UW Journalists Fabricate the US Government Accountability Office's Conclusion on High Speed Rail | Wis.Community

UW Journalists Fabricate the US Government Accountability Office's Conclusion on High Speed Rail

UW Journalists Violate Several Ethical Principles of Journalism, but WPR maintains partnership with WCIJ

 

Open Letter to Wisconsin Public Radio

 

...this July 22 radio program made me wonder about the ties that WPR has created to this group called the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism....

By Bill Sell

 

Introduction and Open Letter

Dear Wisconsin Public Radio

Re: "Questions remain as state pushes ahead with rail line," by Lexie Clinton of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, with Andy Hall and Jim Packard. : July 21 and : July 22, 2009.

 

After listening to the July 22 Larry Meiller show, in which Jim Packard led a discussion about high speed rail, I went to the 's web page and read the full report. I also researched the sources.

My findings trouble me.

As a life-long Wisconsin Public Radio fan, from Jerry Bartell (Wisconsin School of the Air) to now, maintaining my several-years membership in the Ideas Network, I am disturbed by the shenanigans of WCIJ.

The Ideas' Network has a policy of airing all the viewpoints. Heart and soul, I support WPR as a breath of fresh air in a manipulative media world.

And, I love Wisconsin Public Radio because of its commitment to journalism, and I applaud that they are willing to entertain all the voices. But this July 22 radio program made me wonder about the ties that WPR has created to this group called the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.

Jim Packard called WCIJ a "partner" with the Wisconsin Public Radio. describes itself as a service to the state operated by the University of Wisconsin School of Journalism. And when he introduced his guests as "investigative journalists" and a "partner" I assumed that the reporters would try to be above the fray, covering issues with integrity.

The Allegations

What I found in WCIJ's radio and web reports was

  • fraudulent reporting,
  • a revision of an official report,
  • a dismissal and a revision of the conclusions of that report,
  • shallow analysis of State transportation policy,
  • omissions of fact, and
  • an unbalanced jury of "authorities."

Why, I asked myself, would principals and students of the University of Wisconsin School of Journalism do this to the citizens of our State? And why is WPR involved with WCIJ at all?

Truth be told, I am a transit advocate and I report to my readers about transportation policies. As an advocate I feel the obligation to lay out evidence and reasons for my views. I expect no less of a journalist.

But the WCIJ report failed the people on several levels. And so I did the research necessary to correct the record.

 

A Series of Commentaries.

Fraudulent journalism report spreads media virus to dozens of newspapers, launched from Wisconsin Public Radio's Larry Meiller show.

Part 1 is the first of my several commentaries on the July 22 High Speed Rail report from WCIJ to WPR.

I will soon publish more about this WCIJ report - about the content, the Governor's transportation strategy, the debate about reducing congestion, the use of tendentious language in a journalism environment, and lack of common sense. I will share with WCJI some resources available to any journalist who is interested in studying transportation policy as it is being debated today.

 

The author is a life-long Milwaukee resident. Founder and principal of a 33 year old downtown Milwaukee business serving editors and authors nationwide. Founding Member Bay View Neighborhood Association. Founder of Transit Matters. Steering Committee Coalition for Advancing Transit. Member Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin. Shepherd Express Community Activist of the Year, 2007. Member, Public Policy Forum. Associate Member, Investigative Reporters and Editors.

 

Published

August 16, 2009 - 1:15pm
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