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‘Bothsiderism’

Gina Overholser, a writing about a liberal paper, remarks of the New York Times that Its investigative and enterprise work rises to today’s unprecedented challenges. But in day-to-day political reporting, the Times is hopelessly stuck in the past. Its proud allegiance to presenting “both sides” in a time of political breakdown renders it a handmaiden…

On the Scatalogical

It’s a crime (and a repulsive wrong) for someone to relieve himself repeatedly – over years – on the grounds of a public park. (The park where this happened was Natureland, a small, lovely spot in this area where visitors deserved none of this.) Someone who does so should be – and recently was –…

The Lazy, False Equivalance in Craig Gilbert’s Analysis

A lazy, false equivalence runs through Craig Gilbert’s (@WisVoter) over-reliance on claims of hyper-partisanship. At the Journal Sentinel, he writes that ‘Nakedly partisan, rhetorically vicious’: Trump impeachment is echo of Clinton’s from two decades ago. The same conflation diminished Gilbert’s analysis in a 12.2.19 story (‘For voters in this purple part of Wisconsin, the impeachment…

Who Implied That Toppers Might Move Its Headquarters? Whitewater’s City Manager, That’s Who

In a Janesville Gazette story from 12.5, Whitewater’s city manager, Cameron Clapper, is reported as saying that another paper’s coverage incorrectly implied that Toppers Pizza might move its Whitewater headquarters. In fact, the video of a recent Community Development Authority (CDA) meeting from 11.21.19 reveals that it was Clapper, himself, who implied that Toppers might move.…

Local Government’s Failure to Speak Independently and Effectively

There’s a story at the Janesville Gazette that illustrates the inability of Whitewater, Wisconsin’s local government to communicate effectively on its own.  The story, primarily, is about the ongoing search for a stand-alone grocery store to come to Whitewater.  See Whitewater city manager remains ‘optimistic’ city will get a grocery store (Beleckis, reporter; Schwartz, editor). Routine,…

A Local Newspaper Squeaks

Local newspapers like the nearby Janesville Gazette often self-servingly contend that they’re like the last oasis before a news desert. It’s closer to the truth to say they’re a contributor to an increasingly arid local climate. Even stories that reveal some information hold back from readers other key documents that would aid in fuller understanding…

Government Breaks for Local Newspapers are a Bad, Bad Idea

There’s understandable worry that communities across America are losing their local newspapers, and so one hears that something simply must be done to save them.  Clara Hendrickson, in Local journalism in crisis: Why America must revive its local newsrooms, proposes that we (1) “provide public funding for local journalism” (via tax incentives, mainly), (2) “address…

Janesville Gazette’s Reprehensible Story About an Alleged Sexual Assault

At the nearby Janesville Gazette, there’s a story about an alleged sexual assault that’s simply reprehensible reporting: Excessive drinking was prelude to sex assault, court document alleges. (The reporter, Frank Schultz; editor, Sid Schwartz.) Here’s how Schultz’s story begins – a single-sentence first paragraph: An 18-year-old Janesville man is accused of second-degree sexual assault after…

What the New Dealers Got Right – What Whitewater’s Local Notables Got Wrong

There’s sound reason to doubt that the New Dealers’ economic solutions to the Great Depression were effective, but there’s no doubt that Roosevelt’s Brain Trust was hard-working, smart, and candid in its description of America’s economic problems. For a critical assessment of the New Deal, written accessibly, see The Forgotten Man: A New History of…

Why Feature Stories on Major Topics are Now Often a Waste of Time

Feature stories on major topics, in which the author begins a multi-paragraph description of a person or scene before offering a substantive consideration of the topic, have today little use in newspapers.  These stories are meant to set a scene, and perhaps evoke emotions in readers who are, the author presumes, indifferent or ignorant of…

The Janesville Gazette‘s Sketchy Reporting on Major Topics

The nearby Janesville Gazette, a newspaper that insists ‘local matters,’ too often reports on Whitewater’s local matters in a careless way, ignoring key information.  Whether that paper’s omissions are through negligence or by design, reporting like this ill-serves Whitewater. (In fairness, the Gazette long ago ran itself into the ground, and sold out this summer…

Gazette Story on Whitewater’s District Administrator: Omission & Innuendo

Yesterday morning, I posted on Whitewater School District administrator Dr. Mark Elworthy’s decision to take a position with the St. Francis School District.  See On Changes at the Whitewater Unified School District.  Last night, the Janesville Gazette published a story on the topic. See Whitewater’s Elworthy named interim superintendent for St. Francis School District. The Gazette’s story…

Does Anyone at the Janesville Gazette Have a Dictionary?

Recently,  the Janesville Gazette‘s editorialist tried to defend remarks from Trump’s secretary of agriculture, Sonny Perdue, about the demise of family farmers. See Our Views: Ag secretary’s reality check wasn’t callous. In that defense, one finds that the Gazette‘s editorialist neither understands the meaning of simple English words nor basic economics. The secretary of agriculture said…

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…