Unethical Quote Of The Week: Wisconsin State Journal

“Critics accused her of copying campaign materials after parts of her jobs plan and other proposals included segments that were identical to those other Democratic candidates.”

—-Wisconsin State Journal reporter Mary Spicuzza, in a story for the paper about how  Democratic Wisconsin gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke felts she was abused and “dragged through the mud” while running, unsuccessfully, against Gov. Scott Walker, arguably the most savaged state politician in any state.

finger-pointingAs I wrote about here, Burke DID copy campaign materials. The “critics accused” deceit is increasingly common in today’s journalism, as in “conservatives accused Democrats of using racially divisive tactics in Congressional races.” It’s despicable, and I salute Ann Althouse, a Wisconsin resident, for flagging this unintentionally hilarious example.

Spicuzza wrote “Critics accused” as if the accuracy of the accusation was still a matter of dispute, then stated in the same sentence that “parts of her jobs plans and other proposals” were identical to those of previous candidates. It’s not an accusation then, is it? It’s a fact that her opponents accurately and correctly pointed out, and as I pointed out, one that should have bothered her supporters as much it did “critics.”

This is how partisan and biased journalists warp public perceptions. Burke is claiming to have been “dragged though the mud,” implying unfair treatment, by revelations of accurate and damning facts, and the journalist is supporting that narrative by misleading reporting.

This particular device has been bothering me for a long time. Is it trivial? Sure, each individual example is trivial. Cumulatively, all the examples result in significantly warped and distorted public perceptions. I had to mention it at least once, and how sick to death I am of journalists who can’t just give us facts fairly without pushing their own candidates and agendas.

9 thoughts on “Unethical Quote Of The Week: Wisconsin State Journal

  1. Well, how are they ever going to get their candidate elected if you insist on bringing up the truth? But, in the paper’s eyes, they are telling the truth. Only her critics brought up the fact that she copied the plans. Her allies didn’t. They ignored it. Mary Burke probably was ‘dragged through the mud’ by opponents who insisted on pointing out stuff she had done. Things like pointing out that she says she is not a political person despite the fact that she used swastikas in an ad against Scott Walker are dragging her through the mud she created and left behind.

    I am eagerly waiting to see how much mud Hillary Clinton will be dragged through if she tries to run for President.

  2. Reblogged this on Liberalism is Trust Fucked with Prudence. Conservatism is Distrust Tainted with Fear and commented:
    Debbie Wasserman Schultz is a greasy Israeli clitoris. She successfully managed to lead DNC to get Obama second term. Now its time to get Hillary.
    The reason the democrats lost because they’re too fat to fight, too lazy to start over and they ain’t any worthwhile battle to rage. It’s the same boring national debt, Obamacare and Baghdadi. It ain’t worth it. Give it to Republicans to fuck it.

  3. This reminds me of Mel Gibson’s wikipedia entry. The section with the heading “antisemitic remarks” kept being edited to read “alleged antisemitic remarks,” and now reads “legal problems.”

  4. I’m sure that, for Mary Spicuzza, the plagiarism of the materials really isn’t the story. But why?

    The answer is simple. Sure, Mary Burke did it. But in writing that, there’s nothing interesting, nothing compelling. It reads like your old History textbook. It’s got all the pizzazz of writing that “The Atomic Number of Tellurium is 52.”

    But fast-forward a bit and “Critics accused her of copying….” is compelling writing! There’s now an antagonist. There’s a protagonist. There’s conflict. NOW WE HAVE A PLOT, er, I mean STORY to write about. Now that there’s conflict, there’s something INTERESTING.

    This is how countless news stories are framed. The facts are secondary to the conflict between opposing parties. This is why we get stories about how “Senator Jack Marshall* (I-VA) said blah blah blah today….” with no actual analysis of whether there’s any merit or truth to his statement or not.

    So I don’t even consider this an example of the third form of media bias. I see it as the first.

    …because, after all, getting people to read what I wrote is at the core of all news reporting.


    * That one’s for you, Zoe.

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