Sunday, March 23, 2008

Best of the Blogs: News You Can Use

The Journal Sentinel went several days without saying anything in its print edition about the Dodge County District Attorney who was so disgusted by the racist Gableman campaign ad (I call it racist; he didn’t) that he pulled his previous endorsement for Gableman in a letter to various newspapers in the state. It was good to see it finally got some play in the Milwaukee newspaper Sunday. Funny thing, got there by them quoting, er, me.

I think I’ve had a pretty good couple of weeks here at Plaisted Writes. Last Saturday, I was one of the first to call out Gableman for the outrageous ad, which has since been universally condemned by mainstream voices, including the J-S in an editorial on Thursday. Early last week, I managed to smoke out some of the right-wing voices who were trying to avoid taking a position on the ad, so now we know where some of them stand. Then, on Tuesday, when Jessica McBride put out a sloppy hatchet job about Louis Butler’s record in criminal cases while on the Supreme Court, I spent hours pouring over every one of the decisions cited by the campaign and her in an effort to determine exactly what that record is (conclusion: Butler plays criminal cases right down the middle).

Although the conversation shifted mid-week to the McBride "analysis" (I think one of the reasons the thing was such a mess is because it was a work-in-progress, rushed out before it was ready to try to change the subject from the racist ad), the reaction to the ad itself continued to percolate through the MSM and the bloggosphere. While poking around the blogs on Thursday night, I noticed that Brother Illusory Tenant (whose post, by the way, pointed me to the Gableman ad in the first place) had found a letter written by Steven G. Bauer, the Dodge County District Attorney to the Watertown Daily Times, rescinding his endorsement of Gableman. I thought that was pretty interesting news, so I did an uncharacteristically-brief post with a straight headline so people would notice it on their updates.

Then I waited for the Journal Sentinel to get on it – I mean, it is news, after all. And waited. However, like the lambasting of the ad by the State Bar’s Wisconsin Judicial Campaign Integrity Committee, the J-S ignored the DA’s action. A J-S reporter did get reaction from both campaigns and wrote something, but it never got further than a short write-up on their All-Politics blog (with a headline saying that the DA only "objects" to the ad, not that he recinded his endorsement) – which is at least more notice than the WJCIC slam got, but still pretty weak compared with getting it in the actual paper as a news item.

I searched the news pages in vain again this morning and, although today was the day for the major straight summary of the judicial race (the one about Butler was actually insightful; the one on Gableman read like a press release), still nothing about the Dodge County DA. Then, after combing through sports and the comics (what, still no Mallard Fillmore on Sunday?), I got to the Crossroads opinion page. And there I was in Best of the Wisconsin Blogs. Cool, especially since I don’t send them my stuff – they notice it on their own. Always a treat and, like I said, I thought I have been on a run here. I was wondering if they were going to notice my clever call-out of the right-wing-in-hiding on the Gableman ad. Maybe they would recognize my astute analysis of 70 criminal cases.

Here’s what I found:

Taking a stand

Steven G. Bauer, the Dodge County district attorney, has rescinded his endorsement of Michael Gableman, saying that "a recent television ad released by him makes me believe that Michael Gableman is unfit for the Supreme Court."

"I am troubled that a candidate for our highest court would belittle our constitutional right to counsel which enhances the accuracy of the criminal justice system. I am equally troubled by Gableman's cavalier disregard for accuracy in his representations to the public through this ad. The integrity of the criminal justice system should not be allowed to be tarnished by one man's ambitious desire for higher office. Judge Gableman will not be receiving my vote for Supreme Court justice in April."

This is the way it is supposed to work.

Mike Plaisted
Plaisted Writes

Well, alright. Pretty straight news, with very little of the opinions I’ve been spewing all week long. It leaves out the two most interesting parts for me – the shout-out to IT in the beginning and my punchline – the point of the whole post, really – "Are there other grown-ups out there willing to take a stand?"

I’m not complaining - much. If they want to run important news through my voice, that’s great. But I think the news about the endorsement-recision works better as a news story through one of their reporters than through some blogger, even if it’s me. Some bloggers, you see, can be marginalized as crackpots – not that that would ever happen to me.

Anyway, the important point remains that I was noticed this week in the Best of the Wisconsin Blogs in the Journal-Sentinel. To paraphrase James Wigderson -- na na na boo boo!


illusory tenant said...

"[The Journal-Sentinel] leaves out the two most [important] parts ..."

I can help you draft the civil complain, if you're too busy. On the other hand, maybe they leave out the most important points on purpose so they can cite to Harper & Row v. Nation Enterprises on the Fair Use defense. But I'm sure we can get around that too.

Seriously though, thanks for the hat tips.

illusory tenant said...

Also, the civil complaint.