While I was aware that a fever-swamp Democrat in Wisconsin was planning to pass out Ku Klux Klan hoods at some kind of Wisconsin Republican gathering, I had no idea until this morning that the Associated Press actually considered it a national story back on May 1. It was really even more than a national story at the self-described "essential global news network." It was so vital that the nation know about this offensive plan that the AP carried it at its "Big Story" site.
I should have figured that Scott Bauer, the bitter critic of Republican Governor Scott Walker disguised as an AP reporter, would be the guy who thought that devoting 13 paragraphs and over 400 words to Democratic State Representative and gubernatorial candidate (seriously) Brett Hulsey's anticipated stunt was a worthwhile expenditure of precious journalistic time and resources. Given that level of original attention, the wire service should have followed up (but of course didn't) with a national story noting that Hulsey abandoned the KKK hood idea, but still showed up at the May 2-4 Badger State GOP Convention to call out Republicans as racists — and, as captured in the following video (HT The Blaze), was confronted by a "colorful" Republican attendee:
In his "analysis" on Tuesday's U.S. District Court ruling which called a halt to "a secret investigation into his 2012 recall campaign and conservative groups that supported" Scott Walker, Wisconsin's Republican Governor, Scott Bauer at the Associated Press basically gave away what the prosecution's agenda really has been all about.
It really hasn't been about cleaning up political campaigns, or whatever other similar tired bromides the Walker-hating left dishes out from time to time. It's been about hurting Walker's reelection effort this fall and punishing him for reforming public-sector collective bargaining in the Badger State. Short of that, it's an attempt to marginalize him as a potential 2016 presidential candidate by smearing him with the "under investigation" and "scandal" tags. Let's start with the opening paragraphs of Bauer's bluster (bolds are mine throughout this post):
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 Governor Scott Walker, whose name has come up as a possible 2016 presidential contender, had his name splashed all over the nation by the establishment press three years ago when he largely succeeded in reducing the disproportionate influence of public-sector union members. That attention remained steady until Walker beat back a statewide recall in tbe spring of 2012.
One might argue that Walker's now-obvious success is boring and unworthy of national attention, except for the fact that the press still features Walker in national stories from time to time — really important stuff like the fact that he got selected for jury duty but didn't serve. Turning a projected $3.6 billion deficit into a surplus, bringing down the unemployment rate, and proposing an across-the-board tax cut? Forget about it. And what little coverage does occur is almost comical, especially from the mostly unionized Associated Press. Take the last sentence of the following excerpted paragraph from AP reporter Scott Bauer on Friday morning:
During the 2011-2012 controversy over Wisconsin's Act 10, the establishment press, led by the Associated Press, clearly took sides against Badger State Republican Governor Scott Walker and the GOP-led legislature. No one was more blatantly biased than the AP's Scott Bauer, who repeatedly insisted in 2011 and 2012 that the law "strip(s) most public employees of their union right to collectively bargain." It does not. While Act 10 sharply limits the scope of what can be negotiated, it does not eliminate unions' right to exist, or to negotiate.
Walker will be releasing a new book, "Unintimidated: A Governor's Story and a Nation's Challenge," in November. Given the sustained national attention Act 10 received, the utlimately failed recall movement it inspired, and Walker's possible interest in seeking the nation's presidency in 2016, it's reasonable to believe that the AP would have wanted to carry Bauer's Monday morning review of the book as a national story. But thus far, it has not. I believe it's because Bauer comes across as a fundamentally dishonest and embarrassingly partisan sore loser.
On Friday morning, Milwaukee County District Attorney, a Democrat, announced that an investigation into illegal campaigning and other illegal acts while current Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was the county's executive had concluded nine days earlier. Three former Walker aides, a political appointee, and two private citizens were sentenced. Two county officials pled guilty to crimes relating to campaigning on government time; two others stole money, one from a not-for-profit group and another from a county commission. One private citizen was sentenced for exceeding campaign contribution limits and laundering contributions; the other pled no contest to importuning a 17 year-old boy.
Walker himself was not charged. A top state Democratic Party official was so angry that he tweeted Jeffrey Dahmer analogies. It is pretty obvious, based on word choices he made in his related writeup, that the Associated Press's Scott Bauer, whose biased coverage of Walker has been clear for at least the past two years (previous NewsBusters posts with his tag are here), was also extremely displeased (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
I noticed at lunch on Tuesday while reading the handy Washington Post commuter tabloid called "Express" that Scott Bauer at Associated Press actually wrote this sentence: "A Marquette University Law School poll released last week showed Walker with a narrow 7-percentage point lead over Barrett, 52 percent to 45 percent." That looks like a pretty accurate poll.
Is this what the 2008 race was for Obama, a "narrow 7-percentage point lead" over McCain? Is that what AP will write if Obama is leading in October by seven points? This wasn't even the only time Scott Bauer used that ludicrous passage. Let's go back to last Thursday, from the same song sheet:
As of 11:15 p.m., with about 74% of the votes counted, Wisconsin Governor Scott was ahead of Scott Barrett by roughly a 56-44 margin. Late-arriving votes from Democrat-heavy areas of Milwaukee and Dane Counties seemed likely to narrow the margin to perhaps 10 points. (UPDATE: Because heavier margins of support for Barrett in those two counties, the final margin was 6.9%, roughly the same as Barack Obama's 7.4% margin in 2008, which was never labeled a "survival" or "narrow" or anything similar.)
As he has for nearly 16 months, the AP's Scott Bauer once again included a false statement about what the budget repair legislation also known as "Act 10" passed by Wisconsin's legislature and signed by Governor Scott Walker last year did to public-sector unions and their ability to collectively bargain.
He wrote: "Enraged Democrats and labor activists gathered more than 900,000 signatures in support of the recall after they failed to stop Walker and his GOP allies in the state Legislature from stripping most public employees of their union right to collectively bargain." Y'know, Scott, you've been writing this garbage for 16 months. You can keep it up for the next 16 months or 16 years, but what won't change is that fact that your statement today and the equivalent statements you've written in the past simply aren't true, and never will be.
On May 27, going to the same theme Scott Bauer employed at the Associated Press yesterday, USA Today's Ben Jones did his level best to cast Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker as the richly funded perpetual campaigner, while portraying Walker's recall challenger, former Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, as the underfunded man of the people underdog. Of course, as was the with Bauer's bombast, there's not a word about union-driven funding, which Walker estimated in an April Newsmax interview at about $60 million. This seems like preemptive excuse-making for a Walker victory on Tuesday. Preelection polls show Walker ahead by anywhere from 2 to 10 points.
Without a whit of skepticism, Jones relayed the following dissembling quote from a Barrett spokesperson which follows the jump:
Though he hasn't been alone in his applying the campaign fundraisng double standard in Wisconsin's recall election, Scott Bauer at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, has a particularly odious item today about the dollars raised by each side. It's particularly odious because the word "unions" appears only once -- as the target of Walker, who has, as Bauer sees it, "rocketed to stardom after taking on public sector unions." There is no mention of the millions of union dollars which have poured into Wisconsin from all over the country, which, thankfully, someone else has quantified.
Bauer also continues to bitterly cling to the notion, concerning which yours truly has been nagging him since February of last year, that "most Wisconsin public workers lost their collective bargaining rights" as a result of Walker-supported legislation which passed in the Legislature last year -- as if they no longer have any collective bargaining rights at all. This has been and continues to be a flat-out falsehood. The first five paragraphs of Bauer's bombast follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Leave it to the Associated Press's Scott Bauer to take shots at Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker -- in seeming orchestration with Democratic Party officials -- for limiting his public recall election appearances because of unsafe conditions leftists in the Badger State have created, "public safety" officials have too often condoned, and the establishment press has generally downplayed for well over a year.
Bauer and his "Essential Global News Network" have been among the lead minimizers of the death threats, violence, hatred, and intimidation of Wisconsin businesses by organized labor during that time. A year ago, the AP treated the arrest of a person who emailed death threats to 16 GOP state senators and their families as a local story. AP and others have also mostly ignored the non-stop stalking by Walker's civility-challenged opponents, who among other things have disrupted school visits (with vandalism), a Special Olympics ceremony, and a police memorial. So it took a special brand of gall for Bauer and bullying Dems, including Walker's recall opponent, to criticize the governor for having to take conditions on which the press has not shone a light into account in how he campaigns (bolds are mine):