FOUND: An actual liberal newspaperman — DAVE ZWEIFEL, of The Capital Times, Madison, Wisc.

Dave Zweifel

"Changing Times at The Cap Times"

Dave Zweifel is a newspaperman, faithfully wedded to The Capital Times in Madison, Wis., since 1962.

He became its editor in 1983.

In a recent profile of the paper
by Isthmus,
an alternative publication,
a colleague summed him up, saying:

"Since Dave was a kid, he's wanted nothing else than to be editor of The Capital Times ...
And for three decades, he's defined this newspaper."
Another said, "This is not original,
but Dave is one of the nicest and most decent people in the world —
and he cares passionately about the newspaper
and the community and the people who work for him."


DAVE ZWEIFEL, 68, lives in Monona, Wisconsin.

He is editor emeritus of The Madison Capital Times.


"The Capital Times (or just Cap Times) is a newspaper published in Madison, Wisconsin by Capital Newspapers. The newspaper is primarily distributed in a 19 county region in south-central Wisconsin.

"The Capital Times formerly published Mondays thru Saturdays, with a weekday circulation of 19,355 and a Saturday circulation of 21,065.

"The paper ceased daily (Monday-Saturday) publication with its April 26, 2008 edition and became a primarily Internet-based news operation, although it will publish twice a week, beginning April 30, 2008, for free or supplement distribution."

Shook hands with Dave Zweifel — truly one of the nicest men ever created. He does not deserve the penance now being imposed: the loss of the daily print newspaper that he grew up with. Change is difficult, but change is inevitable — something The Capital Times has had trouble coming to grips with. (News flash: it's not 1932 anymore. Labor v. management truly is a zero sum game. The Battle of River Rouge is over.)

I grew up with the paper. Dad would lie on the couch and read the comics to us as little kids. I remember the Green Sheet: "Priscilla's Pop" and "Our Boarding House" with Major Hoople.

Dad would pound the table over something he had read in the CT. That is when I learned that newspapers were something important. Even on Sundays, we came home from Mass, turned on then CT-owned WIBA radio, listened first to Drew Pearson's Washington Merry Go Round, then William T. Evjue.

[David Blaska, The Isthmus, April 28, 2008]


More about Dave Zweifel:


The New American Dream Trivia Question:

To win a copy of one of Palecek's books, or leftover Christmas candy, or maybe a "Deception Dollar," be the first one to correctly answer the following.

Dave Zweifel would rather be ....

a. The Grand Mulch Meister Emeritus of Madison

b. Covering pheasant season for The Daily Leader in Madison, South Dakota

c. Up on all this new technology stuff

d. In St. Paul, like I planned all along

e. Trying to get permission to interview prisoner George W. Bush in Terre Haute Penitentiary

f. On deadline, with cheese and beer nearby

g. Fishing for a pithy quote in Lake Mendota


NAD: Dave, hello, thank you for taking the time for this.

Are you a fan of Robert La Follette?



Because he took on the powerful special interests of his day — the railroads, the banks, the insurance companies and the war-manufacturers — and made them accountable.

He fashioned new law to regulate many of those special interests, giving power back to the people.

NAD: Is Wisconsin still a hot-bed of progressive - ism?



It has reverted to the pre-Fighting Bob La Follette days.

Powerful special interests have regained the power that the Wisconsin Progressives wrested from them.

They have learned how to circumvent campaign finance laws and once again their money and influence holds sway over much of state government.

And there is no Bob La Follette to take them on.

I ran my own little newspaper
in high school that I sold
and distributed in New Glarus,
building a 250-subscriber base.
I ceased publication when
I came to the UW in 1958,
graduated on June 5, 1962,
and joined The Capital Times
on June 6th.

NAD: Where are you from? High school? College?


I grew up in the little Swiss village known as New Glarus, Wisconsin.

I went to the University of Wisconsin, as it was simply known then, right here in Madison.

NAD: Where did you work before coming to the Capital Times in 1962?


I ran my own little newspaper in high school that I sold and distributed in New Glarus, building a 250-subscriber base.

I ceased publication when I came to the UW in 1958, graduated on June 5, 1962, and joined The Capital Times on June 6th.

NAD: You were editor since 1983. That's a long time.

How are you adjusting to your new life?


Actually, it's not that big of an adjustment.

I am now officially editor emeritus, but I still come to work most every day, writing my 3x a week columns, crafting some of the daily editorials and sticking my nose into the rest of the operation when I feel it necessary.

I have given up the news direction to our new editor, Paul Fanlund.

That was a major part of my job, staying close to the news coverage and making decisions on what stories go on page one each day.

Unfortunately, that meant I had to be in the office for 60-70 hours a week for the 25 years I was the editor.

So, I now find more time to read and for six months of the year to enjoy my favorite sport: baseball.

NAD: What was so great about spending your life as a newspaperman?


I think the ability to impact decisions — particularly local decisions.

Decision-makers pay heed to newspaper editorials and columns.

They help generate civic discussion and serve as a gauge on what the citizenry is thinking.

And being a newspaperman gives you a front-row seat to the events that shape our and mold our civic discourse.

There is always something new every day.

That's what makes it exciting.

Besides, you learn from what transpires before you.

NAD: Would you like to choose one of these to answer, elaborate on?

I don't ask this to make fun. I ask because I really seek the answers.

Are UFOs real?
I'm torn; I think probably yes.

Did we land on the moon in 1968?

Did Bush knock down the towers?

Was Paul Wellstone's death an accident?

The Oklahoma City bombing? Wasn't that just another U.S. government terrorist exercise? Or not.
I don't believe so.

Waco. We burned kids, right? You can see flames shooting out of the tanks. Or not.
I think Waco was a muffed rescue attempt. We may have burned kids, but I don't believe on purpose.

Is Bigfoot real?

Is there a God?
Yes, but not in the form most of the world's religions believe.

... What makes you think that?
I believe there is a higher spiritual power that you can call on to give you strength.

NAD: Why are newspapers not thriving?


In just the past year, newspapers have lost an incredible amount of their revenues to the Internet.

Classified advertising was a major piece of their business, it paid for much of what papers did.

Now, employment advertising, real estate, even the sales of autos have migrated to the Internet, taking a huge piece of newspaper revenues with them.

That revenue loss is a bigger problem that declining circulation.

In fact, I'd wager that newspapers have actually more readership today when you combine their print and on-line audiences.

NAD: What if newspapers covered the news, told the truth, would people read more?


I'm not sure.

I've witnessed newspapers that have spent tons on covering the news and told the truth — at least as they believed it to be — and wound up with fewer readers each year.

But, again, people aren't necessarily reading less — they're reading less of print on paper, but more of print on electronic devices from computers to smart phones.

NAD: I mean, you just know that some stories won't get covered.


That's true. No newspaper can cover everything.

And even though more people are reading on the net, the revenues aren't there to sustain huge staffs.

You do have to make money in the U.S. system.

Reporters need to eat, too.

NAD: What is the difference between Pravda, Tass and the Washington Post?


Oh, a lot.

Yes, powerful governmental leaders and powerful private interests may attempt to influence a paper like the Washington Post, but it's not threatened with criminal sanctions or outright censorship as Pravda and Tass are.

It is free to do as it pleases.

Now whether its editors are willing to stand up to the pressure or are willing to spend the money and have the initiative to investigate more deeply are other questions .

Some newspaper leaders aren't willing to do so.

But, many are.

Take the Chicago Tribune and Rob Blagojevich episode as a recent example.

I don't agree with some who claim that American newspapers are just as beholden to government control and special interests as papers in more authoritarian countries.

When the American press fails, it's because we don't do our jobs thorough enough, not some unseen hand of repression.

The war in Iraq is a perfect example.

The press swallowed the Bush bullshit hook, line and sinker.

But that wasn't because government controlled the press, it was because we allowed it to by not probing more deeply.

NAD: Do you have hope in Obama? Why?



I think this is a man who has a habit of thinking deeply about the problems that face us which will result in many wise decisions.

While he's not as progressive as I might like, he shares many values with progressives.

His record in public office shows that.

Yes, he will make mistakes and, yes, he will upset some of us along the way.

Expanding the Afghan war might be one example as will his somewhat Band-Aid approach to health care.

I wish he would embrace a national single-payer system.

But, if we can get his universal plan, we will be miles ahead from where we are now.

NAD: Does your favorite coffee cup have words on it? What are they?


Every day is earth day.

NAD: What did you absolutely have to get done by noon today?


Pick two winners for Wisconsin Newspaper Association scholarships for deserving and needy journalism students.

NAD: How about by Christmas 2009?


Successfully advocate for cleaner Madison area lakes, get the state to rethink its archaic tax structure and get the ball rolling to bring high speed rail to Madison.

NAD: What else would you like to add? What else should I have asked?


You have asked a sufficient number of questions.

NAD: If you would like — please insert a link here to something you would like linked to, with a brief tag re: where that link goes.

DAVE ZWEIFEL: will take you to The Capital Times on line from where you can easily get to read not only my columns, plus those of many others who feel we all can make this a better world.



THE New American Dream Feature Interviews

If you search the archives below, you will find, in a sort of order [last to first], interviews with:

Cathleen Howard, expatriate, from Tucson to Mexico, to pursue her dreams

Sander Hicks, Brooklyn radical entrepreneur, writer, publisher

Joe Bageant, America's blue-collar author

Frida Berrigan, a lifetime of faith, hope and love

Denise Diaz, brewing up a revolution, at The Ritual Cafe in Des Moines

Deanna Taylor, Green Party activist, teacher, in Salt Lake City

Rossie Indira-Vltchek, writer, filmmaker in Jarkarta, Indonesia

Nora Barrows-Friedman, Pacifica reporter in Gaza

Delaney Bruce, Friends of Peltier

Keith McHenry, co-founder of Food Not Bombs

Michael Sprong, South Dakota Catholic Worker

Brian Terrell, Des Moines Catholic Worker

Bob Graf
, One of the Milwaukee 14

Loren Coleman, Bigfoot researcher

Monty Borror, Sci-Fi artist from Virginia

David Ray, Great American Poet

Jack Blood, radio show host, in Austin, Texas

Danny Schechter, A Real Reporter

Bob Kincaid, host, Head-On Radio Show

Tony Packes, Animal Farm Radio Host, Keeping An Eye on Big Brother

Richard Flamer, Working With the Poor in Chiapas

David Ray Griffin, 9/11 Truth activist author

Barry Crimmins, U.S. comedian, author, social activist

Bret Hayworth, political reporter for the Sioux City [IA] Journal

Lisa Casey, publisher of website All Hat No Cattle

Joe & Elaine Mayer, activist couple in Rochester, Minnesota

Fr. Darrell Rupiper, U.S. priest revolutionary

Whitney Trettien, MIT student, Green Party activist

Meria Heller, radio show host

Phil Hey, professor, poet

John Crawford, book publisher

Steve Moon, Iowa Bigfoot researcher

Carol Brouillet, California social activist, 9/11 Truth

Russell Brutsche, Santa Cruz artist

Kevin Barrett, professor, radio show host, 9/11 Truth activist

A'Jamal Rashad Byndon, social activist in Omaha

Chris Rooney, Vancouver, Canada Catholic Worker, website publisher

Marc Estrin, political novelist, from the left

Peter Dale Scott, poet, professor, author, activist

Anthony Rayson, anarchist zine publisher, works with prisoners

Alice Cherbonnier, editor of The Baltimore Chronicle, an independent newspaper

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