Respect for the truth, it has been said, is the basis and cornerstone of all morality. It is the respect for the truth as well as, respect for our fellow human beings that brings us to be citizens journalists, bloggers, freelance stringers and such. We respect the fact that our fellow citizens and human beings need to be presented with truths and factual information so as to allow them to make independent, informed decisions on the important matters of the day.
Don't get me wrong though I acknowledge that some bloggers (like myself) are also sharing opinions as much as we are facts, and I like to think that I do a good job of separating the two in my postings here and elsewhere. Other blogger/writers stick to a more strict format in which they adhere to the old school rules of journalism and journalistic neutrality in their writing.
Two of my fellow bloggers here in Wisconsin are the Root River Siren and Blue Cheddar. They both have top notch postings and they cover the stories that paid media is not allowed to, or terrified to report on.
Blue Cheddar I know personally though not very well, and I have been a long time admirer of Cheddar's postings. Yesterday Blue Cheddar wrote a piece concerning the trial of Walker staffer Tim Russell, who is in court right now for (allegedly) stealing tens of thousands of dollars from a fund he managed which was supposed to help the cause of the families of dead veterans. Cheddar nearly all but proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that Tim Russell's attorney has been leaking information about the case to neo-conservative extremist radio host Charlie Sykes.
The leaks were provided to Sykes (who may also be in court soon) to try and partially discredit the prosecution by making it look as if the prosecution was the source of the leaks in an effort to sway public opinion on the matter. In all reality this was done because Tim Russell is broke and his lawyers want to be paid, so information was leaked to try and persuade Scott Walker to come to the financial aid of his (Russell's) legal team. You see Walker sought out Russell who has a legal history of fraud and embezzlement, and part of the deal it seems is that Walker took control of veterans fund money away from veterans groups, and gave it to Russell to plunder as part of Russell's compensation package for all the work he was doing for Walker. The connection between Walker, Russell and theft of veterans funds was being held over Walkers head to try and force the governor to release legal defense money for Walker and transfer it to Russell's attorney. I am simplifying things here but that is the situation in a nutshell. I am not the hard hitting journalism type of blogger so please bear with me.
Blue Cheddar is more of a hard hitting, just the facts type of blogger than I attempt to be. And the story that Cheddar posted yesterday in an attempt to lay out all of the facts and details, was somewhat of a dry and intricate read, a little hard to follow in other words. A reader jumped all over Cheddar for the manner in which the story was written. The comments were very mean spirited and of a personal nature and frankly I was rather surprised by this attack upon the blogger/citizen journalist. Normally such spite and vitriol is the near exclusive domain of the tea party.
I posted my own comment to the person who attacked Cheddar and stated that this person was way out of line in what they had written. I will now repeat and expound upon some of what I wrote yesterday in Cheddar's defense, in defense of all bloggers and citizen journalists.
You see bloggers unlike the mainstream media, which receives stacks and stacks of hard currency to either not report on stories or to distort them, we do this for free. We do this out of respect for the truth and our fellow citizens. We do not have a paid staff of editors, networkers and statsiticians. And especially in my case, spell checkers. If we occasionally make an error it is because we are driving ourselves half insane by trying to simultaneously be the writer, the editor, the fact checker and the statistician as well as the political and cultural consultant.
We do this on our own as best as we can while maintaining a day job or jobs. We have to be on the scene at the Capitol in Madison for hours and hours listening to politicians drone on and on before a key statement is made. We have to network and do research into the small hours of the morning and we miss many meals and many hours of sleep to get the story out. We give up quality family time and pretty much have to give up completely, any thought of having a social life for the sake of keeping you folks, our dear readers, informed of what is going on around them.
So if we offend you by writing a dry and detailed story that you are not mentally able to digest, don't blame us for what you cant understand. We do not have the spare time to write a second 'dumbed-down' version of our original story for those who face challenges in matters of comprehension. Likewise if I only have enough time to post something here in which I give you the 'meat' of the story but don't include tons of details and lists of sources along with a complete and detailed back story to help you remember what is going on and how it started, don't blame me. Sometimes you may have to take a little responsibility upon yourself to stay informed, even if that means you need to get your information from different sources which you should have been doing all along.
Expecting one person or one news source to provide you with everything is impossible. Unless you compare information from multiple sources you are susceptible to being misinformed. That is the tragic mistake that is a cornerstone of the tea party movement and its idiot like devotion to the fake media outlet known as FOX News.
Moving on now another blogger of note who has had to deal with undo skepticism and unprovoked attacks by anonymously posting people is the Root River Siren. Another tireless defender of the peoples right to know what is happening in Wisconsin. The Siren is the person who posted the original story here in Wisconsin of Willard Helander, the Lake County republican who came to Wisconsin to disrupt the voting process and defraud voters in Racine County Wisconsin. I looked into this matter and expanded upon it in a recent posting of mine, the link for which you can find below
After publication of my post on the matter, the Siren even further expanded upon the original story and after some very detailed research, provided even more information and factual proof of outright illegal activity not only of Willard Helander herself. But also of republicans she was in cahoots with both in Illinois and Wisconsin and now it seems a very serious and widespread criminal investigation by state and federal agencies is going to tear down these GOTea (alleged) criminals. The Siren was also just contacted now by the prestigious New York Times who are so impressed with the information uncovered that they will now make this a story of international interest!
All because a couple of common, everyday folks with respect for the truth and with a desire to keep they're fellow citizens informed took the time to become involved and share what they found. I offer my deepest congratulations to the Root River Siren and hope the addition of the staff of the New York Times bring the Siren some well deserved attention and respect. Likewise I wish all my best to my fellow blogger/journalists Blue Cheddar, Cognitive Disorder,Blogging Blue, the Waukesha Wonk, Illusory Tenant, Wherley Dervish and all the rest. If nobody else is stepping up and thanking these folks for the great work they do, then let me be the first to say that I deeply appreciate everything that you fine folks do. You are the protectors of freedom and democracy in Wisconsin and it is very likely that without your work this state would right now be in a far, far worse condition that it is.
And for those who seek to tear us down, denigrate us, criticize us over tiny little details, I would like to say for the record as a blogger and a grammar nazi: PLEASE KISS OUR COLLECTIVE BUTTS! If you weren't so lazy you would research these stories of the day on your own! If you had any talent of your own you would be writing the stories yourselves instead of sitting back smugly and pointing fingers at everybody else because the world isnt going out of its way enough for you.
There is an old saying that "Those who can do something,teach. And those who cant teach, become critics" I find some kernel of truth in that old adage that is still true today. And as for the bulk of you out there, the readers and subscribers, the commenters and occasionally sources of information for us bloggers I would just like to say thank you, thank you from the bottom of all of our hearts. It is you who take the time to read what we print, you who take the time to keep yourselves informed in a hectic and occasionally chaotic world that keep us focused and on track. At the end of the day it is you good readers who give us the strength to keep on doing what we do. Solidarity forever.
On Wisconsin! FORWARD!!!!