Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Ron Johnson, Bill Kramer, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

There are many reasons we no longer subscribe to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

This story by Jason Stein, Patrick Marley, and Daniel Bice relates to one of the reasons - bad product.

The headline, "Ron Johnson did not tell police of assault allegations three years ago," is terribly misleading. It suggests that Johnson was involved in wrongdoing, ignoring an assault, failing to take proper action.

That is BS.

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, his chief of staff and a Waukesha County GOP official were all told three years ago of allegations that a then-aide to the senator had been sexually assaulted by state Rep. Bill Kramer, but none of them took the matter to the police or Assembly leaders.

The woman told her supervisor in Johnson's office and a number of other people, but decided at the time to have her attorney send a letter to Kramer rather than go to the police, records show. Last month — nearly three years after the alleged assault outside a Muskego bar — the woman learned of Kramer's alleged mistreatment of other women and filed a complaint with Muskego police that has resulted in two felony charges of second-degree sexual assault.

In the meantime, Kramer's Assembly colleagues elected him last fall to the job of majority leader, the No. 2 position in that house. Before that vote, some Republicans in the Assembly who opposed Kramer's bid raised concerns about his behavior.

But neither Johnson nor anyone from his office contacted Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester), who has led that body since January 2013, or Jeff Fitzgerald, who served as speaker at the time of the alleged 2011 assault.
Why didn't Johnson or others act to defend the victim?

Stein, Marley, and Bice eventually get around to answering that, but only after framing Johnson's inaction on the matter as an irresponsible, uncaring, cruel response.

The smear job is already set before this revelation appears:

...Johnson's office issued a statement saying that when the woman spoke with Johnson and his chief of staff, Tony Blando, she already had an attorney. "Senator Johnson and Mr. Blando conveyed their commitment to be 100% supportive of any actions she chose to pursue on the advice of her legal counsel — up to and including the filing of criminal charges," the statement said. "She requested that Senator Johnson and Mr. Blando keep the matter confidential and take no further action. Senator Johnson and Mr. Blando fully honored her request."
If I were the victim and had asked Johnson to keep the matter confidential, I would have felt betrayed by him if he ignored my request and took any action without my consent.

Johnson didn't do anything wrong, but that's not what Stein, Marley, and Bice want you to think.

Terribly sleazy. Awful reporting.

This Journal Sentinel story is a disgrace.


Read Jeff Wagner's take: "Will They Ever Learn? Another Newspaper Story That Is Accurate But Not True!"