Jan Pierce: Active, Honest, and Open Leadership?

“Jan Pierce: Active, Honest, and Open Leadership…” Well, not so much.

A few weeks ago the Jan Pierce campaign produced a smear video against the incumbent, Alderman Tony Zielinski. Our own Zach Wisniewski posted the clip with his comments. A few days later I posted the full video of John McGivern’s interview of Alderman Zielinski for his AROUND THE CORNER program for WMVS Channel 10. As I stated a few moments of Mr. Pierce’s video were lifted from the WMVS interview.

Just around this time there was a big brouhaha down in Florida about an ad being run by the Mitt Romney campaign titled: HISTORY LESSON. The ad featured news footage from NBC featuring Tom Brokaw vintage 1997 discussing Newt Gingrich’s House ethics committee reprimand. Now NBC found fault with Mr. Romney’s use of their copyrighted footage and asked the campaign to withdraw the ad or remove the NBC footage. Mr. Romney’s campaign claimed fair use and refused.

Now granted, Mr. Pierce’s use of WMVS footage wasn’t as egregious as Mr. Romney’s. Interviewer John McGivern isn’t shown or heard, only the brief replies from Alderman Zielinski are included. But I started wondering if Mr. Pierce had gotten permission from WMVS for use of this portion of their property for his video. So just over a week ago I emailed three questions to the Channel 10 Viewer Services Department via their website. Their initial response stated they were forwarding my inquiry to their General Manager. And just after noon on Friday February 17th, I received an email reply from Milwaukee Public Television General Manager Ellis Bromberg. Here are his restatements of my questions and his replies verbatim:

You asked if Mr. Pierce had asked for permission to use the video. He did not.

You asked if MPTV condones political use of our content. We do not. When we became aware of the video, we asked Mr. Pierce to have the segment removed from the spot, since the program is copyrighted and Mr. Pierce did not ask our permission to use it.

You asked if use of a segment from AROUND THE CORNER constitutes fair use. In his response to us, Mr. Pierce’s attorney argues that the campaign believes the inclusion of the AROUND THE CORNER segment does constitute fair use, and intends to continue to use it.

At this point, we have no plans to pursue the issue further.

Now obviously I am not an attorney and won’t rule on whether Mr. Pierce’s use of WMVS copyrighted material is fair use or not. Obviously Mr. Pierce (who is a business attorney) and his attorney believe that they are in the right. But since WMVS, a respected Milwaukee cultural icon, requested his campaign to remove their footage, I would have expected an active and honest candidate to take the moral high road and respect their wishes. “…I believe we can set the bar higher and even better”. (That’s fair use, right?)


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15 thoughts on “Jan Pierce: Active, Honest, and Open Leadership?

  1. Awesome job Ed…..this is some great reporting.

    The fact that Pierce wouldn’t do some basic checking on fair use of MPTV’s footage before using it says something, especially given the context in which he used it.

  2. Yawn. By definition, fair use is a legal doctrine that permits use of copyrighted work without permission for purposes like that such as “criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.” It applies to political ads all the time.

    ‘Great reporting’ on an aldermanic race might be something more like digging into the incumbent’s record and the history of the issues at stake in an aldermanic district, a level which tends to get little media coverage and scrutiny.

    Instead, stirring up a non-issue like this is of no higher level than what you accuse Mr. Pierce. The only reason someone at MATC likely cared was that Mr. Zielinski or one of his friends pushed them to. The fact that they have no plans to pursue it any further says enough.

  3. Yes wouldn’t it be wonderful if both/either candidate would actually discuss the issues at stake in this aldermanic district? But the ‘active, honest and open’ flag bearer has produced an ad from the Karl Rove play book instead.

  4. Even in Tony’s fiefdom the ‘Fair Use Doctrine’ prevails. A non-story, and, to Zach W,, to call this “great reporting” is an insult to American journalism.

    The bottom line is this: Tony is a poor alderman with a hyper-inflated myth of service. Between the cowards and the sycophants, no one has ever spoken the truth about him in a campaign before. The truth is neither positive or negative; it is simply the truth.

    So let’s talk truth:

    1. Let’s talk Tony’s poor attendance at the meetings for which he is paid 50% more than the state median income to attend. According to the Common Council’s own records, he is absent from more than a third of the time. Look it up.

    2. Let’s talk Tony’s 95% liquor licensee/out of district money lust. Why does Tony–with a $135,000 campaign warchest, solicit, beg, and/or accept even ONE dollar from people who appear before him as liquor licensing applicants. This isn’t bribery as Tony himself said at the one and only debate he can gut up to attend. He’s right; it’s worse than bribery–it’s poor governance.

    3. Let’s talk Tony’s secret bus shelter meetings–a desperate flouting of Open Records/Open Meetings law.

    4. Let’s talk Tony’s illegal hoarding of donation over-contributions for the last 4 years. And if there’s nothing wrong here, why is he suddenly sending refunds after 4 years of illegal squatting? Why didn’t he catch and correct the over-contributions immediately?

    5. Let’s talk Tony’s friendship with Paul Butera who, second only to Scott Walker, is this state’s largest Union-buster, scorched with a 40 page NLRB order to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in back pay to fired Union workers whom Tony called “a really nice guy” because “he even bought me a nice ad in the Bay View Compass.” You can’t be pro-Worker and grovel at the bottom of a Union-buster. And while we’re on this topic, let’s talk about Tony’s unprecedented maneuver to get Butera’s liquor license through the Common Council–a move so bizarre that the Council had to meet in closed session to figure out if it was even legal–and a move that Tony is sure to point out has nothing to do with Butera having “bought me a nice ad in the Bay View Compass.”

    6. Better yet, let’s have Tony talk about these issues in the second community debate that he has, so far, been too cowardly to agree to. Let’s let him speak for himself, let’s let him answer the questions.

    And let’s hope to the question “What do you do for this community, not as an alderman, but as a neighborhood?” is better than ‘I knock on doors and organize block watches.’ No, Tony, the question was *besides* what you’re paid to do…but we know that answer–Tony doesn’t do anything in this neighborhood he isn’t paid to do.

    Let’s hear from Tony and not his ghostwriters.

    1. “What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.” – Emerson.

      It is a bit disturbing to hear that he is friends with a man such as Paul Butera….this tells me much about lies within the Alderman.

  5. Yep. This is the same thing Ron Johnson’s campaign got all up in arms about when the Feingold campaign used actual news footage from a Madison tv station in an ad. They got all up in arms and the tv station had to come out and say ‘we don’t condone the use’ and pressure the Feingold campaign to stop using the ad (which had an anchor saying that Ron Johnson got government money for his company- which is true) and it was all a big brouhaha for no good reason- just political maneuvering with no real consideration of either a) the facts or b) fair use.

    But I guess no one every considered Russ Feingold to be an open, active, or honest leader eh?

    Blogging Blue really needs to get off the Zielinski train. He’s not worth your time or your progressive street cred.

  6. Here is the short and sweet on this…if you are going to campaign from the high road…stay on the high road.

  7. ““Jan Pierce: Active, Honest, and Open Leadership…” Well, not so much.”

    How is that not active, honest, or open? Pierce is honest about how he feels about Zielinski, he’s active in that he’s been an active campaigner.

    Your article doesn’t give him a chance to prove if he’s open or not, because you didn’t him or his campaign for comment apparently.

    I think you’re stretching to make an argument here. If WMVS felt that he was inappropriately using their footage, I would assume they would continue to push on the matter.

  8. Is this Tony Z’s re-election website? Or is the blogger connected to him in some manner? Curious.

  9. Quote: “But the ‘active, honest and open’ flag bearer has produced an ad from the Karl Rove play book instead.” and “Here is the short and sweet on this…if you are going to campaign from the high road…stay on the high road.”

    Really Ed? Your article seems to be attacking Jan Pierce in a worse manner by making an issue out of a non-issue. Isn’t that a Karl Rove tactic?

    Fair use is a right expressly carved into copyright law. Journalists use and rely on it all the time. There is another right that you seem to be missing called the 1st Amendment. Jan Pierce has a right to comment and criticize his opponent. You might not agree with his politics, but don’t trump up a non-issue and call it good reporting on the issues.

    Oh, by the way, do I need your permission to quote your comments in this response?

  10. I think Bay View is speaking pretty loudly ALREADY! Man, there are a LOT of orange signs. If you want to make a educated vote….watch the forum on youtube. That is how I decided. Didn’t know a thing about Jan Pierce and still don’t because he doesn’t have any concrete direction. All his campaign does his slander Zielinksi. In the forum Zielinski had defined answers and solutions to every question. Jan Pierce mumbled a lot and had no vision or plan.

      1. No they don’t…but they are often an indication of the strength of the candidate’s support in this district, the quality of the candidate’s ground game and organization and of course the depth of the candidate’s war chest…those suckers are expensive!

  11. Yard signs are an indication of a candidate’s willingness to pay $5 a pop for them and stick them in the yards of people who (often) haven’t requested them and do not want them.

    This is why a street goes Boehner-Orange for a week until the homeowners gradually throw them away.

    Is it true that another Alderman loaned the incumbent of the 14th his car so that the incumbent could drive around replacing rejected signs? Does he need to report that as an in-kind donation? Is that organization or just the illicit power of incumbency to feign support that does not exist? Is he doing signs when he’s supposed to be in meetings; does this account for his 40% absenteeism? Or is he collecting campaign donations from liquor licensees during Common Council and Committee meetings? Or his he playing “kiss and make up” with Paul Butera, the “really nice guy” who ‘bought him an ad in the Compass’ but whose store he and one other person “picketed” on Friday?

    The incumbent has some portion of $135,000 available to him, including a portion of a $10,000 donation to his LG campaign from Texas (Rumor Control claims it is from his ex-girlfriend/plastic surgeon). Does he *recall* that cannot legally use all of this in the local election? Does he know that just because he refuses to post his campaign spending on-line doesn’t mean it’s invisible?

    So many questions. So few debates.

    Ed, please ask Tony to sit for another debate at your next campaign meeting. The District deserves to hear his answers from his own mouth.

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