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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Newspaper: Policy Attacks Bad - Personal Attacks Good?

Wednesday's (April 28th) Janesville Gazette contained a letter from a Walworth County resident claiming the health care reform bill is exactly what we should expect from a "slumlord enabler" and a former drug user. The letter writer, who actually began his diatribe by complaining that recent letters praising the health care reform bill were always short on details and perspective, proceeded to lay out a series of distortions based on irrelevant assumptions whose only intention was to demonize Obama and supporters of the health care reform bill, even aligning the Obama Administration with Adolph Hitler's views. The writer also covered for many of his attacks by constructing them as questions.
Letter Excerpt:
Will old people frightened into voting for Obama get to meet Terry Schiavo sooner rather than later?
No big deal really. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and I for one thought the author expressed his thoughts quite well, as imbalanced, mean-spirited and short on details as they were.

But last week, the Gazette opinion editor felt it was necessary to contradict a letter writer who thought Rep. Paul Ryan wanted to take Social Security checks and "invest" them with some of his banker friends on Wall Street. That particular letter did not devolve into a name-calling personal attack against Ryan. Yet, it was followed by an "editor's note" regurgitating one of Ryan's talking points from his roadmap plan. In a later blog post, the editor explained he thought it was appropriate to post Ryan’s policy statements "to balance the letter writer's right to express himself with our desire to provide accurate information and perspective."


Not to rehash this into something it's not, but the editor was apparently satisfied with the nasty name-calling trash talk letter against Obama. There was no "editor's note" to provide accurate information or balance.

In my view, the op-ed editor made poor judgment calls on both letters. Although both were strongly worded personal viewpoints, the Ryan/policy letter should have been left to stand on it's own accord without an editor's rebuttal, while the Obama/personal letter should have not been allowed to stand at all. It should have never been published.


Anonymous said...

How much money has the Gazette contributed to Ryan's campaign?

Lou Kaye said...

I haven't seen Bliss or the Gazette listed among Ryan's donors, but their selective journalism and favored treatment could be worth thousands a year.

Anonymous said...

Just another fine example of selective journalism. It is their "news" paper, which they so often like to remind people of. If it fits their "conservative" view/agenda they are fine with it, it not, they run editorial/attack disclaimers. How they can sit there and defend it is ridiculous to me. It is so blatantly obvious to many. I'm still waiting for the FOX APPROVED stamp to show up. Tabloid quality "news".

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