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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Tubers Sold Down The River By Newspaper

The Janesville Gazette was apparently "investigating" some noise and littering complaints from a few land owners along the Sugar River in Rock County when they unfairly depicted a group of tuber enthusiasts who happened to be rafting down the river. The article titled Landowners upset about behavior of people on the river was obviously complaint driven against the unsuspecting group and painted tubers enjoying the river as a problem.

One of the subjects interviewed for the article felt betrayed by the reporter and left a few sharp remarks in the comment area of the Web Page article.
JG Comment Excerpt:
I thought when the reporter was taking our names I thought he was just wrighting a story on how people were spending there 4th of july. Not on litter and loud behavior on a river, I live no where near. But then open this artical to find my group and myself lumped right along with local underage children... I'm very angery with the Janesville Gazett For putting me in the position. I was commenting about how nice the area was and thanking people for the great time we had. They twisted this story to make conflict And put us in the middle. Sad story, Sad reporting, and apparently sad hot headed locals. I'm sorry too. for ever talking to that reporter, or even wasting my time going tubing down that god awful river.
I don't blame this person one bit for the frustration. Yet, I don't know if they happened to have seen the hardcopy edition on Sunday. It was brutal. The river activity participants were generally described as beer swilling and an obnoxious "group of people" as opposed to "family" whose comments were taken and warped into a sloppy defense for the actions of the real perpetrators. The photo taken of the river enthusiasts along with the complaint driven story was unfairly if not deliberately contrasted against another photo/article titled "Fabulous fun for the family on the Fourth," on the same page.

I asked two friends to check out and read the entire page and then please give me their first thoughts about the river rafters. One said of the folks in the picture "they look like trouble-makers" while the other said, "those people have the nerve to come here and trash our land." Yeah, I know this is far from scientific, but those appear to be the exact sentiments the Gazette wanted to instill.

In a completely unrelated article three days later about a motorcycle club scheduled to roll into Edgerton for a charitable cause, the Gazette did a bang-up job presenting the event in as good a light as possible. This outdoor event (much like the river tubers) also has its detractors and legitimate complaints of noise and public disruption. But this time, the Gazette chose to ignore all the typical biker negatives and stereotyping ...the loud pipes, the booze, the broken cue sticks and all the foul language, etc.

And that is just as well. At least not all bikers are alike.

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