Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Ask the Cap Times

From: James Wigderson
Sent: Tuesday, July 08, 2008 8:43 AM
To: Dave Zweifel
Subject: Soglin op-ed and quotes in articles

Mr. Zweifel:

Looking through the recent archives of the Capital Times concerning former Mayor Soglin and his battle with Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, I don't see it mentioned by the Capital Times that Soglin is actually getting paid to organize opposition to WMC.

Was the Capital Times unaware of Soglin's role as a paid agent when it allowed him to write a guest op-ed for the newspaper? No mention is made in the disclaimer at the end. Was it an oversight, or was the newspaper unaware? If the newspaper runs op-eds by the former mayor in the future will it note Soglin is paid to form opposition to WMC?



I also noticed that when Soglin is quoted on the subject of WMC, or even when he and his blog are featured, no mention is made that Soglin has clients (his word) that are paying him in his efforts against Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce. I'm wondering what the newspaper's policy is regarding this kind of disclosure.

James Wigderson
Wigderson Library & Pub

From: "Dave Zweifel"
To: jamesmdw@yahoo.com
Cc: "Paul Soglin"

James: Thanks for your e-mail, but I suspect your knowledge of Madison's political environment is somewhat limited. But, then again, a visit to your blog site reveals several limitations. There is no need to further identify Soglin as other than the former mayor of Madison when it comes to WMC. Your implication is that he rails about WMC's tactics because he is being paid by someone to do so. FYI, Soglin railed about WMC when he was in the mayor's office during his several terms and when as a private citizen. He was hired as a consultant because of that -- not the other way around. We do have a policy to identify in shirt tails the interests of the author, but in Soglin's case this was not and is not necessary. Perhaps you could unleash your blogging power to convince WMC to reveal its funders, since that's the issue in all of this in the first place. Do you think it's OK to hide behind quirks in the law to protect the identity of those who would piggyback on racist and underhanded attacks to buy a Supreme Court justice? I appreciate your obvious deep concern about how we identify the former longtime mayor of our city, but just so you know, we're not easily intimidated by right-wing bloviators from Milwaukee and their mimickers from the troubled city's silk-stockinged suburbs. Perhaps you should return to spreading fears about commuter rail. We wouldn't want to make it easier for more folks to get to Waukesha now would we? They might just drink the water.


Dave Zweifel

From: "James Wigderson"
To: "Dave Zweifel"

So if a private foundation pays me to write against tax increases - regardless of your personal bias on the subject - you would be okay with a newspaper publishing my column without that disclosure, if only because I have always been against taxes. Is that what I am understanding?

James Wigderson

Note: I'm not sure why Zweifel cc'ed Soglin on his response to me. Was it to remind Soglin that the Cap Times' journalistic ethics and standards are low enough that he is free to continue writing attacks on WMC without the Cap Times readership being told that Soglin is being paid to do so?