The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel circulation must really be down, or its editors have a pathological hatred of the American Recovery and Reinvestemnt Act.
There are no other possible explanations for its sensationalist, above the fold, front page article about the failure of the Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) and four other stimulus fund recipients to meet a reporting deadline.
That’s right, the Journal Sentinel thought missing a deadline merited front page and distorted coverage. Sure, MATC’s administration needs to tighten up its reporting procedures, but its failure to meet a deadline on money it has not even received hardly constitutes front page news.
Here’s how distorted the reporting was: the Journal Sentinel first said five organizations received a grand total of two hundred thousand dollars. But after acknowledging that amount, the paper quoted the chairman of the Federal Recovery Board claiming: “…they took millions and thumbed their noses at the taxpayers.”
If only MATC had received millions of federal dollars, it wouldn’t be struggling to meet the huge increase in demand for its services.
The real scandal that merits front page coverage is that MATC’s enrollments have soared as Iraqi veterans and dislocated workers seek occupational training, but state aid to the tech college system has fallen to 13%, the lowest level in history and way below the state’s 33% commitment.
And while President Obama has proposed a significant increase in federal support for two-year colleges, Congress has yet to approve the needed funding while the GOP appears committed to opposing absolutely everything Obama wants.
Rather than manufacturing imaginary scandals, the Journal Sentinel should use its bully pulpit to demand that the federal government increase its investments in higher education.
The local newspaper apparently has an axe to grind with the stimulus program. A month ago in a front page article entitled "Economists see no stimulus jobs" it incorrectly claimed that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act had not created any jobs, an assertion that virtually no economist agrees with. Now it implies that the program is acting irresponsibly.
The only institution that is behaving irresponsibly is the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel which in its desperate effort to increase sales, has, in the words of Steven Colbert, a truthiness problem.