Letter: Where’s journalistic integrity? by Catherine Joppa
On Aug 25, Pat Kreitlow made a trip to Rhinelander’s Hodag Park to demonstate how he would work to be our representative in the U.S. Congress. Pat brings energy and a true understanding of the needs of Rhinelander citizens and others including the large senior population in the Northwoods. Channel 12 knew, of course, that he would be coming here, and would be talking about the contrast between his knowledge and convictions vs. the philosophy of the incumbent, Sean Duffy.
End of story? No. Channel 12 led their coverage of this event in the park with the misleading comment that while we folks were out enjoying the nice weather, the candidates had been working hard. Wrong. Sean Duffy was not doing a thing here. He had not driven across the state to be here with us as had Pat Kreitlow. Channel 12 gave Duffy credit where none was due. Then on screen, appeared a large dressed up picture of Duffy next to Pat Kreitlow’s picture, they gave Duffy 38 seconds of air time to Mr. Krietlow’s 33 seconds. Keeping Duffy’s large picture on screen, Channel 12 patched Duffy through on phone allowing him rebuttal to Kreitlow’s message point for point. The feedback was canned answers for complicated issues. Channel 12 would call it equal time, I suppose. But Duffy was NOT the news story; Pat Krietlow was. Duffy got credit for working hard on that Saturday afternoon while he could have been playing golf or relaxing in a hammock for all we know. Channel 12 gave Duffy the Kreitlow statements and then allowed him ample time to craft canned responses.
A point on the side here. Channel 12 chose not to cover the other story. Sean Duffy’s campaign manager who was part of the crowd at Hodag Park, behaved unprofessionally, rude, without class and undignified. He actually placed himself between Mr. Kreitlow and the TV camera with a recorder and microphone in his hand. The man he works for (Sean Duffy) should call him out for that kind of behavior.
Channel 12 should encourage a series of debates between the two candidates rather than give out the questions for carefully scripted answers to one of them. They were involved in setting up Mr. Kreitlow. Are they an unbiased news medium? I have wanted to think so. But this event gave every appearance that they are not.
Catherine Joppa, Rhinelander