Deceptive Column Writing 101


Once again John Torinus has written a column trying his best to minimize the serious violations of Justice Annette Ziegler. Like Ziegler, Torinus is willfully ignoring many factors in the unprecedented decision by the Wisconsin Supreme Court to discipline one of their own. Once again he fails to inform readers of his own conflict while at the same time putting hypocrisy on full display.

John Torinus again failed to tell his readers that he is hardly an objective viewer of the Ziegler scandal. He is a long-time board member for corporate lobby, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC). They shattered all kinds of records by spending unprecedented millions to get Ziegler elected. They not only spent more than Ziegler did on her own campaign but they spent more than both campaigns combined. To present his severely biased views of the Ziegler scandal without making full disclosure of this conflict is deliberately misleading.

As if misleading is not enough Torinus then totally ignores the serious concern expressed by the high court over her violations. First he suggests that these charges were ‘€œtrumped up’€ even though the Ethics Board, the Judicial Commission, the Judicial Conduct Panel, the high court and Ziegler herself admits that these violations occurred. How can you ‘€œtrump up’€ charges that all parties (except Torinus) acknowledge as being real? Second he makes it sound like the high court minimized her violations. It is no surprise that he didn’€™t quote one word of the high courts decision on this matter because it would have contradicted his deceptive narrative.

Ziegler’€™s colleagues quite clearly said that her violations constituted ‘€œmisconduct’€ and that they were ‘€œserious and willful.’€ They further express the ‘€œgravity’€ with which they view ‘€œJudge Ziegler’€™s violation.’€ They even went so far as to say that her violation, ‘€œdiminishes public confidence in the legal system.’€ If these very pointed observations are not enough, Torinus may want to consider that the high court felt so strongly about Ziegler’€™s violations that they for the first time chose to discipline one of their own with a public reprimand. Although they should have done more, their actions can’€™t be dismissed or minimized, unless one is as willfully delusional as Torninus has been.

Perhaps the most absurd part of the Torinus column is his suggestion that someone has slung mud merely for pointing out Ziegler’€™s now admitted violations. For a board member of WMC to accuse anyone of slinging mud is the supreme example of hypocrisy. WMC has perfected the sick science of mud slinging, sloganeering and deceptive advertising. WMC’€™s efforts to buy a seat for Ziegler and their latest empty suit have been widely condemned and criticized as being sleazy and untruthful. If there were a picture next to the definition of ‘€œmud slinging’€ WMC’€™s logo would be prominently placed. If John Torinus continues to write this kind of deceptive column, he very well could find his own picture next to a few unflattering words.

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