Archive for Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wis. publisher: Employees wrong to sign recall petitions

March 28, 2012

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An executive of The Post-Crescent newspaper wrote an open letter to readers Saturday, apologizing for 25 Gannett Wisconsin Media journalists, including nine in Appleton, who signed recall petitions for Gov. Scott Walker.

Genia Lovett, The Post-Crescent’s president and publisher, said in the column that she took little consolation from the fact that none of the involved workers covers politics or directs political news coverage.

“The fact that any of our 223 Wisconsin news employees signed the petition is disheartening,” she wrote. “It has caused us to examine deeply how this happened, how we will address it and how we will prevent future breaches.”

Lovett said that the newspaper is in the process of addressing discipline and that it revealed the signatures to readers in the interest of being as open as possible.

Walker is being targeted for recall over his efforts last year to effectively end collective bargaining for most public workers. Last week, the Gannett Wisconsin Media investigative team wrote a story that exposed 29 circuit court judges had signed Walker recall petitions.

Lovett acknowledged that as citizens, reporters have a right to hold opinions about political issues and to share those opinions with colleagues, friends or family. But she said journalists have an added responsibility to protect their news organization’s credibility and impartiality.

“They must go to extra lengths to guard against even the impression of favoring a candidate or a position,” the column said. The recall petitions are public documents that can be viewed online.

Comments

Gandalf 3 years, 5 months ago

What a crock of BS! Give some employers an inch and they want a mile. I'm afraid the fact that the publisher may be a little embarrassed does not outweigh the employee's constitutional rights.

Roland Gunslinger 3 years, 5 months ago

A right the employee's know they cannot always fully use without looking biased. Which apparently this newspaper is trying to be.

Just as I cannot campaign or speak in political rallies in my uniform as it gives the impression that I am speaking for the military.

Gandalf 3 years, 5 months ago

Military personnel give up a lot of rights when they join. Civilians don't.

Roland Gunslinger 3 years, 5 months ago

They do if they are aware they work for an organization that must remain neutral an unbiased.

Now I've never worked for a newspaper but I can imagine that as a part of their hiring process employees may be asked, depending on the news organization, that employees sign a pledge to keep personal politics to themselves so as not to appear to be a representative of the paper. Or maybe it's written into their HR policies.

If you voluntarily agree to give up (or rather limit) certain rights then there is no argument. I don't know if this is true for this particular paper... but the executive certainly makes it appear that this is company policy.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 5 months ago

This isn't in the same category as taking part in a public campaign. This is akin to casting a vote. The only reason we know the names is because this election isn't being conducted by the state election apparatus, so the qualifications of the petitioners/voters needs to be verified.

esteshawk 3 years, 5 months ago

A whopping ten percent of the employees signed a petition, and you take that as evidence of leftwing media bias?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 5 months ago

The employees didn't sign the petition as a means of making a public statement. They signed the petition in order to exercise their rights as registered Wisconsin voters. And clearly, it's the executive who has turned this into a political statement.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 5 months ago

"Them too. Who ever said courts were not tilted heavy left."

Certainly not you. But I'd say that this just as likely says these judges tilt towards the center, although from your perspective, tilting towards the center is the same as tilting to the left.

esteshawk 3 years, 5 months ago

Or watch Fox or listen to Limbaugh or Savage?

Richard Heckler 3 years, 5 months ago

Governor Walker must hit the road ASAP. So should Gov Brownback.

The fact that the newspaper has a policy that won't allow employees the right to exercise their voting rights and practice democracy says the newspaper should be hauled into court.

Flap Doodle 3 years, 5 months ago

Show trials all around! Stalin would love you, merrill.

gl0ck0wn3r 3 years, 5 months ago

"The fact that the newspaper has a policy that won't allow employees the right to exercise their voting rights and practice democracy says the newspaper should be hauled into court."

I assume you will be donating to help with any legal bills? You seem to always advocate legal action but could you tell us on what grounds one should haul the newspaper into court? How is the newspaper infringing on its employees voting rights?

tomatogrower 3 years, 5 months ago

What are you so worried about? That the stupid governor will lose his recall election? You seem to think that these journalists were the only ones who signed the petition. Do you know how many people in the "reality" part of the state signed the petition? Walker is history, despite his supporters attempts to destroy and threaten petitioners. What kind of fantasy world are you living in?

pace 3 years, 5 months ago

Nothing frightens cowards as much as someone standing and actually using their rights.

Mike Ford 3 years, 5 months ago

governor walker and his cronies are exploitative crooks. what do theftlicans always want to do away with? laws and regulations protecting the environment. the Potawatomi and Chippewa people in Wisconsin have fought for two decades to prevent mining near the Wolf River involving the use of cyanide. I have been to the Bad River and Sokaogan Chippewa reservations, the Menominee and Stockbridge reservations and the Oneida reservation in Wisconsin. With a history of strong tribes and progressives like Robert Lafollette, one has to wonder how this state went to the dimwits. With all of the tribes there the undercurrent of racism has always been just below the surface. People have a right to stand up against the McCarthyistic nonsense being pushed by clowns in patriot suits, charlatan ministers, and women who think they're politicians while the rest of the women laugh at them. Kudos to these employees.

tomatogrower 3 years, 5 months ago

It's a apt description of libertarians, that's for sure. They live in this fantasy world where everyone is healthy and doing all they can to worship the mighty dollar, which means all business and no art. And if anyone dares to be sick and needy they will just run off and die, so the rest of the "perfect people" don't have to be burdened.

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