Newspaper Downplays Beating of Man Over Romney Yard Sign While Giving Full Coverage to Man Whose Obama Sign Was Damaged

In what can be called "signs of the times," the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel posted a sparse 79-word report about a man who was savagely beaten by thugs attempting to remove his Romney/Ryan yard sign, but comparatively lavished 399 words on an incident in which someone only set an Obama campaign yard sign on fire.

The victim in the first incident was 22-year old Sean Kedzie, the son of Wisconsin State Senator Neal Kedzie, who woke up early on Friday, October 19, when he heard noise outside his home.

When he saw two men trying to remove the sign for the GOP candidates, Kedzie ran outside and confronted the thieves.

One of the intruders returned the sign, but then both men shouted their support for President Obama while attacking Kedzie, who was bludgeoned so hard that he was in danger of having his skull and an eye socket fractured.

Fortunately, a neighbor who saw what was happening scared off the attackers. Kedzie -- who could barely say "please stop" because he was being choked so hard -- was then rushed by ambulance to the hospital, where physicians told the young man that he could easily have been killed during the confrontation.

The elder Kedzie posted a news release and a photo showing just how badly his son had been beaten. That information "went viral" on the Internet, and three days later -- on Monday, October 22 -- the Journal Sentinel reported under the headline "Police investigate attack on senator's son over Romney/Ryan sign":

The son of state Sen. Neal Kedzie (R-Elkhorn) was beaten at his home in Whitewater after confronting a man taking down a Romney/Ryan campaign sign, the senator said Monday.

Sean Kedzie was attacked by the man and another man, who wrestled him to the ground, beat him and choked him, the elder Kedzie said.

Sean Kedzie was treated at a hospital and released, his father said.

Whitewater police Monday confirmed they were investigating the incident.

And that was enough coverage for the newspaper.

One day later, a report written by Jane Ford-Stewart was posted under the headline: "Muskego police investigate Obama campaign sign burning."

The article noted that the campaign sign had been set on fire, probably with a flammable liquid like gasoline, on Saturday night in the yard of Bill Schuele, who said he could still see Obama's name in a corner of the melted sign.

The victim said that he viewed the arson as an "unsettling attempt at intimidation."

"It reminded me of Mississippi in the '50s," he said, referring to the fact that churches and other property were burned by opponents of the civil rights movement.

"The fire burned itself out, and Schuele was relieved that the leaves on the lawn weren't drier and that the arsonist didn't use more gasoline," the article stated. "Circumstances could have been a lot worse," he said.

Ford-Stewart also wrote that the victim "places the blame on extremism whipped up by talk shows that spread negativity onto the stage of ideas."

After indicating that the homeowner will replace the damaged sign, the author sought comment from Ben Sparks, spokesman from the Romney campaign in Wisconsin, who said: "We don't condone behavior like that. It has no connection with the campaign."

If you've ever wanted a crystal-clear example of media bias, this is it!

While a young man is slowly recuperating from a vicious attack by self-proclaimed Obama supporters, the person in the other incident faces the arduous, momentous task of ... obtaining another yard sign from the Obama campaign. Somehow in the minds of the J-S editors, the Schuele incident is worth demanding a comment from the Romney camp but the savage beating of Sean Kedzie doesn't warrant asking the Obama campaign about its thoughts.

And of course, we have to ask how much press coverage Kedzie would have gotten if he favored the Democratic candidate and what would have happened if Schuele was a Republican. Unfortunately, we all know the answers to both questions.

Randy Hall
Randy Hall