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Anatomy of a manufactured hit piece

Monday, Dec 19, 2011

* A Wall Street Journal editor named Allysia Finley manufactured a nasty little hit piece about Illinois over the weekend

‘Why would anyone want to live in Illinois?” So muses Curt Wooters, who works for the state and helps his dad run the family’s sporting-goods store in Findlay, 200 miles south of Chicago. Imagine California without the sunshine, New York without the cultural elan, New Jersey without Chris Christie. That’s Illinois.

Mr. Wooters has another five years before he can retire, but he’s advising his kids to leave the state after college. He’s also talked with his dad about closing their shop because it costs too much to run a business in Illinois these days. Plus, “the customers are leaving town.”

Now two downstate Republican lawmakers think that they’ve found a solution for Mr. Wooters and other disgruntled Illinoisans who want to escape but can’t: Cut off the pesky tail that’s wagging the dog—separate Chicago from the rest of the state.

That’s the legislative initiative of State Reps. Adam Brown and Bill Mitchell, who think politicians from the Windy City have blown the state too far left. “At every town-hall meeting I hear, ‘Can’t we separate from Chicago?’” says Mr. Mitchell. […]

…as Mr. Wooters says, a lot “of the money that we have down here goes up there to bail out Chicago.”

* Why do I use the word “manufactured”? Because this was a setup from the beginning. I’m told that the WSJ editor called one of the resolution’s sponsors last week and asked if he could help her find somebody to quote.

You’d think that if this resolution was as popular as Rep. Mitchell claims it is, he could’ve found dozens of people to spill their guts about why they hate Cook County.

Instead, Ms. Finley was apparently sent somebody who could be relied upon to supply the sort of quotes that she wanted. And they came up with a politically active state employee whose wife works for Rep. Mitchell. I kid you not.

* Curtis E. Wooters works for the Illinois Department of Corrections as a stationary engineer at an annual salary of $112,000. I think that might answer his question about why anyone would want to live here. Also, I would assume that if Chicago and Cook County were to split off into a separate state, they’d want to build their own prisons, which would mean lots of highly-paid Downstate Corrections’ employees would be out of jobs. But he was never asked about those holes in his arguments because that wouldn’t suit the WSJ’s Finley.

There’s also a Melissa Wooters of Findlay, IL listed who works for the Illinois House of Representatives. She makes $32,440.16 a year working for Rep. Bill Mitchell, the resolution’s main sponsor. Ms. Wooters is, I’m told, married to Curtis Wooters.

And a Curtis E. Wooters of Findlay filed an objection to the petitions submitted by Rep. Adam Brown’s opponent. Rep. Brown is a co-sponsor of the secession legislation. Curtis E. Wooters, it turns out, is a Republican precinct committeeman

The State Board of Elections is reporting 139 challenges to various judicial and legislative candidate petitions around Illinois, but only one was in East Central Illinois.

Rob Roman of Chrisman, who is running against state Rep. Adam Brown, R-Decatur, in the new 102nd House District, had his candidate petitions challenged by Curtis Wooters and Bruce Cannon, both of Findlay and both of whom are GOP precinct committeemen in Shelby County. Cannon also is chairman of the Shelby County Board.

John Fogarty, a Chicago attorney who is affiliated with House Minority Leader Tom Cross, had reviewed Roman’s petitions last month.

Thanks to a reader for this link

Thirteen applicants, three of them from Macon County, are seeking the appointment to the 51st Illinois Senate District seat left vacant by the retirement Monday of Greenville Republican Frank Watson. […]

Other applicants are Melissa Wooters…

So, the couple has a combined household income of over $144,000 a year, supplied by the taxpayers of all Illinois counties, including Cook, but the husband wants Cook gone and wants everybody to leave Illinois if he doesn’t get what he wants. Hey, that’s his right. I have no problem with his beliefs, no matter how contradictory. It’s Finley I have a problem with.

* Come to think of it, this is almost comical. It’s lazy quote shopping run amok. But, of course, it’s the bad ol’ bloggers we have to worry about because bloggers have no editors. Finley is an editor at the Wall Street Journal, and this is the crud we get. Garbage in, garbage out as they say.

Ms. Finley kinda sorta tried to redeem herself at the end of her column by saying that the Republicans ought to focus on winning the suburbs. But what she doesn’t say is that resolutions like this aimed directly at Cook County will only reinforce the suburban notion that Downstaters can be more than a little odd.

* Also, speaking of that resolution, Reps. Mitchell and Brown have just two co-sponsors for their legislation, even though it was introduced about a month ago. The two House members are getting lots of state and national media coverage for what is obviously little more than a stunt. And James Krohe makes a good point at the end of his most recent column

Demonizing Chicago saves our Mr. Mitchells from coming to terms with an awkward truth, namely that it is not Cook County pols who don’t know how to govern Illinois. It is Illinoisans.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Rod - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 10:30 am:

    Rich your research on Wooters was impressive.

  2. - amalia - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 10:30 am:

    awesome research, Rich. true journalism vs. so called WSJournalism.

  3. - Northsider - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 10:33 am:

    “Garbage in, garbage out.” That sums up News Corp. rather neatly.

    Great piece of journalism, Rich. Please let us know if the Very Serious People of the Wall Street Journal deign to reply.

  4. - C Wooters - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 10:38 am:

    If you would like to contact me Mr. Miller, I am sure you know how. There aretwo sides to every story, but it is apparent you only want one side which is yours. Andthat is fine, the people reading this sight, know that your opinion is the only one given in this article. Best wishes to you Mr. Miller, get in touch with me, would love to do lunch. C.W

  5. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 10:39 am:

    Given how many suburbanites work in Chicago, and their love affair with Mayor Daley and Mayor Emmanuel, I think they probably find the demonization of Cook County more than just a little odd.

    Moreover, given a choice I think the collar counties would choose to join Cook County over Little Egypt.

  6. - Rich Miller - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 10:43 am:

    ===I am sure you know how.===

    Actually, I don’t, which is why I called House staff.

  7. - Anonymous - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 10:49 am:

    It’s always enlightening to read both the right and the left sides of an issue.

  8. - Rich Miller - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 10:54 am:

    Also, there was nothing particularly “impressive” with the research. A state employee search, a Google News search and a couple of emails and phone calls was all it took. And that’s the point of the whole story. This ain’t rocket science.

    Again, I’ll stress this is not about the Wooters family. They have an absolute right to believe whatever they want to believe.

    This is about a manufactured piece of propaganda masquerading as legit opinion in one of the nation’s leading newspapers.

  9. - Nice One! - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 10:55 am:

    I think that more people in Illinois benefit from the inefficiencies and ‘corruption’ than are penalized by it.

    That is why Illinois is where it is politically.

  10. - Atticus Finch - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 10:58 am:

    C Wooters, the correct word is “site,” not sight.

  11. - lincoln's beard - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 11:00 am:

    I also like that his Dad’s business is characterized as a “sporting-goods store”. He’s a gun dealer.

  12. - Lakeview - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 11:00 am:

    I’m all for separating. Let them go. Let’s see how easy it will be for Downstate to fund the Wooters family pensions when they lose Cook County’s income base.

    These people want to bite the hand that feeds them? Fine. Let them bite it all the way off.

  13. - Steve Brown - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 11:01 am:

    Funniest part of this story is that when the WSJ writer called me I could barely understand any of the questions and I have a lot of experience with garble.This was top of the heap.
    I did point out the local newspapers of the secessionists did describe their handiwork as “downstate silliness”, how Chicago/Cook County is an exporter of revenue and in the past these follies where initiated by suburbanites with more than a little race bashing associated.

    I hope Rich does do a little chat with “C. Wooters” Gotta wonder what the “other side” might be.

    BTW Linda Chapa LaVia praised the Mitchell/Brown brainstorm because it probably means Mitchellois will have its largest city — Aurora — as its capitol.

  14. - C Wooters - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 11:03 am:

    Mr. Miller the excellent price I sent you on the Benelli Super Black Eagle is still being offered to you at that same low price. You have made this about my family, which is hard for me to understand, but I forgive you, tis the season. I wish you well on this Christmas season and a Blessed New Year. C.W.

  15. - lincoln's beard - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 11:04 am:

    I can imagine what advantages Findlay (pop. 683) might get from being in the same state as Chicago (pop. 2,695,598). I don’t see what advantages Chicago gets from sharing a state with Findlay.

  16. - wordslinger - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 11:05 am:

    Way to hit back at the hypocritical haters, Rich. Awesome!

    And Mr. $112,000 state employee Stationary Engineer (whatever that is) Wooters (sure that’s not “Cooter?”), how much of your money goes to “bail out” Chicago?

    Guys like you, Mitchell and Brown are doing your best to ensure the Illinois GOP will go the way of the Whigs.

    See, politics is a game of addition. It ain’t smart to keep demonizing your greatest potential source of votes. But you know that. You’re just happy with the piece of the pie that the Illinois Democrats let you have to keep screwing up the Illinois GOP.

    Once you’re done collecting your $112,000 Stationary Engineer salary in this hellhole of a state, take that sweet state pension of yours and hightail it to Alabama, Mississippi or some other Utopia more fitting to your to someone of your culture and sophistication.

    The rest of use have real work to do.

  17. - reformer - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 11:06 am:

    Goofiness gets rewarded with publicity. That’s an incentive for more provocative resolutions that have no chance of passing, but will stir up publicity for the sponsors.

  18. - the Other Anonymous - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 11:12 am:

    ” Imagine California without the sunshine, New York without the cultural elan, New Jersey without Chris Christie. That’s Illinois. ”

    Actually, that sounds like a good description of what the state without Cook County would look like. OK, we lose points on the sunshine. But honestly, Chicago does have quite a bit of “cultural elan.” And the 101 non-Cook Counties would probably never elect someone like Chris Christie these days.

    I lived in both Southern and Central Illinois, so I do not want to make this a Chicago-vs-downstate thing. There’s a lot about the central and southern parts of the state to like. But the description used by the WSJ here does not apply to Chicago.

  19. - wordslinger - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 11:13 am:

    –Mr. Miller the excellent price I sent you on the Benelli Super Black Eagle is still being offered to you at that same low price.–

    Cwooters, are you selling guns on state time?

    Shouldn’t you be stationary engineering to the tune of $112 large?

  20. - Joe from Joliet - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 11:15 am:

    When will downstaters learn they do not subsidize “Chicago” anymore?

    Mr. Wooters is spewing the kind of rhetoric that Bill Brady used so unsuccessfully last year. I wonder if he is hoping for another Brady gov run? Yikes! Maybe downstaters should shelve the divisive rhetoric and unite behind gov candidates that can actually, you know, win.

  21. - Just sayin - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 11:16 am:

    Stationary engineers and boiler operators operate and maintain the equipment used to generate power, heat, air conditioning, and refrigeration in factories and other commercial buildings. The term “stationary” refers to the type of equipment that these engineers operate—that is, equipment that is permanently set up and is not mobile. Engineers work in the heart of a building’s or factory’s energy supply: the boiler room, engine room, or power plant. Here, they operate diesel engines, boilers, turbines, pumps, generators, and compressors. This equipment is controlled by switchboards, valves, throttles, levers, and computers. Meters, gauges, and other measuring instruments require constant monitoring. Stationary engineers and boiler operators ensure the equipment operates safely by performing routine maintenance, shutting equipment down, making repairs, and regulating machinery as necessary. Engineers keep records of boiler pressure, temperature, power output, and fuel consumption. They must keep in mind the amount of heat, power, or cooling that their equipment is supposed to deliver. They are expected to control costs by using only enough fuel and other supplies to meet the demand.

  22. - TCB - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 11:19 am:

    =And Mr. $112,000 state employee Stationary Engineer (whatever that is=

    Mr Wooters would be able to sum it up better than I can, but a stationary engineer’s job is to monitor/maintain the systems of the building(s) to which they are assigned. This includers HVAC, water, heat, etc. Their biggest duty is to call a real repair man if stuff goes wrong.

    =Cwooters, are you selling guns on state time?

    Shouldn’t you be stationary engineering to the tune of $112 large?=

    I realize this is a joke, but I happen to know that the engineers at his facility work shifts (or atleast used to)…..perhaps he is on afternoons/nights this week. It’s also possible that monday is his scheduled day off.

  23. - Louis Howe - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 11:22 am:

    Perhaps, we should really become competitive and implement state government pay scales from our nearby states. Missouri’s level 1 starting salary is around $27,000 while IDOC‘s is nearly $50,000 and the average correctional officer’s base salary is over $64,000. Mr. Wooter’s job title as a stationary engineer doesn’t require a college degree and the only engineering involves fixing stationary equipment.

  24. - the Dark Horse - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 11:23 am:

    There are many reasons to live in Illinois… but Findlay is not one of them. If they want to go off on their own, good luck to them.

  25. - More Just Sayin - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 11:25 am:

    One guess who was behind the shenannigans leading to Adam Brown’s election victory last year. Also Mitchell’s driver.

  26. - Rich Miller - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 11:30 am:

    ===Mr. Miller the excellent price I sent you on the Benelli Super Black Eagle is still being offered to you at that same low price. ===

    That was you? Small world.

    And I tried hard not to make this about your family but about that editor. Sorry if you don’t feel that way.

  27. - Anonymous - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 11:30 am:

    I’m surprised that this “story” is getting this kind of traction or being given this much traction. The resolution will sit in Rules, Mr. Wooters will retire. Illinois, all 102 counties of it, will continue to stumble along. Pretty thin ingredients for a sea change in how we govern ourselves.

    By the way I have known Mr. Krohe for many years. His history of skepticism regarding functionality of the legislature is almost always on target and quite entertaining.

  28. - Call the Resolution - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 11:32 am:

    I sincerely hope Mitchell-Brown won’t blame the Speaker for not allowing their resolution out of committee. Call the resolution for a vote!

  29. - Rayne of Terror - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 11:37 am:

    Yes, why would anyone want to live on the banks of Lake Shelbyville? Why indeed. I’ve done door-to-door in Findlay and it’s just a terrible, terrible place with no redeeming qualities, like multiple state parks on a great fishing lake. Not a single redeeming quality.

  30. - wordslinger - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 11:38 am:

    –Call the resolution for a vote!–

    Absolutely. And right afterwards, let’s revise some funding formulas, too.

    Not really. Can’t go there. I won’t be part of punishing a lot of good citizens for the treehouse-antics of a couple of knuckle-draggers.

  31. - soccermom - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 11:43 am:

    Oh heavens, I am tired of the “family” card. If your spouse works for the bill’s sponsor, that’s clearly relevant to the story. The appropriate response to a reporter’s call on this topic is, “My wife works for the Representative, so I’m not really an unbiased source on this one. But thanks for calling.” And the reason you say that is to avoid being called out in columns like this one.

  32. - Lakeview - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 11:45 am:

    soccermom, for the win.

  33. - Way Way Down Here - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 11:54 am:

    I read that op-ed this weekend. It read like an Onion piece. It had a picture of Rod Blogojevich next to it, which of course, had nothing to do with anything in the piece—just for good measure I guess, in case anyone had forgotten about THAT.

    Now, about this Benelli. Is that a Miller-only price or can the rest of us get in on this deal?

  34. - Rich Miller - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 11:56 am:

    That was one sweet-looking shotgun. I shoulda bought it back then.

  35. - D.P. Gumby - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 12:06 pm:

    I’m old enough to remember the secessionist efforts of my home region of West Central Illinois to form the state of “Forgotonia” highlighting the lack of state resources, especially highway funds, sent to the region. We hated all other parts of the state equally!!

  36. - Jimbo - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 12:19 pm:

    I understand this is about a sloppy WSJ article, but facts remain.. If Mr. Wooters and Rep. Mitchell were somehow more connected they would could be considered for the subject of a conjoined twins research study. As I have come to understand, Mr. Wooters posted bond for Rx Ron after the Decatur DUI at the behest of Rep. Mitchell (with whom Rep. Stephens stayed during session). I appreciate Mr. Wooters’ insights on how he could even remotely be considered an objective source for quotation, but as *soccermom* stated, full disclosure should have been made upfront. Kinda like how Mr. Wooters should maybe disclose that his style of ‘political objectivity’ also included placing multiple “Obama/Flider” signs during the Flider/Brown race last cycle. Again, not to bash Mr. Wooters, simply to point out that he seems slightly removed from an objective point of view regarding central Illinois GOP happenings.

  37. - Nice Kid - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 12:21 pm:

    “…as Mr. Wooters says, a lot “of the money that we have down here goes up there to bail out Chicago.””

    Wow– this guy needs a dose of reality. The money flows the other way.

  38. - Shemp - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 12:30 pm:

    I won’t doubt that the Chicago metro area is a net exporter of funds to the downstate area, but I seriously wonder how much less it would cost to run the State without the policies set forth with votes from the Chicago area. Would state labor costs fall? Would costly regulations disappear? Would Downstate get a better shot at economic development with it’s own equivalent of DCEO (which is not doing much to help downstate currently)? Would a Stationary Engineer not be making $112k a year with a costly pension in an Illinois without the Chicago metro? If Downstaters really took a big stick to the ILCS and made major reforms in everything from patronage to labor to economic development, I think the cost savings could make up for the loss of Cook revenues. I really don’t think it’s that crazy, but I do concede it’s barely realistic.

  39. - Small Town Liberal - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 12:32 pm:

    - “…as Mr. Wooters says, a lot “of the money that we have down here goes up there to bail out Chicago.””

    Wow– this guy needs a dose of reality. The money flows the other way. -

    I think he’s confusing money with guns.

  40. - Anonymous - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 12:35 pm:

    I don’t understand what these two have to gain by these stunts. They don’t even have general election opponents. Mitchell has been up to these stunts for years which may explain why he remains a backbencher in spite of his seniority. It would be a shame if he drags Adam Brown down.

    As to the reference to “shennanigans” (sic) behind Brown’s election victory, More Just Sayin’ should reference the editorials about campaign conduct by former Rep. Bob Flider and the House Dems by the Decatur Herald & Review, no friend of the Republicans. Brings new meaning to “shennanigans”.

  41. - Dirt Digger - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 12:36 pm:

    I also thought it was curious that her lede attack on Cook County was the CTA “bailout” that was in fact paid for with tax increases in Cook County exclusively. CURSE THIS GOVERNMENT BAILOUT. THAT YOU PAID FOR YOURSELVES. IT IS A DRAIN. OR SOMETHING.

  42. - wordslinger - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 12:42 pm:

    –Wow– this guy needs a dose of reality. The money flows the other way.–

    $112 grand flows into Cwooters wallet every year. And he’s complaining.

  43. - Michelle Flaherty - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 12:45 pm:

    Mr. Wooters makes me want to reconsider my view on the constitutionality of SB512.
    Wonder what Reps Mitchell and Brown think of that one? You know, the one that would make Mr. Wooters stick around IL for another decade or so in order to get a state pension that would have reduced benefits.
    OH, but that’s being pushed by the evil Chicago REPUBLICAN business groups.
    Now I see the true nature of the conspiracy.
    Enjoy your job Mr Wooters. If I bad mouthed my employer in a national newspaper I’m not sure I’d have a job to come to on Monday.
    But you work for Pat Quinn, and he seems like the forgiving/bad managing type.
    Oh, and by the way Mr. Wooters, when you retire and take your state pension elsewhere, you’ll more than likely end up in a state that, unlike Illinois, will tax your pension benefits.
    Happy holidays and good financial planning.

  44. - mokenavince - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 1:04 pm:

    The Wall Street Journal is just another R. Murdoch
    rag, you have to be to the right of Atilla the
    Hun to believe the junk they write.Their spoksmen
    Tom Moore is always ranting on Fox,about the evil of President Obama. Although it’s great for wrapping fish.

  45. - LincolnLounger - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 1:11 pm:

    The Wall Street Journal is usually pretty well done, and it’s not fair to paint with a broad brush. Fox News is not all evil, and on the other side, nor is the New York Times.

  46. - wordslinger - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 1:18 pm:

    The WSJ “fact” articles are actually very good. I don’t know what paper their columnists and edit board reads.

  47. - Rich Miller - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 1:19 pm:

    ===The Wall Street Journal is usually pretty well done===

    Mainly on the news side. The opinion side leaves a lot to be desired.

  48. - Borealis - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 1:21 pm:

    Dear LL: Pretty well done? This is a newspaper, not a piece of meat. The WSJ is a Murdoch rag.
    Please try to be just a little more honest with yourself. I read the NYT daily, and know it is left leaning, but at least I can admit it…

  49. - oh boy. - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 1:26 pm:

    - Rich Miller - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 11:56 am:
    That was one sweet-looking shotgun. I shoulda bought it back then.

    Rich — you’ll shoot your eye out!

  50. - Jake From Elwood - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 1:48 pm:

    Why are you all blasting a guy for simply giving his opinion to a reporter? If he wants to leave the state, he is free to do so. I don’t share his opinion about our state, but who cares?

    Save your vitriol for the lazy and skewed reporting. I think that was Rich’s point.

  51. - A. Nonny. Moose - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 1:52 pm:

    Yet another of Bill’s political stunts. I challenge you to go back to his first one perpetrated on us when he was on Decatur’s city council. It was what launched his political career in the first place. And see if he has ever introduced legislation that has been passed. Lol

  52. - Rich Miller - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 1:55 pm:

    ===Save your vitriol for the lazy and skewed reporting. I think that was Rich’s point. ===

    Agreed, and it was.

  53. - wordslinger - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 2:09 pm:

    In my opinion, I think there’s room to whack a state employee making $122 grand for complaining about what a lousy state he lives in, and suggest he find gainful employment in the private sector in another state.

  54. - Jimbo - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 2:12 pm:

    Jake, I agree completely that Mr. Wooters is completely entitled to express his opinion openly. I find it odd that Ms. Finley apparently followed up with Mr. Wooters, and from her article, seemingly did not follow up with anyone that may share a differing opinion or insight.

    Specifically regarding Mr. Wooters’ expressions,I concur with *Michelle Flaherty* that I find it in poor taste to openly disgrace an employer, particularly considering that Mr. Wooters’ doesn’t seem to be complaining about being able to draw a healthy retirement package at age 53, according to a quick search. == ==

  55. - Jake From Elwood - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 2:21 pm:

    Public employees have the freedom to speak out on matters of public concern, right? This seems like a matter of public concern even if it does hit on a raw nerve or two or twentytwo….

  56. - no doubt - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 2:29 pm:

    I’ve been to the Wooters gun shop. The customers aren’t leaving, they were never there. It sits on one of the most desolate roadways in Illinois as you leave Findlay. It has no culture to speak of. It has nothing to speak of. Give me Chicago any day. Also, the myths of downstaters paying for Chicago needs to be put to bed. To be sure, I spent a little time in Findlay and they are nice people and old Gene was even polite to me after I told him I was a strong democrat. But enough of this nonsense.

  57. - Jimbo - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 2:29 pm:

    Fair enough, Jake. I agree completely that Mr. Wooters has the freedom to speak out, and I absolutely don’t mean to attack his ability to do so. Although, I still find it sketchy that Ms. Finley seemingly failed to seek out anyone else to speak out during her article research.

  58. - Give Me A Break - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 3:23 pm:

    I’m so glad us downstate folks have people like Mitchell and Brown serving us. Throw in Poe (cut 90 mil. from the budget but it won’t mean layoffs) and McCann (downsize government but not in my district). Not sure if these hayseeds understand it but, downstate is Big Government and without it there would nothing there. But hey don’t let the facts get in the way of your GOP/Tea Bag talking points.

  59. - Rich Miller - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 3:30 pm:

    ===cut 90 mil. from the budget but it won’t mean layoffs===

    900 million, not 90.

  60. - Bemused - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 3:30 pm:

    Let’s face it, a 112,000.00 per year state job is one way to reward a political foot soldier. Not news.

    Ms Finley is not the first Media Person with an opinion and the need to create a story to support it. It just happened to catch the eye of someone with the means and desire to call her out on it. That is the news.

    I think that the Main Stream Media is finally being challenged by the bloggers. That’ all to the better. Too often the slant of todays news sources are in line with the owners of said outlet. That said even the bloggers are human and have an agenda, the best ones have the same agenda as you.

  61. - Give Me A Break - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 3:34 pm:

    90=900 Mil. This is why I’m not on Approp. Staff.

  62. - Michelle Flaherty - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 3:36 pm:

    At the risk of sounding really, really old and Andy Rooney-ish, it’s totally awesome (full frontal snark intended) that the vaunted WSJ treats its readers to the well-honed musings of a 2009 Stanford grad on the political shortcomings of Illinois.

    If Ms. Finley could remember all the waaaaayyyyyy back to the mid-90s she might be surprised to learn that the GOP she seeks to inspire with this new idea of focusing on the suburbs, did in fact once rule the entire General Assembly and statewide GOP candidates used suburban appeal to overcome Democratic turnout in Chicago.

    If she’d thumbed over a few vote totals from the 2010 races she might have discovered that the statewide Republicans who won did in fact use suburban Cook, collar county and downstate turnout to win. And she also might be able to examine the GOP governor primary and put her totally awesome theories to practice in explaining why the GOP went on to lose the governor’s race against someone most thought was a really bad Dem candidate.

    Oh, but reading and research are such a drag. Especially for an opinion writer. Much, much easier to call up someone of the same political ilk and get them to say exactly what you want to write.

    Next thing you know, Ms. Finlay will treat us all to an exclusive expose about how Paul McCartney was in fact in a band before Wings.

    Allysia Finley
    Assistant editor,

    Allysia Finley is an assistant editor of and producer of the editorial page’s Opinion Journal Live online video show. She also writes editorials and contributes to the Journal’s e-mailed newsletter, Political Diary.

    Ms. Finley joined The Wall Street Journal in 2009 after graduating from Stanford University with a bachelor’s degree in American Studies. During college, she edited the opinions section for The Stanford Review and wrote columns for The Orange County Register.

  63. - Rich Miller - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 3:38 pm:

    ===with a bachelor’s degree in American Studies===

    You can actually get a bachelor’s degree in American Studies?

  64. - Give Me A Break - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 3:45 pm:

    You can actually get a bachelor’s degree in American Studies?

    Rich you should have been around Springpatch when SSU (now UIS) started. People were getting majors in subjects only they had heard, or cared about. It was priceless.

  65. - TCB - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 4:04 pm:

    =Rich you should have been around Springpatch when SSU (now UIS) started. People were getting majors in subjects only they had heard, or cared about. It was priceless. =

    Like underwater basket weaving?

  66. - Lester Holt's Mustache - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 4:25 pm:

    *who cares? What does any of this stupid discussion actually do to help anything? The whole discussion is useless.*

    This discussion has helped inform me that the Wall Street Journal newspaper employs “American Studies” majors who use biased sources when writing their columns.
    Also, this discussion has led me to understand that there are actually people who have the nerve to take $112,000 from the taxpayers of Illinois and then badmouth said taxpayers home to a New York City newspaper.

  67. - Rich Miller - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 4:30 pm:

    LHM, don’t bother. I deleted that comment. In case you’re wondering, it was from Decatur. Go figure.

  68. - Lester Holt's Mustache - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 4:38 pm:

    Decatur, huh? Poor Adam Brown, with supporters like this, who needs enemies?

  69. - Chris - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 4:39 pm:


    Fun link on Ms Finley:

    “You can actually get a bachelor’s degree in American Studies? ”

    At Hahvahd there is “Social Studies”.

    But you’d probably be more…appalled? amazed?…by the degree in Science, Technology, and Society (fka “Values, Technology, Science and Society”) Stanford offers–in both BA and BS versions.

  70. - Bill F - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 5:06 pm:

    What a load of garbage. I’ve seen better Journalism in the Jacksonville Courier’s “Open Line” section. It’s crap, and the subjects, while entitled to their opinion, are one very biased, very partisan, and more than a little hypocritical side of the story.

    …and if you want a SWEET gun, go for a Remington 1100 Sporting. Beautiful. And American.

    (but can’t blame you in the SBE - I own an Italian shotgun and am on the verge of picking up another -a Benelli- myself).

  71. - C Wooters - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 5:32 pm:

    LOL, Dave your’s has been the best Post so far. Most posts have been untrue or the getcha type of posts, but yours my friend comes from the heart. Thanks, and have a wonderful Christmas. Mr C

  72. - Anonymous - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 7:57 pm:


    I tried finding an email address for Ms. Finley and was unable to do so.

    I think it would appropriate for you — or anyone else — to actually give her some additional information so she can present to her readers an accurate representation.

    She’s a Stanford grad, you’d think she be brighter that this.

    Of course, if she works for the WSJ, she probably sold her soul a while back…

  73. - Springfieldish - Monday, Dec 19, 11 @ 10:05 pm:

    Excuse me for foaming at the mouth when I read that a stationary engineer gets $112K and a senior revenue auditor gets earns $25K less than that. Laugh all you want, Mr. Wooters, but change, she is a comin. The revenue producers of the state are going to have to be paid better and the foot-soldier jobs are going to have to pay that bill. What’s fair is fair, amigo. And if you’re not bringing value to the State, you’re going to have think about looking elsewhere for your livelihood. If nothing else, you could appreciate your blessings. Have a Merry Christmas.

  74. - Marty - Tuesday, Dec 20, 11 @ 4:40 am:

    Interesting the utter lack of qualifications needed to get a fairly influential editorial job at the WSJ. 2009 degree in American Studies?

    One wonders who’s her chinaman at NewsCorp?

    And I actually like the WSJ—although not in every particular.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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