Friday, September 29, 2006

The JS Sells Its Readers Short

Next week the State Elections Board (SEB) is going to be considering another action against Mark Green. This time they're going to be considering whether to ask Green to divest all but $43,128 of the $1.3 million he donated from his federal campaign account to his state campaign account.

Do the readers of the Journal Sentinel -- the biggest daily in the state -- even know what that action is based upon?

A look at the two articles published in the JS that mention the SEB meeting next week suggests that, unless they heard about it elsewhere, they don't have the slightest idea.

The first article to note the meeting ran on Tuesday. It says absolutely nothing about what the SEB action is based upon, only noting that the motion was brought by a Democratic appointee to the board, Robert Kasieta.

The second article is running today, and it too says absolutely nothing about what's prompting the SEB consideration of the matter next week.

We could even toss in a third article that ran yesterday. This article discusses the Federal Election Commission (FEC) complaint filed by the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign on the exact same issue that the SEB will be discussing next week. Not only did the JS fail to tell readers in that article the connection between the FEC complaint and the SEB meeting, it also didn't provide any discussion of the legal basis for either action.

So that makes three chances the JS had to fill its readers in on the fundamental legal arguments behind two identical actions brought against Green's campaign within a week, and the biggest daily in the state decided to pass on all of them.

I've written about the legal basis for the actions here, here, and here, so I won't get into it again in this post.

It's understandable that the state GOP would want to avoid specifics on the matter; after all, Green hardly has a legal leg to stand on regarding the complaints.

But the avoidance of those details by the JS -- which many rely on for accurate and complete information -- is inexcusable.

Side Note: For an excellent dressing down of the bias JS gubernatorial election coverage, check out these two posts (here and here) by attorney Mike Plaisted.


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