August 15, 2004
Why we need Isthmus
The Wisconsin State Journal, never a favorite of progressives, has just eliminated one of the few reasons to pay money for a subscription. Despite editorials that appear to have been written or cleared by the Republican Party and a pathetic record of overlooking corruption in our state Capitol, there was a bright light, a regular column written by George Hesselberg. George brought a fresh approach to the WSJ and made it worth subscribing. But Isthmus news editor Bill Lueders reports in the most recent issue of the Madison alternative weekly newspaper that Hesselberg was informed by the editor that his column would be discontinued. The reason? George had the chutzpah to ignore advice about how to write his column from the new editor Ellen Foley, the import from Philadelphia.
This is the same paper that will soon try to put Isthmus out of business with a free weekly paper. Given the market power of Madison Newspapers Inc., owner of both the WSJ and the Capital Times, Isthmus could be history. Ah, but Foley would assure us that destruction of the Isthmus is not the goal. No, it is to serve the younger market. Yah, sure Ole.
If WSJ can't stand a little diversion from the party line from Hesselberg, what are the odds they will appeal to the younger audience? (Perhaps Foley should start by giving away the WSJ.) Shame on WSJ and Foley.
But the Sunday WSJ had two not-to-be-missed Wisconsin stories. One on the impact of job loss and Iraq on the presidential race in Wisconsin, and the other on Jim Doyle's difficult task of following Tommy Thompson. Worth a subscription? Not exactly. Both articles appeared in the New York Times and were only reprinted by WSJ. So, read about Wisconsin--subscribe to the New York Times.
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