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Friday, March 30, 2007

Gazette Endorsement Editorial Risk Free

The Janesville Gazette editorialized their choice for the Wisconsin State Supreme Court and chose…….. no one. Now if you know the Janesville Gazette, you would understand this was not an easy thing for them to do when you consider its president is on the WMC board of directors. But I can already hear some saying it was the right thing to do and helps exonerate the editorial staff from accusations of their own conflict of interest.

Not so fast.

The Gazette chose to endorse no one but still went on to editorialize about the supreme court race. What’s so bad about that? Well, nothing really, but if you're not endorsing anyone, why not just issue a short statement saying so? Instead, they ranted about dirty politics and blamed partisanship for tainting their candidate. They did admit Annette Ziegler crossed an ethical line but nearly painted her simply as a victim of too much public awareness. Afterwards, the editorial staff defended Ziegler’s hypothetical statement about Clifford, that if elected she might knowingly take part in cases that could effect their household income.
JG Editorial Excerpt:
Ziegler is right to question Clifford's own potential conflict of interest. Clifford's husband is a medical malpractice lawyer who led the state association representing personal injury lawyers. If Clifford is elected, she might decide cases that could directly affect her husband's practice and their household income.
Anything is possible but, only one candidate has a history of these allegations and it’s not Clifford.

Even more curious about this editorial is the fact that the Gazette laid out their perspective of Clifford’s stance on several issues and finally made sure that voters should know what’s at risk if she is elected, while never once mentioning issues or risk regarding Ziegler.
JG Editorial Excerpt:
Electing Clifford to a 10-year term would tilt the high court even further left and risk Wisconsin's economic development potential.
One way or another a new State Supreme Court Justice will be elected this Tuesday, however the Gazette in good conscience can’t endorse Ann Ziegler or Linda Clifford, but they want you to know if you vote for Clifford, Wisconsin will go to the dogs. You just can’t make stuff like this up.

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