NBC Bemoans 'Demonization' in 'Nasty' Wisconsin Recall...Fueled By MSNBC

Seated atop a high horse on Monday's NBC Nightly News, correspondent Peter Alexander lamented the tone of the Wisconsin recall election of Republican Governor Scott Walker: "It is a fiery local campaign that analysts say highlights the country's nasty political landscape, where demonization often drowns out discourse."

What Alexander failed to notice from his lofty perch was that left-wing MSNBC host Ed Schultz has driven much of the nastiness in the campaign. Launching his vicious assault against Walker in February of 2011 on The Ed Show, Schultz spewed: "Governor Scott Walker is trying to balance the budget on the backs of school teachers, prison guards, and snowplow drivers...on a mission to destroy basic human rights, union rights that is, for public employees." From then through May of 2012, Schultz brought on 237 guests to denounce Walker.

On Monday night, Alexander fretted over the amount of money being spent in the state: "Wisconsin has been flooded with a record $64 million in campaign spending, much of it from out of state, with Walker out-raising his opponent 7-1. Many voters have had enough." Wisconsin Democrats received nightly promotion from Schutlz free of charge.

Anchor Brian Williams introduced the report suggesting Walker was the main catalyst of the recall, rather than big labor: "The political fight between Wisconsin's Republican governor and the state's public employees' unions coming to a head tonight. There were tremendous protests last year after Governor Scott Walker stripped some of those unions of their collective bargaining rights."

Later, Alexander similarly declared: "Walker stripped most public workers of their collective bargaining rights, making them pay more for health insurance and pension benefits."

On Tuesday, NBC's First Read political blog declared Wisconsin to be "just the latest chapter in this current Age of Polarization, where the ballot box doesn't end political debates." The article went on to observe: "It started, in our eyes, with Bill Clinton's impeachment; carried over into the Bush-vs.-Gore recount, the 2003 California recall, and the aftermath of the 2004 presidential election; and it continued with the collective efforts by Republican state AGs to get the Supreme Court ultimately rule over the health-care law."

The article further proclaimed: "And in Wisconsin, Walker didn't want just to balance his state's budget by reforming pensions; he wanted to crush organized labor and the Democratic Party."


Here is a full transcript of the June 4 report:

7:06PM ET

BRIAN WILLIAMS: The political fight between Wisconsin's Republican governor and the state's public employees' unions coming to a head tonight. There were tremendous protests last year after Governor Scott Walker stripped some of those unions of their collective bargaining rights. Tomorrow, he faces a recall election, and NBC’s Peter Alexander has our report.

PETER ALEXANDER: In Wisconsin, the final hours in what some have called the second most important race this year, an intensely polarized fight ahead of the fall's presidential election, fueling passions on both sides. Polls show voters are deeply divided ahead of tomorrow's recall election on the state's Republican governor, Scott Walker.

SCOTT WALKER: The mayor doesn't have a plan --

ALEXANDER: It is a fiery local campaign that analysts say highlights the country's nasty political landscape, where demonization often drowns out discourse.

STUART ROTHENBURG: It is give no ground, fight to the death, pursue your opponent, demonize him, that's the way it is in Wisconsin, and unfortunately that's the way it's become nationally.

ALEXANDER: Shortly after taking office 18 months ago to combat a swelling budget deficit, Walker stripped most public workers of their collective bargaining rights, making them pay more for health insurance and pension benefits. Protestors descended on the state capital, an ideological battle over the competing views about the role and size of government.

WALKER:My opponent believes that more government is the answer, and these are two very different positions that voters will have to choose on come Tuesday.

ALEXANDER: Milwaukee's mayor, Democrat Tom Barrett, lost to Walker in 2010.

TOM BARRETT: Relatives don’t want to talk to relatives because of this political civil war that Scott Walker has created, and I will end that civil war.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN [NARRATOR, WALKER CAMPAIGN AD]: Governor Walker has the courage to do what's right for Wisconsin.

ALEXANDER: Wisconsin has been flooded with a record $64 million in campaign spending, much of it from out of state, with Walker out-raising his opponent 7-1. Many voters have had enough.

UNNAMED WOMAN B: It's going to be nice when it’s all over. I would like to see Wisconsin get back to the calm, friendly place that it used to be.

ALEXANDER: Anticipating a very tight race, both Scott Walker and his challenger Tom Barrett already have recount lawyers standing by. So, this fight in Wisconsin could drag on even after tomorrow, and Brian, we have seen how recounts have divided Americans before.

WILLIAMS: Peter Alexander in our D.C. newsroom tonight. Peter, thanks.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC