It's a liberal cliche to ask conservatives why they "hate" the poor, minorities or personal freedom, so it's not surprising that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker endured that question in YouTube chat, Wednesday. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel highlighted "Fuzzy Duck," who inquired via Twitter, "Why do you hate education?"
In the video, Walker began, "Today we've got another question from Twitter and it comes from someone with the name @FuzzyDuck from Madison." (There's just something amusing about the nature of social media: Not many governors have reason to utter the name "Fuzzy Duck.")
While Scott Walker has become a hero to conservatives by taking on the public sector unions driving the state's budget into the red, he is as close to universally vilified on the Left as any public figure in America today. Every proclamation and action from Walker is subjected to intense scrutiny. Thus, no doubt, there was much consternation when Laurie Kellman of the Associated Press reported that Walker had stated - in a Congressional hearing, no less - that restricting collective bargaining for Wisconsin public employees would not save the state any money.
That statement was, of course, contrary to a number of Walker’s claims made while trying to get his budget repair bill through the Wisconsin state legislature. So for him to admit that a prominent element of the legislation – which opponents had dubbed a “union-busting” provision – was not actually meant to be a budget-balancing measure amounted to a stunning admission on his part.
But there was just one problem with AP’s claim: it was flat-out untrue.
The undisguised bias of a dispatch tonight by Associated Press reporter Laurie Kellman, with help from Scott Bauer, about Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's appearance before a Congressional committee may have as its source two items found at the Newspaper Guild's web site (seen after the jump).
One is an announcement relating to a possible deterioration in the Guild's negotiations with AP, where union members have been working without a contract since November. Immediately below the announcement is an extraordinarily mean and spiteful cartoon produced by "alternative" comic Tom Tomorrow directed at Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan which has no place at the site of a group wishing to at least maintain a fig-leaf pretense of objectivity.
First let's look at several of the sentences seen in the 10:26 p.m. version of the pair's report (saved here at my host for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) -- after the headline ("Wisconsin governor defends hobbling unions'), with which the AP pair may have had help:
It may be laziness, or it may be failure to recognize reality, but the Associated Press's official tally of the Wisconsin Supreme Court race carried at JSOnline (but note the AP-based URL) still shows Democrat JoAnne Kloppenburg with a 204-vote lead over incumbent David Prosser, and hasn't been updated since Wednesday at 4:00 p.m.
This failure to update has occurred despite the following statement made at the 3:00 mark of the video (HT Hot Air) showing Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus explaining why over 14,000 country votes were not originally reported to the Badger State's Government Accountability Board (GAB), which oversees state elections, at a late Thursday press conference:
These numbers will be reflected in my official results, canvass report, that was submitted to the Government Accountability Board.
Ms. Nickolaus mixed up tenses, but it seems pretty clear that by using the word "official" she is saying that the GAB now has the results, and that they should be reflected in any official reports.
Accordingly, yours truly has updated the AP's non-current scoreboard with the Waukesha County correction and a couple of smaller ones:
MSNBC's Ed Schultz on Thursday expressed a great deal of skepticism concerning Thursday's revelation that a significant number of ballots had not been included in the Wisconsin Supreme Court election held two days prior.
While he pointed fingers at the Waukesha County Clerk as being a Republican operative, he completely ignored the fact that a the very press conference he aired a clip from, the Vice Chair of that county's Democratic Party spoke and confirmed the results (videos follow with partial transcripts and commentary):
As NewsBusters reported last month, ABC, CBS, MSNBC, NBC, and NPR totally ignored Wisconsin Republicans receiving death threats as a result of their support for Gov. Scott Walker's budget repair bill.
Although the following report concerning a woman being charged for emailing such threats was published by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel at 5 PM Thursday, almost no major media outlets thought it was newsworthy:
The leftist panic over Republican governors like Wisconsin's Scott Walker (and this week, Ohio's John Kasich) curbing union power has the bloggers at the Daily Kos is producing all the typical fringy fulminations. See the article headlined "Totalitarian Capitalism stages a show trial for teachers." Since "Anyone to the left of Atilla the Hun is regularly demonized as a communist, socialist, atheist, subversive traitor," the Kosmonaut with the byline "Arendt" is teasing out all the apparent connections between American Big Box Store Capitalism and Soviet Totalitarianism:
We have not yet arrived at true totalitarianism - with its industrial-scale elimination of "superfluous" people; but we are on the road to it. The governmental assault (by both parties -- Obama has been for Charter Schools since before Day One. Can you say Arne Duncan? ...) on teachers and unions tracks the beginnings of collectivization and the atomization of society in Stalin's Russia...
Liberals have a bad habit of mixing funerals (or death anniversaries) with political rallies. On Friday night's All Things Considered, NPR's Robert Smith offered a story that was 100 percent about union activists and liberal politicians, with no rebuttals.
NPR anchor Melissa Block began: "New York City today marked the 100th anniversary of one of its worst disasters: a fire at the Triangle shirtwaist factory that killed 146 people. NPR's Robert Smith reports that the city's unions used today to voice their anger over recent union setbacks."
Smith revealed Sen. Charles Schumer somehow connected Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker to those long-ago fiery deaths:
FreedomEden's Mary writes: "Jake Sinderbrand, son of Judge Maryann Sumi, poses a bit of a problem for his mother." Sumi is the county judge who on Friday temporarily blocked implementation of the collective bargaining-related law passed by the Wisconsin legislature and signed by Governor Scott Walker.
Union protests against a Republican governor as well as mass demonstrations aimed at an Egyptian President have been the central focus of our news media the past two months.
But as Big Government's Susan Swift reported Sunday, Brazilians protesting the imminent arrival of Barack Obama hours after he launched missiles at a country that didn't attack America is not considered newsworthy to his many fans in the press here:
Radical Chic: Times Relaunches Mag With Hagiography of Terrorist Helper
“Such an outpouring of rage at a 40-year-old woman, mother to a toddler, who was convicted in her mid-20s of abetting a terrorist plot that never took place, is a measure of the degree to which Peruvians are still traumatized by the violence that convulsed their country during the years when the Shining Path warred with the military and nearly 70,000 Peruvians were killed....The M.R.T.A. was a much smaller insurgent group than the dominant Shining Path, and historically less violent....” – From novelist Jennifer Egan’s sympathetic March 6 Sunday magazine cover profile of Lori Berenson, middle-class Manhattanite turned terror collaborator, paroled after being sentenced to life in prison in Peru in 1996 for housing Marxist terrorists of the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (M.R.T.A.).
“The New York Times Magazine is based on long-form narrative journalism, and this week’s cover article, by Jennifer Egan, is a prime example. It is about Lori Berenson, a New Yorker who moved to Latin America as a young adult, got mixed up in revolutionary politics in Peru and was promptly thrown in prison, where she spent the next 15 years before being paroled last year. Egan traveled to Lima, where Berenson must remain until 2015, and tells the story of a wounded but resilient woman struggling to sort out a place for herself in the world. It is in every way a classic Times Magazine story.” – From New York Times Magazine editor-in-chief Hugo Lindgren “Editor’s Letter” in the March 6 edition.
In the week since Wisconsin lawmakers passed collective bargaining-related legislation, much noise has been made about efforts to recall GOP Senators who supported the measure.
A Google News search on "Wisconsin recall" returns items that are overwhelmingly oriented towards Democrat efforts to recall Republicans. The final sentence of a March 13 Associated Press report by Sam Hananel indicates that "Union officials are also helping mobilize demonstrations in state capitols and spending money on recall campaigns against GOP officials who support efforts to curb union rights," with no mention anywhere of GOP efforts against "Fleebagging" Dems.
It would be understandable if conservatives and Tea Party sympathizers believe that the Badger State recall momentum is on the Democratic side.
But an email correspondent in Wisconsin who follows matters there closely (Update, 9:00 p.m.: That would be Steve at No Runny Eggs, who has now put up a related post with a polling update) indicates that the split is closer to 50-50 in terms of genuine vulnerability. Specifically, Steve writes (bolds indicating that an atmosphere of leftist intimidation remains quite evident are mine):
It seems that some on the left are beginning to notice the epic journalistic malpractice going on in the media's refusal to cover a litany of death threats - some specific and credible - against Wisconsin Republicans for their support of legislation trimming the power of public sector unions.
"Burying the death threat story is a clear example of intellectual dishonesty and journalistic bias," liberal blogger Lee Stranahan succinctly put it in a piece at the Huffington Post on Tuesday. Stranahan wondered "why progressives shouldn't expect more from our media -- and ourselves -- than we expect from our political adversaries."
He even linked to a post by our own Noel Sheppard demonstrating much of the media's - including all three news networks' - apparent lack of interest in death threats against Wisconsin's elected officials.
On Monday's Andrea Mitchell Reports on MSNBC, fill-in host Norah O'Donnell touted "court challenges and recall efforts now that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has signed a bill into law restricting collective bargaining rights." Turning to former SEIU President Andy Stern, she proclaimed: "100,000 protesters took to the [Wisconsin] capital this weekend....That's a huge rally."
Stern argued: "...that is enormous and I think it just makes the point this is not over....People are very angry and this has become quite a symbolic moment." O'Donnell then lamented: "And yet, the Governor was able to sign this bill into law." She later added: "You think actually there's been a backlash that has mobilized all the pro-union forces, as a result, all across the country." Stern responded: "I think it's an American moment where people say, 'We understand we have to share in the pain when things are bad but we don't think we have to lose our rights, lose our unions, and have large corporations and some of the members of the Republican party act in such a destructful [destructive] manner.'"
Even as the Republican governor of Wisconsin was signing a bill Friday that all but ended collective bargaining for state employees, Democrats nationally had put out advertisements and letters to use his own success against him.
In a push to raise money for their candidates, Democrats hope Wisconsin will be for them what the health care overhaul was for Republicans in last year’s midterm elections: a galvanizing force for their base, and an example of overreaching that will win them crucial independent voters, not just in Wisconsin but also in Congressional races and the presidential election next year.
That’s not exactly how the Times covered the passage of Obama-care. Adam Nagourney’s front-page “political memo” of March 23, 2010, “For G.O.P., United Stand Has Drawbacks, Too,” strongly suggested Republicans could pay a political price for opposing Obama-care. (Oops.)
CNN's Joe Johns hyped a recent Michael Moore speech on Monday's Newsroom as "incredible" and "riveting." Johns highlighted a clip from the left-wing film director, who spoke at a pro-union rally in Madison, Wisconsin, where he claimed that "America is not broke...The country is awash in wealth and cash. It's just that it's not in your hands! It has been transferred, in the greatest heist in history, from the workers...to the banks and the portfolios of the uber-rich."
Anchor Brooke Baldwin brought on the correspondent for the regular "Political Pop" segment 40 minutes into the 4 pm Eastern hour, and asked about Moore's March 5, 2011 address in Madison. Johns immediately gushed over the director's words:
BALDWIN: What was he up to in Madison?
JOE JOHNS: Yeah. Well, it was a speech and it was really pretty incredible. Have you seen it by the way?
Reporting on the passage of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's proposal to curb public union benefits and bargaining power, on Thursday's CBS Evening News, correspondent Cynthia Bowers referred to the union protestors in the state capital and declared: "After three weeks of relative restraint, passions ran over today."
That "restraint" has included threats against Republican state lawmakers (with an angry mob surrounding one of them), protestors storming the state capitol building, and signs comparing Governor Walker to Adolf Hitler. As a Media Research Center Media Reality Check detailed, the networks have failed to report on the most extreme actions of the protestors, while they were eager to condemn the "incivility" of the Tea Party.
Friday’s New York Times off-lead story from Madison by Monica Davey and A.G. Sulzberger, in the aftermath of a defeat for public-sector unions in Wisconsin, spun the win by Republican Gov. Scott Walker as a long-term political victory for Democrats: “Wisconsin Curbs Public Unions, But Democrats Predict Backlash.” The online headline was even more blunt: “In Wisconsin Battle on Unions, State Democrats See a Big Gift.” Walker has evidently awoken “the sleeping giant” of labor unions (as if they had previously stayed out of politics).
By contrast, there was no such wishful thinking or hunt for the bright side for the losers in the aftermath of the fiercely contested passage of unpopular Obama-care last year. Adam Nagourney’s front-page “political memo” of March 23, 2010, “For G.O.P., United Stand Has Drawbacks, Too,” suggested Republicans could pay a political price for opposing Obama-care. (It didn’t quite work out that way.)
The instinct here is that an Associated Press "story" by Scott Bauer in Madison, Wisconsin, will get lots of radio and TV time tomorrow.
That would be a reasonable expectation, because what Bauer writes isn't really a "story" as much as it is a free political announcement. I'm predicting that the establishment press will love it, especially the opening paragraph:
Wis. defeat could help launch counterattack on GOP
With the labor movement suffering an epic defeat in Wisconsin and perhaps other states, union leaders plan to use the setback to fire up their members nationwide and mount a major counterattack against Republicans at the ballot box in 2012.
Gosh, about the only thing Bauer's lacking is a bullhorn.
Not to worry, Moore promises one of those tranquil conflicts devoid of violence.
What is it about self-proclaimed peace lovers that they are so often bellicose?
Latest example -- the agitprop filmmaker's appearance on MSNBC's Rachel Maddow show last night, coming shortly after the GOP-led Wisconsin state senate voted overwhelmingly in favor of Gov. Scott Walker's proposal to curtail collective bargaining for most public employees. After Maddow introduced Moore and praised his "barnburning speech" in Madison over the weekend, Moore said this (video below page break) --
Picture this scenario: hours after the vote on Obamacare a Tea Party protester sent an email to leading congressional Democrats with a detailed description of plans to murder both those legislators and their families. The sender claimed to know where those Democrats lived, and said he had planted bombs in various places, including the capitol building.
What do you suppose the media reaction would be?
Odds are it would be a whole lot louder than the near-total media silence thus far over an email sent to Wisconsin Senate Republicans Wednesday night that states plainly: "You will be killed and your families will also be killed due to your actions." The email goes on to describe in detail how the sender plans on killing Republican members of Wisconsin's State Senate, who voted last night to enact Gov. Scott Walker's proposed reforms to public employee union collective bargaining. Read the full text of the email below the break, via 620 WTMJ's Charlie Sykes.
NBC's Meredith Vieira opened Thursday's Today show alerting viewers that Republicans in Wisconsin had caused a "capitol chaos" with a "surprise maneuver" to pass a "controversial budget proposal without Democrats" and her colleague Ann Curry, in teasing a John Yang story, did her one better calling the vote an "outrage."
In the ensuing Yang piece, headlined: "Outrage In Wisconsin,Senate Republicans Cut Union Rights, Bypass Democrats" Yang never bothered to mention the reason Republicans passed the bill "without Democrats" was because they were hiding out, but he did make sure to include footage of protesters repeatedly chanting "Shame!"
Which side of the Wisconsin battle over public-sector union bargaining does the Associated Press favor? Here's an easy way to tell. A Thursday morning report by Scott Bauer from Madison has this list of quoted people in the story:
1. Protesters (shouting "The whole world is watching!")
2. Sen. Dale Schultz, moderate Republican who voted against Gov. Walker's bill.
Here is how the Associated Press and reporter Scott Bauer headlined and opened their 10:09 p.m. report (saved here at host for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) on the Wisconsin Senate's collective bargaining-related vote tonight:
The Wisconsin Senate succeeded in voting Wednesday to strip nearly all collective bargaining rights from public workers, after Republicans discovered a way to bypass the chamber's missing Democrats and approve an explosive proposal that has rocked the state and unions nationwide.
The graphic cap below from this post by Ann Althouse, who has been on the scene in Madison frequently during the past few weeks, says it all about the AP's coverage:
On Monday, in a story I will link after the jump, the Associated Press reported that on March 1 the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association (MTEA) dropped a lawsuit it initiated last year over the school district's refusal five years earlier to cover a prescription drug the union described as "an issue of discrimination, of equal rights for all our members” (that link will also appear after the jump).
So the questions submitted for our readers to ponder are these:
1) What drug was involved?
2) How much has the district spent defending itself against the lawsuit?