Why Journalism’s a Joke These Days: Wisconsin Sickness and the Girl ScoutsFebruary 18th, 2012
If you’ve not heard about Stacy Hintz, the West Bend mom who was fired from her position as a Girl Scouts troop leader over her involvement with her husband Charlie’s website Wisconsin Sickness, then you’ve probably been in a coma for the last several days. I’m not going to waste time writing down all the gory details. Every news source in Milwaukee and Madison has covered it, and the story’s gone international now thanks to HuffPost and the UK’s Daily Mail.
Google “Stacy Hintz Girl Scouts” and you get bombarded with various takes on the controversy. Many written by “professional journalists.” I’ve read dozens of articles about Stacy and the Scouts, and it reminds me why I didn’t pursue my journalism degree beyond the Associate level. Modern journalism (in America anyway) is an absolute joke. Journalism is intended to be a balanced, unbiased, presentation of facts: nothing more, nothing less. Almost every single story I’ve read, watched, or heard regarding this issue has been slanted one way or the other. One source completely demonizes Stacy. The next makes her look like a martyr for the alternative scene.
This is the paragraph where I’m going to make everything you just read seem irrelevant by writing a completely biased view of this whole mess by defending Stacy, Charlie, and Wisconsin Sickness from those articles slanted against them. The only different is I’m not presenting this post as journalism. This post is an opinion piece and nothing more.
If you follow this site on Facebook or Twitter you likely know I’m a regular contributor at Wisconsin Sickness. In fact, one of the articles I wrote for them a couple of weeks ago is a footnote in this strange saga, simply because one paragraph jokes about porn and fireworks (though none of the news articles mention M-80s or bottle rockets).
What most of you don’t know is why I write Wisconsin Sickness. I assume most of you think I draw a paycheck. Hardly. I write there because Stacy and Charlie are wonderful people who have done nothing but support and promote my upcoming book every chance they’ve gotten.
Charlie Hintz’s company Mental Shed Studios is solely responsible for this website and all the amazing graphics. Charlie learned about my book early on, back when I only had a Facebook page with 6 likes and a clip-art profile picture. He volunteered his design services, free of charge, simply because he was excited about my project and wanted to see it become a reality. I should point out I was a complete stranger to him at that point.
Charlie’s generosity and enthusiasm for my idea removed a HUGE obstacle for me. He not only provided me with a legitimate online home for my creative project (which I couldn’t have afforded otherwise) but he also got me excited about my own ideas. The least I could do is help him out by writing for Wisconsin Sickness. If you’ve heard Stacy defend Wisconsin Sickness by saying it’s a site dedicated to promote Wisconsin art, you can believe her. While I’m hesitant to call a book about ghost and monster sightings art, this project may have never gained the momentum it has without them.
I’ve also been in their home. Their house is no Satanic temple filled-to-bursting with skulls, pentagrams, and naked women. It contains them, two kids, and lots of love. You can bet your life they’ll be listed in the acknowledgments of my book when its printed later this year.
I understand why some people are freaking out. Not everyone loves loud music, femme fatals, and ghosts (all cornerstones of Wisconsin Sickness) and not everyone wants someone who does around their kids. I’m not getting into if the Girl Scouts had a valid reason to remove Stacy as troop leader. Everyone else on the Internet is already exploring that angle. What I really want to do is assure you Charlie and Stacy are good, amazing people. If you’ve seen or read anything contrary to that, it’s pure lies, or at the very least, the product of a judgmental and poorly informed journalist. If Wisconsin Sickness upsets you, just don’t look at it. Thank you for your time.
-J. Nathan Couch