Monday, February 1, 2010

Tony Palemri's Bullshit Can Now be Seen from Outer Space

There's really no other way to put it.

In his monthly column in the Valley Scene Palmeri concludes his annual "10 Most Censored Stories" exercise by including this summer's city council vote on the Grand Opera house repairs at #5. Here's the complete text (emphsases in the original):
No. 5: Oshkosh Grand Opera House Repairs: No Thinking Allowed. When the city of Oshkosh restored the historic Grand Opera House in the early 1980s, costs were spread out among city taxpayers, federal funds, private donations, and foundation grants. Because of the lease terms agreed to by the Oshkosh Common Council in the 80s and rubber stamped by subsequent councils, Oshkosh taxpayers cover repair costs over $1,000. That’s an extremely uncommon method of funding repairs; historic arts houses similar to the Grand (e.g. Baraboo’s Al Ringling Theatre, Wausau’s Grand Theater, Milwaukee’s Pabst Theatere, Viroqua’s Temple Theater, the Kenosha Theater, Menomonie’s Mabel Tainter Theater) rely mostly on private, corporate, and foundation funding.

Last summer the Oshkosh Common Council approved $1.8 million dollars for roof repairs. Coverage and editorializing by Gannett’s Oshkosh Northwestern was incomplete, under researched, intolerant of different points of view, and unwilling to consider that the current ownership model is not sustainable or suitable to guarantee the Grand’s long term health. Reporter Patricia Wolff’s tepid story on ownership issues appeared a week after the repair vote, greatly limiting the story’s value. The lesson? When Gannett has to choose between responsible journalism and protecting ad clients (in this case the Opera House Foundation), the ad clients will prevail every time.
Here's the problem: Palmeri voted for the repairs.

Yes, he gave those in attendance a stern talking to about something or another before casting his vote, but at the end of the day, when it came down to actually taking action PALMERI VOTED FOR THE GRAND OPERA HOUSE REPAIRS.

Also missing from the Palmeri's account of the GOH vote was the fact that the council was met with some 300 people the day of the vote and heard support from dozens of citizens during the meeting in contrast to maybe one or two people who felt otherwise. It was a good old-fashioned local grassroots effort -- like kind Palmeri lionizes in pieces like this one -- organized by the Grand management. They used the internet, word of mouth, a little PR/media savvy and a whole lot of razzle-dazzle.

Would you expect anything less from theater folk?

The way Palmeri crafts the passage above makes it sound like the belated NW article would have somehow swung public opinion against the repairs, but that's nonsensial Monday morning quarterbacking if ever there was such. Palmeri was well aware of all the details of this seeming Gannet-GOH advertising axis (which, by the way, amounts to less than the cost of 2 full page adverts per year last time I checked) before the vote was taken, but couldn't convince anyone that it mattered.

If Palmeri really thought that the GOH repairs were some grave injustice to the people of Oshkosh, he should have done something when he had a chance. After all that's the imagine he likes to project to the community:

(This photoshopped number is actually from one of Palmeri's websites.)

Palmeri can't have it both ways on this topic. Either he agreed with the overwhelming support for the GRAND OPERA HOUSE REPAIRS WHEN HE VOTED FOR THEM or Oshkosh's Knight in White Shining Armor only goes after dragons he can slay when he thinks no one else is looking. There's just no way he can reasonably expect to go after one party's verison of the story while simultaneously whitewashing his own complicity in the matter.

Everyone know Palmeri's ego stands second to none in Oshkosh (see the photo above for evidence). Now there's a pile of bullshit to keep it company.


Anonymous said...

Then there's the deer cull. Voted for that too.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Palmeri voted for the deer cull. He was the only No vote on a vote of 6-1.
It will also be interesting to see if Main Street references this piece. They usually protect Palmeri as they did by not mentioning Jef hall's piece about the hypocrisy of Palmeri's rant on poverty the night of Grand vote.

Anonymous said...

There is a pretty obvious difference between whether a project should be done and how it should be funded. Palmeri was clear in the piece you quote that having taxpayers cover the repairs in this way was now not how things are usually done, and not how things should be done. Obviously he was for the repairs themselves -- who wouldn't be?! -- so he voted for them, given no better option at that point. Clearly, more public discussion in the city's only newspaper might have led to more options. Do you really think it was wrong of him to push for a third, better option?

Major Tom said...

LOL X 100

aside from what he has and has not voted for, and how he pontificates up there with that sour judgmental expression (which no doubt can also be seen for Outer Space) there's the issue of his annual (anal) list itself. Which is Bullshit in its entirety not just re: the Grand vote.

Who can even read that list anymore? I think even HE is bored with the whole thing now. But he can't stop because, you know, that would be like an admission of something (dunno what, maybe that it's a waste o' time)

These stories haven't been things that are truly censored since Shep was a pup. There maybe were a few that could maybe have actually qualified as censored or downplayed back in Yellow Ribbon Days and the early times of the Patriot Act and 911/start of the war, when the media seemed truly nervous about seeming lax about security threats. Things akin to the blackout on photos of returning caskets etc. THAT is censorship.

Other than that, his "censored" stories are either obvious anti-Stewisms (the intent here is not really to reveal Stew's evilness, but the idea is to help create Palmeri's own image in a particular light. You know use Stew as a foil to create an image and a position for himself. If you go back over the years you can see that TP has meticulously crafted a public image using Stew in this manner. This appears very calculated to me)
the other option is that many of the "censored" stories are just more accurately described as
"stories I would have given more ink if I was ONW Editor")
Well you know what? anyone could write a list like that. Some people want more "positive news", some want more business news, some only read the Sports page, and on and on.

So yeah, seen from space (coincidentally where I live) the bullshit is easily visible. Sadly, a closer vantage point does not lend such clarity. Ergo, the dude will be able to continue to jerk people, maintain an obedient posse, and get votes.

Have fun wi' dat.

Anonymous said...

Keep posting stuff like this i really like it