Citizen Wausau

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Sheriff Hoenisch and the Defense of Everyone

by on February 26th, 2013

The pitchforks have come out once again, we are all keyboard super heroes. Facebook is the new cultural commons, and if that is to be believed, the town square is an amazingly mean spirited place. If Facebook is one measure, the high minded letter to the editor page must be the salon of our time. Not really.

So, last week in a bit of streaming brilliance, Sheriff Randy Hoenisch announced that he was retiring. Right there on the internet. It was both what you expected, and completely not at all what you expected. There was a grown man crying, which made sense. Then suddenly there were two little guys up there having a conversation with their Dad about the iPad. All while the world watched.

I suppose I could talk about the poor planning that went into his retirement, the utter hypocrisy that goes with calling a news conference to complain about the way the media is treating you, but at this point I…no, wait, I will.

During the press conference Sheriff Hoenisch repeatedly talked about a media witch hunt, how it was a combative relationship between him and the media. This was in the space of what seemed like an eternal retirement speech filled with tears and massive amounts of martyrdom. Who is having their chain yanked here? I am fine with whatever you want to say in your exit interview, but honestly, you invited the media and then complained and cried about how you have been treated.

How about this Randy, if you have a problem with the veracity of the reporting of Shereen Skola in regards to your attendance in the office, make a claim of inaccuracy. There are a lot of other media outlets in town who would love to be the ones reporting that the Herald got it wrong. But, that is not what you did. You never once during your retirement speech pointed out that the reporting on your attendance was wrong.

So, that should be the only response the Wausau Daily Herald and Shereen Skola need. He never denied his absence. So, to the folks sitting home writing letters to the Wausau Daily Herald about the actions of the Wausau Daily Herald, it seems to me that it is hollow to be critical of them. Today I say to Gertrude, the Sheriff made this about his personal problems, the Wausau Daily Herald made this about his attendance.

But, if we look on Facebook, we see tons of negative comments made in safety regarding the Sheriff. These comments, like the letter to the editor from Gertrude, have nothing to do with the reporting from Skola. Instead, some people just appear to want to smack a guy.

The reality is that Shereen Skola did great reporting on the attendance of Sheriff Randy Hoenisch. It has been a rumor for a long time that Randy was “telecommuting” or working from home. Now, we can confirm it. Thank you for good reporting.

Are there complaints about the Sheriff aside from not coming to work? I do not know. I am sure that people tend to not like law enforcement, so naturally he is going to get a bit of the stink eye. But, I do not know of any reports of civil rights offenses, racial profiling, or any of the other things that we can think of.

So, what happened here? The Wausau Daily Herald reported on something, it stood up to the truth test they have, and later, the Sheriff resigned. The Sheriff can put this in the lap of the media, but we all know it does not fit there. The Sheriff has a wife with real trouble, and he is needed someplace else. Those two little boys we saw are going to need some help this year, and I think he will do better at home.

But, in support of the Wausau Daily Herald, is this not exactly what they are supposed to do? Pick a story like the attendance of the Sheriff. Do some research. Report what they found. And then the public gets to decide. They did that very thing.

It all worked out. No one attacked anyone.

Oh wait, except the public. We all attacked everyone.

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