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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Newspaper's Anonymous Column: A Place To Offend

Today, one of the Janesville Gazette editors scoffed at the idea of a conspiracy theory purportedly leveled against the newspaper and references this blog as an example of those who help perpetuate the paper's credibility problems.
Gazette Editor's Blog Excerpt:
A few months ago, I ran a column by Sen. Judy Robson, D-Beloit. I don't recall the subject, but I do recall that I forgot to change our little standing header from "Other Views" to "State Views" above that column. A local blogger suggested I did it on purpose, as some sort of conspiracy.
He was referring to this observation I made in December of '08.
Partisan Publishing?
On Tuesday, the Gazette published another op-ed written this time by Sen. Judy Robson titled Civilian Corps Served As Bailout During Depression under the heading "OTHER VIEWS. Robson is a Democrat.....and a woman, of course.
That's interesting. To bring this up after eight months have passed by. Time does fly. But calling a title a standing header and not a default header implies it remains (standing) until it is changed. The day before Robson's column, the header was "State Views" for Kedzie's op-ed. But I'm not blogging here to play "gotcha" with the Gazette, and one little editing mistake would hardly qualify for a conspiracy. Yet these little “forgot to” events in editing by the newspaper always seem to be driven against one particular political ideology or in favor of another.

Back in July of 2008, they posted an op-ed written by private citizen James Buchen in defense of the WMC under the heading “state views.” So when the newspaper posts an op-ed written by a democratic state legislator under “other views” it does look partisan. But a conspiracy? Not!

Hey, no big deal. Maybe that was another minor oversight or perhaps it wasn’t. I really don’t care what their reasons are now because these seemingly minor mistakes make up only a tiny, tiny portion of the newspaper's mountain of distortions and omissions I've archived here over the past three years, and I've missed dozens more. Yet, I’ve never implied any of it was a conspiracy. Bias? Absolutely. Do they use their presses to shape public opinion? I think so. Do they project a quasi-conspiratorial behavior and distort the news for their own political and social agenda? I believe my blog has dozens of examples to build a solid case for that one. But an actual "WaterGate" type of conspiracy? Again, I have no proof of that.

I don’t really pay much attention to these so-called header editing "mistakes" anymore. When I brought up a few examples on this blog, my point was to have people become aware of them and the power these so-called mistakes can have over a reader's understanding of important issues. Or you can just ignore it all.

Others can read my observations and draw their own conclusions. In fact, I’ve asked readers not to interpret some of my postings as proof of a conspiracy. But they are what they are. Besides, the Janesville Gazette is entitled to its opinion and I’m in no position to scold these educated professionals – they know exactly what they’re doing. But I'll take issue with their pattern of political and social bias and slanted editorial behaviors as often as I can and post my findings here.

Now back to the editor's blog. After accusing me of creating some sort of a conspiracy, he then twists and ties my observations in together with a phone call he recently received.
Gazette Editor's Blog Excerpt:
This week, I got a phone message from a woman who wondered if we let politicians listen to messages in our Sound Off call-in line. I'm not making this up, folks. I talked to the woman yesterday. She says she's in business with her husband, so she likes to share her opinions through Sound Off so as not to offend any potential customers. That's understandable.
The Gazette has a twice-a week newspaper column called "Sound Off," which is filled with a dozen or so supposedly random and sometimes offensive rants collected from anonymous phone calls. This column has been used by gutless cowards (its a double negative but it works) to tear down hardworking GM workers, labor unions, politicians, school teachers and of course their own neighbor while at the same time prop up a right-wing conservative political and social agenda. Yet, the Gazette has defended the column against questions about its programming honesty and mission. They have no intentions of shutting it down and have in fact expanded its deception by selecting on-line comments from their blogs for a Web-based version in Friday hard-copy editions.

It's like the lady implied, the Sound Off column is a great place where you can offend your customers - anonymously. Now that's the community spirit!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

love to see the blue angel and the thunder birds 2014 in janesville wisc

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