Wisconsin's Not Worthy of National Media Attention Any More, Because Scott Walker's Been Successful

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, whose name has come up as a possible 2016 presidential contender, had his name splashed all over the nation by the establishment press three years ago when he largely succeeded in reducing the disproportionate influence of public-sector union members. That attention remained steady until Walker beat back a statewide recall in tbe spring of 2012.

One might argue that Walker's now-obvious success is boring and unworthy of national attention, except for the fact that the press still features Walker in national stories from time to time — really important stuff like the fact that he got selected for jury duty but didn't serve. Turning a projected $3.6 billion deficit into a surplus, bringing down the unemployment rate, and proposing an across-the-board tax cut? Forget about it. And what little coverage does occur is almost comical, especially from the mostly unionized Associated Press. Take the last sentence of the following excerpted paragraph from AP reporter Scott Bauer on Friday morning:


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... in the Senate, where Republicans have a narrow 18-15 majority, some lawmakers are questioning raising the state's projected shortfall by cutting taxes as much as Walker wants. Many Republicans campaigned on the fact that in 2011 they eliminated a projected $3.6 billion shortfall. Walker used that shortfall as the reason to effectively eliminate public worker unions, while also increasing how much they had to pay for their pension and health care benefits.

The bitterness of reporters who cover Wisconsin for the Associated Press is a sight to behold, isn't it?

It's quite an ongoing tradition. In 2004, AP reporter Scott Lindlaw, as he was covering President George W. Bush's reelection effort during which he was heard to say that he was on a "mission" to prevent it, completely made up a story about how a crowd at a Bush campaign stop booed an announcement that President Clinton had been hospitalized, and that "President Bush did nothing to stop them."

Back on topic, Scott Walker did not "effectively eliminate public worker unions," Scott Bauer. That's because if they had, there wouldn't be any increases in "how much they had to pay for their pension and health care benefits" — and that's because there wouldn't "effectively" be any union members who would have had to kick in more. Zheesh.

On his Friday show, Rush Limbaugh had some choice words (HT The Blaze) for the national press's choice to ignore Walker's accomplishments:

... Here you have one of the bluest of blue states. You have a Republican governor, a conservative Reaganesque governor who was targeted twice for removal. They did everything they could to gin up hate, anger, tried to destroy his reputation, his career, and his life.

He hung in there. The state of Wisconsin instituted his policy reforms, deemphasizing the role of unions in the state, and the upshot of it is that Wisconsin's unemployment rate is rapidly falling, so new jobs are being created there. Wisconsin's budget is now in surplus $912 million. There is a $1 billion government surplus in the state of Wisconsin. And Governor Scott Walker is going to rebate the money in the form of tax cuts to the people who he said own the money. He's going to cut income taxes and property taxes, and he made the point that it's not just a gimmick of budgeting or accounting. It's the result of serious, significant policy changes.

Now, folks, what I just told you was not reported once anywhere in what you would consider mainstream media. It was not reported on one cable network, much less all of them. It was not reported in the New York Times, the Washington Post, or the LA Times. It was reported in Wisconsin. There was an AP story on it, maybe some local papers picked it up, but just as a filler. On all the opinion shows on the Fox News Channel, there was not a syllable of this story discussed. And to me, for us as conservatives, Wisconsin and Governor Walker, I mean, everything that we want to happen, happened there.

We want people to stand up and defend themselves and what they believe, and when they do, we join them and help. We want somebody who believes in conservatism and can articulate it, who gets elected on that basis and then implements it. Everything that we are demanding as voters, everything that you as Tea Party members are demanding, Scott Walker did. The vast majority of everything you want, it's happening in Wisconsin. A light has been turned on. There's a light at the end of the tunnel, if you will. The path has been illustrated here. Not one mention of this anywhere, that I saw, not one!

I think what Governor Walker has done in Wisconsin is a huge story. It's a huge story for the Tea Party. It's a huge story for conservatism. It is the way out. It shows what we can do nationally.

That's why it's not a story, Rush. The press doesn't want people to know there is a different path.

As to Fox's failure to do anything with Walker's success, they are almost as dependent on the AP for state and regional coverage as the other networks. The only possible difference is that local Fox TV affiliates may in some cases — emphasis some — be more likely to give attention to stories such as Walker's. But talking about the horribly cold weather is probably more interesting to viewers.

Also, some at Fox will probably pay attention now, which is more than you can say for the likely response at the other networks.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

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