Up to the minute Amber Alert Information

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Correcting the [Accurate] Record

In an August 20 letter to the editor in the Post Review, Rep. Jeremy Kalin (D-17B) wrote a loser of an editorial. A response from Flambeau correctly identifies that columnist Pat Tepoorten had nailed it in his column.

Kalin agreed Tepoorten was accurate, but wrote, "However, I feel compelled to correct the record on a couple of items," which as stated, implies he is correcting Tepoorten’s record. He didn’t correct Tepoorten’s record. Rather, Kalin used Tepoorten as a springboard to talk more about tax relief.

Kalin has every right to write about tax relief. In fact, I want him to write more. What I don’t like is he used Tepoorten to try to "correct the record" as if Tepoorten were wrong. That is being dishonest and damaging to an accurate columnist. Tepoorten addressed one point in his column, that is, who should be credited/blamed for the property tax cap of 3.9%, showing that Kalin and Olseen were taking credit for it and blaming the Governor, depending on who their audience was.

So often when Kalin writes (and Wade Vitalis, for example, these comments at the end of Tepoorten's column) he muddies the water. Little is stated clearly. Nothing is documented so it can be checked. And it is stated in such brief fashion that important points that would make it understandable are left out.

Most importantly, when a legislator frequently takes to writing letters to the editor (for example two recent ones, here and here), he is on the defensive. Explaining legislation in a defensive mode is a losing battle.

A legislator has the bully pulpit from which to expound whatever he wishes. Local papers give weekly column space for legislators. He has his own web page to explain everything in detail. He has state legislative web space available to him as well. He doesn’t need space in letters to the editor. That should be reserved for the citizens who do not have a bully pulpit.

But Kalin has a problem no matter what he writes. The more he writes, the more he tries to explains things, the worse it gets. So we won’t get detailed explanations. He will continue his hit and run communications, fashioned after the model of the leftist drive-by media that Rush Limbaugh loves.



Columnist Pat Tepoorten takes Kalin to task for Kalin's abuse of Tepoorten.

No comments: