Maybe hating newspapers isn’t such a bad thing.
A self-described paper loather, Democratic Wisconsin state Rep. Marlin Schneider announced a plan Tuesday that would make all buildings associated with newspapers exempt from property taxes.
But the proposal is long-overdue. Two newspapers in Milwaukee — the Journal and the Sentinel — merged into the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in 1995, and a daily afternoon paper in Madison, the Capital Times, has been reduced to twice-weekly editions.
During a press conference after his announcement, Schneider — also known affectionately as “Snarlin’ Marlin” — said his proposal required more than political acumen to bail out the state’s papers. “It’s hard for me because you guys jerk me around all the time,” he said. “Some days I hate your guts.”
Schneider acknowledged the “bill may be too little, too late for many papers,” but maybe his delay in attempting to revive print when it is at its most vulnerable was intentional. Though he hasn’t lost an election since 1970, bailing out these meanie newspapers now will definitely win him some favorable press coverage during his 2010 campaign.
And odds are pretty good he’ll be more “darlin'” and less “snarlin'” after he saves the press.