Said threats being made by one Graeme Zielinski, communications director (his title will be funny in a moment; trust me) for the Wisconsin Democratic party - and my, but did he ever communicate! And more than Zielinski really intended to, methinks.
Background information: there's a site called WisconsinReporter.com. They apparently cover Wisconsin local politics - of which there's been quite a bit lately that's been of interest on a national level, of course - and earlier in the week the site reported on an interview that Governor Scott Walker did with the Heritage Foundation. In the process of that article, WisconsinReporter.com noted two things:
- Wisconsin reportedly added 9,500 jobs in June. This is technically the same number as half the net jobs created nationwide in the US (direct comparisons are really sort of... imprecise).
- And that Zielinski was - in the process of using language that, while not actually profane, was not exactly professional - touting Illinois's job-creation credentials, despite the fact that Illinois reportedly lost a net 18,900 jobs in June.
So far, so... not really that much of a thing, is it? Certainly not something that would spark a threat of going after press credentials. At least, not something that would spark a threat that would be made by normal people.
Alas, it would seem that the Democratic party is undergoing a good deal of stress lately (Glenn Reynolds [H/T] calls it 'cracking up', which sounds about right); because Zielinski went, to be charitable about it, a little crazy at this point. After castigating the author of the piece and complaining that the original article made him and his party "look even smaller" in the process, Graeme Zielinski went on to demonstrate that he was capable of making him and his party look smaller all on his own, via a direct threat:
What happens next is that I contact the publishers and editors of the papers that publish you as ‘unbiased,’ and let them know our deep concern about the obvious bias that permeates your entire operation. Then, we let our activists know which papers publish you, and they write the publisher and editor. Then, we contact the Capitol press pool and let them know about our concerns about your credentialing. And we continue on until you actually admit to the truth of your operation.
Mark Tapscott sums it up best: "Zeilinski's email could easily be read as a threat to organize union demonstrators against Wisconsin newspapers that publish reporting provided to them by WisconsinReporter.com's staff. And his vow to go after WisconsinReporter.com's capitol media credentials is an obvious effort to silence a news organization with which he disagrees." Which will of course backfire: the executive director for the Wisconsin News Association has already categorized this threat as 'out there,' and I suspect that the clock is already ticking on the inevitable retraction.
Which will probably be highly petulant, ungracious, and whiny, but then, that's the Wisconsin Democratic party for you.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
PS: Oh, almost forgot. As for why I used the word 'illiterate' in the title: the email that Zielinski sent had at least one howler that only avoids being a Freudian slip because I don't actually believe that the author has a high enough command of Standard English. Said howler:
“In your Walker water-carrying article, you made all sorts of arguments for Scott Walker, then used a snippet of my quote, and then used apposite information to debate me. IN MY OWN QUOTE. I’ve never seen that before in my life,” Zielinski wrote in the email to the staff writer.
I assume that the fellow meant 'opposite;' as it happens, 'apposite' means 'highly pertinent.' I know, I know: Zielinski spell-checked his email. That's not enough.
PPS: Good job getting this story out into wider circulation, Zielinski. Particularly since people outside of Republican circles are lining up to politely ask you what the heck your party thought that it was trying to accomplish, here.