AP's Bauer Scrubs Democrat Mary Burke's Lie About Unemployment Under Scott Walker, Generates Another of His Own

March 24th, 2014 4:48 PM

It takes quite an effort to for a Democrat to produce a campaign ad which is so obviously and blatantly false that it virtually forces the left-loving Politifact to promptly issue a "Pants on Fire" evaluation. But that's what Wisconsin Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke managed to do when her campaign's opening TV ad claimed that "under (incumbent Republican Governor Scott) Walker, unemployment’s up." 

Two weeks later on March 18, when Burke was asked if she regretted promoting such a self-evident lie, her answer was "No." Somehow, that's not news. Imagine if a Republican or conservative ... oh, you know the rest. Additionally, and as if on cue, Scott Bauer at the Associated Press felt compelled to write a story with cherry-picked and clearly outdated data about how job creation in Wisconsin under Walker has been less than the governor thought he would achieve when he ran for office in 2010, and even gave Burke's blatant lie the appearance of truth (bolds are mine):

Wisconsin ranked 35th in private sector job growth


Wisconsin ranked 35th in private-sector job growth rankings for the latest reporting period released Wednesday, a key benchmark for Gov. Scott Walker as he seeks re-election next year on the platform that he’s improving the state’s economy.

Walker picked the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics figures, considered by economists to be the most accurate employment counts, as the best measurement of how well he is meeting his 2010 campaign promise to add 250,000 private sector jobs by the end of this year.

The bureau reports that for the 12-month period from the end of September 2012 through September 2013, Wisconsin added 28,351 private sector jobs. Wisconsin’s 1.2 percentage-point private-sector job increase put it 35th among the 50 states. The national average was 2 percent.

I couldn't locate the report Bauer wrote was "released on Wednesday," but that doesn't matter. The AP reporter either ignorantly or deliberately used old data which (surprise - not) gives Walker far less credit than he deserves.

September 2012 through September 2013 was not even close to being the "latest reporting period" for state job growth when Bauer filed his report. January 2013 through January 2014 was. Its contents were released on Monday, March 17. The report showed that 40,100 private-sector jobs were added in the Badger State during the 12-month period. That represented 12-month growth of 1.71 percent, placing Wisconsin 23rd in the nation during that period. That's pretty remarkable, considering the poisoned union- and Democrat-driven atmosphere of harassment and intimidation which still exists in some parts of the state.

As to overall job growth including government, Wisconsin added 56,100 jobs from January 2013 through January 2014. The related 2.00 percent job growth was 11th in the nation.

Public sector employment-loving Scott Bauer might also be interested in knowing that Wisconsin added over 15,000 such employees during the same period — at 3.72 percent, the second highest rate in the nation. With "enemies" like that, who needs friends? Oh, I forgot: It only counts if such employees are union members, and thousands of Wisconsin public-sector workers when given the opportunity have chosen not to pay their union dues.

Now let's get to how Bauer scrubbed Burke's unemployment lie:

Democrats and Burke have pointed to Wisconsin’s lagging job-creation numbers as a sign that Walker’s policies aren’t working. Walker has blamed the slow job grown on several factors, including uncertainty caused by his recall election in 2012, the status of the federal health care law and decisions made by his predecessor, Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle. (He could easily have added "the prolonged worst nationwide recovery since World War II led by President Barack Obama's and Mary Burke's Democratic Party. — Ed.)

“Walker’s approach isn’t working and the struggle for Wisconsin’s middle class to get ahead continues,” said Burke’s spokesman Joe Zepecki. “That’s why Mary Burke is running for governor, to create more jobs and opportunity that strengthen Wisconsin’s middle class.”

Burke, a former Trek Bicycle Corp. executive who also worked as Doyle’s Commerce secretary, has focused on Walker’s record creating jobs in the opening months of her campaign, noting that unemployment has been higher under Walker than it was in 2007 when she was in Doyle’s administration.

Burke originally claimed that "unemployment is up" under Scott Walker. The Badger State's unemployment rate has fallen from a seasonally adjusted 7.8 percent to 6.1 percent since December 2010, the last full month Walker's predecessor, Democrat Jim Doyle, was in office. The number of unemployed has fallen by 48,000 during that time to 189,000.

Burke was caught lying about it, and Bauer deliberately chose to avoid reporting it. Now the Burke campaign is going with "up since 2007," as if she as Commerce Secretary had anything meaningful to with that low rate. No ma'am, the national economy under George W. Bush is what pushed your state's unemployment rate down — and by the way, while the overall economy's lowest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate came in at 4.4 percent several times during 2006 and 2007, Wisconsin's rate never fell below 4.6 percent while Burke was supposedly fully responsible for Wisconsin's economy (she left her post in November 2007). Oh, and Wisconsin's unemployment rate peaked at 9.2 percent under Doyle in January 2010.

The point: It may be a quibble, but if Burke wants to take full credit, she still must admit that she underperformed the rest of the nation. Wisconsin most currently reported unemployment rate of 6.1 percent in January was a half-point below the rest of the U.S., meaning that the Badger State is now an outperformer and not a laggard.

A reporter who tries to tell readers that the 12-month period which ended five months ago is the "latest reporting period" is either consciously deceiving his readers or is so breathtakingly ignorant that he should seek employment elsewhere. A reporter who deliberately covers up a politician's lie to recast it in a favorable light might as well seek new employment in that politician's election campaign.

Go for it, Scott Bauer.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.