Watchdog Wednesdays: Open Government Resources
Transparency in government is vital to a healthy democracy. Wisconsin has a long tradition of openness with regard to public meetings and records, including what may be the nation’s first state records law, enacted in 1849.
The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism has put together a great resource guide for understanding the state’s open meetings and public records laws.
Watchdog Report - ATF Uses Rogue Tactics in Storefront Stings Nationwide
Aaron Key wasn’t sure he wanted a tattoo on his neck. Especially one of a giant squid smoking a joint.
But the guys running Squid’s Smoke Shop in Portland, Ore., convinced him: It would be a perfect way to promote their store.
They would even pay him and a friend $150 apiece if they agreed to turn their bodies into walking billboards.
Key, who is mentally disabled, was swayed.
He and his friend, Marquis Glover, liked Squid’s. It was their hangout. The 19-year-olds spent many afternoons there playing Xbox and chatting with the owner, “Squid,” and the store clerks.
So they took the money and got the ink etched on their necks, tentacles creeping down to their collarbones.
It would be months before the young men learned the whole thing was a setup. The guys running Squid’s were actually undercover ATF agents conducting a sting to get guns away from criminals and drugs off the street.
The tattoos had been sponsored by the U.S. government; advertisements for a fake storefront.
The teens found out as they were arrested and booked into jail.
Read more from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s outstanding report here.
Watchdog Toolkit | WisconsinWatch.org
The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism has launched this project to help residents track the actions of people in power.
Follow the link above for concise tips on how to gather information on:
- Campaign finance
- State legislation
- Corporations and nonprofits
Koch Brothers Turning Their Focus to Newspapers
Three years ago, Charles and David Koch, the billionaire industrialists and supporters of libertarian causes, held a seminar of like-minded, wealthy political donors at the St. Regis Resort in Aspen, Colo. They laid out a three-pronged, 10-year strategy to shift the country toward a smaller government with less regulation and taxes.
The first two pieces of the strategy — educating grass-roots activists and influencing politics — were not surprising, given the money they have given to policy institutes and political action groups. But the third one was: media.
Other than financing a few fringe libertarian publications, the Kochs have mostly avoided media investments. Now, Koch Industries … is exploring a bid to buy the Tribune Company’s eight regional newspapers, including The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun, The Orlando Sentinel and The Hartford Courant.
Milwaukee's Fox 6 Films Reporter Dancing at Scene of Deadly Fire in an Effort to Make Show "Fun and Spontaneous"
Milwaukee’s Fox 6 filmed its reporter Angelica Duria dancing at the scene of a house fire that killed three young children.
The president and general manager of WITI [Chuck Steinmetz] was forced to issue a statement in response to the controversy:
"We have been working to make parts of FOX 6 Wake Up more fun and spontaneous — especially near the end of the show as we transition into ‘Real Milwaukee.’ We have tried to involve all of the crew and staff.
While I personally received multiple positive comments from viewers about the segment—one person specifically thanking us for getting their day off to a fun start before going to work—we never intended to offend anyone. If we did, we certainly apologize.”
Oddly, Steinmetz’s statement—particularly the line about someone thanking the station for making life fun—suggests that he has mistaken Milwaukee, Wisconsin for Bomont, the tiny town from Footloose. He’s not sorry because Duria’s dance party took place in a grossly inappropriate setting. He’s sorry you hate dancing.
The media is zero for two in trying to tie the Connecticut shooter’s identity to specific social networking profiles. So maybe it’s time to stop doing that. (Looking at you, Slate, Buzzfeed, and Huffington Post.)
You can add CNN to that list, as well.
Biden did absolutely roll his eyes, snort, laugh derisively and throw his hands up in the air whenever Ryan trotted out his little beady-eyed BS-isms. But he should have! He was absolutely right to be doing it. We all should be doing it. That includes all of us in the media, and not just paid obnoxious-opinion-merchants like me, but so-called “objective” news reporters as well. We should all be rolling our eyes, and scoffing and saying, “Come back when you’re serious.
Seriously. Everyone whining about how Biden was “mean” is conveniently overlooking the fact that he was responding to blatant lies. Paul Ryan deserves to have people laugh in his face when he talks.