February 27, 2011

Sunday School 2/27/11: Wisconsin Newspaper Front Pages

Here's how the press is covering the scene in Madison, where Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker continues to refuse to negotiate with unions on collective bargaining rights, where Senate Democrats continue to hang out in Illinois and where thousands of protesters, including famous folks like native son Bradley Whitford (notable for The West Wing) and Peter of Peter, Paul and Mary, continue to fight the governor.  All of these front pages are courtesy of the Newseum, a website I encourage you to visit.

The Wisconsin State Journal, in Madison: Anatomy of a Protest: 'It began with a simple march and evolved into a national fight for labor rights. Today we dissect the movement.'  The paper's going in-depth on the whole issue, and also notes that yesterday's protest was the largest yet.

The Wausau Daily Herald:  Protest Numbers Swell. Wausau firefighters, cops join massive gathering in Madison. This paper's 'tag line' for the whole issue is 'Wisconsin in Turmoil'.

Green Bay Press-Gazette: Calling for Change. "These people are not going to go away" is one article, underneath a giant photo of the crowd in Madison. Two other front-page articles are also interesting.  One notes that a recall effort kicked off to remove one of the 14 Dems waiting things out in Illinois - and that opponents and proponents of the recall were present and accounted for.  The other article focuses on Wisconsin being turned into a 'GOP state', with the Reps in control of both houses and the Governor's office.

The Journal-Times, from Racine: Return of Strife? Experts fear teacher strikes if collective bargaining changes. This article and a smaller one reference a teachers' union strike back in the late 70's. On the paper's website, there's one of those instant polls asking "What's your opinion of the Senate Democrats' decision to flee the state?" Over 53% approve, while less than 45% disapprove.

The Herald Times Reporter, serving Manitowoc County: 'Best Opportunity is Now', according to one state Assemblyman (the only Independent), who thinks the Dems should come home and face Gov. Walker and tell him "you're going to win, but here are some things you should consider as you win."  He also indicated he had no idea the Reps were "going to go totally nuclear on a moment's notice" which is how he decided the call for a vote in the wee hours of the morning.

The Oshkosh Northwestern: Protesters will have to Exit Capitol Today, noting that the plan is to close the building late this afternoon and return to normal hours tomorrow.  Another article touches on the difficulties the local schools are facing between the anticipated reduction in state aid and their own issues of overdue building maintenance and needing a new school.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel offers A House Divided, talking about the 'divisive split' across the state on Walker's budget-repair plan. They also focus on how the country has turned its eyes on Wisconsin in an article titled 'Remarkable fight sparks national interest.'

From Fond du Lac, The Reporter references a State of Anxiety, as the Capitol prepares to close. They also have an interview with their freshman Assemblyman, who was hit in the face with a cup of water childishly thrown by a Dem after the vote to approve the bill.

As of now, about an hour after the Capitol was supposed to close, protesters are still present, drums still playing, and it's not clear when people will actually leave.  It's a fascinating story that will be talked about and analyzed long after the battle is over.