Letter: Wants more state newsThe recent state elections and their aftermath underscore the need for more local media coverage of Wisconsin issues that affect us even here at the western edge of the state.
By: Thomas R. Smith, River Falls, Hudson Star-Observer
The recent state elections and their aftermath underscore the need for more local media coverage of Wisconsin issues that affect us even here at the western edge of the state.
We’ve just had an election in which a state Supreme Court candidate beat the incumbent, a black man, Louis Butler, in part on the basis of a misleading, race-baiting ad campaign. Mike Gableman, the conservative challenger, was essentially sought out to run for the Supreme Court post by special-interest groups unknown to the general voter.
Thus millions of out-of-state dollars from undisclosed donors poured in to smear a conscientious Wisconsin public servant. Freedom of speech for the many is subverted when a faceless few are allowed to exert such a powerful, unexamined influence over our elections. Such matters need more, not less, coverage in western Wisconsin newspapers if we as voters are to make informed decisions.
The Rivertown papers’ argument that readers can find sufficient state news online is, at best, a dubious one. Although I am connected to the Internet, I still rely on mostly print sources for news of current affairs.
And I know many older readers who are either uncomfortable with online media or don’t have computers. The new policy is a special disservice to these readers.
I hope the Rivertown owners will consider restoring its state news page, a crucial source of information about state politics and public affairs for us in this border area in which we tend to know more about our neighboring state than our own. The present policy, no matter its intent, will serve only to disempower readers and make western Wisconsin a more provincially minded, dumbed-down place.
Meanwhile, for perspectives on state news and politics presently unavailable elsewhere in our area, I recommend the Wisconsin Public Radio program moderated by Joy Cardin from 7-9 a.m. weekdays. WRFW on the UW-RF campus in River Falls carries this program at 88.7 FM.