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Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Mike Sheridan Loses To Gazette's Dirty Campaign

In a close race, Republican Joe Knilans defeated Assembly Speaker Mike Sheridan.

Sheridan, a democrat who became expendable to the Gazette mediacorpse monopoly soon after General Motors vacated the Janesville plant, apparently could not overcome the Gazette's sensationalized negative campaign that soon followed against him on the state's payday loan legislation.

After wrongly painting him as a corrupt politician for almost a year, in April I noted that the newspaper began backing away from their smear campaign and started taking a much quieter if not defensive position regarding the legislator.

The Gazette however left their dirty fingerprints all over the legislator in an attempt to wash their own hands clean of guilt in this bizarre re-election endorsement for Sheridan. But it was too late. The people didn't buy it and their endorsement became the perfect kiss of death.


Anonymous said...

So let me get this straight. You were upset with the Gazette when they reported Sheridan's inappropriate behavior (Even if nothing was going on, Sheridan has to be smart enough to know that the appearance of a relationship with a alobbyist would be damning.), but when the Gazette endorses your man, (Mine, too. I voted for him.) you blame his loss on the paper. Maybe he just got caught up in the whole "Throw the rascals out!" campaign that swept the country.

Lou Kaye said...

First of all, I'm not upset at anyone. My observations are meant to show that there is a different angle of viewing from the Gazette's.

The Gazette had the full right to report on Sheridan's position with the payday loan legislation. However, they had no proof that his relationship with the lobbyist caused him to act either way on the legislation. Sure, appearance of impropriety was terrible, but the Gazette continued to beat him up on what amounted to unknowns.

Through their misinformation campaign, the Gazette also blamed Sheridan and democrats for scrapping the interest rate cap when it was in fact Assembly Republicans who junked it. I've heard Knilans and Wynn repeat the baloney during their campaigns. People bought into it. That's politics.

I'm assuming you read their editorial endorsement of Sheridan. The Gazette asked their readers to overlook Sheridan's Gazette-fabricated and amplified "ethical gaffes" because of the powerful influence, state pork and favors he has as assembly speaker? Are you kidding me?

I blame his loss on what amounted to an irreversible media campaign against him. That enough unknowns were created by the newspaper to break the trust even if he did no wrong. And because the truth will never be known either way, the Gazette has the ink to clear themselves.

Anonymous said...

Amazing how the "throw the rascals out!" campaign had little to do with throwing republican incumbents out in Wisconsin.

Anonymous said...

I would say the appearance of improprieties is just as bad as the improprieties. That in itself is a gaffe that Sheridan can only blame himself for, not the Gazette. The paper did its job, but if it "fabricated" anything and printed anything that wasm't true, then Sheridan can sue for libel and slander.

Lou Kaye said...

I don't exonerate Sheridan completely, but at the same time, there is a very reasonable argument to make that Sheridan would have defeated his opponent in a close race if the Gazette would have handled the situation without the exclusive framework and droning narrative.

If the payday lobbyist was a member of Forward Janesville pushing for the I39/90 expansion and tax credits for members of the Rock County 5.0 business community, do you really think the Gazette would have reported it the same way? In fact, how do we know that didn't happen or isn't happening right now with other legislators?

It's not that the Gazette wrote untruths, it's that they framed half-truths into propaganda mush like a political ad campaign.

Why does the Gazette and Messenger promote the lobby efforts (Forward Janesville) of a private special interest group to influence legislators at all? What is given in exchange for what the lobbyist group seeks?

Am I the only one that thinks it's offensive to good government democracy when a local lobbyist from Forward Janesville writes how offended he was because some state legislators refused special interest solicitation?

proud progressive said...

First thing is you need to put the Janesville messenger out of the whole equation. I dont know who writes that but he is a right wing hack of the first degree. Seriously writing people should not vote unless they were informed then a week (or so) later blames barney frank for the whole economic meltdown. Whoever he is he is a fool.

Secondly, its shameful that Janesville punished Sheridan and rewarded Paul Ryan. Sheridan's "affair" with the lobbyist was stupid and ridiculous. He should of known better and I even think he should of resigned his speaker position for it.

That being said, he got punished for sleeping with one lobbyist and yet Paul Ryan has been in bed with Wall St since day one and the voters of Janesville don't seem to care.

Lou Kaye said...

The Messenger is owned by Bliss Communications - parent of the Gazette, WCLO, WJVL and the Walworth County Today. I now refer to the collective as the local MediaCorpse monopoly. Editorials notwithstanding, both newspapers deliver a very specific anti-union, slush fund politics, GOP-establishment chamber of commerce message. Excluding the weak Beloit Daily News, Rock County residents have no choice but to eat the Gazette's local narrative which is one of the reasons why Janesville punished Sheridan and rewarded republicorpse Ryan. Outside of this humble blog, there is absolutely zero opposition narrative to Ryan with a local theme.

I think lobbyists are corrosive to good government because some form of a quid pro quo exists whether officials sleeping with them or not.

proud progressive said...

I agree with all you say, except I would not exclude the Beloit Daily News as Bill Barth is very right wing. I guess living in Beloit he has yet to see the devastation that things like NAFTA have wrought on the city. Maybe he think the Beloit Corporation is still in business.

I have always thought that the Gazetta was the official PR department of the Paul Ryan campaign. Have they ever criticized him?

WIth the anti-union bent of the papers, as Dr. Phil would say, how is that working out for them? Seems to me with every auto job leaving ryans district while he has been in office - not very well.

There is a rumor that on Ryans first campaign he handed out copies of GM checks and said he would ALWAYS protect their jobs.

There has been some opposition to Ryan on our blog also(with more to come), but I appreciate what you do!

Lou Kaye said...

What I meant about the BDN being weak is that the newsprint and airwaves socio-political messaging in the Rock County/Walworth area's is controlled by the Bliss MediaCorpse. The BDN in my view has around 10% of the market or less. With that said, the BDN's endorsements clearly show they are solid GOP.

On the other hand, after the Gazette delivers their political message, they embark on a balancing act if they sense any customer rebellion. They literally brainwash the folks into believing they only lean conservative - that they are balanced or neutral. They are a joke in my view - that people don't get or refuse to believe.

Anonymous said...

They either don't know or don't care about their reputation. I have literally walked most of this county and knocked on as many doors for various activities, campigning included. The one thing almost eveyone said was that they either didn't read that paper or that they didn't believe a thing they write. Obits and arrest columns had the only facts, the rest you took with a grain of salt. The slant and bias shows through in almost every article. Their choice of wording on topics shows whether they are against something or someone, or totally in the can for it. I think that because they are the only source of local news, they don't care what people think. Why should they? People still buy the paper or they don't. They can think what they want but after how many years of publishing they have garnered a very poor local reputation.

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