The Sound Of The Barrel Bottom Scrapping On The Border Line

At An Advanced Age, The OTBL Bloggers Are Starting To Learn The Facts Of Life

I have a suggestion for the bloggers at ontheborderline.net -- change the name of your blog to either the Sludge Report or the Blind Hypocrite. The evilness and hypocrisy making up the agenda at OTBL is really starting to show is mossy, yellow fangs. There are numerous fresh posts on that blog outlining my charges.

Post example 1:
"Newspaper Editors Drive Their Agenda" by Our View

In this post a whole laundry list of conspiracy charges are leveled against the Hudson Star Observer and the New Richmond News. From the post comes the following quote:

"We believe the editors of our local papers, including Jeff Holmquist, Doug Stohlberg, and Steve Dzubay continue to drive their agenda by twisting facts on items that print and by purposely not telling the whole story. And in some cases their agenda is pursued by what they DON’T print. "

Now let's see...these local newspapers are private enterprises working in a capitalist system and the OTBL'ers are staunch defenders of the type of laizze-faire/no regulation capitalism that allows corporate America to poison our drinking water, pollution our atmosphere and melt our ice glaciers for the maximum amount of profit. Yet, the OTBL'ers who pursue their agenda by not printing information contrary to their agenda, say about the HSO and the News that "in some cases their agenda is pursued by what they DON’T print." So should we assume the same standards that the OTBL'ers set on a private blog -- viewable for free by the entire blogosphere -- don't apply to a privately owned newspaper? Does this smell like hypocrisy to you? Is what's good for OTBL bad for the HSO?

What really bugs the OTBL'ers is that their agenda isn't playing well in the St. Croix Valley. This must be very confusing to them, considering that they are locked-and-loaded on the disillusion that they are absolutely correct and everyone with a different view is totally wrong and part of an ever-expanding conspiracy theory.

From the same post, the OTBL'ers write:

"Jeff Holmquist has reported about the large crowds that have been coming to the New Richmond school board meetings. What he hasn’t stated is that the majority of these crowds are the teachers and liberals who are unhappy with the election results. Instead of stating that these people are simply sore losers and should allow the duly elected representatives to do their work, he purposely tries to create in the mind of the readers that there is “controversy” in all of the decisions that the board is now making."

They used "liberals" is this post. Usually they would use "socialists." They must be softening their John Birch Society rhetoric, i.e., they're wimping out on us and starting to pander to public sensibilities. Anyways, the "large crowds" didn't show up until Bill Brennan, NR school board member, made an unexplained example out of Adam Swanda's coaching contract. This drew in a large, dedicated group of hockey parents and boosters who showed up to support their very successful coach. This was four and a half months after the election.

As far as "controversy" in the decisions that board has been making, the OTBL poster follows up the above statement with this comment:

"Yet when $100,000 was being spent on needless architectural work and $9000 was being spent on sessions with a psychologist and over $100,000 was spent buying out a contract of an incompetent and shady superintendent."

Maybe I confused, but those look like some of the controversies OTBL'ers like Jack Bauer and Jack Junior have been repeatedly posting on the OTBL blog since last fall. Obviously, the OTBL ostriches have their head in the sands of hypocrisy. There is controversy. The New Richmond school board is showing a lot of motion but no momentum. For months, the board has been popping each others bubbles as various collective egos in the community turn up the soap-opera bubble machine.

Also included in this OTBL post were a list of these other conspiratorial charges leveled against the HSO's Doug Stohlberf and the News Jeff Holmquist:

Example #1:
"A prominent businessman flips his car on Trout Brook Road while speeding and being intoxicated. This prominent businessman happens to have strong ties to the Hudson Police Department and Doug Stohlberg. Not one word was written in the HSO about this incident. A police report was never filed and this individuals name was never printed in the paper at all."

OK, OTBL has a chance to publish the name of this person. Who is it? What's the holdup OTBL? If there is not police report filed and no charges filed, the HSO might be erring on the side of caution and avoiding the printing of gossip and speculation. It's not the National Enquirer. You got the soap box of your blog, tell us who?

Example #2:
"A prominent businessman forces his wife to sign a sex slave contract and this ordeal is front page news in the Pioneer Press, yet this incident is never printed in the HSO. This prominent businessman happens to be the first cousin of Doug Stohlberg."

The OTBL post uses the word "forces" concerning the allegations levelled against Kevin Anderson by his estranged wife in a divorce suit. There is no evidence of any force. Put "sex salve contract" into Google and you will get a copy of said contract. Anderson is a cousin of Stohlberg's. Do you see other stories in the HSO about unsubstantiated, divorce related gossip. I don't. The fact that the Pioneer Press prints something doesn't mean the HSO has to print it. There are many things reported on CNN that are not reported on FOX News.

Example #3:
"At the last school board meeting Sandy Kovatch, who replaced Chuckie “The Clown” Sambs as curriculum director gave a presentation on how dismal certain test results were for the Hudson children when compared to similar districts throughout the state. Yet the newspaper printed not one word about these dismal results. It was as if reporter Meg Heaton was sleeping during the presentation. What did the headlines read instead? “Enrollment May Exceed Projections”"

Maybe Meg Heaton thought the enrollment angle was the focus of the meeting. A reporter's judgement doesn't constitute conspiracy. I suppose the HSO should also be called on the conspiracy carpet for not inserting sophisticated nicknames like "The Clown" between first and last names?

Example #4:
"Last summer it was front page news in the HSO that the Hudson City Administrator was “threatened” by some anonymous person. Yet there has been no follow-up whatsoever by the HSO in this manner. Since most people can see that this was some hoax perpetrated by someone close to Mr. Willi, one has to wonder was there has been absolutely nothing done by Doug Stohlberg to put this matter to rest. Could it be that Mr. Stohlberg is close friends with members of the Willi family?"

The above paragraph is rather speculative. Obviously, the OTBL'ers desperately want to make sure that "most people" think that "this was some hoax perpetrated by someone close to Mr. Willi." -- especially when a considerable number of people suspect the letter might have come from someone connected with the OTBL blog site.

Do the OTBL'ers expect a headline every week stating "Origin Of Threat Letter Still Not Solved?" Obviously, to the OTBL'ers this is the JonBenet Ramsey case of St. Croix Valley. Considering the fact that the OTBL'ers are constantly pounding on the table for across-the-board tax cuts, is it any wonder why the Hudson police department can hardly get the FBI to investigate bank robberies. Maybe the lack of resources related to OTBL-advocated funding cuts might have lowered the priority of the Willi threat letter on the HPD "to do" list. But of course, I'm forgetting the soapbox hypocrites at OTBL are in always in favor of spending public resources -- as long as it benefits their agenda. Otherwise, as the OTBL'ers say, taxes are illegal theft committed at the threat of death by our government.

The OTBL'ers close this post with the following statement:
"We think it’s extremely naive for people to think that local newspaper editors don’t drive their agendas when deciding what they do and don’t print and how they coax the information that does finally make it to print."

Facts Of Economic Life:
As a former small town, weekly newspaper reporter, I can tell you the main agenda of a local newspaper is to make enough money to keep the paper in operation and feed the families working for the paper. Doug Stohlberg was born and raised in Hudson, has worked at the HSO all his adult life and the allegation that the misdemeanors of certain individuals in the community don't get reported go way back. The idealists at a blog like OTBL don't understand the pragmatists at the local newspaper. The OTBL might gain readers by posting gossip and speculation that might cause the local newspaper to lose important sources of revenue. If any group should know that money makes the world go round, it should be the self-righteous, sanctimonious defenders of the virtues of selfish and personal greed at ontheberline.net. But yet they whine...

The HSO and the NR News are not the Washington Post or the New York Times -- an, of course, the OTBL'ers wouldn't want them to be because those papers also have an agenda. HSO reporter Meg Heaton won't be spliced in between Woodward and Berntstein in the staring role of the remake of All The President's Persons. The number of muckrakers employed at newspapers is few and far between. Historically, most muck raking journalists who worked to expose corruption and greed were called "socialist scum" or "commies" by the backers of laizze-faire capitalism, i.e., the OTBL'ers heroes. If you care to read about today's crusading journalists, check out the Columbia Journalism Review. You will find there are weekly papers and reporters who do this kind of reporting and you will find out the economic realities they face.

Personal Examples:
Here's a couple of personal experiences where I learned about the agenda at a weekly newspaper. After graduating from college in 1981 with a degree in journalism, I took a reporter job at the Polk County Ledger in Balsam Lake. On my second day on the job, I was assigned to go down the local hardware store to take a picture of a guy who won a lawn mower in a local fund raiser. I was instructed by the editor to make sure, if the hardware store owner was in the picture, to have him far enough off to the side so we could crop him out of the picture. Why? "Because that son of a bitch is too cheap to advertise us."

On Friday of my first week, I was at the Angle Inn with a couple co-workers drinking beer after work and in walks Senator William Proxmire. He's making the rounds and I'm thinking there's a story and picture for the paper. I asked Proxmire if he'd wait long enough for me to ran to the office, get the camera and take his picture. Sure. On Monday I showed the picture to the editor and the brief story I wrote. He said, "We can't put that in the paper." Why not? "Because he's a goddamn Democrat."

At another paper, I would get visits after dark from the mayor, ex-mayor, policemen and anonymous notes dropped into the office slots with all kinds of "background" information. Some of it humorous and a lot of it cruel and viscious and hardly any of it to be printed.

In Conclusion:
So the OTBL bloggers are learning the facts of life about local weekly newspapers. Growing up in Hudson, we started figuring this out in our mid-teens. The criteria for what stays out of the local paper is most often based on these three points relevance:

1. How much money does the individual or their relatives spend on advertising?
2. Is there a political connection?
3. Is it involving a friend, family member, close relative of the newspaper management team or a member of the staff.

You would think a wily group of capitalist entrepreneurs like the OTBL'ers, with their computers skills, vast understanding of free-market economics and their agenda would take their time, money and energy and start their own newspaper. They could go out, solve all the crimes, print all the gossip and fill the paper with all the news that fits in the St. Croix Valley. Certainly advertisers would jump on their band wagon of truth, liberty and justice for all! Finally Hudson and New Richmond would become shining examples of perfection glittering above all other towns in America.

But then again, the OTBL'ers might have to get off their blogging asses and put their money where their typing is. Could those Quixote chameleons change out of their brownish colors of cheap shots, innuendo and slander that smear the stall of their blog walls and embrace the concepts of "fair and balanced" reporting? Concerning these idealistic possibilities, I say don't hold your breath. Considering the history of OTBL, I say continue to hold your nose.


Mikhail Ivanovich said...

I think Hudson's "New Face of Journalism" needs a Botox treatment?

CANRAC said...

I'm waiting for them to publish the name of the 24 year old Hudson, WI female who got caught in the compromising position with the Minnesota Viking last weekend. I hear more about that the past days in town instead of the Devin Willi threat letter.

People need to understand that many buy the HSO to read the court records, arrest records, letters to the editor, and jail log. With the HSO being a weekly most in town know the news issues and political doings before the paper comes out.

jpn said...

The name of the Hudson was published in the Pioneer Press on Sunday, August 27. Here's part of the story:

Smith latest with police run-in
Vikings starting safety cited for indecent conduct

Pioneer Press

Hours after playing in a preseason game at the Metrodome, Vikings safety Dwight Smith was cited for indecent conduct in downtown Minneapolis early Saturday, police said.

Smith and Emily Ann Peterson of Hudson, Wis., were arrested by three officers at a nightclub or bar near 601 1st Ave. N., around 1:20 a.m., ticketed and then released, according to a Minneapolis Police report and Sgt. Stuart Helmer.


Since the topic here is small town news coverage, it will be interesting to see how this is handled in the HSO.

CANRAC said...

Since it didn't happen in Hudson I don't bet it will get any coverage, which is fine with me. Personally, I think the HSO does a good job for a weekly. Part of life in a small town, and I got a chuckle out of the stories you wrote about previous newspaper experience.

Anonymous said...

I agree. There is plenty that the local paper misses, which is by design. It is not the HSO's job to be a heartless tool that damages a community that it is supposed to be promoting. Yes our editor is about as "white bread" as you can get. What good would it be to the community if the editor was a hard chagning "Mike Hammer" type?
An example would be how the paper tight-rope walked the funeral home murder investigations. The paper steered clear of all the gossip related to the sides that supported Erickson and those that didn't. If the paper had reported the facts and the gossip, there would be many people that looking back would be or should be ashamed of their behavior. If you want the sensationalist bombastic side of the Erickson investigation I suggest you go to citypages.com and type in "sins of the father." Some of Hudsons "finest" have quite a lot to say. If those quotes ran on the front page of the HSO, it would have hit this town like a grenade.
These community members may attend the same church, have kids on the same hockey team, or be co-workers.
There are those in this community that like the controversy. They are not hard to identify. So they blame the paper for reporting or blame them for not reporting. They will never be happy.

Anonymous said...

Those same people profess to be Christen, but most certainly don't walk the walk. Every one of them have plenty of skeletons in their closet.

judge not and... said...

I just read the article you mentioned.
What stikes me is that the "conservatives" mentioned in the article a so demanding of accountability from others but don't demand it of themselves.

E.MAC said...

Wow, I can't believe that I had not heard about that city pages story. Who does this Helen Shaw think she is? She sees things strictly in black or white and is quite sure that she is on God's side of the issues. It makes me think of the bumper sticker that I once saw "Born OK the first time."
I heard rumor that there were those in Hudson that actually tried to impede the investigation into Erickson. Anyone have any background on that?