Newspaper-turned-partisan-rag raps Abele | WisCommunity

Newspaper-turned-partisan-rag raps Abele

UPDATE:  OK, I outsmarted myself on this one. This post was entitled "Paper backtracks on Abele," but it turns out that isn't true.  The "millionaire" headline is actually still on the JSOnline site's front page.  The more reasonable and responsible headline is on the PolitiFact piece itself. The paper is doing a hit job on Abele, although the print edition does not have the millionaire headline, either.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel briefly showed its hand on its feelings toward Chris Abele this morning, but quickly stepped back from an unfair headline. Did Abele, a Milwaukee County exec candidate, or his campaign, force the issue? It should have.

The paper's outrageous PolitiFact, which purports to check politicians' statements for accuracy but often wanders far afield and reframes the question to get a different answer, takes on Abele (pictured) today,

The question is whether he is non-partisan and non-ideological, as he claimed in his announcement speech. The paper concluded that's barely true, and that he's a dyed in the wool Democrat.

But it was the headline that raised eyebrows:

Millionaire-turned-candidate Chris Abele: Is he nonpartisan?

That jumped out, since no one recalls any headlines about Millionaire-turned-candidate Ron Johnson during the recent Senate race.

Abele's a millionaire, it's true. He was one before he became a candidate, and he's still one today. Presumably he will still be one after the race, unless he spends all of his money trying to get a bad job running county government.

So the headline, besides being insulting and inflammatory, is also inaccurate. He didn't go from being a millionaire to being a candidate; he is both.

And there is much more to Abele than being a millionaire, as even PolitiFact discovered, citing some of his work on county issues and his philanthrophy in Milwaukee.

In identifying him as a "millionaire-turned-candidate," the paper went out of its way to give him a label that is likely to turn off voters. You have to wonder about motive; was it calculated, or just plain dumb?

In any case, for whatever reason, the headline lasted a very short time. Here's the new one:

Milwaukee County executive candidate Chris Abele says he’s not partisan

It now calls him "Milwaukee county executive candidate Chris Abele," as it should have in the first place.

This is the online version, by the way. I have not seen a print version to see how it was handled there.

ADDENDUM:  Jay Bullock has


January 13, 2011 - 11:25am