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Public Relations

Public Relations v. Journalism

Anyone familiar with a proper newspaper should be able to tell the difference between public relations and journalism: the former advances a corporate or government perspective, the latter reports and assesses that perspective. There are public relations outfits (often called media relations) in big and small communities, with this obvious difference: small communities have few…

An Empty-Headed Man’s Next Gig

Updated with a longer – and so more revealing – video of Kushner’s vapidity. When Jared Kushner is finished impairing America’s response to a pandemic, he’ll need something else to do. Wisconsin still has the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, and in small Wisconsin towns like Whitewater one finds development hucksters, business leagues of landlords &…

Do Yorkshire Terriers Dream of Being Wolves?

Perhaps Yorkshire terriers dream each night of being ferocious wolves.  If that should be so, and if even tiny dogs imagine themselves as mighty predators, then there may be a natural explanation – in animals and people – for the yearning of smarmy local development men for gigantic corporate welfare schemes. Of those men and…

At UW-Whitewater, For All That Value, Too Little Administrative Respect for Values

There’s a press release (screenshot here) contending that UW-Whitewater contributes a large sum – hundreds of millions – to the Wisconsin economy. The release is written by Assistant Vice Chancellor Sara Kuhl. Kuhl begins the release touting the power and influence of the university by misspelling a common English word (emphasis added): UW-Whitewater, one of…

Sullivan on Public Officials as Reporters

Editors of small-town newspapers sometimes lack the judgment (and self-respect) to remain independent of government.  During these lapses of decision-making, one finds that elected or appointed officials become, themselves, reporters on their own stories.  (For a case like this in Whitewater involving a school board member, see Public Officials Should Not Be Reporters.) Margaret Sullivan, of the…

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…

Beyond the Third Investigation

Some weeks ago, I promised readers a copy of the third investigation report into sexual harassment on the UW-Whitewater campus. That report is linked at the bottom of this post. Read merely alone, the report describes gross intentional misconduct, gross negligence and moral indifference about harassment and assault, as well as separate matters of managerial…

Third Investigation: ‘Up to 10 students, faculty report being harassed by former UW-Whitewater chancellor’s husband’

Originally posted 4.19.19. One reads today, in a Good Friday records release from the UW System, that Up to 10 students, faculty report being harassed by former UW-Whitewater chancellor’s husband: An investigation into the husband of former University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Chancellor Beverly Kopper found that at least seven and up to 10 students or staff…

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…

Kopper Resigns, Whitewater Remains

One reads that Beverly Kopper, UW-Whitewater chancellor, has resigned her position effective 12.31.18.  Her resignation was generally expected for at least the last few weeks, and was, more importantly, necessary.  This was a public matter involving a spouse appointed to a public position accused of sexual harassment by at least five women while the appointing chancellor kept…

0, 448, 476, 84

0 Number of published words from Chancellor Beverly Kopper in support of five complainants alleging sexual assault or harassment from her publicly appointed assistant-to-the-chancellor spouse. 448 Number of published words from Chancellor Beverly Kopper in reply to one remark from a single sportscaster during a single Packers preseason game. (It’s not that one shouldn’t reply…