Wisconsin State Journal comments on a completely inconsequential item

(Updated Below)

Welcome to another edition of why oh why can’t we have a better newspaper?

Today they use their editorial space to announce that the County Board “wisely” rejected something-or-other which was never a matter of great likelihood or even average controversy (a county wheel tax).

Readers need not care. It was never in doubt. The County Supervisors rejected it 30 to 7!!! The State Journal’s self-important assessment that it needed to weigh in on this is comic. The county board was “wise,” says the State Journal? Somehow, without newspaper input, the Board voted it down THIRTY to seven!

There’s plenty going on. The Congressional super-committee is floating some [ludicrous] ideas, the Occupy movement is being evicted, there’s a nationwide Republican effort to suppress voting, the Edgewater Hotel project which the paper has so dearly championed lost a vote last night, the Walker recall has started…. There are dozens or hundreds or thousands of interesting thoughts to be had. What’s with this drivel on the editorial page?


While we read the editorial and were frustrated by the very subject itself, others read the editorial and took exception to the supposed “arguments” within it. That is, they saw it as a Type 5 Editorial characterized by poor argumentation, while we saw it as a Type 4 Editorial, distracting from much more important topics.

The first 4 reader comments at host.madison.com are each highly pertinent, on topic, and well-written. (See our earlier post on Brilliant Reader Comments.) These 1st four comments are wonderful and rare. We’re pretty sure this can only happen when the story/editorial is just fundamentally boring… and without ideological juice, otherwise the normal fever swamp emerges.  We’d like to hyperlink to these 4 comments, but the State Journal doesn’t enable this. To see the comments of Solstice, BigWheel, concerned_citizen, and popalorax, go to to the first page here.