Friday, October 28, 2005

By Royce DeBow: A challenge to the media

Dear Editor/Reporter,

As you have probably noticed, there have been letters in recent issues of area newspapers concerning Delavan liberal Democrat Ryan Schroeder. There appears to be two camps of writers; those who believe Ryan Schroeder is honest, intelligent, capable, etc., and those who believe Ryan Schroeder has violated campaign law, committed more than count of malfeasance while holding public office, and generally exhibited a willingness to lie about his record as a public official as well as his opponents' in order to curry favor with voters.

As a presumably responsible party with regard to informing the public, I believe it is in your interest, that of your publisher and readers to not only report the truth when it is apparent, but pursue the truth with it becomes clouded with personal and political agendas. Since politicians and candidates may have their own version of the truth, it seems that the media is the entity most likely to hold responsibility for ascertaining and then reporting the actual truth.

I propose that reporters (and/or) editors of area newspapers who cover Delavan or Walworth County, act as arbiter between the two pervasive viewpoints concerning liberal Democrat Ryan Schroeder. As someone representing the large group of individuals who believe that Schroeder is wholly a fraud in the persona he and supporters have constructed to advance his political career, I offer and in fact challenge area media as well as Schroeder supporters to meet with those representatives from the group of people who believe Schroeder has lied, broken the law, etc. Such a meeting would likely lead to egg on someone's face. Schroeder supporters should jump at the chance to prove wrong area conservatives who have criticized their golden boy. My guess is they will cower from the opportunity. If that is the case, you have to ask yourself why?

If you are contacted by Schroeder supporters asking you to stop publishing letters from those who criticize Schroeder, I invite you to make the offer outlined above. If they insist you confirm statements made in such letters, then I would expect whatever standards may be applied to those who criticize Schroeder, be applied to those who defend and market Schroeder.

If Schroeder supporters won't meet with the media and opponents simultaneously to answer charges made, I would suggest that they are afraid we have proof of Schroeder's misdeeds and know that if pressed, they will lose in the court of public opinion. It seems their constant push of liberal Democrat Ryan Schroeder for various offices, is predicated on absolutely no challenges from within their party as well as complete avoidance of directly confronting those charges made to date.

My hope is that the media will engage on the Schroeder scandals and help inform the public once and for all, about the truth regarding Ryan Schroeder and his political and campaigning 'career'.

Royce DeBow
(The author is an aide to 32nd District Assemblyman Thomas Lothian)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Instead of slinging all the mud (and since when did being a liberal equate being the devil incarnate?) why don't you start telling us where you or your candidate stand on the issues? Issues, not mud are what an election should be about. Where do you stand on the issues? Instead of slinging the pig slop around and getting dirty before the election season has even start tell us what you stand for. Social security? the war? taxes? education? There is a lot you could be filling us in on, stop filling us up with this pig slop and start doing your work!!

8:48 PM  
Anonymous Royce K. DeBow said...

Anonymous replies have zero credibility. Regardless, your desire to deflect the public from examining Democrat Schroeder's record and trail of deception is all too familiar. Although it is understandable, since your candidate lacks intellecutal capacity and integrity.

9:55 AM  
Anonymous Laurie Kant-Hull said...

First,to eliminate your constant battle cry, I have no candidate. I vote both parties based on how I feel they will work for me.
I agree with anonymous. By the way, there are many legitimate reason people choose to be anonymous. (Especially on the internet.)
But that aside,tell us where you stand on the issues. Campaign instead of sling. Your constant diatribe is beginning to sound like a middle school fight where, because the other guy stole the girl, the fight gets personal but is unrelated. This form of mudsling is unbecoming and rather below the standards that I thought Dr. Lothian held. Am I wrong? Either file charges against Mr. Schoeder, spell out specifically to us - the obviously uniformed - what Mr. Schoeder did so we can file charges or start telling us about the issues. Where do you or your candidate stand on the issues:education,taxes,the war, civil liberties,unfunded mandates,cost of WI university tuition, medical care,DNR, anything. Please thow us a crumb!
If you really care about getting your guy re-elected, it would be nice to tell us why he should be. What has he done, why should he go back to Madison?How has he made my life better? What has he done for me.
The buzz amoung those of us out here is that you are taking this fight far too personally and this appears to many of us to be more about a grudge match than about an election and the issues that go with it.
I don't understand the dirty campaign this early. Surely you can't be worried that a man with the integrity and the record of Dr. Lothian is in any danger from Mr. Schoeder. Oh but wait, you havn't told us about Dr. Lothian. This could back fire, you are getting Mr. Schoeder's name in the news far more than Dr. Lothian and any journalist and political pundit will tell you that it isn't always a smart move.

Laurie Kant-Hull

5:03 PM  
Anonymous Royce K. DeBow said...

I appreciate that you vote independently and your perspective on wanting to discuss issues is valid. At this time, the issue is Democrat Ryan Schroeder's record of taking credit for other people's work, claiming accomplishments that don't exist, lying about his opponent's voting record in the 2004 assembly race, and a host of other activities which point toward malfeasance. The media has been approached and stated they would consider writing about it when Schroeder declares his candidacy. Meantime, he has started campaigning but not yet officially declared. This is just another example of how he fails to be upfront with the public. I am sure if we simply put the evidence out for consumption, Schroeder loyalists and those who tend to vote straight Democratic party ticket would cry foul, as they have in the past whenever anyone dares to question Schroeder's record, motives, or ability.
A large part of the problem is inherent to any rural area where citizens and the media are typcially not lied to on a regular basis. It's understandable. One would be hard pressed to find a local or county official in our area who lies or fabricates to advance their political career. Therefore, reporters, editors and editorial boards don't bother to fact-check what the Schroeder campaign feeds them or what Schroeder himself says in interviews. If they did, the contradictions, fabrications and mistatements would be obvious. It seems to me, the only way to avoid being accused of tyring to torpedo Schroeder's political career, is to confront him and his supporters in-person, with media and members of the public present, or at the least, the media. Schroeder or most likely his spokespeople, could respond to each charge and if they're clean, discredit their critics.
On major issues, try getting a straight answer out of Schroeder. As he has in past campaigns, he will say whatever he feels is necessary to win over a voter. One household to the next, his story changes based on his 'read' from those who answer the door. He was caught doing this in 2002. Check out Schroeder's campaign literature from past races. In essence, you could replace the text wtih statements coming out in favor of puppy dogs and springtime. There is absolutely no substance. In addition, mistatements (and/or) lies about his education and political career. His stump speeches are void of policy positions and specifics.
He painstakingly avoids taking a stand on controversial issues, and in his city council position, has voted 'No', claiming he didn't have enough information. Then, it is learned that he never requested additional information. As an alderperson, that's called not doing your job. His 'No' votes followed by his rationalization of 'not having enough information' are nothing more than political cover.
The issue at this point in time is Democrat Ryan Schroeder's record; a record which he and his supporters don't seem willing to defend with observers from the press and public. One might ask why?

6:22 PM  
Anonymous Royce K. DeBow said...

Two issues I don't believe I covered in my response to Ms. Kant-Hull: First, I never intimated that being a liberal equates to 'being the devil incarnate.' What is interesting is that while it appears you believe, as do I, that Schroeder is a liberal, he runs, even hides from his political leanings and is dishonest with voters about his stands on social and fiscal issues. Being a dishonest liberal or conservative or green or independent or Democrat or Republican is what's bad. The second issue is the characterization of our charges as mud slinging or dirty campaigning. Were you quick to view accusations that turned in to formal charges against Tom DeLay or any other Republican as mud slinging in their early stages? I think intellectual honesty would result in a conclusions that labels my assertions as accusations. If proven false, your current labels become appropriate. If proven true, then Schroeder is a fraud. Again, I wish he and his campaign team would agree to meet with a few of us who believe we have the goods on him and representative of the media or the media and public. If we're wrong, then all the egg will be on our faces and we likely lose credibility to make any statements about him in the future. Again, why wouldn't they take accept that invitation?

8:49 PM  
Anonymous Laurie Kant-Hull said...

I never feel the need explain myself. However to clarify, I pointed out Mr. Delay and Dr. Frist, not as mudslinging but to point out that, while Mr. August was saying that Mr. Schroeder was of no credit to the Democratic party, there is enough bad boy behavior in both parties. I think NO ONE should claim any high moral ground here. The outcome of the investigation of Delay and First almost doesn't matter. In politics that really doesn't matter to the masses. One only needs to study political history to see that this is a true statement. It is the investigation and charges that matter to the people, not the outcome. Hence- why Ted Kennedy can never run for office even though a grand jury never indicted him for Chappaquiddick and he only received a suspended two month, slap on the fingers (not even the wrist) for leaving the scene of an accident. I feel that this is why you are making allegations of wrong doing against Mr. Schroeder. There are no charges filed, no information on "the goods" being turned over to the authority. I believe that you are hoping that your allegations stick on Mr. Schroeder and we remember then when we enter the voting booth. You do the same thing you accuse me of doing.
That is the great thing about being an independent - I can easily criticize both parties and don't have to blindly accept anything anyone tells me. You can honestly tell me that the Republican party has any better morals and has any right to take a stand on higher moral ground than the Democrats? If so - read those Walworth Co. newspapers you write about. See it through nonparty eyes and you will see that bad behavior is rampant in politics. Pointing out the cinder in someone else's eye is, while sadly all too common in politics, is a way of hoping to avoid people seeing the log in your own eye. I think you are too young to remember Joe McCarthy and his brand of politics. He was afraid that people would find out that he was a gay man, those days weren't as enlighten as we are now, so to avoid suspicion, he had his infamous list. A list he never showed anyone. But he held it high and waved it often and got people looking at his list and not him. There is a lot to be learned from him and how to be in the news without having people notice the individual. In some ways McCarthy, while ending up ruining the lives of many, was a political genius in knowing how to avoid the real issues out there.
Yes, it sure does look like you could insert any vulgar swear word out that the way you list Mr. Schoeder as a "liberal Democrat" in almost every letter you write. You are not alone in this. I know it is a common technique these days. For the record I will admit, I am a liberal leaning moderate. I bristle at the way the word "liberal" is used in an inflammatory way. Some of the best programs - Social security, farm support, Medicare. started as "liberal" programs. Many great leaders - Jefferson, FDR, Lincoln were liberals in their time. Even Jesus himself was a liberal - hanging out with the tax collectors and Samaritans was NOT the thing to do in that day. I particularly "like" the phrase - "tax and spend liberal Democrat". I have yet to see the other side use the term "tax and deficit Conservative" (and we could get into the problems of deficit spending and the long term interest we pay on that if we could ever discuss the issues) I would love to see this polarizing technique ended in politics. We need both sides to get to the middle - which is were it should be for the good of the nation.
You say that Walworth County is not use to being lied to by politicians? That one made me chuckle out loud! Look at Lake Geneva politics and the many problems they have had over the years. Or if that is too confusing, I might mention the name Paul Ormson, former mayor of Elkhorn. He didn't lie to his voters? Omissions of the truth do count when playing the moral game. We have had our share of lies, again on both side. I am not in anyway, shape or form going to defend any politician. I think most politicians will say and do whatever it takes to get elected .Including lie. The problem with politics today is that we have many politicians and very few statesmen.
I am sure you and Tyler August are very frustrated by Mr. Schoeder. If I was running against him, I would be too. I find most politicians very hard to pin down and receive answers. I think Mr. Schroeder would frustrate the heck out of me if I were you. I completely agree with you on that matter. I would never want to run against Mr. Schroeder, and for the record - I am not going to ever run for this office (just in case some were wondering) It would be a tough battle. However, I do have to respect any candidate who doesn't get down and wrestle in the mud. In the farm county, where I grew up, there was a saying that if you wrestle with the pigs in the mud, the pig ends up happy and you are covered with mud. Seems to me, we haven't heard form any candidate, including yours. Is this Dr. Lothian's issue or only his office helpers issue? Where does he stand on your charges against Mr. Schroeder?
Royce, it has been rather fun and rather invigorating discussing politics with you. I sincerly hope we can do it again sometime. However, I understand why many newspapers allow only a certain number of letters on a particular subject. I think we have played out the discussion on this issue as far as we need to go. To try further would be running in circles.
I would implore all candidates for this office, both announced and unofficial to make a pledge for a clean campaign. One that addresses the issues that affect us all. I would still like to hear what your candidate has done for me and why he deserves my vote. I want a "meaty" campaign about the topics I mentioned before - education, taxes, etc. I'll be happy to come to your campaign table to see what is served but right now, I am leaving hungry. It is hard to eat mud.

Laurie Kant-Hull

7:47 AM  

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