Wednesday, December 13, 2006


When I first started squawking about the Journal Sentinel’s anti-Doyle bias in its news pages back in September, the Green-good/Doyle-bad construct was deeply entrenched at what is ever more unfortunately the Only Newspaper in Town. It was apparent during the campaign that the J-S was going to do whatever it could to parrot and provide fodder for radio wing-nut talking points and would otherwise support the GOP as much as they could. For reasons unfathomable to all but them, the news editors and statehouse reporters longed for Mark Green to be our next governor.

You would think the resulting thumping of the hapless Green in the election would bring a moment of reflection for the manipulative newsers. You would be wrong. Even without the clarifying “balance” of the pro-Green stories (where is he now? Both gone and easily forgotten, after one more predictable puff piece in the J-S), the Journal Sentinel continues on its bizarre anti-Doyle campaign. Every Doyle accomplishment has a dark cloud behind it, looming in the background, if only so the J-S can jump out and say “boo!”.

Wednesday’s paper is a perfect example. It starts innocent enough in the headline: “Median property tax bill in state up $7”. Well, that’s gotta be good news, right? I mean, most editors would have even helped you out a little by saying “only $7” and even might have added the important fact “for the second year in a row”, but, still, not bad, right? Then comes the competing sub-head: “But state's package of limits on taxes expires this year.”

Good god, not “expires”! This is horrible! Someone please make it not expire! Please, Journal Sentinel, don’t let me be foolish enough to savor (much less recognize) the fruits of Doyle’s labors. The J-S would have beat Doyle about the head and shoulders if he had dared tried to make his formula permanent, but – No! Next year! I must presume the worst about next year!

The same nonsense that rattles around in the headlines is repeated in the article itself, written, to no one’s surprise, by self-admitted Doyle-hater Steven Walters (see my November 12th post for a discussion of his post-election anti-Doyle screed in the opinion pages). As if you couldn’t figure it out yourself, Walters announces the good news in the lead and then comes the extremely trite let-down. The whole second graph? “That’s the good news.” Oh, oh.

Then comes the punch line, otherwise known as “the bad news”. The tactics that kept your property taxes in check (still good, right?), are described as “Doyle-backed” – no mention of the legislature until after you are informed that all these good things will expire next year. We just know Jim Doyle wanted it this way, don’t we? That scoundrel!

Those trolling the Journal Sentinel on-line version the day before could have seen this one coming up 5th – or, rather, Wisconsin – Avenue. In an article apparently not good enough for the printed version, Walters warms up in his beating of Doyle for his own success. To do so, he uses the voice of another quickly-forgotten loser, non-Congressman John Gard. Now, who but Steven Walters would consider calling up a washed-up punk like Gard, who couldn’t even get elected in his own Republican congressional district, to ruminate about how property taxes “would have gone up even less” if Doyle had only signed the poison-pill bill the GOP ran up to him, back when they had control of the state legislature?

Loser Gard is not even identified, at least, as “outgoing” Assembly Speaker, if not "former", since the state legislature will not meet again until someone else is sitting in his Assembly seat. So Walters plays up his source who is such a lame duck he’ll need a photo ID and a body scan the next time he tries to get into the Capitol.

The editors, apparently, gave Walters two kicks at this ridiculous cat. Maybe we can expect another of the Journal Sentinel’s brave campaigns, like the one against legislators earning sick leave for health benefits that none of them knew they had. That was good for five or six front-pagers, featuring all kinds of useless do-gooder grandstanding. Just to keep the ball rolling, maybe we can hear next from former GOP leaders of the now-Dem-controlled State Senate and how Doyle really messed up this property tax thing two years in a row and blah blah blah.

It’s hard to figure out what the Journal Sentinel or Walters get out of any of this, except a continued erosion of credibility and prestige. Doyle is going to be governor now for four more years, the Democrats are in control of the Senate and, I mean, what are they trying to start or stop? All you really need to know is that if a Republican governor had presided over two years of nominal property tax increases, they’d be putting up a statue to the dude on 4th and State. That they can’t give Doyle a little credit where it’s due shows them as nothing if not petty, partisan and as out-of-touch as Junior Bush.


Anonymous said...

Ummm, except the Milwaukee JS endorsed Doyle ...

Mike Plaisted said...

Sure, they did, and, given the ultimate lame-ness of Green and Doyle's actual accomplishments, they could hardly do otherwise.

But a one-day endorsement hardly makes up for the daily barrage of anti-Doyle/pro-Green coverage that dominated the news pages. It does appear there is a different group driving the edit pages -- where they have to actually rationalize their opinions, rather than just smear -- and the news pages, where managing editor George Stanley, Walters and others play to the wing-nut radio audience.

Anonymous said...

Go back to the Milwaukee JS election archives!

Remember the stories about Green voting with Bush 90 percent of the time? (How many times does Feingold vote with his party leaders? It's in the 90 percentile, yet he's called a maverick).

How about all the stories skewed toward the Elections Board andn its faulty ruling on Green's donations? (Why didn't they ever ask Tom Barrett what he thought about the ruling?)

How about the stories challenging the facts in Green's TV ads?

How about all the stories on stem cells?

Most stories were skewed against Green.

Why do you liberals keep rewriting history? You won. Be happy. Stop complaining.

Anonymous said...

Wow, just wow. The JS endorsed Doyle and provided limited coverage of Doyle's numerous scandals, and you're still complaining.

Mike Plaisted said...

Here is my favorite "Doyle scandal", from another "anonymous" reader a week before the election:

"I have heard it is because the JS is sitting on a story about Doyle and the Department of Health and Family Services has set up a deal to have Billy Lee Morford move out of his North side home and into one of the new apartments above the new Bayshore Mall. This is supposed to be announce shortly before Morford's trial in January of 2007 in a effort to keep it under wraps."

Do you know how pathetic that sounds; how pathetic that is? There are certain of you that will believe anything, as long as it makes Doyle look bad, as long as you can avoid engaging him (or any Democrat) on the actual issues that affect people's lives. You can't do it. So you make stuff up.

We did win and I feel pretty good about it. But the political environment continues to be poisoned by the J-S and wing-nut radio, who only want to destroy and divert. You clowns didn't stop after Clinton got re-elected, either. So, the fight continues.

Anonymous said...

"You clowns?"

Glad to see you're not resorting to personal attacks. It might take away from the wonderful "substance" on your blog.