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WMC Editorial Response to the Wisconsin State Journal

The following WMC editorial response was submitted to the Wisconsin State Journal on Monday, March 14, 2016:
To write an objective news story you need to be able to logically and fairly connect the factual dots. The Wisconsin State Journal failed spectacularly to do just that by trying to link the decision by Heinz Kraft to close its Oscar Mayer plant in Madison with a completely unrelated discussion between Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) about a cheese plant in Beaver Dam.
Here are the facts. A representative from WMC – the statewide chamber of commerce – spoke with the leadership of Kraft’s cheese plant located in Beaver Dam in Columbia County last June. During the meeting, the local Kraft executives mentioned that they had received overtures from New York and California. The Kraft executives further said during the meeting that they were happy with the Beaver Dam location and had no intention of leaving Wisconsin. No other Kraft or Heinz facility was discussed during the meeting.
After the meeting, WMC informed WEDC that the Beaver Dam cheese plant had been contacted by economic development agencies from other states. During a follow up email exchange with WEDC, WMC also relayed the information from the Kraft executives that the Beaver Dam plant was not in danger of leaving Wisconsin.
To review, WMC and WEDC discussed a Kraft plant that makes cheese in Beaver Dam whose managers specifically said they have no plans of relocating. But inexplicably, the Wisconsin State Journal saw a linkage between the above information, which was shared with their reporter in detail, and the separate decision by Heinz Kraft to close the Oscar Mayer plant in Madison, which is under a different division of the company and produces a different product.
The factual dots simply don’t connect, especially when you consider the comments made by Madison Mayor Paul Soglin who claims he reached out to the Oscar Mayer plant leadership last March shortly after the Heinz Kraft merger was announced. If that is true and he wasn’t informed during his meeting that the Oscar Mayer plant was to be closed then why would anyone think WEDC would have received a different response?




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