Monday, April 11, 2016

Conservative “news” director advocates for Dane Co. boycott over judge’s right to work decision

Calls for boycott ignore the devastating impact that would be felt statewide if actually implemented

Ken Herrera, News Director for Milwaukee’s News/Talk 1130 AM, wrote a scathing critique of Dane County this past weekend after a judge here determined the Right to Work (for less) law passed last year was unconstitutional.

H/T to the Devil’s Advocates Facebook page:
Ken Herrera, Director of News and Information @newstalk1130 in Milwaukee WI, calls for conservative boycott of Dane County in response to a judge striking down @GovWalker's right-to-work law.

"No surprise's a Dane county judge…I am happy to say that in the 12 years I have lived in Wisconsin...I have never...and will never, set foot in Dane county. I don't want to spend even one penny in that liberal bastion. It's sort of a personal thing..but my wife and I agree we will never enter Dane county as long as we live. We have actually taken routes WAY around the county to avoid giving money to the libs who have businesses there...this has been my personal boycott for as long as I've lived in WIsconsin...and I'm quite sure I will never, ever spend a penny in Dane county...because I will never, ever visit... I wish every conservative in the state would adopt the same pledge... avoid this county… when you spend money there you are only helping the liberal cause..."
(Emphases in bold are added)

Later in the Facebook post, Herrera defends his words by saying that his news judgment isn’t affected by his personal beliefs. “Mine has been, until now, a quiet, personal [boycott] that has nothing to do with my selection of news stories to run,” he said.

But I take issue with Herrera here -- it’s not so “quiet” of a boycott when you’re broadcasting it out for everyone on Facebook to see. And Herrera, whether it was quiet to start or not, was urging other conservatives to adopt the same personal pledge when he made his initial Facebook post.

Herrera is taking issue with a single Dane County judge and applying it to the rest of the citizenry here. There are plenty of businesses in the county that do quite well but have nothing to do with the judge’s ruling in the Right to Work (for less) case. His boycott unfairly affects those area businesses, and would do more harm if others follow his lead.

Furthermore, the damage done with a boycott to Dane County would undoubtedly trickle upwards to the state as a whole: Dane County accounts for almost $10 out of every $100 spent on tourism in the state; only Milwaukee County generates more tourism dollars. That translates into more than $142 million every year in state and local tax revenue, again 10 percent of the statewide tax dollars collected from tourism spending.

Dane County also accounts for 10.8 percent of the statewide tourism employment statewide. By lessening demand for tourism through a boycott like Herrera suggests other conservatives engage in, the unemployment rate will likely go up.

I don’t question whether someone can deliver the news in an impartial way while still having opinions on political issues. But journalistic ethics dictate that news reporters should seldom, if ever, broadcast their beliefs out loud, much less promote them to a mass audience through social media like Herrera did. (Save that for the opinion writers, please!)

And I also remember how conservatives throughout Wisconsin were furious when it came out that several Gannett reporters had signed the Gov. Scott Walker recall petition a few years back. Though these journalists weren’t advocating directly for Walker’s recall (on social media or in their professional writings), it was enough that they had an opinion at all for many on the right to cry foul over the whole ordeal. I wonder if any of those same conservatives will do the same for Ken Herrera...

The boycott Herrera is advocating would actually do more damage to statewide tax collections rather than hurt the “liberal agenda” in Madison. He doesn’t stop to even consider that his actions, were they to be implemented on a grander scale, would hurt Wisconsinites elsewhere. All in all, it’s a petty political payback, and an unusual one to engage in for someone who attests to being nonpartisan in their reporting.

1 comment:

  1. As long as this boycott included Walker and all of the Madison Tea BaKKKers it would probably be the greatest thing that could happen right now in Wisconsin!