FREE WHITEWATER

Culture

Truth-Telling and Tale-Weaving

In conditions of real injury, in which truth-telling is important, tale-weaving about irrelevant matters is worse than wasteful: it’s a misdirection from the significant to the insignificant. Three recent stories illustrate the critical difference between these approaches. As a truth-telling story, Hope Kirwan of Wisconsin Public Radio reports ‘Students Deserve To Be Heard’: UW-La Crosse…

Integration of University and Community

In Whitewater, where a campus of the UW System represents a majority of the city’s residents, the integration of campus and community is an obvious need. One thinks of this when reading Deborah and James Fallows, The Choices Facing Community Colleges. (These authors are describing two-year programs, not a comprehensive four-year program as with UW-Whitewater,…

‘Deep Fakes’ in a Deeper Context

In the video Op-Ed above, Claire Wardle responds to growing alarm around “deepfakes” — seemingly realistic videos generated by artificial intelligence. First seen on Reddit with pornographic videos doctored to feature the faces of female celebrities, deepfakes were made popular in 2018 by a fake public service announcement featuring former President Barack Obama. Words and…

Speaker Vos’s Distorted Idea of Respect

One reads that Assembly Speaker Vos believes it is disrespectful to allow a physically disabled legislator to telephone into legislative meetings: A state lawmaker who is paralyzed isn’t allowed to participate in committee meetings by phone under a legislative rule that he says keeps him from performing his job as well as he should. Democratic…

The Biggest Story of Our Time

In life – at least life in a well-ordered, free society – the highest matters are not political. They are familial, cultural, social – involving greater pursuits than contending over the role of the state. Under this view, one contends over politics (as libertarians do) not because it is too important but because it must…

Into the Void

Across Wisconsin, newspapers have not distinguished themselves since the Great Recession. Most have descended into a cautious, center-right boosterism. They acted on their publishers’ own politics, and on the politics their elderly (but dwindling) readership. Doing so has only exacerbated their problems. The time to break from this was before – or even during –…

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…

Trump’s Base Delights in Tales of Others’ Deprivation

In this conflict between defenders of America’s liberal democratic order and Trumpism, those of opposition and resistance have wisely steeled themselves for stories of cruelty as state policy. Trumpism’s aim is a herrenvolk, where his demographically homogeneous base receives permanent preference over others, and in which that same base delights in deprivations and depravities inflicted…

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…

Another Local Paper Changes Hands

Local newspapers are changing ownership quickly now.  Knox gave up publishing the Jefferson County Daily Union in December, and now Bliss will sell the Janesville Gazette (and radio stations) this June. These changes of ownership are not coming because the papers are strong: these sales are halfway to fire sales. The new, common ownership (APG)…