Like how every time there is a negative story about Scott Walker, Dan Bice of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel just happens to come up with a story to take the heat off of Walker.
For example, when I broke the story about how Walker sent out a fundraising email telling people to forgo buying Christmas presents for their children and sending him the money instead, Bice came out a few days later - just as my story was getting international attention - to say that Walker threw an aide under the campaign bus for some tweets she sent three years ago, before she was even working for Walker.
Bice's willingness to go along unquestioningly with this damage control story served it's purpose - it effectively distracted people from Walker's misstep.
More recently, a story appeared in Milwaukee Magazine which reported on the many blunders and corporate kowtowing of Walker's DNR Secretary Kathy Stepp. This, of course, served as an embarrassment to Walker.
So here comes Bice to the rescue, by practicing some McCarthyism and pointing out that the freelance write who penned the article had signed a recall petition. The horror of it all!
Yet among all the topics covered in the the 5,600-word story, Ginsberg-Schutz makes no mention of the fact that she herself had signed the Walker recall petition in late 2011. Walker fended off an effort to remove him from office in a June 2012 election.Bice went on to badger Milwaukee Magazine editor Kurt Chandler, who, to his credit, stuck to his guns and squashed Bice's attempts at getting a gotcha moment:
Asked why she omitted this detail, the writer -- who dubs herself an "independent journalist" -- referred questions to Kurt Chandler, editor of Milwaukee Magazine.
Chandler raised a number of questions when asked about disclosing the recall signature.Bice ended his article by pointing out that no MJS reporters signed the recall petitions, claiming it was a violation of the "paper's ethics policy."
For instance, he asked, should a political writer disclose how he has voted when covering a political contest? Must a reporter make public that she has had an abortion when writing about women's health? And what are the disclosure rules for a Mormon reporting on gay rights issues?
"Reporters are citizens as well as journalists," Chandler wrote. "I don’t believe a reporter’s credibility is compromised by his or her political or moral views. My role as a magazine editor is to weed out bias without tamping down tone, voice, style and, yes, even point of view (which is much different than bias) – ingredients of a well-written and well-balanced story."
That surprised the hell out of me. I wasn't aware that the paper even had an ethics policy. I mean, come on, this is the paper owned by Journal Communications which teamed up with the Koch-funded Wisconsin Club for Growth to produce White Wisconsin.
But it also surprised me that Bice would add that since he is guilty himself of not practicing full disclosure.
If full disclosure was truly such a big issue, Bice would have included in his article - and every article he wrote defending Walker - that Steve Smith, CEO and Chairman of the Board for Journal Communications, which owns the paper, is also a member of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC). He would also disclose that not only did MMAC strongly support Walker directly with hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign donations, but was so zealous in their donations that they broke campaign finance laws by donating more than the allowed amount.
But full disclosure at the paper has never been their strong suit, making Bice's article not only ironic, but rather hypocritical.
And for the purpose of full disclosure - and to head off the McCarthyites - I not only proudly signed the recall petition, I collected signatures for it as well. So there!