This week the much respected Jessica Arp reported one of her must-see “Reality Check” segments on WISC-TV’s 5:00 P.M. newscast. The topic was an independent group ad which is nothing more than a thinly veiled anti-JoAnne Kloppenberg piece aimed at making it harder for voters to discern fact from fiction.
There was no way to miss the points which Arp reported.
The bottom line evaluation by Arp showed almost the entire ad to be downright misleading in various ways and in dire need of clarification. She further reported that the ad, produced by former Republican staff for the sham group Alliance for Reform, was falsely using the graphic “CONVICTION OVERTURNED” to describe the case in question and that while the creators disagreed that it was misleading, agreed to remove that graphic airing statewide in a $700,000 ad buy.
At this point we should all agree it is due to reporters like Arp who help keep the campaigns running slightly more on the straight and narrow.
But then would you believe that within 15 minutes what to my wondering ears and eyes did appear on WISC was that very ad with the adjudged misleading graphic and assertions being aired ON THE SAME NEWSCAST!
I am bewildered as a voter and citizen of this state. As one who once gathered and reported the news and also later in life worked within the state legislature I have witnessed the tug and pull from both sides of the divide when it comes to campaigns, crafting policy and the reporting that goes along with that territory. I readily admit there are gray areas and reasons all can claim the high road at one time or another.
But I am at a total loss as to explain what I witnessed on WISC TV.
What responsibility and ethics does the media use to make their decisions? What high box does one need to stand upon so to reason it to be fine to question a most misleading ad but then accept payment for repeatedly airing it?
I have always held that reporters and journalists are as important to our democracy as are military men and women. Arp is certainly one of those who I place in the camp of doing the work the citizenry requires when it comes to knowing more about the elections. But in the larger mix of the media there needs to be those in the top offices who understand their responsibility as well to make sure the media is working for the best of the state and nation.