Although I was in downtown Milwaukee, as usual, Tuesday morning, I could not break away in time to see the Barack Obama rally in Pere Marquette Park. I cursed the early time and the chilly wind, but looked forward to seeing nice visuals of the rally in the local media, focused as it should be on the national political star of the moment.
Out on the porch this morning, I did indeed see an unmistakable color photo of a political rally above-the-fold. Settling in as I pulled the paper out of the plastic, I spilled hot coffee in my lap when I realized that the primary photo on the front page was not of Obama, but, rather, of...Tommy Thompson.
What newspaper editor in his or her right mind would really think that a press conference with a former governor, currently cashing-it-in with various entities he used to regulate at the Department of Health and Social Services, trumps a political rally attended by thousands featuring a national political star?
Not only was the photo placement the opposite of what it should have been; the choice of the two photos used were outrageously slanted as well:
The Thompson press conference looked like a political rally, complete with Green signs and cheering supporters in the background.
The Obama photo looked like they were all attending a funeral. I’m sure the editors had to go pretty deep in the photog’s files to find anything so bland and with Doyle looking so sour. According to the article, it was a "sign-waving rally", but you’d never know it from the selective visuals provided by the Journal Sentinel.
What do you think it’s like in the edit board meetings that put together the front page placement at the J-S? "Yeah, put Tommy on top there. That nice cheery one. God, we love Tommy, don’t we? Too bad he didn’t run. I guess we gotta put Obama in there somewhere...here, throw this one in. Just look at Doyle’s face!"
The pro-Green coverage continued on other pages in the paper today. A short week before the election, Spivak and Bice dusted off their usual "casino cash" schtick, casting aspersions on a casino developer’s contributions to Doyle and Falk, even using the voice of a Green "flack on the attack" to make their points for them. The second part of the Spice Boys’ pro-Green dance was an approving review of Tommy Thompson’s (god, we love Tommy, don’t we?) rigged success in the private sector. "With all that baggage and income," sum-up the Boys, "can Thompson really afford to drop everything and run for president?" You can almost see them with Thompson, slapping high-fives in some distant end-zone of the mind. Ka-Ching!
Oh, and, by the way, the Supreme Court has decided not to even decide to decide anything about Green's illegal cash until after the election. If you missed the bad-for-Green story, you can find it stretched across the bottom of the first page of the second section, with a little tiny picture of Green. You’d think the end of this phony Green-generated legal saga would merit a bit more attention – it certainly would if Green somehow prevailed, for the first time, on any issues relating to the now-officially dirty money.
But, no, the Journal Sentinel wouldn’t want to interject the illegal Green money issue into the discussion this close to the election. I mean, it’s not like Tommy Thompson was doing a press conference at the airport or anything. Now, that’s news, eh, Tommy?
Unfortunately, this kind of slanted coverage has come to be expected in the Journal Sentinel news pages, even as its editorial board prepares to endorse Jim Doyle. Today marked the third and fourth editorials preferring Doyle to Green on specific issues (education, crime, and, today, health care and stem cells). It’s hard to believe the J-S would turn around after all that and endorse Green.
But the news editors will keep driving their pro-Green agenda, getting happily played by press conferences, phony legal battles and imaginary "corruption" spin. Bill Clinton is coming in on Friday (an event determined to be less "noteworthy" than the Obama appearance – are they going to stick that one back on the obit page with Madeline Albright?) and the Green campaign will develop a counter-event that will trump it (Scott McCullum? Why not!), at least in the Journal Sentinel.