December 22, 2009

Favorite Son: Ryan's 'exclusive' deal with the JT

Milwaukee Magazine examines the unusual arrangement between Rep. Paul Ryan, R-WI, 1st District, and the Journal Times ... in which the newspaper is given "exclusive" rights to the congressman's column -- in return for ... what?

(Need we point out that all of us are Ryan's constituents, and all of us pay taxes to keep him in Washington, not just the newspaper's subscribers? No.)

Erik Gunn's article is HERE. Some further points that didn't make it into the printed article are HERE.

And unlike the JT, which prohibits comments on Ryan's column, feel free to weigh in.


  1. Maybe for NOT supporting the health care bill?

  2. Perhaps if The Post would call yourself a newspaper vs a blog....

  3. So guys - you've promoted Randy the ultra fascist. So what the difference?

  4. The Post hasn't been a friend to Paul Ryan so what is expected in return. The coverage of Ryan has been very negative and slanted.

  5. Gimme a break. Now people are going to accuse the JT of having a conservative slant? If anything, this barely moves the scale from the heavily leaning liberal direction.

    This seems much ado about nothing.

  6. The JT's cozy arrangement with Ryan discourages free speech in more than just one way. By giving Ryan a blank check and not allowing feedback in the form of comments, Ryan (and his supporters) never hear opposing or alternate views from his constituents, people he also represents. The JT knows better than this and I pay quite a bit for my subscription for such lazy "journalism".

  7. I'm not sure I've ever referred to RacinePost as a "blog." We usually call it an "online news website."

    The JT deal with Ryan was done to give them some sort of competitive advantage over us. Prior to the deal, Ryan put out press releases and columns to all.

    We've arguably given Ryan far more positive coverage than the JT. Sure, we disagree with things he's done, but we also note every time he's mentioned as a leader of the GOP or a potential presidential candidate. We're happy to note Ryan's leading role in Congress.

    I think the bigger issue here is the decline of the JT's opinion page. It's remarkably ineffective these days, to the point it wouldn't surprise me to see it disappear in the next year. Not sure too many people would miss it.

  8. A politician should not have monopoly access to the only major press source in Racine to say whatever he wants. Period.

    His commentaries are not fact checked.

    No dissenting opinion is allowed.

    He doesn't just "update" us on things going on in Washington - he inserts his opinion and begins campaign season early.

    As a free speech proponent, Paul Ryan should demand the Journal Times open up his opinion column to comments, otherwise he is full of it when he says he supports free speech. He won't though, because he uses this column to essentially campaign free of charge to the widest possible audience in Racine. Great move for him, terrible move for Racine and the political process.

    The Journal Times should be embarrassed of itself. You're supposed to be a news institution, not a groupie. Try to have some dignity and respect for the journalism profession.

  9. If the Journal Times did this to have an advantage over the Racine Post, then that is even more insane.

    That means the Journal Times is trying to drive out competition through the use of our elected representative. Sounds like strong arm tactics to me.

    Plus, if Ryan's information was so valuable, then why not share it with everyone? Why only the Journal Times?

    I have real concern here about campaign time as well. Ryan is up for election in 2010 and I assume he will still have that column. Is that ethical? Will they give his opponent a column during that time to be fair?

    I don't like this arrangement. Seems fishy to me.

  10. I laughed at this part:

    "Neither of Wisconsin’s two Democratic senators – Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold, the only other members of Congress whose districts include Racine – have been offered a similar slot. Why the special deal for Ryan?

    “We have not seen Kohl or Feingold in our offices,” says Journal Times Editor Steve Lovejoy. “I guess we’re more familiar with Ryan. He stops by more frequently.”

    Well isn't that cute? I guess if you just swing on by the JT anyone can get an opinion column. I didn't know that! I think Dickert should go by there more often and then start writing his own stories for publication in there too! Or maybe Colt, Orbs, Graham.....the list goes on.

    If just stopping by gets you a column, then imagine what you could get if you paid for dinner and took him out to a movie! Front page baby! Glamour shots!

    Quick, where's my wallet! I want a column! See you soon Steve.

  11. Dustin,
    One thing you fail to point out is that at least the JT calls these pieces what they are - opinion - and they are located on the opinion page.

    You and Pete have written several "articles" which should be called opinion pieces, yet you treat them as legitimate news articles.

  12. denying free speech is ok if you label it "opinion". They should change the label though to "The 1 Opinion Communist Column" if that is the case.

  13. I don't think an "Opinion" description of Mr. Ryan's articles is appropriate. When he represents us in the House, he's not acting on his own behalf or of just those who voted for him, he represents us all. When he addresses his constituents in the newspaper, he is speaking as our US Representative, not as Paul from Janesville.

    I have noticed more than once that the article that appears in the JT is the same one he sends out as a press release from his own "Ryan for Congress" website.

    That means the JT is not printing just an "opinion piece", they are printing PRESS RELEASES, just like the ones we get that also say "DONATE Here".

    Why is the Journal Times working so hard for Paul Ryan? It should be the other way around.

  14. Paul Ryan just had a well written opinion piece in Forbes where he talked about the perils of "crony capitalism" and that we should embrace competition and support the market and not the business.

    Well, his stance here seems pretty hypocritical in light of his opinion piece in Forbes. You could call his agreement with the Journal Times "crony journalism". He certainly isn't embracing competition by providing the Journal Times with exclusive agreements that shut others out.

    Maybe he is only for a free market system when it is to his benefit because when you put his beliefs up to the test in this case, he fails. These are the kinds of people we cannot trust with our politics. He says one thing to Forbes but then acts in the complete opposite when he thinks nobody is looking. Typical phony politician.

    To some extent it is to be expected, which makes you wonder what the hell the Journal Times was thinking.

    If crony capitalism is wrong, then so is crony journalism Paul. You can't have it both ways.

  15. I just checked Paul Ryan's JT article and he says this about actions being taken to combat climate change:

    "The American people deserve a respectful and open dialogue on these important issues."

    .....but not on my opinion piece because comments and other dialogue are not allowed. Vote Ryan '10! See ya!

    Did the Journal Times publish an alternative view to his column regarding placing economic priorities ahead of the climate? It certainly is a good and relevant conversation to be had.....but no. The only opinion that gets communicated comes from Paul Ryan.

    If I, as an ordinary citizen, send my letter to the editor to the Journal Times and they publish it online, it is open for comments.

    Why is Paul Ryan treated differently than every other citizen here? Does the JT think Paul Ryan is better than us somehow?

  16. So this is something akin the Racine Post's relationship of big sloppy kisses to Cory Mason?

  17. 2:32

    You mean the one that distributes personal messages from Cory Mason on a weekly basis in print and distributed to thousands of Racine residents without allowing for comments from those opposed to his viewpoint......cause I must have missed it.

  18. That's baloney and you know it. Anytime the Post writes anything favorable the haters get on a start smearing them like crazy.

  19. The JT reciprocates on a daily basis by using the Associated Press. Try reading any of their articles with an open mind.

  20. 2:55

    At least both the Cory supporters and haters can have their say! I thought this was America after all and not China.

    If the Post runs a story that people think are too in favor of one thing or the other, then they get on the comment board and voice their opinion every time. I don't see what is wrong with that or why the JT insists on shutting down debate when time after time, Paul Ryan himself calls for open and honest debate.

    It makes no sense and calls into question their relationship. If you think Paul Ryan didn't have anything to do with the "no comments" feature then you are kidding yourself. Paul is a smart guy and he plans everything out.

  21. Hey Pete,

    What did Paul Ryan's office have to say about this? And if you tell me they said "no comment" then I'll crap myself laughing from the irony.

  22. My point is we don't get to fact check or reply to the AP stories. These are just as opinionated as the Ryan pieces.

  23. 4:05

    The AP is hardly as impartial as Paul Ryan. Paul Ryan embraces a certain ideaology - which is fine. He runs on those concepts and proposes direction based on them as well.

    The AP is not comparable in any way. Take a look at Paul Ryan's latest commentary and then show me something comparably bias by the AP.

    Plus, the AP doesn't hold elected office. Paul Ryan was given a huge gift with this ongoing column if for nothing else - name recognition. That is a tremendous advantage in a political campaign. It creates a sense of comfort with the electorate and makes it easier to get re-elected.

    These are the quiet points that nobody wants to acknowledge but are true. The JT has given Paul Ryan a competitive advantage in every election by allowing him over the course of time to promote his ideas unchallenged. The fact that he has his own column legitimizes his positions.

    If you were to write an opposition piece to his view, it is printed as a one-off and doesn't hold as much weight as a long-time opinion columnist (that Paul Ryan now is).

    This is bad for democracy all around. It doesn't matter that he is a Republican, Democrat or Independant. The fundamental question is what should the role of a news organization be and what is appropriate? This doesn't pass any ethical or journalistic test.

    I'm not even sure it is legal.

  24. This in bed arrangement with the Journal Times stunk from the time Ryan pulled his socks off to get into bed with the JT. What he states as "facts" are indeed NOT. There is not an opportunity to correct Ryan and he needs correction all right!

    His position papers on health insurance are written by the many insurance clients who donated money to him. Ryan is a major recipient of health insurance monies in his campaign chest, what is it now, well over a million and some since election?

    They pack their little town hall meetings with supporters, it is all a production rather than a exercise in a true town hall meeting.

    Paul Ryan is a phony, overblown, overexposed. For the JT to snuggle with the guy makes the JT just as smelly and undesirable.

  25. Paul Ryan wants my vote, but not my comment.

  26. 4:20 That is your opinion.

  27. 5:00 exactly right.

    Vote for me, donate to me and then please be quiet. The newspapers work for me and I tell them what I please and never sweat the details.

    Free speech my bum.

  28. I can't wait until Mark Belling and Charlie Sykes take this issue on. The JT and Paul Ryan better watch out!

  29. Simple solution-turn the page.

  30. SDJ

    Simpler solution....never do it in the first place

    or at least open up comments

  31. This is commentary from OUR elected Congressman. You may not like him, but remember, he was elected by a majority of voters in our district. I see nothing wrong with informing citizens in his district of his intentions and beliefs. This should be appreciated. I see so many in Washington that don't tell us a damned thing (both parties). I have no clue where our Senators stand on many issues because of their lack of communication.
    How is this any different than the president, current or past, taking up primetime programming space on the television networks to inform us on his healthcare/war beliefs and intentions?

  32. 10:05

    Are you f'ing kidding me? As soon as the President is off the air there is commentary from the pundits on what he said. Plus, most times they will often air or talk about the GOP response. Not so here, and I can tell you there is a very different perspective out there from what Paul Ryan is offering.

    A lot of what Ryan does is partisan attacks cloaked in eloquent speech. It does not seem ethical that he be allowed to do this with no response possible. He's our elected representative, not our Dear Leader. Right now he has a 100% ownership of the conversation around the critical issues of our day. Racine is not served by a one way conversation. Let other opinions weigh in and let the people devide what they want to believe instead of letting some Washington beaureucrat telling them what to think.

    As for the Journal Times, their first obligation is to have an objective viewpoint. How can you do that at the same time as you have exclusive content agreements with them.

    Politicians should not have this much power. It is all about message control to the masses and it is wrong. Shutting down free speech and debate goes against what this country stands for. My family didn't go to war defending this nation so that Paul Ryan can say what he wants and the JT shuts up anyone that disagrees.

  33. If he has 100% ownership then you need to shut up.

  34. 7:57

    Sounds like you would fit right in at the JT!

  35. WOW! Some unhappy liberals out there. This site and the JT have a severe liberal slant and as soon as there is an opposing view there is panic. The opposition typically only rebuts after the state of the union speech. News pundits are there all the time. If you don't want to hear the pundits, do what I do, change the channel.

  36. 8:12 Just pointing out the gross exaggeration of 100% control. Sounds like panic to me.

  37. 9:00

    Oh really? Then how do you explain that neither of our senators were offered the same deal?

    Do they not represent us also?

    How about shutting down comments on Paul Ryan's commentaries?

    None of that is message control?

    Putting all kinds of rules upon people that submit rebuttals, but not having any rules about length and content for Paul Ryan?

    Can you imagine how apesh!t talk radio would be around here if they let Al Gore have a column in the Journal Times with no comments or dissent allowed. He was our elected official as well, so I guess he should be afforded the same space as Paul Ryan.

    Either case would be inappropriate and wrong but that's exactly what the Journal Times does.

  38. When was the last time our Senators communicated in any with with their constituents?
    If that's what you believe then I don't ever want to see the President on television again. Such a hypocrite. We heard and continue to hear plenty from Algore. Am I allowed to go on MSNBC and challenge his remarks? NO.
    Whiny effing liberals. Something doesn't go your why and it's cry to Mommy time.

  39. Paul Ryan was elected to Congress not King. For those who think because he got a majority of votes he gets to do or say anything without rebuttal, some lowly serfs would like to point out this Emperor wears no clothes. But the JT won't allow it.

    Whether you think either news source is or is not biased is beside the point. Comments allow people to disagree, set the record straight or to point out bias.

    I quickly went back on the JT archive and found 2 commentaries written by John Lehman since June of this year, both had comment options attached to the articles. Paul Ryan submitted one on Dec. 21 and guess what? No comment option.

    There is absolutely no excuse or reason for this. NONE.

  40. "Am I allowed to go on MSNBC and challenge his remarks? NO."

    Actually yes. If you go on MSNBC and they do a published story on Al Gore, then you are more than welcome to throw your 2 cents in the comments section.

    This isn't an uncommon practice. What is uncommon is the JT shutting down comments only for Paul Ryan. That sounds like a backroom deal to me. Why is our Congressman cutting backroom deals with the local newspaper?

  41. Do you want some cheese?

  42. Why did Obama cut a deal with NBC?

  43. Paul Ryan wants my vote, but not my comment.

    This comment is truly a joke.

    If you want to communicate with Congressman Ryan, call his office, send an email, they are very available.

  44. So the JT cutting out comments on puff pieces for their advertisers or global warming advocates means what exactly?

  45. Bromance of '09

    Paul Ryan and Steve Lovejoy: A Slobbering Love Affair

  46. "If you want to communicate with Congressman Ryan, call his office, send an email, they are very available." the dark with nobody else watching. Paul Ryan gets the best of both worlds. He can put opinions out there to thousands in Racine that he doesn't allowed to be challenged in public, but then answers your concerns in private with a letter than nobody else sees.

    The JT participates in this corruption so they can have an "exclusive" with the popular policician. They figure nobody will complain because he comfortably wins elections.

    Smart on Paul Ryan's, but slimy too.

    Sean Hannity is right. Journalism died this year. He would look at this and rightly criticize this deal.

  47. So it is ok to have comments on a John Lehman opinion column but not Paul Ryan????


  48. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
    Do you have a problem with our Constitution. WTF?
    If you don't like it get your news from some other source. The free market will settle things.

  49. Being critial of shutting down, RP, are just as guilty or not allowing comments on items you are in favor of but don't want the truth to come out.

    For example, you hide the truth that man made global warming is the GREATEST FRAUD OF OUR LIFETIME!

  50. "If you don't like it get your news from some other source. The free market will settle things."

    And what source would that be? The Journal Times, like it or not, is the main show in town.

    The free market is a myth. What we have here is artificial control. The free market is all about competition. Competition is also about ideas. With Paul Ryan and the Journal Times, there is no legitimate competition of ideas because they only offer one side and then shut down all others.

    Is that American? Is that what the founding fathers would support? I don't think so. The press should be free, and not in bed with the politicians it is supposed to report on.

  51. BTW...anyone is free to comment on the pieces published in the Journal Times, whether they are by Paul Ryan or Barack Obama. Anyone can submit a letter to the editor.

  52. Let me remind you.
    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
    Rather simple isn't it?

  53. Not that he needs it, but what the JT has done has been to give Ryan a non-stop, free campaign for re-election. But with over a million dollars in the bank, and a district that was gerrymandered after the 2000 census to move parts of Democratic leaning Janesville out of the district and Republican leaning Waukesha County in; the chances of Ryan losing an election are somewhere between slim and none.

  54. 6:57

    That might be true, but with all of those advantages you have to wonder why Paul Ryan is so adamant about shutting down discussion.

    He might be the GOP's biggest chickensh!t in office. Don't comment about his opinion, you might hurt his feelings!

  55. At least he doesn't hide behind an anonymous moniker. Now that is chicken poop.
    You can comment in many ways and many locations. You can make your opinion known in so many ways.

  56. 1:36 poster, unless you have been to Antartica, Alaska's far most reaches, you don't have a clue what you are talking about. We have been to both over a few years and the global meltdown is alarming, quite alarming. Global meltdown is real, seriously real. Amazingly, you profess to be an expert in calling global warming a fraud. We have seen it right in front of our faces. Scary? OMG, it is.

  57. Just another environment fad. Remember the coming ice age? Ozone layer?

  58. "You can make your opinion known in so many ways"

    Not in ways that have the coverage that he does. Face it, Paul Ryan is a coward. He says he wants to debate the issues but rarely does, and he shuts down average citizens on his column.

    He wants to be able to say he is in favor of debate and then not do it.


  59. Michael Kroes12/26/2009 11:16 AM

    There's irony for you... A writer calls Paul Ryan a "coward" and "chickensh!t" and then signs his/her post "Anonymous".

  60. Looks like it was signed "Chickensh!t"


  61. Tim the Shrubber12/28/2009 6:19 AM

    Tempest. Teapot.