At the Associated Press, Wisconsin-based reporter Scott Bauer, who has spent the better part of the past five years describing Badger State Governor Scott Walker as "polarizing," has been given the opportunity to get involved with 2016 presidential campaign coverage.
Leftists and Democrats rarely earn negative descriptors in Bauer's reports, while Republicans and conservatives receive them routinely. Now that he has been tasked to cover Ted Cruz, Bauer has been using a scattershot approach, employing a plethora of negative terms, apparently in search of one or two which will cast the the Texas Senator in the most negative light possible.
Walker has been so "polarizing" that he has convinced voters to unite behind him to lead Wisconsin by significant majorities three times in four years (with victory margins of 5.8 percent, 6.8 percent, and 5.7 percent, respectively), including a recall election orchestrated by sore-loser union-backing Democrats.
The AP's disdain for Cruz could hardly be more obvious. In June, wire service photographer Charlie Neibergall, at a "Celebrate the 2nd Amendment" event, "somehow" managed to take "a handful of photos" with "the barrel of a gun on a poster point(ing) to the U.S. Senator and presidential candidate’s head," including this one:
The AP published them.
A short time later, the wire service, while pretending that reader and subscriber outrage weren't relevant factors, decided to "remove those photos from further licensing through AP Images, our commercial photo syndication business."
A December 16 story Bauer co-authored with Bill Barrow appearing at the wire service's "Big Story" site gave an early indication that Bauer would fit right in with AP's climate of hostility towards Cruz:
Cruz's strategy, developed well before Trump shot to the lead, is to appeal to frustrated conservatives by emphasizing his roots as a tea-party, grassroots-friendly firebrand.
It's quite doubtful that anyone in the Cruz campaign described the senator as a "firebrand," and that Bauer and Barrow unilaterally chose that label, which means: "a person who kindles strife or encourages unrest; an agitator; troublemaker." Barack Obama's actions as a community organizer automatically qualified him as a "firebrand," but if that label was ever applied to him by anyone in the establishment press, I couldn't find evidence of it. Instead, "firebrand" has usually been reserved for people like former Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Al Sharpton (nine years ago, before his bogus image restoration).
Bauer has hit full stride in his most recent writeup. Apparently the AP liked his style so much that it ran identical versions of Bauer's story on January 2 (headline [HT to an NB tipster]: "Abrasive Cruz tries to use personality to his advantage") and again on January 4 (headline: "Cruz seeks to turn irascible personality to his advantage"):
Ted Cruz's reputation as an arrogant, grating, in-your-face ideologue has dogged him throughout the Republican presidential race. But it hasn't stopped the Texas senator's rise.
Cruz is increasingly embracing his irascible persona, trying to turn what could be a liability into an asset.
... Foreign Policy magazine once described him as "the human equivalent of one of those flower-squirters that clowns wear on their lapels."
That's four harshly negative terms in two paragraphs, plus another non-duplicating one ("abrasive") in one of the headlines, plus some immature help from elsewhere in the third paragraph. We'll have to be on the lookout to see which ones Bauer decides to favor in the coming months.
As to the quote from Foreign Policy, it is now a publication of the Slate Group, which is part of Graham Holdings Group, i.e., the parts of the former Washington Post Company which Amazon Inc.'s Jeff Bezos didn't buy in August 2013. The Slate Group's namesake site is well on its way to becoming a Salon.com-like cesspool of fever-swamp leftism where name-calling and smears replace substance. The quote above from Foreign Policy indicates that there's imitation going on there.
Bauer's legacy in covering Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, as seen in his history at NewsBusters, is one of obviously bitter opposition mixed in with heavy doses of sore losing:
- At least twice during February 2011, Bauer insisted that Walker's Act 10 legislation in Wisonsin would "end collective bargaining" for most Badger State public-sector workers. That was never true. The law restricted the scope of collective bargaining, but most certainly did not end it. He was still making that bogus claim in June 2012 after Walker won the state's recall election. In January 2014, he wrote that Walker "effectively eliminate(d) public worker unions," when of course he did no such thing. There is little evidence that Bauer has ever changed his tune, even as public-sector union negotiations have continued around the state for years as contracts have come up for renewal.
- After a court allowed Act 10 to take effect, the initial headline at Bauer's related story was "Wisconsin's Polarizing Union Law To Take Effect."
- During the 2012 recall campaign, Bauer criticized Walker for "keeping a safe distance" from everyday voters during the campaign. The reason for Walker's posture is because Act 10 opponents, often with tacit Democratic Party approval or encouragement, had committed frequent acts of violence; displays of visceral, unhinged hatred; intimidation of businesses and others; and even lodged death threats against Walker, other state officeholding Republicans and their families. Bauer and other AP reporters in Wisconsin deliberately ignored most of this indefensible behavior and unforgivable rhetoric, or treated such incidents as local stories, even though it treated the Act 10 controversy and Walker's recall were nationally significant stories.
- Before the recall election, Bauer reported that Walker had a "narrow" 7-point polling lead. If there's an establishment press report which called Barack Obama's 7-point defeat of John McCain in 2008 "narrow," I haven't seen it. Instead, it was often described as "decisive."
- In reviewing Walker's book in late 2013, Bauer claimed that "the (Act 10) protests, which grew to as large as 100,000 people and would be intense for over a month, went off without major incidents." That is hogwash — and while we're at it, the protesters occupied the State Capitol, which is itself a violent act.
- After the Badger State's 2014 gubernatorial election, the AP's sore-loser headline writers, bitter that the wire service's one-sided coverage of that year's campaign had failed to brainwash Badger State voters, and also obviously influenced by Bauer, couldn't even bring themselves to acknowledge that Walker had won reelection. Instead, they went with the following: "Walker Survives Challenge in Wisconsin."
As of November, Wisconsin's unemployment rate was 4.2 percent, far below the national average of 5.0 percent. The Badger State appears to be far better off under Walker's stewardship that it would have been if any of his opponents had prevailed.
Now we get to see Scott Bauer apply his bitter, distorting hard-left "skills" to the Cruz campaign. Oh joy.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.