Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel managing editor George Stanley told me during a telephone conversation this morning that the newspaper is aggressively seeking access to all public records that were placed under the John Doe secrecy order, including the emails, and that this has been an ongoing effort since the records were sealed.  He said that any reporting to the contrary is simply inaccurate. Though he declined to give any details, Stanley seemed to think there’s a good chance the documents may eventually be made public though he didn’t say when he thought that might happen.

All it took to get this information was to pick up the telephone and give the guy a call.

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14 Responses to BREAKING: MJS seeking access to John Doe documents

  1. Dan says:

    Obviously, Stanley is asking the wrong people, since the judge has said no one has asked him to lift the gag order. Tell me again, why we have to ask a judge to release the records of OUR government representatives?

  2. Dan,

    To be clear, Zielinski reported earlier that Nettesheim said there are no pending motions to modify or vacate the secrecy order, meaning no one has taken legal action yet, which is entirely different from asking the judge to lift the order. Stanley, or someone on the MJS staff, has spoken with Nettesheim, and it sounded to me like he thought they could get the records without expensive legal action, though he didn’t say that specifically.

    You’ll have to ask Nettesheim your question about why we have to ask a judge for records pertaining to our elected officials. I’m not in a position to answer it.

  3. Graeme Zielinski says:

    Self-serving piety. An Open Records request and letters to the judge that are not actual legal motions don’t count. The Doe laws are on the books to protect the integrity of the investigation. i think Nettesheim is failing the balancing act, but he is following the law. The Journal Sentinel is not going the route that would work best. Given what the rest of Journal Communications has done to aid this governor and to coverup his misdeeds, I think this amounts to a lot of hot air.

  4. John Casper says:

    Steve, great work.

    Thank you.

  5. Ellen says:

    Well, he TOLD YOU, so, it must be true? Really? Really?

    Forgive me if I don’t trust anything George Stanley says. Read the emails themselves, where Walker says he’ll just call the JS up and fix things — no, actually, just read the JS’ coverage of Walker! This newspaper has been an aggressive, supportive ally of Scott Walker since the earliest days of the pension scandal. He is their boy. I think them going through the motions without doing the hard work of actually litigating the case is exactly Graeme’s point. The JS, and every other media outlet in the state, is giving Scott Walker a pass, and defending the JS’ sorry record is ridiculous.

  6. Ellen says:

    He TOLD YOU so it must be true? Really? Really?

    I don’t trust anything George Stanley says. Read the emails where Walker says he’ll call the MJS up and fix things-or just read the Journal Sentinel’s coverage of Walker! This newspaper has been an aggressive, supportive ally of Scott Walker since the earliest days of the pension scandal. He is their boy. The newspaper is going through the motions without doing hard work of litigating the case, that is exactly Graeme’s point. Every media outlet in the state is giving Scott Walker a pass, and defending the Milwaukeee Journal Sentinel’s sorry record is ridiculous.

    • Ellen,

      I live 350 miles from Milwaukee and don’t regularly read the MJS. I’m just telling you what Stanley told me. Call him yourself. He seems like a pretty chatty fellow to me.

  7. John Casper says:

    Ellen,

    Your correct that the JS Newsroom supported Walker from Day 1 as County Exec and then endorsed him for Governor. IIRC, they endorsed no one in the recall.

    FWIW and imho without the JS Newsroom, there never would have been a recall. Unfortunately, once the recall was scheduled, Journal Communications halted Bice’s coverage of the John Doe and that allowed Walker to recover. Journal Communications’ stock price was on life support and they needed every dollar of advertising from the wingnuts.

    http://www.marketwatch.com/investing/stock/jrn

    FWIW, Dave Umhoefer won a Pulitzer in 2007 for a Walker pension scandal (buy back).

    “Ignoring county law and federal tax rules, Milwaukee County let employees change history by ‘buying back’ pension time from summer jobs in their youth. A Journal Sentinel investigation prompts the county to confess to the IRS.”
    http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/29483804.html

    I have no idea why Barrett didn’t use that either time.

    Meg Kissinger’s reporting on mental health was devastating to Walker’s image.

    “Out of chaos, a baby is born”
    http://www.jsonline.com/watchdog/watchdogreports/101237734.html

    The JS has been very tough on MPD and that goes to the foundation of Dems’ First Amendment Rights. That reporting helps the GOP brand the JS as the moon bat liberals’ paper. To maintain their subscriber base, which is heavily influenced by Sykes’ relentless pounding on the JS Newsroom as the “liberal media,” they track conservative on a lot of other stories. That reporting about law enforcement, however, is crucial to law enforcement and maintaining some kind of civil society. It’s a really big deal and the JS News Room imho deserves a helluva lot of credit for it.

    IMHO, George Stanley and his Newsroom are the last best hope for Dems in Wisconsin. Perhaps Time Warner’s monopoly has helped Stanley’s bosses at JRN realize the value of the News Room’s independence? IMHO, there’s been a subtle but noticeable shift in the JS’ reporting w/r/t wages/living standards/income inequality/private sector unions and other stuff the elites at the Bradley Foundation and the Greater Milwaukee Committee do not want see. They have decimated AFSCME and WEAC. I don’t think there’s much debate about that and it bolsters your point. I hope JRN’s senior management understand more clearly that ad revenue (what little is left of it) and subscriptions (the future) are tied to a thriving MIDDLE class.

    IMHO, Stanley’s News Room is symptomatic of the rightward slide of the U.S. IMHO, Eisenhower would no longer be welcome in the GOP. He believed in taxing the 1%, supporting collective bargaining, and investing in infrastructure. IMHO most Dems today are significantly to the right of Ike.

    Unfortunately, JRN’s bottom line is helped by increased ad spending in the 2014 Governor’s race. IMHO Stanley will be under pressure from his bosses (who are under pressure from the shareholders) to drive both sides to maximize the ad spending with JRN. Getting those emails out as quickly as possible is key to any chance the Dems have against Walker and his deep-pocketed supporters. I hope Mr. Stanley’s correct, but imho the Bradley Foundation, the Koch’s and others will be happy to pay the best attorneys to keep those emails a secret until AFTER the election.

    Another part of the ad revenue puzzle is that Steve Smith, JRN’s Chairman, just let’s Charlie Sykes and the rest give away free advertising to the GOP on his “50,000 watt blowtorch,” WTMJ radio. If Smith would halt that fiduciary malpractice, it would force the GOP to spend more and it might help pull the political center back towards the middle.

    IMHO, the JS Newsroom now regrets the unqualified support they gave to our Middle East occupations.

  8. Duane12 says:

    This cannot be anything but good news. The truth shall set us free.

    Thank you, Steve Carlson. Have a good evening.

  9. Ellen says:

    Graeme is rightly putting pressure on the Journal Sentinel to do the right thing, and the critical tone of the original post we’re commenting on is simply wrong. What the newspaper and their executives say they want is meaningless. Either they fight, for real, to get all the emails released, or they don’t. Maybe Graeme’s pressure will result in them doing the right thing – but criticizing Graeme for holding them accountable is silliness. And suggesting that George Stanley or Marty Kaiser’s word can be believed on good faith is naive beyond belief.

  10. Ellen,

    If you haven’t talked directly to George Stanley yet as I have, then I’d say there’s a strong chance you don’t really know what you’re talking about. That doesn’t make you a bad person, mind you, but it does locate your comment somewhere in the cheap seats.

  11. Jake formerly of the LP says:

    Sorry, I can’t buy anything the JournalComm folks say on this, especially given how much the Doe emails we’ve seen reveal how JournalComm guys like Sykes and Jesse (“Good Ink”) Garza were actively helping the Walker campaign. Actions speak a lot louder than words, Steve.

    I think Graeme’s constant hitting on John Doe is borderline dull myself (although it’s a good insight on how things would work if we had a liberal version of WTMJ talk, doesn’t it?), but so is Steve Carlson’s act in recent days. Look, the reason we need outlets like the Solidarity Singers being disobedient and Graeme’s emails are precisely because George Stanley and company have FAILED AT THEIR JOBS in trying to get to the bottom of what goes on behind the scenes in Walker World.

    Steve may be a trusting soul and believe that better angels win the day, but I’ve seen nothing in the last 3 years that indicates this to be true. And I certainly do NOT trust the benefactors of Right Wisconsin to be on the up-and-up when it comes to blowing the lid off of their boy Scotty.

  12. Jake,

    Chisholm declined to prosecute. Did he fail at his job? We had over 100,000 people protesting at the capitol two and a half years ago. Did it do any good?

    Graeme’s so called reporting and the solidarity singalong brou ha ha has the same ” hair on fire ” tone and quality that preceded recall election defeats in 2011 and 2012.

    Does this not concern anyone else reading this blog?

    • Jake formerly of the LP says:

      Steve- If the DPW would have had half the energy and focus on the power-grab of Act 10 that the Capitol protestors did, there wouldn’t have been a loss in the recall elections.

      Screw being milquetoast, sometimes you have to put your foot down and say THIS IS WRONG AND WE ARE BETTER THAN THIS.. And being nice isn’t the way you send that message.

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