Circulation in Decline, Milwaukee Editor tells Reader: Good Riddance

At a time when traditional newspapers are struggling to maintain circulation, one Milwaukee editor has an odd message for someone who still reads his work: “Good riddance.”

The incident occurred when a reader critical of the work of PolitiFact Wisconsin, an oft-discredited “fact check” opinion feature at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, contacted a PolitiFact editor to express concern about a recent piece. The journalist would have none of it, however.

PolitiFact’s uniqueness is derived from the ratings the feature assigns to statements by public officials. Recently, the entity refused to assign a truth rating to a statement by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke. When fact-checking statements by Governor Scott Walker (R) though, the publication never misses a beat in assigning a rating.

As Right Wisconsin first reported, an unnamed reader asked PolitiFact editor Greg Borowski about this disparity in treatment between the two political figures. When Borowski engaged in an entertaining series of logical contortions to justify the work of his scribes, the reader sent the exchange to outspoken PolitiFact critic and Green Bay talk radio host Jerry Bader.

Bader published the exchange.

When the now-irate newspaper editor saw his reasoning had been made public, he refused to answer any more questions e-mailed by the reader and tersely told his correspondent: “Good riddance.”

And it seems some readers may be telling the editor’s employer, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, good riddance.

The latest published circulation numbers for the once-proud paper show that Sunday circulation dropped 5.7% over the year ending in November of 2013, and weekday circulation dropped 6.6% in that same time.