Op-Ed Faux Pas: ‘Journal Sentinel’ Column Not Written By Former Mayor After All

By: E&P Staff

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has apologized to readers and to the city’s former mayor after attaching his name to an Op-Ed column he did not write.

Editorial page editor O. Ricardo Pimentel explained in Wednesday’s paper that no one on staff checked with former Milwaukee mayor Frank P. Zeidler before publishing the Aug. 21 column about the U.S. Supreme Court. Pimentel wrote that the column came to the paper from a “trusted source”: former Milwaukee Journal editor Richard Leonard, who headed the newspaper from 1967 to 1985.

“Submissions to the editorial pages and Crossroads are routinely verified with phone calls and other means,” Pimentel wrote. “In this case ? full identification procedures were not strictly observed.

Pimentel wrote that Leonard forwarded the column on to the paper under the “mistaken belief that it came from the former mayor and that he wanted it forwarded to us. ?

“We regret we did not check with Mayor Zeidler before running the piece. We most assuredly should have, no matter how much we trusted our source. I called the mayor to apologize and do so again publicly here. Gracious as ever, he tells us this is unnecessary. We think it is. We’re sorry, Mr. Mayor.”

Apologies aside, the mystery of who wrote the column has still not been solved. “We can’t tell you who did” write it, Pimentel noted, before adding, “We will do our best to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”

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