The people of Steuben, Wisconsin feel disenchanted with the media – angry enough that it drove many of them to flip from Barack Obama to Donald Trump. They do like some media though: Their local journalist, whom they greeted with a beer when he walked into Lou’s R&R, one of two bars in the entire town.
David Krier has been editor of The Boscobel Dial for 24 years; on Jan. 1, 2017, it’ll be 25.
He’s familiar with the town and its people so much that the election results didn’t surprise him in the slightest. When he entered the bar one day a few weeks after the election, he planned to do an article on electronic deer tagging and how it’s affecting local bar owners such as Bob Atkinson.
Hunters are now required to tag their deer electronically, and in a packed bar where the bartender doesn’t know the Wi-Fi password, it’s easier to stop in for a drink or two and then head home.
Krier wants to write the story, and Bob and his patrons are more than willing to talk to him about it. They trust him and his work.
Bob, for his part doesn’t seem too worried, but it’s still early and the possible effects on business haven’t settled in. Krier on the other hand is worried, not about bar business but about his own job as a journalist and what the future holds.
Krier grew up in Port Washington, Wisconsin, a town that has a population of 10,000, a number that’s especially colossal compared to Steuben’s population of 131. He attended UW-Madison but dropped out his sophomore year to go exploring. For a while, he hitchhiked across Canada and Mexico before deciding to re-enroll in school.
His traveling had left him with an abundance of stories, and journalism seemed like the right fit.
“It probably didn’t hurt that my grandfather was a weekly newspaper editor,” Krier said, “and my mother was an English major.”
Being in the business for as long as he has, Krier has seen a lot of changes.
According to Krier, there’s a lot of fake news circulating around, and the internet doesn’t always improve the situation. Still, he’s taking it in stride. For Krier, accurate reporting is now more important than ever.
He’s doing the best he can, but print news isn’t as popular as it used to be, Krier knows this. As editor, he’s well aware of the falling subscription numbers. This younger generation prefers the digital side of news, and it’s starting to take a toll.
“I like to say that every obituary is another lost subscriber,” Krier said.
While Krier spends time thinking of ways to boost subscriptions, he now has another worry to add to his list: President-elect Trump. It’s no secret that Trump does not support the media, especially journalists.
“Mr. Trump doesn’t tolerate criticism of any kind,” Krier said, “and I fear for the future of journalism in America.”
On Election Day, Krier knew Trump was going to win. Crawford County is small, and everyone knows everyone, including who they voted for and who flipped.
“I saw people at the polls who I had never seen there before,” he said.
Krier believes that while a great number of Trump supporters came out of the woodwork in time to cast their ballots, he also thinks there was a low turn-out for Democrats.
According to Krier, a lot of Democrats stayed home because they didn’t like Hillary’s message.
Atkinson, a longtime Democrat, didn’t vote at all because he didn’t like Hillary.
“Ever since the Bill Clinton Presidency,” he said.
Bob wasn’t the only one who didn’t like Hillary, Hillary for Prison signs were posted all around the roads. Sheryl Groom, David Krier’s wife, didn’t like Hillary either; in her mind, Hillary is a criminal who deserves to be in prison, and the only reason she isn’t is because of the media.
According to Groom, news stations practice monarch mind control; she believes everything from the sounds to the colors to what the news anchors are saying is designed with the intention to draw the viewer in and hypnotize them.
Groom said that even though Hillary knew that her emails could be hacked, she still did it, and more people weren’t mad because the news stations essentially tricked them.
Although his wife is inclined to believe in conspiracy theories, Krier believes a different set of factors led to more people voting for Trump.
Krier noted that the most of the town is white.
According to him, a lot of people fell for Trump’s blaming immigrants; additionally, in a town where most people spend their weekends hunting, it’s safe to say the Second Amendment played a huge role in how people decided to vote.
Given everything, Krier wasn’t surprised. At the end of it all, the county switched from blue to red and helped Trump secure the election.
Still, no matter what the future may bring, Krier feels positive about one thing: That he loves the Boscobel area, and he’ll do whatever it takes to keep writing, as long as he gets to keep his five minute commute.