Perhaps one of the most blatant media lies this month (though we still have a week to go) is the recycled news of the baseless investigations of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. This primer on the media’s smearing of Walker is worth reading. From the article:
Upon the unsealing of some of the probe documents by the federal appeals court, the media worked itself into a frenzy claiming that Walker was part of a criminal conspiracy. The media claim was based entirely on the subpoena document that was denied by the state judge as failing utterly to demonstrate probable cause to believe a crime occurred. In short: the judge, looking at all the evidence, found no reason to believe that a crime had occurred. That has not stopped the media from falsely implying otherwise.
This is largely accomplished by playing with verb tense. For example, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel kicked off this infuriating libel with a piece that claimed, “John Doe prosecutors allege Scott Walker at center of ‘criminal scheme.'” The more accurate word, of course, would have been “alleged,” past-tense with the addition of the words “in denied subpoena request” or perhaps “in failed partisan investigation” or even “in politically-motivated secret investigation rejected by the state and federal courts.”
The New York Times, trumpeting the story on today’s front page, also uses the present tense to give the wrong impression. The piece begins “Prosecutors in Wisconsin assert that Gov. Scott Walker was part of an elaborate effort to illegally coordinate fund-raising and spending.” Again, the true story is that this took place last year and was ended by the courts. You’d have to read all the way down to the tenth paragraph to learn that the subpoenas weren’t granted because there was no probable cause to believe that a crime had occurred. Oddly, the Times piece muses on the electoral consequences for Walker in the third paragraph.
But when has the truth ever stopped Democrats from driving home their narrative?
In the Arizona governor’s race, Democrats are now attacking Republican primary candidate Doug Ducey because he was endorsed by Scott Walker. From the Democrats’ press release (via Yellow Sheet):
Doug Ducey Should Dump Scott Walker
Phoenix, AZ — DJ Quinlan, executive director of the Arizona Democratic Party, released the following statement today calling on Doug Ducey to drop Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker from his list of endorsements. The Washington Post has reported that Walker was “at the center of a nationwide ‘criminal scheme’ to illegally coordinate fundraising with outside conservative groups.”
“Arizonans are fed up with unethical politicians. Doug Ducey took the endorsement of a governor ‘who is at thecenter of a criminal scheme’–according to prosecutors. This is the same kind of illegal behavior we’ve seen from Tom Horne. Between Ducey playing with the disgraced Walker, and Horne and Huppenthal’s dishonest shenanigans, the Arizona Republican Party is sinking into a political cesspool.”
Saying Scott Walker is at the center of a scheme is like saying Richard Jewell was at the center of the Olympic bombing investigation. Additionally, conflating Tom Horne (disgraced and hardly a Republican favorite in the election) with Scott Walker is ridiculous. It just shows that the Arizona Democratic Party has never left the cesspool.