Vehemently Biased Underreporting Of Wisconsin Debacle by New York Times Proves Colossal Failure For Mainstream Media

Cops for Labor!

Wisconsin State Patrol have refused again and again to incite violence against protestors as commanded by corrupt Governor Scott Walker
Wisconsin State Patrol have refused again and again to incite violence against protestors as commanded by corrupt Governor Scott Walker | Source

Upon reading the title of the New York Times’ piece: For Wisconsin Lawmakers, A Heroes Homecoming I braced myself for what was sure to be an objective look at the actual situation here in Wisconsin. I was sorely disappointed to read yet another hamstrung perspective of the political goings-on here in my home state. It seems the tentacles of big money know no bounds.

At first glance and by the title alone one would think the author of this article A.G. Sulzberger was prepared to reveal the truth about the hardworking labor movement and how they have stood up to wave upon wave of falsehoods and mainstream myopia, not quite. The article at first paints a quaint picture of protesters receiving their state senators in a warm way, which is highly unusual for the underappreciated job of a state senator, as opposed to say, a national senator.

The article begins:

They are the unlikeliest of folk heroes. But this group of once-obscure lawmakers — a dairy farmer, a lawyer and a woman who is seven months pregnant, among others — that fled this capital nearly a month ago, returned Saturday to the cheers of tens of thousands who once again packed the streets in protest.

At this point I remember thinking, alright they are on the right track, let’s here it for New York City! Even though Sulzberger salaciously used the word “fled” instead of say, “escaped” or “recouped” I thought, well perhaps this isn’t a right leaning inclination, it’s probably just subconscious word choice.

There were tens of thousands of protesters there, I can vouch for that. On March 12, 2011 I was there with my eight month old son and wife in tow. The estimated numbers of 100,000 seemed correct to me (I’ve heard a quarter million and fifty thousand also both of which seemed over or under) either way there were people pouring in and out of the Capitol rotunda and out to the streets that sprocket from it’s center, just like the week prior and also the week before that.


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Tragically, the article quickly turned to the plutocratic propaganda most Fox News watchers have assimilated to, but this wasn’t the violence-inciting Bill O’Reilly lying here! This was The New York Times:

The reason for the reception was that the 14 Democratic state senators had returned weeks after fleeing to another state in a dramatic — if ultimately failed — effort to prevent a vote on a bill that would significantly weaken public-sector unions.

Failed? Wisconsin Republicans voted on the bill without a quorum which is illegal in our state if the bill includes any details about budgets or financing which this bill did. To say nothing of passing legislation in a closed meeting as Minority Leader Peter Barca bravely pointed out!  The bill was also rammed through without an open-to-the-public meeting which is also against the law here in Wisconsin. It included the removal of state employee’s collective bargaining rights for benefits. Not one word about this illicit legislation was mentioned in the piece. The reader is just expected to believe that despite the hundreds of thousands of protestors that have marched in Madison, somehow Wisconsin state Republicans still managed to pass their bill legally, which they did not.

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The New York Times further obfuscates the truth:

Republican lawmakers, who called the Democrats cowards and accused them of abandoning their posts, made numerous efforts to get them back, including holding their paychecks, stripping their parking spots, issuing fines, threatening arrest and pursuing other legislation before ultimately maneuvering to vote without them.

The bill, which limits collective bargaining rights and requires annual votes for unions to stay in existence, among other provisions, was signed into law on Friday by Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, after passing in both Republican-controlled chambers earlier in the week.

Again the article fails to address the truth about this nefariously passed legislation. Yes Republicans accused Democrats of abandoning their posts, but fails to mention that breaking a quorum is not against the law, but an emergency democratic tool used to vet legislative power grabs by minority factions such as the one Wisconsin Republicans are greedily playing out today. What is against the law in Wisconsin is the threat of withholding pay and threatening arrest for political reasons or using police officers as an intimidation force for negotiating with employees.

As it states in the Wisconsin constitution:

Statute 323.12 (2)(c)
the state traffic patrol officers or conservation wardens subject to the call shall have the powers of a law enforcement officer for the duration determined by the Governor, except that the officers and the wardens may not be used in, or take part in any dispute or controversy between an employer or employee concerning wages, hours, labor or working conditions.

I suspect a journalist for the New York Times makes a pretty good penny, yet they failed to include that Governor Scott Walker and Republican Senators like Scott Fitzgerald passed illegal legislation? This is a huge story! But journalist Sulzberger glazes over facts as if he too is on the Koch brothers’ payroll.

Sulzberger quotes Fitzgerald:

Scott Fitzgerald, the Senate majority leader, released a statement saying that the Democrats should be embarrassed about their conduct. “Today, the most shameful 14 people in the state of Wisconsin are going to pat themselves on the back and smile for the cameras,” he said. “They’re going to pretend they’re heroes for taking a three-week vacation.

“It is an absolute insult to the hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites who are struggling to find a job, much less one they can run away from and go down to Illinois — with pay.”

The insult here is that laws have been broken out in the open by Fitzgerald himself! The insult is that Fitzgerald and Walker tried passing a 144 page budget plan in a few days, a task that usually is debated openly in our state for months! Wouldn’t justice best be served if, the more controversial a piece of legislation, the more openly and the longer it should be debated? The ultimate outrage though, is that police officers were not only used to intimidate political opponents by issuing warrants and knocking on the doors of the opposing Democrats' families, officers were also commanded illegally and in violation of the United States Constitution to physically remove protestors from the capitol itself. Governor Walker passed more nefarious legislation stating that permits were required to assemble on the capitol grounds.

What’s more, the Superintendant of the Wisconsin State Patrol Stephen Fitzgerald, is the father of Senator Scott Fitzgerald! So the supervision of the use of officers here in our state has no legitimate checks and balance system in place, one Republican hand washes the other, the rest of us have to make do with whatever is dictated from up on high and pray we don’t get arrested as the rule of law is not recognized by either Scott Walker or Scott Fitzgerald.


Scott Walker's illegal actions will not stand!

The author and his family protesting the illegal actions and fallacious rhetoric of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker
The author and his family protesting the illegal actions and fallacious rhetoric of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker | Source

There was one glimmer of objective reporting at the end when Sulzberger reported a quote from a Wisconsin teacher:

“We wanted to come together one more time to let people know this is not over,” said Ann Soderman, a high school science teacher who carried a sign listing the Democratic senators. She said she had attended several rallies but was now focused on recall efforts against eligible Republican senators, including her own. “All this energy is going to go into a different avenue,” she said.

The New York Times disappointed me in their article which painted the efforts of protestors here as feeble or tedious at best while showing Republicans in a glorified light while they openly break laws against their own people. Perhaps the most underreported story in the mainstream is that Governor Scott Walker, in an interview back before he was elected in 1992, once told a reporter that former Ku Klux Klan member and aspiring politician David Duke’s views were “not that extreme”. The interview, which can be viewed in it’s entirety on YouTube, shows Walker defending national Republicans views on why Duke shouldn’t be placed on the ballot that year, ostensibly because it would take votes away from conservative darling George Bush. The candor to which Walker speaks with Duke and that he defends Duke’s beliefs is appalling. Disturbingly Walker backs anti-Semite Pat Buchanan in the same interview while gingerly dialoguing with the besmirched former Klansman David Duke.

It is underreported that Governor Scott Walker threatened to use Wisconsin’s National Guard against peaceful protestors; these are soldiers with automatic weapons. It is underreported that there was no budget “crisis” in Wisconsin until Republicans were elected and started trumpeting that there was one, all the while handing millions of dollars over to private interests that helped get them elected. It is underreported that Scott Walker and Fitzgerald are doing everything they can to point the finger of blame on the working people of Wisconsin for our countries’ recession, instead of the bankers and Wall Street investors who received massive bailouts and bonuses, huge rewards for repeated failures. Scott Walker and Scott Fitzgerald are clearly demagogues willing to take away health care from the elderly, the infirm and the poor, all the while lining their friends pockets with the slashed salaries of teachers, nurses and other laborers.

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Why aren’t reporters letting people know that Walker and Fitzgerald are taking Americans right to assemble away? Why aren’t reporters letting people know that Walker and Fitzgerald are signing legislation deep into the night behind locked doors and away from their constituency? Why is the mainstream media failing to quote the actual statute that states that Walker and Fitzgerald broke the law when they used police officers against their own people and political opponents? What has happened to truth in media in the United States? Clearly these politicians are sycophants bought and sold by billionaires such as the Koch brothers and nary a peep about their abuse is printed in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times or televised media. This is an abomination and a tragedy for my democratic republic. Yet despite their repeated attacks, the fight is not over here in Wisconsin.

As German Pastor Martin Niemoller once opined:


First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Most politicians, after getting caught breaking the law in the open, usually quit, or step down, or step out of the lime light at least. Not these people, not Scott Walker and Scott Fitzgerald, they have made breaking the law status quo for their new Wisconsin. If you are a thinking person watching Wisconsin from the outside world looking in, please explore other media besides what is being said through the major outlets. The billionaires and millionaires that stand to gain from stripping our rights and freedoms from the people here in my state have paid off most of these pundits. Don’t believe everything you hear and read at first glance, and please stay diligent to the facts of the laws broken by people like Scott Walker and Scott Fitzgerald. There needs to be consequences for their actions, a recall effort is underway and lawsuits will be filed. But until we see more light in our system, please don’t forget about us here in Wisconsin.

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Comments 20 comments

The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 5 years ago from Arlington, TX

Ever wonder why The New York Times is starting to go belly up? One shouldn't with reporting of this nature. It used to be a respectable news source but now has turned itself into a far left wing zoo, which I don't find entertaining, much less read.


Ben Zoltak profile image

Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA Author

I disagree with you Sir Frog Prince, I don't think you read my article. The article states that Governor Walker and Wisconsin Republicans "passed" legislature, but it is not legal to do so with any budget matters without a quorum. So since it was illegal, nothing was passed but a piece of paper with a bunch of signatures on it. It means nothing and it is against the Wisconsin constitution.

Also, peeking quickly at your profile, thank you for your service to our country. My grandfather's brother was tortured to death in Korea, and I honor people brave enough as yourself to defend our country against people with malicious intent.

I don't trust anyone who believes all Republicans are correct all the time, or that all Democrats are correct all the time. That would be un-American and a sign of being brainwashed. My fellow citizens whom I disagree with are my opponents, not my enemies.

Thank you for your post I hope you take the time to reread.

Best,

Ben


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 5 years ago from London, UK

Yes, everybody talks about how democracy exists in the West but it doesn't. The only thing we are allowed to do to talk and yell about it but they do as they like. A fine example over her now. That Bush and his lot have a lot to answer for for the crisis we are in and nobody will say so. The papers should unbias but they are anything but.

Great article and the truth. Thank you.


Ben Zoltak profile image

Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA Author

Thanks Hello, hello. As someone from Great Britain, perhaps maybe you understand my conundrum better when we here feel an certain aristocracy and a certain group of sycophantic plutocrats ignore those of us trying to get by and get our voices heard. We here in the U.S. have been paying for the gigantic debt produced from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars where the no-bid winning contractor Halliburton, which profited billions from the working people here, has now moved it's headquarters to Dubai so that we can't share in any of the profits they've taken from us.

As a friend of mine says, a lot of reporters just regurgitate what they hear in press releases, they don't dig any deeper than that. Walker and his cronies only listen to their millionaire and billionaire monarchs, they don't negotiate with regular citizens.

Thanks for commenting.

Ben


Huntgoddess profile image

Huntgoddess 5 years ago from Midwest U.S.A.

Hi, Ben. Voted up.

It's not just the NYT. It's all of the above --- media.

They've all had their own union problems.

I was there on March 12, as well. And, on March 19, and from February 17th thru February 24th. With my son and my granddaughter.

Be sure to be there especially on the weekend of April 3d --- right before the election and referendum. (But, well, every weekend, really. Until they're all recalled.)

Here's a new one. I heard yesterday that Walker is trying to make a new law against recalling a governor. ROFLMAO.

Thanks again. Great hub.

Just watch out for "its" --- a possessive pronoun --- and "it's" --- a contracted form of "it is".

Also, "their" and "there" --- and, of course, "they're".


Ben Zoltak profile image

Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA Author

Yeah Scott Walker serves only a small group of outsiders and a few other wealthy who have not felt the sting of our countries' recession Huntgoddess. I will do my best to get out on April 3 as you suggest, either way JoAnne Kloppenburg will get my vote. I keep thinking to myself, so this is what the last Republican-controlled Wisconsin looks like...

It's unfortunate that Walker and Fitzgerald, both of whom have shown outright contempt for Wisconsin statute, are now doing severe damage to their own party as there attack on the middle class continues.

Thank you for the comment.

SOLIDARITY!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ben


stars439 profile image

stars439 5 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

Wonderful Well Written Hub. God Bless You Precious Friend, And Your Family.


Ben Zoltak profile image

Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA Author

Stars! Thank you for the constant readership and comments I appreciate it. Wisconsin Republicans are trying to dismantle the Wisconsin Arts Board and it is truly a shame, my family and I have worked hard to try and bring fine art to our community and it's being cashed in by Walker so he can pay off his outsider billionaire masters and his insider cronies.

Thank you for the blessing and may God bless you and your family as well my friend.

Ben Zoltak


nicomp profile image

nicomp 5 years ago from Ohio, USA

"They are the unlikeliest of folk heroes. But this group of once-obscure lawmakers — a dairy farmer, a lawyer and a woman who is seven months pregnant, among others — that fled this capital nearly a month ago, returned Saturday to the cheers of tens of thousands who once again packed the streets in protest."

This is not reporting, it's editorializing. Anointing your subject as a folk hero is extremely poor writing, unless you're writing a novel.


Ben Zoltak profile image

Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA Author

Well, reporting is supposed to be what is happening with regular people oftentimes Nicomp, and I believe characterizing the lawmakers that stood up to Wisconsin Republicans' bullying as folk heroes as an apt description.

What I wonder though, is how you feel about the reporter of the New York Times piece leaving out the details that Governor Walker and Senator Fitzgerald, among others, trying to pass legislation against Wisconsin's open door meeting policy?

To me the latter more than the former is bias.

Thanks for chiming in...

Ben


nicomp profile image

nicomp 5 years ago from Ohio, USA

"Well, reporting is supposed to be what is happening with regular people oftentimes Nicomp, and I believe characterizing the lawmakers that stood up to Wisconsin Republicans' bullying as folk heroes as an apt description"

You missed my point. Apt or not, an unbiased reporter is not entitled to make those judgments. A real reporter would find a bystander or a knowledgeable observer to provide the hyperbole.


Huntgoddess profile image

Huntgoddess 5 years ago from Midwest U.S.A.

Yes, they are definitely folk heroes.

I was there that day of the "manure spreader". Or, maybe it was a bunch of different days? Anyway, that was fun.

I was there booing the TEA party folks on Saturday, April 16, as well. Our guys had an event on the State Street side at the same time.

Thanks, Ben, and keep hubbing.


Ben Zoltak profile image

Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA Author

No I addressed your point directly Nicomp, we just disagree about magnitude.

You sir have failed to address the question I posed to you. How do you feel about Governor Walker and Senator Fitzgerald trying to pass legislation behind closed doors and against Wisconsin's constitution?


Ben Zoltak profile image

Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA Author

Thanks Huntgoddess, good to hear it from another who was there. Or should I say "their" good Gawd I have trouble with those "they're-their-there's!!!" ah well, again, I live by Samuel Clemens book of grammar which is the most forgiving book, beats Ayn Rand's patience anyway! '

Glad you made it to the counterPalin protest, my father-in-law went, I had monetary gains obligations i.e. paying the bills. I heard the stories of all the boos and protestation the slavish Alaskan pay-per-view speaker got, good on us HG! Of course they censored all of that on mainstream media outlets? How come Right wingers that always complain about the media don't complain when they don't show what's actually happening here in our great nation?

FORWARD!

Lots of love from the far east side of Dane County!

Ben


Niteriter profile image

Niteriter 5 years ago from Canada

Hi Ben. I've been meaning to leave a comment here for quite some time now. However, I've been busy schmoozing with our old friend Procrastination so it's taken me until today to finally get the pen to paper... so to speak.

I've been following this story through the lens of MSNBC, an oracle ranked up near the Bible, the Quran, and anything written by Samuel Clemens for being trusted to deliver the truth. It reassures me that your first hand account is in alignment with what I had thought to be the heart of matter as viewed by the "real" folks. Good job.

I'm still re-reading your book on a regular basis. Some days its a chapter, others a page, and still others just a paragraph. And every time I admire the thought and personal reflection you imbedded into your thoroughly genuine project. I'm quite proud to be a friend of a published author!

Best wishes, Brother Ben. Keep the faith.


Ben Zoltak profile image

Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA Author

Good to hear from you Niteriter, I've also been doing a bit of nipping with Procrastination, same guy. Thank you for the kudos and reassurances about my observations about the media's outlook, there's been more of the same but there has also been consistent support from the real folks. Hey! Fellow northerner, thanks for reading my book and for noting my spoonfuls of reflection. There was a lot of wild-aiming in my book, thanks for noticing my regard my friend. I will keep the faith, and raise you one.

Warmest wishes and a glass of beer and wine for you.

Ben

PS: I would be honored if you'd consider writing a short review of my book? I know you write as intermittently as I do, so who knows right? Even an original Niteriter sentence or two on Amazon would look amazing I know it.


Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 5 years ago from East Coast, United States

Hi, Ben - your hub here just underscores the fact that we can no longer rely on following one news source, but must read many versions of the story to get at the truth. Truth seems so fuzzy these days. And what with certain groups vilifying teachers, police, and firefighters, it makes me wonder what the US is coming to. How I miss Walter Cronkite !


Ben Zoltak profile image

Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA Author

Indeed Dolores, truth does seem fuzzy these days. I miss Walter Cronkite too! (...and Johnny Carson but that's a different story...) Someone said to me a few years ago (can't recall who) that with the economy constantly failing, teetering it seems, on permanent near-Recession, that once the powers-that-be decide to start looking closer at the ways and means of the wealthiest of our culture, that we would see a fear-inspired backlash by the rich. From where I sit, this is what it looks like to me. Many billionaires and millionaires want regular working people to live in fear, so that they don't notice how they've been fleeced by the wealthy among us. I say this not because I believe all wealthy people are this way, but because I believe many of them are, and they want our children to be the next generation of fearful servants. We live in a great country, but we need to remember to keep an eye on those that have gained the most, because often times they have made that gain by taking from those with the least.

It's always a pleasure to get an insightful comment from you Mrs.Monet! Here's to questioning authority!

Ben


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

Hi Ben,

I like your own statement: "I don't trust anyone who believes all Republicans are correct all the time, or that all Democrats are correct all the time. That would be un-American and a sign of being brainwashed. My fellow citizens whom I disagree with are my opponents, not my enemies." A fair statement.

One never seems to get all sides of the story in this day and age. If the governor and legislature in Wisconsin are actually doing illegal things...and if enough people agree...there is always the ballot box to remedy the situation.

I liked your portfolio of art and resume in another hub but you left no comment box. I really enjoyed looking at your creations...even the shapes of the paintings were interesting as well as the subject matter. If I had to pick a favorite, it would be a hard decision.


Ben Zoltak profile image

Ben Zoltak 4 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA Author

Thanks Peg, I hope you are correct about the power of the ballot. Unfortunately, one of Wisconsin's county's called Waukesha had more "mistakes" in that one county than all the other counties of Wisconsin combined. Waukesha County is the most Republican of all of Wisconsin counties, and I heard they are the third or fourth most Republican in the country. I assumed there would be a federal investigation into all of Waukesha's election "errors" but so far nothing.

Thanks also for checking out my art. I use that page as a professional portfolio thus the lack of comment box. But I have been enjoying comments on my other articles which has been a pleasure. Your words about a favorite are so kind, thank you again.

Ben

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