New York Times Preemptively Spins Wisconsin Recall Results in Obama's Favor

The New York Times’ Michael Shear irresponsibly, falsely, and erroneously accused outlets like Drudge Report and Breitbart News of racism for vetting President Barack Obama. Shear is now taking the lead in “objectively” and preemptively spinning the results of the Wisconsin recall election in Obama’s favor.

“As soon as the results are in from Wisconsin Tuesday night — and probably before — the chattering about the national implications will kick into overdrive,” Shear writes before writing an article that attempts to influence this very chatter in ways favorable to Obama. 

The solemn tone of Shear’s article shows that he is writing with an assumption that Walker is more likely to win than not. He writes that “there are important reasons to doubt whether Mr. Walker’s fate tells us much about President Obama’s chances of winning Wisconsin, much less whether it serves as a model for how the rest of the country might be feeling in five months.”

Would Shear have written these words if Walker was on his way to being trounced? Probably not. 

Shear lists five reasons why national implications should not be taken from Wisconsin’s recall. He and the rest of the mainstream media have begun a wholesale attempt to soft peddle of the national implications of Wisconsin’s recall election even as the Obama campaign has .

Shear first reason is that “candidates matter” in a recall election and, “because Mr. Barrett and Mr. Walker faced each other just two years ago, the choice for voters is a familiar one.” Shear then writes that Wisconsinites “will be presented with a very different choice on Nov. 6 — a choice between President Obama and Mitt Romney, two men whose campaigns, style and accomplishments are very different from the men on the ballot on Tuesday.”

But a recall election is not simply a head-to-head matchup, it is a referendum on the person being recalled. What Shear is trying to do is dismiss what may be a victory for fiscal conservatism as a result of a “bad candidate.” This is something the mainstream media does often to protect President Obama and their liberal brand. For example, they protected Obama after Democrat Creigh Deeds lost to Republican Bob McDonnell in Virginia’s 2009 gubernatorial contest and Democrat Martha Coakley lost to Republican Scott Brown in Massachusetts special election for Senate in January of 2010.  

Shear’s second reason is that “recalls feel wrong” because “for many voters, the idea of making a switch midstream just feels wrong.” Shear even writes, “to some, it just doesn’t seem American.”

Bizarrely, Shear then writes that “Walker is likely to benefit from a sentiment that will not be present in November — a kind of benefit of the doubt for the incumbent” and “this may help to explain why polls ahead of Tuesday’s voting suggested that some voters who are backing Mr. Walker were also planning to vote for Mr. Obama in November.”

So what Shear is suggesting is that people are hesitant about recalling their elected officials because some think it is un-American, and this same sentiment may explain why people will re-elect Obama in the fall. In essence, Shear’s argument is that Obama should take comfort from the fact that Wisconsin voters did not recall Walker even after Obama’s allies spent millions trying to get him recalled. 

To cover one of the many holes in this convoluted piece of spin, Shear falsely dismisses California’s successful recall of Gov. Gray Davis, a Democrat, as a case of “celebrity meets politics” when that was not so. The California recall, perhaps a national harbinger, was about California’s out of control taxing and spending, epitomized by the car tax Davis had signed into law. 

Third, Shear says the “recall in Wisconsin was born of a very specific local issue,” that being how public sector employees unions were pushing Wisconsin off the proverbial fiscal cliff, and “while that issue is not unique to the Badger State, it’s certainly not among the top concerns of voters in the presidential campaign.” 

He writes that “Mr. Walker has tied his initiative to scale back collective bargaining rights for public employee unions to the state’s specific budget woes” and “those budget problems are very different from the ones facing the federal government.”

Amazingly, Shear does not think, as the federal government goes into more debt every day and countries in Europe are paying Germany interest to keep their money safe, budgetary issues are not national issues. 

Shear then writes that “perhaps because he wanted to avoid turning a local-issues race into a national referendum, Mr. Obama largely stayed out of Wisconsin” and “even as he traveled to nearby states, the president did not wade into the middle of the contest with a big rally on behalf of Mr. Barrett,” which “helped keep a Wisconsin race about Wisconsin’s issues.”

Geez, how gracious of President Obama to stay away from local issues. Of course, this defies all political logic. If Democrats were on their way to victory, its leaders would be pouring into Wisconsin not only to take some credit but also to increase their political momentum. 

Shear’s fourth reason is money.

“If Mr. Walker wins, the difference may have been the money, and that will be very different in the national context,” Shear writes. 

The funny thing here is that Shear complains about the amount of money spent on Walker’s behalf but extols the money that he says will be spent in November on Obama’s behalf to help him in his reelection. But Shear should no better. In highly publicized contests like the Wisconsin recall in which nearly everyone in the state has heard about, money is not the sole determinant in determining who wins.

Shear’s fifth reason is June is not November.  “November is five months away,” Shear writes. “Whatever message voters in Wisconsin might be sending on Tuesday, they are doing so in early June ... That’s a long way off from the November elections, when Mr. Romney and Mr. Obama will face off.”

It seems like Shear is conceding the Wisconsin recall to Walker and writing that, for Democrats, they will have five months to regroup and learn from an election he earlier said was a strictly local election that did not really have national implications. 

Shear then writes platitudes about organization, union turnout, and economic mood. He only does this to to give his crib sheet, which the mainstream media can and will easily use to spin the recall election in optimistic terms for Obama, some minimal cover of objectivity. 

But make no mistake, what Shear does in his article is preemptively downplaying the significance of Walker’s potential win in Wisconsin for Obama and national Democrats.  


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