEDC and local versions of it – Wisconsin has seen a decline in younger workers and families. Shamane Mills writes Report: Migration Key To Wisconsin’s Workforce (“State Has Seen Large Drop in Net Migration Of Families With Children…

The Myth of a ‘Backfire Effect’ to Fact Checking

When someone debunks a claim or article through fact-checking,  does doing so generally produce a backfire effect where others commit even more strongly to the debunked notion? No, not generally. Laura Hazard Owen writes The “backfire effect” is mostly a myth, a broad look at the research suggests: The growing stream of reporting on and…

The Antidote to Boosterism

Bret Stephens offers Neal Armstrong as a worthy example in Apollo 11’s Forgotten Virtues (“Armstrong stayed humble, and human, in the era of relentless puffery and self-promotion”): There’s a short scene near the end of “Apollo 11,” the thrilling new documentary about history’s greatest spaceflight, in which Mike Collins, Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong make…