Dear Sirs and Madams,

For those of you who don’t know me, I am a staff writer for the local liberal blog site, Blogging Blue. I am a regular reader of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and its companion website JSOnline. However, I generally don’t read other blog sites on a regular basis because I don’t want to be influenced by their content and I avoid conservative sites because, quite frankly, I don’t need the stress (and I don’t need to give them the page views).

However I do read Mr. Christian Schneider’s opinion pieces on a regular basis since you regularly give him considerable column inches in the editorial and Crossroads sections of your paper. I am sure you won’t find it surprising that I seldom agree with his position on the topic under discussion. But that has nothing to do with what I am about to say: Mr. Schneider has outlived his usefulness to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and the community at large.

I am not a journalist, just a blogger. But my readers know that I don’t disrespect public figures or candidates for office or elected officials in my blogs. I use their formal names, their titles and avoid derogatory nicknames in my writing, whether I agree with them or not. In order to have civil public discourse, I believe that is necessary and should be expected of anyone given a public forum.

Mr. Schneider doesn’t hold himself to that same standard and if he was writing for his own blog, I wouldn’t voice my concern. But you have granted him your public forum and the respect your paper and predecessor institutions have garnered over the years. Yet in his column today, 2013: America takes a selfie, you allowed Mr. Schneider to publically disrespect the president, not once, but twice!

Opening with:

In fact, the year was capped by another image, of the American sorority-girl-in-chief Barack Obama squishing his face next to Denmark’s comely prime minister for a cell phone picture at Nelson Mandela’s December funeral.

and closing with:

That is, of course, unless President Selfie can once again convince the public that he is totes adorbs.

Now these aren’t the only times that Mr. Schneider has written similarly ‘clever’ derogatory remarks in the printed editions of your paper. But this should be the last time. There is no place for it in civil discourse and there is really no need to accept in the pages of your newspaper. I suggest that you jettison Mr. Schneider immediately.

Sincerely,

Ed Heinzelman
Staff Writer
Blogging Blue

26 Responses to An Open Letter To The Editors Of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

  1. Jake formerly of the LP says:

    Well done Ed. In 2014, we need to be shining the spotlight on JournalComm and all the other enablers of right-wing hate to saturate our state under the veneer of “expertise.” Schneider, Sykes, Icki, Belling, and all the other clowns aren’t experts or insightful. Far from it. But they’re given megaphones and access that a whole lot of the rest of us don’t get.

    Taking on the propaganda machine and their corporate owners is long overdue. These people are hurting our state and driving the quality of life and debate downward.

  2. debra schwinn says:

    Amen. Where is the end of the relentless promotion of the disrespectful and spittle slinging right wing?

  3. Brian Eisold says:

    I agree with Meathead.

  4. Sharon Page says:

    I applaud Mr. Heinzelman for upholding standards of journalistic civility and intelligence, in stark contrast to the grade-school name-calling of Mr. Schneider which degrades civic conversation and insults intelligence.

  5. John K. Endrizzi says:

    From deep in the Jackpine forests of Adams County I raise my hand in support of ED. There is no place in journalism for derogatory snide treatment of any one.

  6. Duane12 says:

    I compliment you on your standard, a rarity on most blogs. And I agree with your conclusions regarding Christian Schneider.

    As for my blogging standards, I will not engage in personal attacks or name calling of fellow bloggers, but politicians and public figures are fair game.

    If my or the peoples’ representatives are chronic liars, fools, incompetents, racists, haters, misogynists, hypocrites, or worse, I must in accordance with my loss of respect due to their immoral behavior and in conscience reveal the betrayal of their oath of office and their personal failings in the strongest terms; for example, our “governor pants on fire.” Such terms are a substitute for providing hundreds of links to validate my claim.

  7. Edward Susterich says:

    The Milwaukee Journal was “First by Merit” and earned its reputation as a leading voice for liberal and progressive views. Those days are long gone, and the present day Milwaukee Journal Sentinel with Christian Schneider is a mere mouthpiece for the Bradley Foundation, WMC, MacIver Institute and other conservative interests. A couple of years ago, the esteemed paper “lost” O. Ricardo Pimentel (too “liberal”?) and now we have Christian Schneider. Equally bad, its broadcast group which includes WTMJ and “Family Values” talker Charlie Sykes spreads the same one-sided views. Thanks Ed Heinzelman for trying to nudge the paper in a better direction.

  8. Jennifer Pendur says:

    “Pleasant manners succeed even with irritable people.” — I Ching, Treading
    “One is handling wild, intractable people. In such a case one’s purpose will be achieved if one behaves with decorum.”

  9. Dr. Mark Bear says:

    Ed, Bravo! Excellent! Thank you for stating this to the Journal!

  10. It is probably just a co-incidence and Mr. Schneider is on vacation this week…but today’s MJS Opinions page is without a new article by Mr. Schneider and a note saying is column will return.

  11. I am a political consultant for Democratic issues and candidates and have also been blessed with the name Christian Schneider. Imagine my chagrin when potential clients google me and a Conservative columnist pops up. Needless to say I am still Democrat, some might say a Progressive, so readers and comment crafters take what I am about to say to heart and know that it comes from a “blue” perspective.

    Toughen up a bit and stop acting like such hot house flowers. It is a great American Tradition to satirize the POTUS. Enjoy it, take it in stride it is part of the process. Maybe this is the “Irish love” in me talking, but even I have issues with “liberals” (which I think is a good word) always running to the teacher complaining about being picked on.

    President Obama sometimes makes poor decisions, let him own it. And let journalists and opinionators do their job of holding him accountable for it.

    Mr Schneider has a tough enough job in trying to defend or make sense of a clown car of Conservative issues (or is it values?). How boring would it be reading only people who agree with you? Remember, our diversity of views make us stronger not just the views we “agree” with.

    • Ed Heinzelman says:

      I have no problem with the MJS Christian Schneider having an issue with the president on any and every topic that he chooses to discuss. I expect that. I just believe that in his position he has a responsibility to do it respectfully. And if one wants to re-introduce a bit of civility into the public discourse…when do you start to ask for it. When you are standing in the ashes?

      • Christian Schneider says:

        Your point on civility reminds me of a story.

        A new Priest takes over a Parish. He leads he first service and notices something odd. During the a certain part of the service half the parish knelt while the other half stood. Afterwards some of the members come up to him and say “Father it is part of our tradition to kneel during this part of the service.”

        A few moments later another group of parishioners come up to him and say “Father it is part of our tradition that during this part of the service we stand.” An argument ensues among the churchgoers back and forth about what the tradition is.

        So the priest goes to the retired Monsignor and asks “Monsignor could you answer a question about traditions of the church during mass?” The Monsignors says of course. “Is it tradition to kneel during this part of the service?”

        The Monsignor says “No that isn’t it.”

        “So it is tradition to stand during this part of service?” The Monsignor replies “No that isn’t it either”.

        Perplexed the priest asks “Well what is the tradition?” The Monsignor asks “What are they doing now?”

        The priest replies “They are just arguing!”

        “That is the tradition” says the Monsignor smiling.

  12. LarryK says:

    I implore Mr. Heinzelman and all his Blogging Blues to please get a life, or at least a sense of humor. “President Selfie” is less disrespectful – and more accurate – than this quote about a newly-elected Assemblyman:

    “Rep. Rodriguez would refuse to join, because she’s made it abundantly clear she went to Madison to follow whatever orders Gov. Scott Walker and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos give her.”

    Or this slander against good taste (literally!):

    “I guess “Papa John” Schnatter’s anti-Obamacare rhetoric didn’t play well with consumers (or maybe people just realized how much his pizzas suck).”

    Both of which come from posts at Blogging Blue since January 4th. Maybe Blogging Blue has outlived its usefulness as well?

    • Ed Heinzelman says:

      LarryK…I don’t recognize your name so maybe you are new here. Each writer on Blogging Blue is essentially responsible for their own posts…the two posts that you have pointed out don’t appear over my name. If you want to call out the writers of those posts, by all means do so.

      But let’s go back to my original complaint. If Mr. Schneider had said those things on his own blog site or even the Purple Wisconsin blog site hosted by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, I wouldn’t have said a word. I stated that in the blog post above. But as part of the print and online versions of the actual paper…in what I believe is a paid position…Mr. Schneider was out of line…that presence lends more credibility to what he writes and to my thinking more responsibility to be civil.

      I am sure that I will be writing dozens of blogs in 2014 pointing out issues that I have with Governor Walker, Assembly Speaker Vos, Senator Grothman and others…and they will be addressed by their titles and not a derogatory nickname.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, I appreciate it!

    • Jake formerly of the LP says:

      I’m assuming this is wingnut welfare case Larry Kaufmann, who has inherited the “token obnoxious rightie” post at the Isthmus fromm WHAAAA-ska. Feel free to ignore the whiny little man, if that is indeed Larry Kaufmann.

      However, I’ll make you a deal, Larry. If Blogging Blue gets major column inches at the state’s largest newspaper and major air time on its TV and radio waves, we’ll raise our game on how we phrase things. And we don’t even have to race-bait like Chrissy Schneider does. So whaddya say?

      Otherwise, we’ll turn the heat up more on JournalComm in 2014 for having such a one-sided and low level of discussion in its media outlets. Either choice works for me.

      • It is in fact Larry Kaufmann. Nice catch!

        • Ed Heinzelman says:

          I believe people should use their real names instead of an alia when posting, but we allow the use of an alias so why are we posting real names (assuming that is his real name)?

      • Ed Heinzelman says:

        Of course all of the commenters here have their own voice and you can post what you want, but LarryK wasn’t uncivil to me, so why are we are we attacking him?

        • Jake formerly of the LP says:

          The reason I ripped Larry is because he writes bilge like this.

          That guy has the nerve to complain about OUR tone? Like most wingnuts, he apparently could use $5 to buy a mirror.

          • nonquixote says:

            Thanks for the Daily Page article Jake, I’m offering a short example of civility regarding Larry the K’s OP (leaving quite a few points on the shelf)

            Bilge be correct matey, I would not invest a wooden nickle on that consultant’s advice.

            Seems Larry the K, has forgotten Walkers’ role in refusing to let WI residents get federal tax dollars paid in, reimbursed to the state for Medicaid expansion, ACA exchanges, continuation of existing medical assistance. Hmmm.

            He also forgot to mention Walker’s toughening of medical assistance eligibility standards knocking many working poor people off services they already had and needed.

            In what appears to be a deliberate distraction from obvious issues in the gubernatorial, Larry the K has ignored the every other valid criticism of Walker and his regime from voter suppression, to John Doe revisited, to destruction of our water resources, to redistricting, etc, etc. in his blatant campaigning for Walker.

            If Walker were running against Obomba in 2014, his criticizing the ACA would be one thing, but spinning the ACA to be a major reason Walker wins in WI is simply ludicrous.

            So check the names of owners, employees or associates carefully before investing any of your hard earned money, assuming Kaufmann is still pretending to be doing his day job. Forgetting or deliberately ignoring key facts and issues doesn’t say much about personal integrity to me. That Daily Page opinion, appears to me to be a paid for, hit piece. Maybe consulting isn’t quite paying the bills.

  13. Ronald Sem says:

    I am not a journalist or a blogger but read Schneider articles and many times I have e mailed him. I consider Schneider a bully as he has never replied to one of my e mails but at the same time I consider his right wing views entertaining. One of my favorite times is reading his old columns to see how wrong he was. I can hardly wait for his defense of Clive Bundy. As Kathleen Parker likes to say you know not all Republicans are racist but some racists are republicans. Nice conservative spin Prior writers would at least respond regardless of political affiliation.

  14. Erwin R. Mueller says:

    Sorry….If the management of the Journal is not more eager to serve Wisconsin with great stories…. and utilizes great ideas in the readers for Wisconsin……the Journal surely will follow into the graveyard of many other mediocre papers ! Support Haynes !

  15. Erwin R. Mueller says:

    I feel sorry for the Journal and may quit the paper after 40 years !!!

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