Christian Schneider

Author, Columnist

The Best Headline Money Can Buy

It wasn\’t until Saturday that I realized there was a newspaper sitting in my driveway. This concerned me, since I do not subscribe to a newspaper. It turned out that it was Friday\’s Wisconsin State Journal.

This has happened before – a paper just shows up in my driveway, unsolicited. I asked my wife how that is any different than littering. If I didn\’t ask for it, how can paper companies just show up and throw stuff at my house? Maybe I should show up at the State Journal offices and dump off an old couch I\’ve been trying to get rid of. My wife said it\’s not any different than getting junk mail, but I objected to that comparison. For one, the postman doesn\’t show up and throw your junk mail all over your front yard.


As I opened this interloping newspaper, I noticed a big headline on the front page:

\”Gableman\’s Appointment Questioned\”

Wow, that must be pretty big news with a headline that prominent. I wonder what neutral, independent, well-respected third party is questioning Judge Mike Gableman\’s appointment to the Burnett County Circuit Court?

In fairness, the article does point out that it is the \”left-leaning\” Greater Wisconsin Committee that has made this accusation. (To say the GWC \”leans\” liberal is like saying Richard Nixon \”leans\” dead.)

But the damage is done with the headline alone. The chances of this headline ending up in a television ad down the road now stands at 95 percent. The only thing that would prevent this headline from showing up on your TV screen at home would be if a picture surfaced of Gableman dressed in traditional Somali garb.

This is one of the reasons nobody should really be all that choked up about the Capital Times newspaper ostensibly going under. The only purpose that paper served was as a headline factory for left-wing campaigns. Of course, nobody in Milwaukee or Amery or Wausau knows what the Capital Times is, so when a clipping of one of their headlines showed up in a TV ad, people statewide falsely assumed it had a modicum of credibility. Wisconsinites may recall Governor Jim Doyle\’s bogus ad accusing Mark Green of \”corruption.\” One of the headlines featured was one from the Capital Times that read \”Mark Green\’s Lawlessness.\”

The true irony of the article lies with the Wisconsin State Journal\’s breathless cheerleading for campaign finance reform. In editorial after editorial, the State Journal urges limits on what outside groups can spend on campaigns. Yet, the only thing that really makes this story newsworthy is the amount of money the GWC is spending on spreading it around. Thus, by reporting this story, the State Journal is carrying water for an evil third party, who it believes shouldn\’t otherwise be able to speak during a campaign. If the Wisconsin Restaurant Workers Association were to issue a statement that accused Justice Louis Butler of being a bad tipper, it probably wouldn\’t be covered. However, if they spent $200,000 on an ad buy saying the same thing, it may sneak its way into the paper. (It would also mean that we\’re all probably tipping too much.) And thus, the cycle is complete.

So congratulations to the Greater Wisconsin Committee on this big victory. You paid a lot of money for that headline, make sure you enjoy it.

1 Comment

  1. You don’t subscribe to a newspaper, Christian? Why do you want my children to starve?

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