I have covered the story of "Verify The Recall" & how it was never used to make sure the process was clean and fair, but to make sure and intimidate those who signed. With the Governor’s recall a sure thing, the VTR is still working. The latest egregious event comes from the Wausau Daily Herald and their editor Mark Treinen. Seems as though 25 employees exercised their constitutional rights, and signed the recall petition.
So we were disappointed to learn this week, while checking online databases and asking staff members, that 25 of our coworkers in Gannett Wisconsin Media broke from our ethical code and signed petitions in support of the recall election for Gov. Scott Walker.
The nerve of people who work for a living wanting to also take part in the democratic process.
Then Treinen goes on to attempt to justify his abhorrent behavior:
» First, none of the Gannett employees who signed (which includes two from the Wausau Daily Herald) is involved in directing or reporting political coverage. In Wausau, the signers were a copy editor who designs pages and a news clerk whose primary job is data entry.
» Second, the overwhelming majority of the 223 journalists in Gannett Wisconsin Media knew better than to get involved in the recall petitions. Gannett’s four central Wisconsin newspapers employ 52 journalists, including the two from Wausau who signed.
» Third, the first two points don’t matter when it comes to our expectations of the news staff — even if you’re involved in page design or clerk duties, you are expected to adhere to our company’s principles of ethical conduct.
Then he heads into the exact reason he is wrong:
Journalists can and do voice their opinions about political issues with their colleagues, friends or family. Journalists can and do vote in elections. Those actions are appropriate.
Also, a few of our senior news employees serve on the Editorial Board, whose function is to weigh local issues and opine about them as a group — not as individuals.
So according to Treinen, the only people allowed to take part in our democracy are a few “senior news employees”, and they will tell their readership exactly how everyone who works at the Wausau Daily Herald thinks. Having an opinion and working for a newspaper will not be tolerated.
I know that you think I am exaggerating to make a point, but if only that were true!
We are now in the process of addressing discipline and reviewing additional ethics training for all news employees.
Shame on Mark Treinen for using “VTR” that way! Maybe he should be the first one disciplined for using VTR in such a way! Somewhere the Grandsons of Liberty are Smiling!
By the way if you want to know what hard hitting journalism the Wausau Daily Herald does: You can Vote today in their wild and wacky pet photo conference call!
In this year’s race for Wisconsin governor, there is a strong argument for both candidates — and there are serious charges that stick to both. We endorse Republican Scott Walker, because we see him as the best choice to bring about fundamental budget reforms Wisconsin needs.
As Milwaukee County executive, Walker has experience that in some respects mirrors the governor’s job. He has managed a large budget in dire need of reform, and has concrete progress to show for it.
As mayor of Milwaukee, Democrat Tom Barrett has had an incredibly difficult job, overseeing a city disastrously affected by the recession. He is a strong administrator.
Barrett is also an admirably straightforward and realistic politician, coming across as utterly genuine in a way that Walker doesn’t always. But what Barrett doesn’t have is a track record of taking on special interests within his party.
For budget reform to happen here, the next governor will almost certainly face a confrontation with public employees unions — including teachers unions — on issues such as their level of contribution to pension plans, which today are utterly out of alignment with the private sector.
That is a structural problem. Walker has made it a centerpiece of his campaign; Barrett has mentioned it as an important issue. We have more confidence that Walker will face this set of challenges head-on.
In campaign mode, Walker has also promised massive tax cuts that Barrett rightly points out would hugely increase the state’s deficit. We will need targeted tax cuts to make Wisconsin more business-friendly, but we hope that if elected Walker considers the state’s overall fiscal picture, too.
Both of these candidates have the potential to be good governors. Walker’s skills and priorities are what Wisconsin needs now. We endorse Walker.