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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Janesville Gazette Finally Dumps Their "Sound Off" Anonymous Column

It might be a little too little and a little too late, but after decades of publishing an "anonymous" column filled with drive-by personal attacks when it wasn't delivering a political campaign, the Janesville Gazette, otherwise known as the hometown newspaper and local messaging filter for Paul Ryan, has finally ended the column.

And, there's no doubt about it, those addicted to this twice-a-week fix of rambles and rants will be going into severe withdrawal. The Gazette, in their final Sound Off column on Sunday, posted a series of comments from readers unhappy with the move. They call it a mistake with some threatening to drop the newspaper entirely.

The newspaper's editor posted a Charlie Sykes-like defense, stating that the change is due to their drive for "journalistic integrity." As if they had nothing to do with the damage they've done over the years to divide the community. They believe they and the column are merely victims of current trends.

JG Excerpt:
In this era of the media being pummeled with accusations of "fake news," we feel it is more important than ever to make sure our journalistic integrity is unquestionable," Schwartz wrote in a Wednesday column.

Anonymous commentary has no place in a publication that takes pride in its journalism, he said.

True. As you probably know, this blog has been a sharp critic of the Gazette for publishing the anonymous column. In fact, I stated that the Gazette will likely never drop it because of the column's immense political power. But that's just it. I believe it began with political intentions and ended for the same reason.

In no way am I defending the column, but they could have kept it by separating it from the opinion page and renamed it as a novelty, say like Troll Corner or Nay Bobs.

My main point is; It is a positive step, but I don't believe they dropped it for journalistic integrity. I think they dropped it because the newspaper and the city along with their social media cohorts are in the final stages of rewriting local political history and delivering Forward Janesville's low-wage right-wing economic agenda on the city. They require trance-like unity and unquestionable support. So I believe they concluded that they must not help disseminate any elements of division or opposition to their agenda, when and wherever they can.

So the Sound Off column became expendable. For now.

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