Week After Hyping 'Criminal Scheme,' WashPost, NYTimes Admit Gov. Walker Wasn't Target of Probe; Both Papers Bury Story

So it turns out that Gov. Scott Walker was not a target of a criminal investigation nor is there any evidence that the Wisconsin Republican "engaged in a criminal scheme." Indeed, there "is not such a finding" in recently unsealed documents, Randall Crocker, an attorney representing special prosecutor Francis Schmitz noted on Thursday, according to reporting by the Washington Post's Matea Gold in a June 27 article, "Wisconsin governor wasn't a target of probe, prosecutor's attorney says." The story was buried at the bottom of page A8 on Friday's paper. A similar article by Monica Davey in the New York Times was buried in Friday's paper on page A15. 

But as my colleague Tim Graham noted last Friday, on June 20 both the Times and the Post hyped the notion that Walker, a likely 2016 Republican presidential aspirant, had engaged in a "criminal scheme" by coordinating with outside groups to oppose an effort to oust him from office. Indeed, the headline for Gold's June 20 story, co-written with colleague Tom Hamburger, was freighted with an allegation of wrongdoing: "Prosecutors: Wis. governor involved in illicit scheme."


Sadly this is an all-too-familiar template with the liberal media. Specious allegations of wrongdoing against conservatives get trumped up and plastered on newspaper front pages, only to see the record corrected later, but in a less prominent position in the same papers. Meanwhile, the earlier, inaccurate information has already seeped into the public consciousness and it's a lot harder to combat, especially since liberal pundits in the media will admit that, yes, there's nothing there there, but the incident nevertheless "clouds" or "dogs" the conservative in question.

That's just the next step in the media smear cycle. Expect to see it play out should Gov. Walker win reelection this November and then explore a presidential bid for 2016.

P.S.: My colleague Tim Graham recommends this excellent look into "8 Ways the New York Times Misled You about Gov. Scott Walker."

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is a writer living in New Carrollton, Md.