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Late Night: On Wisconsin Journalism

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So the Wisconsin state legislature last week decided to pick a fight with a small nonprofit journalism operation, because book learning is for liberals, and because they could. The University, which houses the center in exchange for paid internship experience for students, has to its credit given no fucks at all in responding to the attack.

Shorter UW Letters and Science Dean Sandefur: “OH YEAH WHO WANTS SOME? WHO WANTS SOME, HUH? YOU AND WHAT ARMY, PAL? THAT ARMY? FIVE GUYS WITH SUPER SOAKERS FULL OF DR. PEPPER, A DRUNK CLOWN AND A THREE-LEGGED PUG? THAT ARMY? OOH, I’M SO SCARED. HOLD ME, TINY DANCER.” 

The University of Wisconsin has came out in support of the center. Gary Sandefur, dean of the university’s College of Letters & Science, which is home to the journalism school, said in a statement: “Arbitrarily prohibiting UW-Madison employees from doing any work related to the Center for Investigative Journalism is a direct assault on our academic freedom; simply, it is legislative micromanagement and overreach at its worst.”

The biggest penis in the entire Wisconsin Senate, Mike Ellis, to whom I would not throw a rope if he was drowning, is like, “Really? Do we have to do this now? Aren’t there some puppies we can kick? These guys pick fights for a living. I like our chances with the puppies, guys.”

Republican Senate President Mike Ellis, who is not on the budget committee, said Thursday he didn’t know anything about the provision.

“I don’t know why we would go after any element of a free press, even if we don’t like them,” Ellis said.

When you are too petty, mean, fascistic and aggro for MIKE ELLIS, who is of the opinion that Stalin lacked the stones to really get shit done, it is time to take a deep breath and rethink your place in the world.

There’s still a chance this provision will be stripped out of the budget, but only if the pressure is relentless. If you live in Wisconsin, attended Wisconsin, like Wisconsin, or have eaten cheese at least once in your life, light these legislators up: 

What you can do

• Contact legislative leaders. Let them know you support the Center’s nonpartisan, nonprofit journalism.
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau: 608-266-5660, Sen.Fitzgerald@legis.wisconsin.gov
Assembly speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, 608-266-9171, Rep.Vos@legis.wisconsin.gov

• Support the Center. Send us your story tips, to tips@wisconsinwatch.org or any of our staff. Consider making a donation.

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Allison Hantschel

Allison Hantschel

Allison Hantschel is a 10-year veteran of the newspaper business. She publishes First Draft, a writing and politics blog, with her partners Holden, Jude and Scout. She is the author of the books Chicago's Historic Irish Pubs (2011, Arcadia Publishing, with Mike Danahey) and It Doesn’t End With Us: The Story of the Daily Cardinal, about a great liberal journalism institution (2007, Heritage Books). She also edited the anthology “Special Plans: The Blogs on Douglas Feith and the Faulty Intelligence That Led to War” (2005, William, James & Co.) Her work has appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the Daily Southtown, Sirens Magazine, and Alternet. She lives in Chicago with her husband, two ferrets, and approximately 60 tons of books.

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