Georgia Pabst Sloppy Reporting Left Scar on Candidate Laura Manriquez Name

By Robert Miranda

Taking Sides
Wisconsin Spanish Journal
November 20, 2014

The face-off between Milwaukee County Supervisor Deanna Alexander and Georgia Pabst of the Pulitzer Prize winning for local reporting Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel ignited a couple of weeks ago, when Supervisor Deanna Alexander accused reporter Georgia Pabst of publishing an article with a misleading title and context.

Supervisor Alexander stated in a prepared statement that was released to the public that Pabst called Supervisor Alexander twice to ask about a newsletter sent to her constituents in October.

The newsletter alerted voters for the fall elections that they would need to show a photo ID to vote. Supervisor Alexander contends that the newsletter was accurate at the time she sent the information to her constituents, but that after the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the Voter ID requirement for the November election, Supervisor Alexander used email, social media, and a second mailinga bold post cardto update voters with the new information that electors would not need to provide an ID in order to vote.

Supervisor Alexander wrote in her statement:

Ms. Pabst knew all of this, yet continued to publish an article falsely proclaiming that the notice was a mistake, Supervisor Alexander said. This irresponsible report has increased confusion by leading voters to believe that I either didnt notice the error or purposely sent untrue information.

Ms. Pabst knew on Friday that I had provided voters with two rounds of information and that each were accurate at the time I published them; there was no mistake. Her article is disappointing and sloppy journalism. Supervisor Alexander concluded.

Supervisor Alexanders statement that Ms. Pabst knew all of this, yet continued to publish an article falsely proclaiming, is analogous to an incident involving community advocate and former State Assembly candidate Laura Manriquez.

In 2010, candidate Laura Manriquez challenged then candidate JoCasta Zamarripa for the open 8th Assembly seat vacated by former State Representative Pedro Colon. It was Manriquezs second attempt at a seat that was then without an incumbent.

The Manriquez campaign was going smoothly until it was derailed by an article written by Georgia Pabst of the just received Pulitzer Prize winning for local reporting Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

In her article Georgia Pabst defamed Manriquez when Pabst wrote that Manriquez had State of Wisconsin warrants issued against her for not paying over $70,000 in state taxes. Pabst also added that Manriquez was married and that Manriquez and her husband were under severe financial troubles.

Pabst sent Manriquez an email requesting verification of the information before publishing the story. Manriquez replied to Pabst by stating she did not know what Pabst was talking about. I recently reviewed those email exchanges and I can confirm these communications between Pabst and Manriquez did happen.

The Manriquez response probably did not sit well with Georgia Pabst. After the email exchanges, Pabst published the story exploding the Manriquez campaign and ultimately helping to give Zamarripa the victory.

Later it was verified that there were never any tax warrants issued by the state against Laura Manriquez. In addition, Laura Manriquez was never married, so she did not have a husband.

The Pulitzer Prize winning for local reporting Milwaukee Journal Sentinel issued several corrections to what Pabst wrote, but these corrections are small and most often over looked by readers.

Nevertheless, the damage was done.

When that article was released, all the work I did during the campaign went for nothing. Many voters contacted me and told me they were not supporting me. Even after I explained that it was not me, many voters asked why would MJS publish information about me like that without checking it out first, Manriquez said.

To this day, four years later, I still have people asking me about that article and who have been wondering if I paid my taxes yet, continued Manriquez.

The scar the article left to the name of Laura Manriquez carries to this day.

This is the kind of sloppy journalism Supervisor Alexander is referring to. The kind of payback reporting that can scar the reputation and charter of a good name.

When asked if Georgia Pabst apologized for what she wrote, Manriquez replied, No, and this is pretty messed up that she not only damaged the campaign and my good name, but more importantly to me she tarnished my father’s name who I have always shared with individuals that I use as my first name in order to honor him since he never had any sons. Apologize? Yea right, like she really cares.

Robert Miranda is editor of the Wisconsin Spanish Journal and former executive director at Esperanza Unida

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Last edited by Tyler Schuster.   Page last modified on November 22, 2014

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