MSNBC Hypes Scott Walker's 'Scramble' For Reelection

MSNBC did its best to hype the “really tight race” facing Republican incumbent and possible 2016 candidate Governor Scott Walker on the August 13 edition of The Daily Rundown.  Guest host Chris Cillizza teased a segment on the Wisconsin Republican’s re-election twice in the first half hour of his 9 a.m. show, boasting “a look at Scott Walker's biggest fight yet” and the “tough road to re-election ahead of him.” MSNBC even featured the clip on their website, with the title “Scott Walker starts to scramble for November.”

The overblown segment was barely over one minute long, in which Cillizza began the discussion by asking NBC news political reporter Carrie Dann, “How much trouble is Scott Walker in?” Based on the tone of The Washington Post reporter, the fact that the Wisconsin governor celebrated his nomination with “a big rally last night,” even though “no one thought he wasn't going to be the Republican nominee” was a bad sign. [See video below. Click here for MP3 audio]

Ms. Dann responded that “you notice Mary Burke also had a primary challenge and didn't do anything last night to recognize that,” which shows that “she's obviously focused on the fall.” “The latest polls have shown them in a dead heat” Dann explained, with the Democratic challenger working “to make herself more of a pro-business Democrat.” She concluded that “I think we're going to be looking at this as a really tight race come the fall.”

Of course, “tight race” does not a “scramble” make. While Scott Walker may be facing a more challenging re-election than anticipated, the rather lame one minute segment by Cillizza did not deserve two teases or a spot on msnbc.com.

But then again, this is MSNBC, a network which has desperately sought to tar Walker as “scandal”-ridden while ignoring his recent back-to-back court victories on voter ID and public-sector union reform       

See transcript below:

MSNBC
The Daily Rundown with Chuck Todd
August 13, 2013
9:01 a.m. Eastern
9 seconds


CHRIS CILLIZZA: Plus, with the primary behind him and before any 2016 talk really gets going, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker could have a tough road to re-election ahead of him.

9:25 a.m. Eastern
7 seconds  
    

CILLIZZA: Next, primary results from Connecticut, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. And a look at Scott Walker's biggest fight yet.

9:30 a.m. Eastern
51 seconds


CILLIZZA: Republican Governor Scott walker, who is running in his third election in four years, is doing his best to make 2014 a referendum on his Democratic predecessor.

SCOTT WALKER: Does anybody remember how bad things were four years ago? We don't want to go back to the days of double-digit tax increases, of billion dollar budget deficits and big-time job loss. Remember, Jim Doyle, Jim Doyle hand picked Mary Burke to be a part of his cabinet, to be his chief job czar. We don't need a third term of Jim Doyle's failed policies.

MARY BURKE: Right now we're lagging in terms of our economy. We are dead last in the Midwest in terms of job creation under Scott Walker. I know that we can do better than that. I know the people of Wisconsin know that we can do better than that.

9:32
1 minutes and 4 seconds


CILLIZZA: Joining me now, NBC news political reporter Carrie Dann. Okay Carrie, a lot of primaries but let's focus on the race that I think most people are focused on here. Scott Walker versus Mary Burke. Scott Walker held a big rally last night, although no one thought he wasn't going to be the Republican nominee. How much trouble is Scott Walker in?

MARY BURKE: Well, you notice Mary Burke also had a primary challenge and didn't do anything last night to recognize that. She's obviously focused on the fall. I mean, I think six months ago we were talking more about Scott Walker, the potential 2016 candidate, than we were talking about Scott Walker winning his re-election race. I mean, this is, as you said, the third time he's running in four years. But I think Mary Burke has really -- the latest polls have shown them in a dead heat and Mary Burke has really worked to make herself more of a pro-business Democrat, less tied to the union interests that walker's previous opponents had been, so I think we're going to be looking at this as a really tight race come the fall.

CILLIZZA: Mary Burke not having a primary very beneficial to her because she could position herself as that sort pro-business democrat. Carrie Dann, thank you.

DANN: Thank you.

Laura Flint
Laura Flint is a 2014 summer intern for the MRC's News Analysis Division.