Aw, man. Here Milwaukee Journal Sentinel sportswriter/poet Don Walker had gone and written the long-awaited sequel to his epic work consisting solely of quotes from Milwaukee Bucks president Peter Feigin; the new one was all about how Feigin had declared that a new arena plan would have to be finalized in the next ten days, or else. And while it may not have had the stylistic purity of the original’s incessant repetition of the phrase “Feigin said,” it was still a worthy successor, outlining the team exec’s ultimatum without once asking anyone else if it was for real.
But now it’s gone, flushed down the internet’s memory hole, not even a ghost surviving on the Wayback Machine. And the culprit is none other than Feigin himself, who ruined everything by turning around and insisting that there is no deadline, and there never was a deadline:
Late in the afternoon — and three hours after his comments were posted online — Feigin released a statement from the Bucks that attempted to backtrack.
“There is no immediate deadline for a financing plan and we’re not creating one,” it said. “We’re simply hopeful that progress continues with our partners and throughout the legislative and political process.”
Bucks’ spokesman Jake Suski said Feigin misspoke. He said Feigin didn’t want to leave the impression that the Bucks were imposing their own deadline. “That wasn’t his intent,” Suski said.
Earlier, however, the Bucks president had been quite clear, saying if an arena financing deal doesn’t get completed, “the Bucks will be gone from the state of Wisconsin.”
The resulting revised article still only quotes Feigin (and Suski), but the magic is gone. Though come to think of it, maybe what Walker and Feigin are doing here is trying to elevate stenography journalism by subverting it: In the future, newspapers will just reprint what powerful people say without question, but the powerful people will make up for it by debating themselves on the topic. It’s a whole new paradigm of checks and balances, and you’re reading it first in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Might as well try something, because journalism sure isn’t going to save itself.