Sunday, April 6, 2008

Kenosha News hyprocrisy is befuddling

The Kenosha News has an editorial policy so inconsistent that it's mind boggling. Today is a good example.

Here's what the newspaper says: "DART - To former County Executive Allan Kehl, whose alleged transgressions will prove costly to county taxpayers. Kehl, who resigned after being charged with campaign fund-raising violations, is innocent until proven guilty, and we sincerely hope he is ultimately found innocent in a court of law. But however the case is resolved, county residents are being forced to shell out some $200,000 for a special election to replace Kehl. That's a shame, but it has to be done. We agree with County Supervisor Jennifer Jackson, who said of the unanticipated expense, 'I'd love to see it build a new bike trail. I'd like to see it fill the potholes that everybody's talking about.' Instead, it will be used to find a successor to a man whose alleged actions abused the public trust."

Let's look at this more closely.

The Kenosha News is berating former County Executive Allan Kehl because his resignation means that taxpayers may have to shell out as much as $200,000 for a special election to pick a successor.

On the surface, that's plausible, but wasn't it the Kenosha News that editorially called for Kehl to step aside? And it's the same newspaper that says in the same breath that Kehl is presumed innocent at this point but then drops the other shoe.

I agree that the lure of money and casino politics put an indelible taint on this community and, if true, Kehl's acceptance of illegal campaign contributions is another nail in the coffin of public integrity in Wisconsin.

But the Kenosha News was also one of the casino project's biggest and blindest backers. The newspaper repeatedly failed to search its own archives to tell readers about how many grandiose promises were made 18 years ago when Dairyland Greyhound Park was licensed.

Those promises seem to be the same lure being spread by the casino project's backers yet the newspaper never called them to task over it.

It was a cheap shot to profess belief in the constitutional presumption of innocence and then denigrate Kehl because he didn't step aside and an even cheaper one to berate him when he did.

Integrity isn't something that should be maintained by public officials. It should also be upheld and practiced by public institutions, such as a daily newspaper.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

And then they also said they hope he's found innocent. What's up with that? If they are so hopeful about innocence, then why did they call for him to quit?

If he's not guilty, he's not guilty. If he's guilty, he's guilty. Not rocket science.

Anonymous said...

Dick:

Not to beat that dead horse, but the Pulitzer Prizes were announced today. To go along with your post re: the Milwaukee paper's questionable quality, they won one!

Local Reporting: David Umhoefer of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

But of course, they DIDN'T win in the editorial category. Well, neither did the Kenosha Pravda. hehe

Editorial Writing: No Award

Anonymous said...

I read the dart as taking Kehl to task for getting into enough of a mess that he had to resign. The cost of the special election is just another unfortunate consquence of the whole thing -- especially if it ends up uncontested, as it is so far!
-- a different anonymous