The Journal Sentinel Gets Desperate with Right-Wing Smear

Oct. 30, 2014
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You could say that Scott Walker has been good for Journal Communications. 

The man generates headlines and hits on its website. Charlie Sykes is his mouthpiece on WTMJ. And the nonstop political ads since 2010 have been terrific for the bottom line of all of its properties. 

So why on earth would Journal Communications want all of that to end? 

It doesn’t. Especially when the newspaper and Internet side of the company is facing such a dicey future under its new, out-of-town owners, E.W. Scripps.

 So you could say that the Journal Communications properties—all of them to be owned by Scripps and possibly feeling pressure to perform to impress their new masters—prefer a Walker victory on Nov. 4. 

After all, if Walker wins and continues playing coy about his political future, the Journal Sentinel will still be relevant as the flagship source for all news involving Walker.

 But if Walker loses, well, who’s going to care about him? There is absolutely zero interest in Scott Walker, private citizen. 

So consider that as we head into what could be a very tight election on Nov. 4. Notice how the Journal Sentinel fuels the Walker campaign. 

The latest piece of evidence is no doubt Jason Stein, Bill Glauber and Dan Bice’s completely crap stories about Mary Burke allegedly being fired from her family’s own company. They’re so embarrassing I’m not even going to link to them.

 First of all, the tip came from Wisconsin Reporter, the pro-Walker “watchdog” something or another that is funded by the Bradley Foundation, headed by Walker’s campaign chair, Michael Grebe. 

Secondly, Wisconsin Reporter isn’t reliable, nor are its sources on this smear. If Bice is getting his tips from Wisconsin Reporter, then he needs to rethink his whole career. 

Next, a disgruntled ex-employee is never a reliable source. Nor is a source who is a Republican Party official who ran as a fake Democrat in the recalls. 

Lastly, the allegation cannot be proven. It occurred more than 20 years ago. All you have is a he said-Trek said story that everyone will talk about but can’t be proven. Typical race-to-the-bottom click-bait.

It’s sad—no, tragic—that the Journal Sentinel’s news coverage is taking this low road going into such an important election. Instead of shining a light on vital issues facing Wisconsin, the Journal Sentinel is fanning the flames of a right-wing smear. This sort of smear, so close to an election, never would have been touched in the past. This certainly isn’t Pulitzer Prize-winning journalism. It’s beneath them, frankly, but maybe they're all worried about keeping their jobs as the new owners clean house. 

Enough about that smear. 

Independent journalist Dominique Paul Noth has provided very helpful critiques of the Journal Sentinel’s coverage of the Marquette Law School poll, held up by the JS as the gold standard in polling. Wonder why? Again, think of the tight links between the JS, Marquette and conservative foundations and businesses in town. Once again, you’ll find folks who have a vested interest in seeing Walker get re-elected by demoralizing Democrats. Read Dom’s blog for more insights. 

And if Burke manages to pull out a win on Tuesday, who will be the first one crying about voter fraud? Walker or the Journal Sentinel?

UPDATE: The Journal Sentinel's editorial calling horseshit on the story barely mentions its participation in the smear. Not good enough. Not even close.

UPDATE #2: Here's the Cap Times' take on the story with a different perspective on Burke's time at Trek. 


The U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will hear the case to determine if Wisconsin Republicans’ redistricting maps are too partisan. Do you believe the U.S. Supreme Court will order Wisconsin to redraw our legislative maps so the majority of legislative districts are competitive and voters will actually have a real choice between a Democrat and Republican?

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