Tim Cuprisin, media critic for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, has a rambling post about the decline of WTMJ-TV’s newscasts, and has found his evidence in the blogging of John Mercure.
For some evidence of the cataclysmic changes rocking Channel 4, just check out reporter John Mercure’s Internet musings on the station’s Web site.
Go to www.todaystmj4.com, and under the station’s blogs on the right, click on “Mercure Uncut.” You’ll find comments you don’t expect from a reporter – especially a Channel 4 reporter.
In a Feb. 28 posting (since removed) about a convicted sex offender, Mercure wrote: “This sick loser should be castrated . . . or strung up.” His post, with 28 exclamation points, features big, bold capital letters proclaiming that “THERE IS A COZY PLACE IN A DARK CORNER OF HELL” for the offender.
Mercure didn’t respond to an e-mail asking whether a reporter suggesting the mutilation and worse of the subject of a news story raised troubling ethical questions.
What Cuprisin doesn’t point out to the reader is whether or not Mercure actually covered the story Halbach murder case. Because if he didn’t, then I think most readers would disagree with Cuprisin that there’s any conflict of interest involved.
It’s more likely a case where Cuprisin’s tender sensibilities were jarred by the harsh sentiments expressed by Mercure on his blog. If Cuprisin wants to disagree with the substance or the tone or Mercure’s remarks I would agree that there’s plenty of room for that. But let’s not pretend this is a big journalism ethics question.
We impatiently await Cuprisin’s next column, “Blogging for Circulation,” or how the Journal Sentinel’s reputation has declined by it’s staffers expressing opinions in blogs sponsored by the newspaper.
Update! Great minds think alike!