A Madison Capital Times editorial says “these recent flaps over the signing of recall petitions [in Wisconsin] represents an especially dangerous trend for democracy itself.”
Of course, the same Constitution that protects the right to petition also gives employers and professional groups a free-speech right to discourage the signing of petitions. But it becomes a dangerous game, indeed, when anyone starts talking about punishing those who exercise well-established and well-understood rights.
The Madison-based Wisconsin State Journal and several Gannett newspapers in Wisconsin said they might discipline their employees who signed Gov. Scott Walker recall petitions. And late yesterday, Milwaukee’s WTMJ TV and radio disclosed that its employees also signed recall petitions.
MEANWHILE, ROBERT NILES WRITES: “It’s past time for news publishers to let go of the fear that if any of their employees do anything political, even on their own time, that action might make readers think badly about the publication. At this point, having readers think anything about a newspaper would mark a step forward.”