AP Coverage of Walker, Barrett Wis. Recall Campaign Visits Lacks Sense of Direction and (of Course) Fairness

As one who has made the occasional dumb mistake (which readers tend to be quite adept at catching), I figured I'd give the Associated Press's Todd Richmond and his editors a while to correct a pretty obvious miscue relating to a Wisconsin gubernatorial recall campaign visit by challenger Tom Barrett. In a report whose first version appeared yesterday morning and currently has a 2:42 p.m. Saturday time stamp, Richmond wrote that Barrett's campaign Saturday started "with the Barron County Dairy Breakfast in Hillsdale, a burg of 1,250 people about 90 miles west of Minneapolis." Well Todd, if Barrett actually was 90 miles west of the Twin Cities, he would not have been in Wisconsin; he would have been about halfway between Minneapolis and the North Dakota border. (Hillsdale, Wisconsin is really about 90 miles east of Minneapolis.)

On more substantive matters, Richmond, with the help of an agenda-driven headline ("Wis. governor works to meet voters before recall"), portrayed Walker as an awkward in-person campaigner, someone not instantly recognized by many people who have lives outside of poltics (imagine that) and, of course (while not mentioning union and leftist spending at all) as a beneficiary of "a jaw-dropping $31 million in campaign cash." He also wrote that polls show the race as close while failing to note that Walker leads in either every one or nearly every one. The relevant paragraphs from Richmond's report are after the jump (bolds are mine):


Republican Gov. Scott Walker and Democratic challenger Tom Barrett began a final push Saturday to connect with voters in person before next week's historic recall election, appearing at farm breakfasts and restaurants and rallying campaign workers.

... Polls show a tight race with only a handful of voters still undecided before Tuesday's election, and Walker and Barrett have been struggling to win them over for the past month. Barrett released a new television ad Saturday, again calling on the governor to explain his role in an ongoing investigation of associates during Walker's tenure as Milwaukee County executive, but the candidates mostly used the day to meet voters.

Barrett, who serves as Milwaukee's mayor, spent the day on the other side of the state, starting with the Barron County Dairy Breakfast in Hillsdale, a burg of 1,250 people about 90 miles west of Minneapolis. The rest of his schedule included stops at a cafe in St. Croix Falls, a pizza joint in Superior and the state Democratic Party's office in Chippewa Falls.

... Walker began his day before 7 a.m., serving food at a dairy breakfast on a massive farm just outside Evansville, a city of 5,000 people about 25 miles south of Madison, the state capital. His agenda called for a stop at another dairy breakfast in Monroe County before visiting campaign field offices in Hudson, Wausau, Green Bay and Wauwatosa.

"I feel good," Walker said. "We're not taking anything for granted. We're working all the way up to 8 p.m. on Tuesday."

Dressed in blue jeans, hiking boots and a button-down shirt and flanked by 18-year-old Evansville Future Farmers of America Queen Emily Templeton and 18-year-old La Prairie 4-H Club Queen Erica Ballmer, the governor handed out yogurt and applesauce to scores of people at the annual Rock County Dairy Breakfast.

A smiling Walker tried to engage people in short, friendly conversations, commenting, for example, on the beautiful morning. Most didn't seem to recognize him. They simply said "thank you" as he placed yogurt cups on their plates and moved on. A handful of people shook his hand, though, and congratulated him on his accomplishments.

One of them was Ken Pierson, 44, who runs a tool-and-die shop in Janesville with his father. He made a point of introducing his two sons to the governor. Later, he said he thinks Walker's changes will help the state in the long run and the recall isn't justified.

Neither Richmond nor Brian Bakst, who also contributed to the report, told us whether everyone instantly recognized Barrett at his campaign stops as he "tried" to engage people.

As to the "jaw-dropping" campaign contributions, Walker, in an April 22 Newsmax interview, estimated that, in the words of reporters David A. Patten and Kathleen Walter, "big labor will invest as much as $60 million in its bid to defeat him." The item's headline reads that it's the "Democratic Machine" which is spending that much. If it weren't the case, AP, USA Today, and others reporting on the Wisconsin race would have called Walker out on his claim long ago. But they haven't. Ergo, it safe to say at the very least that Walker and those behind him are more than likely not outspending the governor's opponents. Yet the press, by ignoring spending by labor and leftist special interest groups, is conveying the impression that they are.

This of course sets up a Tuesday night write-up, if Walker wins, that "big money" drowned out "the little guy." What utter horse manure.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.