National media call Wisconsin too early, affront democracy

The national media committed a major faux pas tonight against the people of Wisconsin. With people still in line waiting to vote, all of the major national news outlets called the vote for the incumbent (AP and the Times were among the last). One commentator went so far as to talk about the science of vote prediction on election nights, lauding how well statistics can predict the outcome.

Whether or not this is true, it completely misses the fact that an early call has real potential to affect the outcome of the election. That this particular race was split by less than one percent by some polls the day before the election makes an accurate outcome even more important.

To be clear, this is not a partisan message – it is equally likely that someone could step out of line thinking “we won” or “we lost.” The news media is largely expected to objectively report the events of the day, and this puts the drive for a “scoop” ahead of our democratic process. Should one person step out of line based on these messages strikes me as an affront to our democracy.

Why I support the Wisconsin Idea Partnership

Below is a letter that I sent to the members of the Joint Committee on Finance, to my own Senator and Representative, and to President Reilly and the members of the Board of Regents. While at times I feel my opinion is in the minority at Madison, this feeling also compels me to speak out.

Continue reading “Why I support the Wisconsin Idea Partnership”

An update on the situation in WI – why am I blogging about it?

I spent quite a bit of time feeling conflicted about my last post. For some time, it seemed too political, and I was humbled by the work of one of my professors. He made an insightful and reasoned post about how the protests can be a “teachable moment” in the mass communication classroom.

The events of the day, however, have brought be back to my convictions. A state politician basically went on the record confirming everything that I speculated in that post. “What’s going on in Wisconsin” is an effort to attack the Democrat’s funding for elections. These protests are about class. These protests are about the role of corporations. These protests are about the rights of individuals to assemble and speak. These are all issues I care about.

There are a number of issues I would like to take the time to step back and blog about, though it’s very difficult to find the time. I need to find it, because it’s hard to be deep in 140 characters.

What’s happening in Wisconsin is a big, dirty deal

I am not sure if I’ve ever completely tipped my political hand on the “pages” of my blog. These feelings are obviously my own, but my feelings are strong enough that I feel I am compelled to share them publicly. (re-posted from Facebook)

If you’ve received a public education, been cared for by a nurse, hired an electrician,  been saved by a fire fighter or police officer, driven a car, or are one of the Union members who work in these sectors, this message is about what you can do to help them.

The news media has never been very friendly to unions.  There is a mass distortion going on that is hiding an important fact about the dispute over the Budget Repair Bill.  You have probably heard that unions are fighting against the inevitable fiscal facts of tough economic times.  Do not believe it!

1) Our governor gave a tax break to corporations equal to that amount he wants unions to contribute.

2) Nevertheless, Wisconsin’s major unions have offered concessions on all economic portions of the bill, but refuse to give up their rights of collective bargaining (a fact I heard every single large WI union president repeat during a rally this afternoon).

Said another way: our governor manufactured our state’s financial problem, and even though our labor unions are willing to bend, he and the Republicans are SET on destroying our unions.  This dispute is NOT about money — it is about workers’ rights.

If you see your local (or national) media outlet perpetuating this distortion — call them on it!  If they are not covering it at all — ask why!  Send them a comment online, it’s easy, and it’s vital that all of the players here in WI get a fair shake.

– Is this really an attack on unions?  Why? –

Thanks to the “Wisconsin 14,” we’ve had enough time to dig up the real story on what is going on here.  You are free to make up your own mind, but I find what is going on to be an appalling attack on the working class.

* I’m not a Rachel Maddow viewer, but I think this 15 minute clip paints an accurate picture of what is going on – rich, corporate interests are trying to dismantle their one source of fiscal competition in the political sphere: labor unions.

* Where is the money for all of the political action groups that Maddow refers to coming from?  In large part, from the Koch brothers.

Don’t know the Koch’s?  They are billionaires who use their money (filtered through organizations) to push their far right wing agenda.

* The Republican party in Wisconsin is also playing games with the process.  When Assembly Democrats tried to offer legit amendments, the Republicans pushed the process along without them.  This has the Assembly Democrats (along with Wisconsin workers) MAD as hell!

When faced with dirty tricks like this, who can blame the Senate Democrats for leaving the state?  Who can blame the 70,000+ people who marched for labor rights at Wisconsin’s capitol today?

I know what I’ve presented here is lot to read and watch, but Wisconsin, workers, and anyone who leans any direction but far right MUST be educated on these issues.  If you can, please boycott these companies that have contributed to our Governor:

Johnsonville, Menards, Home Depot, Quik Trip, Walmart, SC Johnson, Stainmaster, Brawney, Dixie cups, AT&T, TDS, Hal Lenord publishing, Woodmans, Metcalfe’s Sentry

I am not currently a union member, and I would take a financial hit if the budget repair bill passes. Nevertheless, I’ve been at the capitol for the last 5 days because I firmly believe that there is great value in the public sector – these are the workers to which we entrust our health, safety, and public welfare.

Thanks again for your kind words and support.  Forward!