Cancelling My Subsciption

to the Wisconsin State Journal

Copyright 2004 Bob Persons
December 23, 2004
Dear Ms Foley:

I have read the Wisconsin State Journal for over 20 years, originally
because I wanted a morning paper. But I also was looking for
conservative viewpoints to challenge my more liberal views. Lately I
have become extremely disappointed by the dearth of challenge. 

The Journal has made a number of valuable contributions, especially the
exposing of corruption in state government and your support for removing
the power of money from our elections and legislative processes. I
admire you for this. 

However, on a number of very important issues the Journal has utterly
failed to give rational support for its stands. I cite these two
especially egregious examples. 

Your "Bush on a Roll" editorial regarding the January State of the Union
Address blathered on and on about Bush's accomplishments, without citing
any evidence his policies were working. You admitted some Bush mistakes
but made no indication you would insist he correct them. All your
editorializing since then has chided him for his mistakes, then
supported him in his bid to continue his mistake-ridden policies. Where
was the presentation of evidence, the measures of success, the proposals
for future measures of accomplishment? 

Your "Keep Bush" editorial a few days before the last election was an
astoundingly bad example of buying a corrupt government's promises
instead of demanding change. You admitted the mistakes of that
administration but avoided coming to grips with its refusal to be
accountable to the American people. Instead, you blithely expressed a
hope that Bush would fix his mistakes. This, despite your repeated
misgivings throughout the last four years about the administration's
rationalizations for doing these things. This, despite the fact that
Bush has failed the American people again and again on matters of
security, the economy, the two wars. This, despite the fact that Mr Bush
had promised again and again to not change a thing. Looking for some
rational reasons to vote for Bush, I got a mindless essay on backing the
current government because ... because it's there! 

It is especially painful to view that editorial in the light of your May
16 editorial on the Iraqi prisoner abuses. There, you insisted we hold
the chain of command responsible, all the way to the top, and that Mr
Bush "must aggressively investigate and prosecute those responsible ..."
So what happens six months later? After the Bush administration has
dragged its feet on this and no high-level officer in the chain of
command has yet been called to account, you advocated we re-elect the
man because supposedly he will dutifully recognize "mistakes" like this
and fix them! 

I have tried to come up with a reason for your duplicitous editorials.
The only conclusion I arrive at is that although you have many excellent
thinkers and writers, for some issues a few controlling board members
insist on doing exactly what the Bush administration does - toe the
line, stay the course, and not ask hard questions. I'd like to be shown
this conclusion is wrong, but I'm not holding my breath. 

For too many issues in the past four years, our elected officials have
failed us miserably, and the media (including the Wisconsin State
Journal) have too often followed in lock step. 

There are two other things that leave me disappointed with the Journal. 

First: Apparently you have relegated George Hesselberg to where the sun
don't shine. I don't know why you did this. Given your obvious bias
toward the Bush administration, which declines to give rational
explanations for its policies, I am not surprised by your lack of
explanation for dropping Doctor KnowItAll. I truly miss George. 

Second: Since Ms Foley's entrance, the Journal has a more PlaySkool look
and tends to put more secondary content on the front page. So many
important articles are buried past page 4. This has been a trend with
the Journal (and other otherwise respectable newspapers, too) for some
time; I recall the story on the "shoe bomber" in December, 2001, was
undeservedly brief and tucked away on page 6 or so. I was personally
devastated that, with all the promises of increased airline security
after 9/11, this guy managed to bring a bomb on board. And you
practically buried the story! What were you afraid of? 

All told, I can no longer expect to get a rational conservative
viewpoint from the Wisconsin State Journal. So I am canceling my

I will miss Bill Wineke. I hope you don't do to him what you did to
George. I will miss the comics. I think I can satisfy these desires
online. I can still get David Brooks' relatively reasoned conservative
views in the New York Times. And I can avoid the strident James Lileks
and John Leo completely. 

So, goodbye, Wisconsin State Journal. I don't imagine that one
disgruntled subscriber will make a difference. But perhaps you will
recognize your mistakes, own up to them, and do right in the next four
years. Mmm hmm. 


Robert Persons
1636 Norman Way #3
Madison WI 53705

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