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Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Milwaukee Press Club 'Excellence in Wisconsin Journalism' 2020 & 2021 Award Winners

HomeBreaking NewsFacebook Unpublishes Page of Wisconsin's Top-Ranked Conservative News Site, Wisconsin Right Now

Facebook Unpublishes Page of Wisconsin’s Top-Ranked Conservative News Site, Wisconsin Right Now

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One of our most recent posts defended former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch against sexism. They unpublished us for our factual coverage of Kyle Rittenhouse and for sharing an iconic piece of journalism about Sept. 11, 2001.

Facebook has censored Wisconsin Right Now, Wisconsin’s top-ranked and award-winning conservative news site, by unpublishing its Facebook page for no legitimate reason, thus censoring voters from learning all sides with the midterm elections looming.

The reasons they gave for hitting us with violations: Our factual coverage of the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, whom they labeled a dangerous person even though he was acquitted (professional, verified coverage that recently won us a prestigious Milwaukee Press Club award) and a share of a story about the iconic Falling Man story relating to Sept. 11, 2001. They reversed the latter violation but left our “Wisconsin Right Now” Facebook page unpublished, even though the Falling Man violation was the reason they gave for banning it.

If you want to receive our news outside social media, please go to our website and sign up for our newsletter here. Our email list is large and growing, so that helps us continue to get the word out about our stories, but please consider adding your name to it. In addition, you can follow Wisconsin Right Now on Twitter. Please also consider becoming a member for any amount so we can keep this going.

We would note that we have reported on Facebook-linked involvement in Wisconsin’s elections and were the first news outlet in the state to do so. We would also note that, by censoring Wisconsin Right Now, Facebook is preventing Wisconsin readers from learning all of the facts about important stories in a key battleground state with the midterm elections looming. As we have written fact-based investigative pieces into Democratic politicians like Gov. Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul, as well as about a Democratic challenger to U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, Facebook’s action could be read as giving unfair advantage to Democratic candidates in important races. We also covered Donald Trump rallies as credentialed journalists and have broken many major news stories that other outlets have followed, including breaking the story that the Milwaukee mayor’s brother was involved in a shooting. All major Milwaukee media then followed that story. It’s just one example.

Our Facebook-related election story read, “Several prominent Republican state senators are calling for an investigation into the City of Green Bay’s handling of the November 2020 election, focusing in part on the activities of a liberal operative working for a group that partners with a Mark Zuckerberg-funded organization that gave massive election-related grants to five counties.” Although that’s not a story they censored or cited as a violation, it is worth noting that our coverage has included Facebook itself.

Unbelievably, Facebook said we violated community standards on April 21, 2022, for the old post that was a share of an article about the ICONIC, famous piece of journalism called the Falling Man. The Falling Man is a highly regarded and well-respected evocative magazine article by Esquire Magazine’s Tom Junod. Many consider it the BEST piece of journalism about 9/11. The story we shared linked The Falling Man to the human loss in Kabul, Afghanistan.

We appealed that violation. But as noted, they reversed it (see below for the original post – it was just a story share), but left our page unpublished, even though that was the reason cited for unpublishing it. Got that? Oddly, we shared the story about the Falling Man in August 2021, but Facebook banned our page in April 2022 for it.

We tried to appeal, but when we click on the appeal link in the email they sent us, it goes to an error page.

We pride ourselves on factual coverage. We do not further or traffic in conspiracy theories or false information. We meticulously fact-check all of our stories, file open records requests, interview people, go to scenes, etc. And we have won prestigious journalism awards that recognize the care we put into our work.

Facebook unpublishes wisconsin right now

The shared story, which we didn’t write, eloquently and sensitively compared the iconic Falling Man to the horrific scenes of people jumping from planes in Afghanistan. The photo with the story is a famous photo used by MANY credible news sites to properly humanize the horrors of the terrorist attacks. Junod’s search for the Falling Man’s identity is a moving story about the need to humanize the civilians who died that day.

We do NOT have a long history of violations. Let us be blunt. Facebook unpublished us for the Falling Man post and for our coverage last November of the Kyle Rittenhouse trial. That’s because they started restricting us over Rittenhouse.

We wrote a story at that time, explaining that Facebook was hitting Wisconsin Right Now with restrictions because Facebook was removing Rittenhouse’s presumption of innocence and had declared him a dangerous person.

Apparently posting a story about the Falling Man, which they now admit did not violate their community standards, is enough to get us unpublished now because they didn’t like our previous analysis on Rittenhouse, who was acquitted.

What didn’t Facebook like specifically about our Rittenhouse coverage? They socked us with a violation for a fact-based analysis of state firearms laws and the Rittenhouse case that was proven correct (the judge dismissed the charge a couple days later). Then they hit us for complaining that they were banning readers from sharing that post.

Facebook unpublishes wisconsin right now

Got that? They thought it was a violation to analyze Wisconsin laws – correctly. They deemed Rittenhouse a dangerous person or organization, removing his presumption of innocence, and didn’t even reverse the violations when he was acquitted by a jury of his peers. They also didn’t like a silly meme we posted about the judge in the Rittenhouse trial playing video games with Rittenhouse.

After that, they banned us from going on Facebook Live and restricted our ability to invite people to our page. That’s even though our Facebook Live coverage of the Kenosha riots was viewed by thousands of people. We simply walked around and showed people what was really going on at a time the media had basically left.

Right now in America, the free flow of information is controlled by a couple of large, unaccountable tech companies. This should frighten all Americans who care about Democracy. You don’t know who is making the decisions and sometimes even why.

Rittenhouse is when they started aggressively watching us. But we had only two violations between our Rittenhouse coverage and being unpublished: The Falling Man story share and a share of a Fox News story, which Facebook’s fact-checkers said was partially false. That’s the only other thing they ever knocked us for.


Facebook Unpublishes Wisconsin Right Now

So got that? To round it up, we were unpublished for:

  • Sharing the story about the iconic journalistic masterpiece on 9/11, The Falling Man
    Sharing a Fox News story deemed “partly false.”
  • Sharing our own fact-based, proven-correct analysis of Wisconsin gun laws and Kyle Rittenhouse.
  • Informing readers that Facebook was unfairly banning people from sharing the fact-based, proven correct analysis of gun laws.
  • A silly, joking and harmless meme about the judge and Rittenhouse playing videogames.

 

Facebook unpublishes wisconsin right now

That’s it. For that, they are robbing our readers of getting our information. For that, they are trying to prevent readers from learning fact-based topics that the liberal media often won’t report or twists.

But we won’t give up. We will double down and find other ways to get an audience.

For that, Facebook has destroyed the Facebook page of Wisconsin’s top-ranked independent online news site.

On April 21, 2022, Wisconsin Right Now received an email from Facebook informing us that our page was being unpublished because it “violates Facebook pages terms.” As noted, Facebook first started subjecting Wisconsin Right Now to restrictions (limiting our ability to invite new followers, for example, and preventing one of our admins from publishing anything for days) due to our fact-based analysis that the gun charge against Kyle Rittenhouse was likely not allowable under state law. Our original news story had a photo run by MANY news organizations of Rittenhouse with the gun.

We wrote, “State law on when minors can carry guns is extremely confusing, but a careful reading of the wording shows it exonerates Kyle Rittenhouse on the gun charge. He was carrying the gun legally. The Legislature should clean up the law.” Just days after our story, which was based on the judge’s comments in court, the Wisconsin judge dismissed the gun charge using exactly the same analysis. We were told that Facebook had labeled Rittenhouse a dangerous person or organization.

In fact, Wisconsin Right Now helped lead the way in fact-based coverage of that case. We were at the scene as journalists interviewing witnesses that night, and our co-founder Jim Piwowarczyk even found a missing shell casing at the scene that authorities mentioned during the trial. We also wrote stories – including one that won a Milwaukee Press Club award – exploring the weaknesses in the prosecution’s case.

Rittenhouse, of course, who made a self-defense claim, was later acquitted by a jury of his peers. We simply examined the known facts, yet for this Facebook began targeting Wisconsin Right Now.

One of our most recent posts on Facebook denounced an effigy that liberals in Madison made of Republican gubernatorial candidate Rebecca Kleefisch, labeling it sexist. Kleefisch had tweeted a picture of it. We wrote “this is sexist.”

Judge for yourself.

Facebook unpublishes wisconsin right now

Other recent posts were just shares of our stories. Recent stories explored potential gubernatorial candidate Tim Michels’ positions on unions, former Ald. Bob Donovan considering running for state Assembly, Attorney General Josh Kaul’s bad crime lab numbers and clergy sex abuse investigation, a new ad against Tony Evers by the Republican Governors Association, the media’s refusal to cover Kaul’s office’s ties to the Darrell Brooks bail hearings, a column by Congressman Tom Tiffany, and Evers’ vetoes. In short, there were no reasons that Wisconsin Right Now’s Facebook page deserved to be unpublished. The site is offering important news that people can not get elsewhere. We verify facts. If we can’t prove it, we don’t report it.

Per rankings from the Amazon-owned Alexa website ranking site, Wisconsin Right Now is Wisconsin’s #1 independent online conservative news site, and the #2 independent online news site in Wisconsin, outranking many newspapers and television stations in the state. Among conservative outlets, only WISN 1130’s website ranks higher. That’s a talk radio affiliated site. See our rankings here.

We have had millions of readers since we started in August 2020. We are run by two award-winning journalists – Jessica McBride, a journalism educator with 25 years of journalism experience and Jim Piwowarczyk, a small businessman and former law enforcement officer. Wisconsin Right Now is a recipient of prestigious Milwaukee Press Club awards for 2020 and 2021 for its journalism. In fact, we won awards for a photo at the Kenosha riots and for a column on…Rittenhouse.

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