November 6, 2020

Madison newspaper article tells us about a "group" that blocked the main highway "for hours" last night, but never says who they were or what they were protesting.

The "who" and the "why" seem to have dropped out of journalism. 

"Update: Group shuts down eastbound Beltline for hours Thursday night, police say" — Wisconsin State Journal. 
A group of about 20 people in cars shut down the eastbound Beltline in Monona and Madison for about four hours on Thursday night, authorities reported....

So... "people." This story has a front-page headline, and that says it went up 2 hours ago. If this happened last night, why is there no information about who these people are and why they're shutting down the Beltline?  

The group has a barbeque set up...

Are we supposed to infer the identity of the "people" and their purpose by the fact that they've set up a barbeque on the Beltline?! 

... similar to a protest on the Beltline in September that last [sic] several hours.

Okay, there's a link on that, so if I pick up a hint that these "people" must have the same purpose, I can click through and find out who they were and why they did this and then — if I chose — infer that last night's group had the same purpose. The linked article from September says: "The protest stemmed from police-involved deaths, including that of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, and the Black Lives Matter movement, but it was unclear Thursday whether the protest was the result of a specific incident." In that protest, they "set up grills on the highway."

Here's an idea. Let's call it "journalism." You employees of the Wisconsin State "Journal" could take it upon yourselves to walk up to the "people" who are barbequing on the Beltline and interview them about what they are doing and why. If you find yourself wanting to write something like "it was unclear... whether the protest was the result of a specific incident," you might see that as a clue that you ought to find someone who could clear that up for you. 

Your potential informants were glaringly right out there in the most public possible location. Why didn't you walk up to them and ask?!

Last night's incident ended at 10:45. This is a front-page news story. Why isn't the "Journal" ashamed to have such an incomplete, uninformative story about an incident that disrupted the city for 2 hours?

Do they think they answered the question when they said that last night's "group" had a "barbeque," and the September protest — "stemmed from police-involved deaths" —  had "grills on the highway"? You shouldn't leave factual questions hanging like that! It's really disrespectful!

ADDED: Please understand that what I am calling "disrespectful" is the nudging to the reader to think in terms of race without speaking directly about race. I only refrained from calling that racism because I think there is too much readiness these days to call things racist. And yet, I'm pretty sure that if anyone from the right wing wrote something with that many cues about race, it would be called racist. 

96 comments:

Temujin said...

It's hard to do reporting when people are not texting you the information they want you to print.

FleetUSA said...

Journalism is practically dead in America. None do real due diligence on any story. Gumshoe journalism died with the internet.

Danno said...

Some people did something. The Ihlan Omar approach to releasing facts!

wendybar said...

If they were Trump supporters they would have called them terrorists, so there's that.

alan markus said...

This post has a "getting all up in someone's grill" vibe.

stutefish said...

I keep telling people: The media is not your friend. Indvidual reporters and editors may be competent, ethical, and idealistic. But as an institution, even as groups of people trying to get "news" out the door... They're just not your friend. And a lot of them aren't even competent or ethical.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

“Police say” means they are reporting off the police blotter, which may not have been posted until the incident was over.

Butkus51 said...

They have to check twitter first.

Wince said...

Evidently, averting your eyes and suspending your curiosity about what is happening in front of your face is habit forming among the press.

Dan from Madison said...

Get them the f off of the beltline, and/or enforce the permitting process for a march or demonstration - oh that's right, no municipality in their right mind would ever issue a permit for something like this. These types of "protests" are ridiculous and serve no purpose other than to piss people off and provide a way for people to get hurt.

Sebastian said...

"Why isn't the "Journal" ashamed . . . It's really disrespectful!"

Oh, Althouse, no! Not that again! Why don't they! Why aren't they better! It's terrible! It's sad! It's disrespectful!

Jeez. A little late for all that. Assume bad faith and partisan posturing. Assume respect for the prog audience and prog priorities. And of course, progs don't do shame, in the media or elsewhere.

I wish it weren't so, truly. But the culture your prefer has gone. When your generation passes, people will barely remember that things could be different. Except for traces in cyberspace of peculiar sentiments once expressed by a former law prof, glimmers of a world long gone--I will give you that.

Lurker21 said...


The group has a barbeque set up...

Packers tailgate party?

Unknown said...

It seems that soon there won't be any story at all to read.

WK said...

“authorities reported”. A “ spokesperson from Monona dispatch said”. Does not sound like the reporter(s) witnessed anything at all. And since it was an event that only lasted a couple hours - could not have been a bbq. Likely grilling hotdogs and burgers. Ribs or brisket would take much longer.

Amadeus 48 said...

Sebastian at 8:40. That is a masterpiece.

iowan2 said...

Currating the fact to push a leftist narrative.

Thanks for documenting these propaganda stories in the propaganda dnc/media. Something those that have been paying attention, have known for decades.

The Gell,Mann Amnesia affect is real. An observation experienced to almost every consumer of propaganda delivered to our front door.
Read an article that tells of a subject you have extensive experience with. Note all the errors, omissions and lies. Move on to the next story...maybe explaining the root conflicts in the Middle East. Knowing only what you have seen in the propaganda industry (NYT,CBS,LAties,etal)you take in the "information" and adjust your feelings about the Middle East accordingly...ignoring how utterly wrong the previece piece of propaganda explained things.

Will Cate said...

"some people did some things" -- Ilhan Omar

exhelodrvr1 said...

When they don't report that type of information, safe to assume the individual/group is from the left.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

No! No! No! Can't let the public know that the genie is out of the bottle and can't be put back in!

RMc said...

Why isn't the "Journal" ashamed to have such an incomplete, uninformative story about an incident that disrupted the city for 2 hours?

Shame? News media critters feeling shame?! You're kidding, right?

Iman said...

Democrats don't embarrass easy, Ann.

Jupiter said...

As I recall, Althouse, your theory was that if we let them steal this election, it would get it out of their systems. They would soon grow weary of afflicting us, and would relapse into their customary sloth and fecklessness, after which we could resume normal operations. I call this the Little Bo-Peep theory of Democrats. Leave them alone, and they'll come home, and you can take the plywood down.

Apparently it's going to take a little longer than you had hoped. Patience.

GatorNavy said...

Journalism is a trade, not a college degree. These college graduates who work for the media have never talked to anyone other than their fellow college gradutes. They literally do not know how to communicate with the vast majority of Americans

Lucid-Ideas said...

@Sebastian

Spot on. Shame and YOLO lifestyle do not gel. YOLO is post-shame culture. Fuck-da-police Hwy BBQ parties are post-shame culture. 'Facts' are shame culture. 'Law' is shame culture.

Whimper. Not bang.

Dave Begley said...

I thought all this was supposed to stop once Joe won.

Curious George said...

It's not news that the media is aiding and abetting the Democrats and all these lefty groups. I find this critique of their journalistic standards absurd.

The real question is how the fuck can 20 people block a major highway in a state capital for four hours? Go in with a bunch of cops and attempt to make peaceful arrests. Don't ask them to leave. Arrest them all. Anyone who resists get's their skull thumped.

Todd said...

The "who" and the "why" seem to have dropped out of journalism.

Rest assured, if it were those evil right wing "tea party" folks or "2nd A" folks or those deplorable Trump supporters, it not only would have been included in the story, it would in fact have been the lede.

In the new America, we all have to brush up on reading between the lines and becoming more astute as to what is NOT included in the story.

rehajm said...

Here's an idea. Let's call it "journalism"

What is it the twitters say about stupid stuff like this? (looks up on the twitters) Ah, I found it...

HAHAHAHAH!!!

gilbar said...

Here's an idea. Let's call it "journalism." You employees of the Wisconsin State "Journal" could take it upon yourselves to walk up to the "people" who are barbequing on the Beltline and interview them about what they are doing and why. If you find yourself wanting to write something like "it was unclear... whether the protest was the result of a specific incident," you might see that as a clue that you ought to find someone who could clear that up for you.

Professor! you've had some pretty crazy ideas in the past; but this one takes the cake!
What's next? Are you going to start wanting media personal to report without bias?
Have you gone MAD?

Sam L. said...

If the "News" doesn't say, then it's clearly the LEFT. We all know how to read PRAVDA now.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

It was boogaloo.

David-2 said...

Your remarks about the death of journalism due to incompetence are well taken, but the situation here is different.

These so-called "protests" are just an acceptable way of life now in Madison. You report on this group blocking the freeway at night the same way you'd report on a group of people playing volleyball at the lake during the day: It's just a fact it happened, no need to ask anyone why. The answer is, "why not?" The lake's there, it's a pleasant day out, it's fun to toss a volleyball about with other people. The freeway's there, there's nothing else more important for me to do, why not do it together with other people in a big open space?

Either way, it's just filler for the newspaper. Doesn't need the Five W treatment.

(Not convinced: Haven't you ever seen a little report in your community paper "Big sale at the Super K on Stevens Blvd today. Free balloons for the kids, and a clown will entertain at 11AM." Are you going to complain that doesn't explain why the Super K is putting stuff on sale or arranging for a clown? Same thing here. It's just the way we do things around here (now) so what's to explain?)

Lucid-Ideas said...

@Sebastian

Speaking of shame vs. no-shame culture (slightly off-topic, but not really), it is becoming very apparent, especially within the last 10 years, that shame is going to be a major/huge disadvantage in 21st century America. You could make the argument that acting in an undignified, unreliable, and inconsistent manner at best and outright immoral at worst has been gaining more and more acceptance in Western Civilization since the 60s.

Shame means finding the facts about the Hwy BBQ party and 'who is who' because it demonstrates an implicit ability to step into the audience's shoes and understand that the audience would be disappointed by you not presenting that prima-facia evidence. No-shame means knowing the same thing but saying 'fuck you' to the audience.

Journalism, like so many other aspects of our developing culture, is becoming shameless. It will become more so with every passing year from now on. A 'fuck you' of ever increasing volume and breadth.

They will not be made to feel bad because you care, shame on you for trying to make it so.

Bay Area Guy said...

The Democrats riot and loot and throw Molotov cocktails and lie about Russian Hoaxes and cheat at elections and block highways.

And they have a ton of clueless enablers who turn a blind eye to it.

MadisonMan said...

Journalism is really dead. Especially if a Democrat is leading the country.

When a Republican is being interviewed, and a journalist sees a loose thread in the politician's sweater, they pull it to see what unravels. When a Democrat displays a loose thread, the journalist offers to buy the politician a new sweater, and gives them a choice of wool or cotton.

n.n said...

The odds are that it is related to the diversity racket, probably Some, Select Black Lives Matter, a Pro-Choice sect, the contemporary Democrat-affiliated neo-KKK, incursion and intimidation in neighborhoods, and Occupying highways, cities, too. #BabyLivesMatter

Howard said...

Journalism is private Enterprise. If you want to change journalism become journalists.

Shame shame shame hey shame on you
If you can't dance too
I said shame shame shame shame shame shame shame
Shame on you
If you can't dance too

n.n said...

When a Democrat displays a loose thread, the journalist offers to buy the politician a new sweater, and gives them a choice of wool or cotton.

And silk, or nothing at all, as in the "Emperor's new clothing". Democracy is smothered, aborted in darkness, indeed. Then we have the few, the brave, the courageous who dare to stand up to the consensus, maybe.

Tommy Duncan said...

My bet is that they were election workers celebrating their role in Biden's apparent win in Wisconsin.

n.n said...

It was boogaloo.

Bugaboo!

rcocean said...

Madison deserves this.

BudBrown said...

I wonder what they were grilling. Time frame covers the Packers game last night.

Mikey NTH said...

To ask why the reporters did not ask questions is to understand the "who" and the "why" they did not ask.

Like with the old Soviet Pravda, it is what they don't say that is most illuminating.

TomHynes said...

To be fair, nobody from the newspaper was there. It is an "authorities reported" article. Agreed they should have paid someone to cover the story, but all they had was a press release.

Joe Smith said...

'Journalism' died over a decade ago.

Liberalism kills everything it touches.

Socialism is slow death.

Clyde said...

You actually expect “journalists” to go out and commit “journalism.” How precious.

rehajm said...

The race card didn't work out. Soon these people will be acting on the new talking points from above...

Spiros said...

The police were so passive during the riots that, I think, the line between between the criminal and the law abiding (or between the normal and the psychotic) was erased for a lot of people. I think some of these people were "counting" votes and I think these people's passion for revenge overwhelmed everything else...

Iman said...

Madison deserves this.

Aren’t you the generous one. Madison deserves a helluva lot more than this.

Jupiter said...

Don't blame the "journalists" for this one, this is on the police, and the politicians who control them. When you see an armed gang taking over a public thoroughfare, and the police do nothing about it, it is too much to expect that unarmed journalists will approach them and ask what they are doing. In time of war, the law is silent.

roesch/voltaire said...

There were both white and black drivers in the cars so race identity doesn't make sense, but surely the groups purpose should have been reported. I heard it was Trump supporters trying to delay the delivery of mail in ballots.

Rick said...

It seems like just last week left wingers claimed blocking a highway signaled incipient violence. If this continues I might just conclude everything left wingers say is driven by partisanship.

Curious George said...

"Socialism is slow death."

Until it's fast death.

DanTheMan said...

Trayvon Martin bought a watermelon fruit juice cocktail the night he was shot by Zimmerman.
The news reports helpfully changed that to "iced tea", so as not to reinforce certain stereotypes.
It wasn't iced tea, but some facts are more factual than others.
As in Wisconsin, we are lucky to have the self-anointed to decide what we mere mortals are allowed to think.

Jupiter said...

"Journalism, like so many other aspects of our developing culture, is becoming shameless. It will become more so with every passing year from now on. A 'fuck you' of ever increasing volume and breadth."

Let's not forget that the "culture" which has taken over the commanding heights of our society is parasitic. It depends upon the real culture not only for its material necessities, but even for its members.

mikee said...

Althouse, what you are seeing now in this story IS "journalism," that is, the crafting of a narrative to sway public opinion. What you want is "reporting," a completely different critter.

Darkisland said...

Badger Bougalieu Barbecue Boys?

Unknown said...

"what you are seeing now in this story IS "journalism," that is, the crafting of a narrative to sway public opinion"

In other words propaganda and agitation. 'Pravda journalism'. They act as a priesthood. Back in the day we got a sermon on Sunday (for Christians). Today the sermonizing is everyday and never ending. They don't go to any church on Sunday. They watch the Sunday morning political propaganda shows.

Curious George said...

"It is an "authorities reported" article."

Right. And that makes it clear that nobody was arrested. Pathetic.

Michael K said...

Rest assured, if it were those evil right wing "tea party" folks or "2nd A" folks or those deplorable Trump supporters, it not only would have been included in the story, it would in fact have been the lede.

Like the Trump Train that "blocked " a highway in Texas. National news.

This is why riots and looting in Chicago are committed by "youths." In Britain, terror attacks are committed by "Asians." We are learning the code.

Sebastian said...

Blogger Lucid-Ideas said...

"Speaking of shame vs. no-shame culture . . . No-shame means knowing the same thing but saying 'fuck you' to the audience. Journalism, like so many other aspects of our developing culture, is becoming shameless."

Not really disagreeing, but the FU is really just aimed at the part of the audience that might have misgivings. To the rest, their real reference group, they are saying, see, we're on the same side, supporting the cause, politically correct, not giving deplorables any ammo. And that group eats it up.

Yes, shamelessness is taking hold, for a reason you allude to: the possible disappointment of audiences matters less and less, because the feelings of the Other matter less, because the Other matters less.

Hegemonic cultures have no shame. (Except insofar as it can be deployed strategically to shame deviants into conformity.)

Ann Althouse said...

"There were both white and black drivers in the cars so race identity doesn't make sense..."

You're the one who identified people by race so you're calling your own behavior senseless. I am commenting on an article that didn't tell me about the people but put in dog whistles about race. We the readers were nudged to think that the "people" were black, but if they were not, then that is important and should have been in the article, once the dog whistles were there. BTW, how do you know who the people were?

"... but surely the groups purpose should have been reported. I heard it was Trump supporters trying to delay the delivery of mail in ballots."

In other news reports we are told WHO the people are, not just WHY they are doing something. The WHO has mattered traditionally in journalism, and it is relevant to the WHY.

Ann Althouse said...

But if your point is: Hey! I got an idea! Let's all be COLOR-BLIND! ... then come out and say it. Let's see how that works. Is it a general rule, applied equally or do we need to see the RACE IDENTITY first and THEN we go color-blind.

And you're telling me what "doesn't make sense"? Ridiculous. Utter bilge.

Levi Starks said...

The result of a modern journalism education: News flash! Something Happened!

Anonymous said...

> why is there no information about who these people are and why they're shutting down the Beltline?

I'll be contrarian. Wouldn't giving that information incentivize this kind of behavior in the future? That is, we don't want road blocking to become a tool that every goofy protest group will use to get their grievances mentioned on the TV news.

It's the same reason we've stopped giving the names of mass shooters.

Laslo Spatula said...

Journalism is now no different than advertising.

They are selling you, or selling to you -- it doesn't really make much of a difference anymore.

There is always something, or someone, to sell in Clickbait Nation.

I am Laslo.

Amadeus 48 said...

Who, whom.

Seems easy, but it contains a narrative, doesn't it? It could be quite complicated.

Who, why.

At least the cards are on the table.

Somebody, something.

Not real clear , is it?

Gusty Winds said...

"Your potential informants were glaringly right out there in the most public possible location. Why didn't you walk up to them and ask?!"

They know who they are. And they are covering for them. You think F150 BBQ loving Trump people are going to waste time in Madison?

hstad said...


Blogger roesch/voltaire said..."... I heard it was Trump supporters trying to delay the delivery of mail in ballots..." 11/6/20, 9:55 AM

That's funny RV, I heard it was Biden supporters clearing the road for a caravan of trucks carrying 150,000 voting ballots for another straight Biden vote dump.

Begonia said...

To me, the State Journal article makes it clear that the information is from the police. It's right there in the headline. The police report didn't specify who was protesting.

Do you actually think the wisconsin state journal still has the money to pay a reporter to get out to a 2-hour uplanned protest?

I pay for a madison.com subscription, but most people prefer to get their news for free. Local journalism has suffered.

Johnathan Birks said...

Some people did some things.

Sounds like Ilhan Omar should be up for a Pulitzer any day now.

Skippy Tisdale said...

Arrest them all.

Protesters block traffic on I-94 in Minneapolis, over 600 cited

https://www.fox9.com/news/troopers-say-they-are-starting-to-make-arrests-after-protesters-block-traffic-on-i-94

bagoh20 said...

I don't follow your racist cues. I guess my ears no longer register dog whistles.

Barbecues only make me think of people who like meat. I doubt any vegetarians would drag a barbecue out on the road, when all they need is some Tupperware and chopsticks.

This commenter is not supported in any way by Tupperwear products.

Skippy Tisdale said...

Like the Trump Train that "blocked " a highway in Texas. National news.

I immediately thought False Flag Operation. Still do.

Rick said...

hstad said...
That's funny RV, I heard it was Biden supporters clearing the road for a caravan of trucks carrying 150,000 voting ballots for another straight Biden vote dump.


I laughed - thank you.

It also reminds me of my first experience with whisper campaigns. I asked how the supposed source was supposed to know this information and it not get reported publicly. Clearly this was not the expected response. I was amazed people who couldn't answer this question still believed the whisper, basic critical thinking was completely foreign to this environment.

Michael said...

When they don't tell you the who you know the answer. As in when the race of the miscreant is omitted but the name is given.

robother said...

I am familiar with the fine barbecue traditions of St. Louis, KC, South Carolina and Texas. First I've heard of Madison barbecue (did I mis-hear the Thorogood song about "Madison 'Cues"?). To compete with those other cities, those folks needed to keep the smoke going at least 12 hours.

Browndog said...

Althouse plays coy, pretending to need to decipher specific nouns to gain the knowledge she needs to understand exactly what took place, and the meaning behind it.

I find it insulting as a reader.

Then again, the only thing I haven't found insulting about this year is the current weather. Certainly President Joe will enact policies making sure the warmth and sweetness of Indian Summer never happen again when he joins the Paris Accords "on day one!"

campy said...

"If they were Trump supporters they would have called them terrorists, so there's that."

And Trump supporters don't qualify as "people" to the left.

john burger said...

I used to think journalism was about the "Six Ws": Who, what, when, where, why and how. Nope. Those are superficial details unless they promote or encourage the prevailing narrative. It happens everywhere in the news. We will be told a story about an aggravated robbery outside a grocery store. We are not told who the victim is, what happened, who the culprit is, or how the crime occurred. No description of the perpetrator of the crime, just that if we have relevant information about the incident to contact Crime Stoppers, who may offer a reward.

jvb

Drago said...

roesch/voltaire: "I heard it was Trump supporters trying to delay the delivery of mail in ballots."

Sounds definitive.

Rabel said...

The author only has a Master's in Journalism. They probably teach that Who, What, When Where, and Why thing at the PhD level.

Nichevo said...

Browndog said...
Althouse plays coy, pretending to need to decipher specific nouns to gain the knowledge she needs to understand exactly what took place, and the meaning behind it.

When they pull her out of her car, the next time or the next time, and some people do something to her, I will be sure to read the story with cruel neutrality, assuming there are news stories anymore by then, and will be sure to demolish the grammar and diction of the police blotter.

Rabel said...

Are you saying that the barbecue reference is a racist dog-whistle? Barbecue? What an odd perspective.

It's appears to be a group called "Feeding the Youth." Providing food at protests is their thing. Some of them are Black.

Big Mike said...

@Althouse, you read the Post, you read the Times, and then you call out your local paper for sloppy journalism?

MadisonMan said...

Protesters block traffic on I-94 in Minneapolis, over 600 cited
If Trump is not elected, I expect arrests to increase. So there is that. Order must be restored.

sterlingblue said...

Posts like this are why Althouse is the best. Sorry for spamming with compliments.

Hunter said...

No one knows

who they were
or
what they were doing

But their legacy remains
Hewn into the living rock

of Stonehenge

Josephbleau said...

Journalists report- "Some people did something."

Marcus Bressler said...

Barbecue, NOT barbeque. Jesus.

THEOLDMAN

Only shitty dictionaries use the latter. (It's Bar-B-Q, or BBQ, never barbeque)

Pet peeve of mine.

Marcus Bressler said...

Barbecue, NOT barbeque. Jesus.

THEOLDMAN

Only shitty dictionaries use the latter. (It's Bar-B-Q, or BBQ, never barbeque)

Pet peeve of mine.

Marcus Bressler said...

Sorry for the double post.

Doug said...

hink that the "people" were black, but if they were not, then that is important and should have been in the article,

So, the article would say, " ...the people who blocked the highway - WHO WERE NOT bLACK - ..."? And you think this is important for people to know?

gilbar said...

This raises a significant question
I try to keep an open mind, and there are Lots of things people call bbq
Some people call it bbq, even though they are using the whole hog, instead of the front shoulder.
It's Not correct, but people do it

Heck! People even call smoked brisket BBQ, even though it is not

Sh*t da*mn! People even call smoked ribs BBQ, as if ribs are front shoulder

But guess what!
NOTHING you can do in 2 hours (on a grill!)can possibly be called BBQ

gilbar said...

Sorry it took me so long to post this, but I'm on the road, on my way to Lexington
You know what I'm getting there

Doug said...

Barbecue, NOT barbeque. Jesus.

THEOLDMAN

Only shitty dictionaries use the latter. (It's Bar-B-Q, or BBQ, never barbeque)


If they were British, it might be barbequeue.