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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Shoddy Journalism

by capper

This morning's paper had an article about Walker trying to push his plan to move the Behavioral Health Division from the county grounds in Wauwatosa to the old St. Michael's Hospital. (By the way, it's still a very bad idea, on many, many levels.)

Steve Schultze wrote the article, and it is pretty obvious that he wrote it from press releases from Walker's office, with only one or two phone calls. He misses a lot of different angles to this story. But perhaps the most offensive part of the article (outside of Walker's plan itself) is the last paragraph (emphasis mine):
The report says the shift to St. Michael would provide an opportunity for "culture change" throughout the county's Behavioral Health Division, whose employees staff the mental health complex. High absenteeism, high overtime costs and difficulty in recruiting workers have plagued the division in recent years. In addition, employees have publicly raised concerns about safety at the complex after several instances of patient assaults on staff and other patients.

A "culture change"? And did he bother wondering why there was high absenteeism, high overtime, and problems with recruitment? Perhaps he should have referred himself to an article that he wrote himself last year, which discussed that due to the low staffing cause by Walker's ineptitude, there was an increase of assaults on staff by 50%. The citizens of Milwaukee County had their chance for a culture change on April 1st. Now it's too late. This move, from what I hear, will only make things worse, as far as staffing goes.

But Schultze didn't bother to check, and apparently went with whatever the press release said. This doesn't surprise me too much though. It's not the first time I've wondered about his reporting.

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