Monday, June 18, 2007

McIlheran delivers another head slapper

Patrick McIlheran, the JS' sop to the far, far right wing gets it amazingly wrong when he writes about transit and road funding.

McIlheran writes:

"Roads are paid for by taxes drivers pay when they use the roads. Transit is paid for by taxes drivers pay when they don't use transit and by taxes everyone pays when they don't necessarily use it, either."

That roads are paid for by drivers when they use them will come as a big surprise to lots and lots of city residents who pay special assessments when the roads in front of their houses are repaid or reconstructed. Milwaukee residents also pay a snow and ice removal fee even if they don't drive. (Memo to Patrick: The snow and ice are removed from the roads.)

Finally, there is the study by 1000 Friends of Wisconsin, which lays out how much in property taxes residents pay because WisDOT spends money building bigger freeways that aren't needed instead of paying eligible costs for local road repair: a whopping $1.3 billion statewide annually.

Yup, it's another head-slapper from McIlheran. But do we slap our own heads for reading his drivel, McIlheran's head for writing such drivel, or the editors' heads for printing such drivel?

What is especially troubling is that there is no doubt that JS editors know that roads are not completely paid for by drivers, so why do they let McIlheran assert such falsehoods without a peep of protest? Yes, he's an opinion columnist and so has tremendous leeway, but quantifying funding sources for roads is not an opinion -- it is a fact or, as in this case, an untruth.

Do no journalistic standards apply to columnists? And if not, why not?

More on McIlheran's loose grip on road-funding reality from
Jim Rowen and John Michlig.


illusory tenant said...

At least he admits it.

"Facts just get in the way, after all, of a politically correct attitude on the matter," he wrote, in his very next item.

ΕΡΜΕΣ said...

Holy bejeezus, how can one dude be so consistently idiotic?

My favorite was his article on the Quiverfull movement:

In it he praises a family with nine children. NINE CHILDREN! NINE!!! That's like, nine too many. People should be radically curtailing their child-bearing in the face of the exponential population growth we face, as we rapidly outstrip our resources and ignore our planet's carrying capacity. When it came out, I wrote a response letter to the editor of the JS, which they never published (as far as I know) which I repost here:

James K Polk said...

You guys are wasting your time reading anything McIlheran writes. He's unoriginal, generally unintelligent, and uninteresting. Listen to an hour of Limbaugh, of Sykes, of Belling, etc. and you'll get the gist.

Having recently moved back to Milwaukee after living for years out east, I am continually amazed by the empty-headedness of what passes for conservative dialog in this community. I have many, many conservative friends who I respect a great deal and who are of the highest intelligence. They would be embarrassed by the McIlheran's, Sykes', Wagner's, Belling's, and McBride's of the world.

Republicans in this town are like sports fans--they just root for a uniform. Everything is driven by partisanship, and some bizarre thrill from railing against others and spewing hatred toward fellow human beings. There's no reflection about individual issues, there is only group think. If a Democrat is for something, they must be against it. Period.