National Media Crucify Walker
Even the conservative press jump all over the charge that Gov. Walker was at center of a criminal conspiracy.
Across the nation, the media has trumpeted the prosecutors’ accusation that Gov. Scott Walker was at the center of an effort that illegally coordinated fundraising with conservative groups in order to help his campaign and those of Republican state senators during recall elections in 2011 and 2012. Walker has denied the allegations as “partisan” and “categorically false,” but that hasn’t warded off countless negative headlines across the country.
“Prosecutors: Wis Gov. Scott Walker in criminal scheme,” was the headline in USA Today. ABC News went with “Prosecutors: Wisconsin Governor in Criminal Scheme.” Countless publications ran similar headlines.
Nor was the treatment of Walker any better in the conservative press. The Fox News headline was “Prosecutors: Gov.Walker part of criminal scheme.” The story was all bad, quoting documents filed by lead prosecutor Francis Schmitz stating that “The scope of the criminal scheme under investigation is expansive,” and “includes criminal violations of multiple elections laws.” The headline and story were similar in the Rupert Murdoch-owned New York Post.
It was actually the more liberal publications who avoided the word “criminal” in their headlines. The New York Times preferred “Wisconsin Governor at Center of a Vast Fundraising Case” and the Washington Post went with “Wisconsin Gov.Scott Walker suspected of coordinating with outside groups.”
Nearly every publication made much of Walker’s email to Republican guru Karl Rove and to the fact that Walker was explaining how his campaign would coordinate with independent third party groups. Given that such coordination has long been illegal (though a recent court decision by federal judge Rudolph Randa suggested such laws could be unconstitutional) made it particularly newsworthy. “The fact that Walker alluded to the outside operation in an e-mail is ‘mind-boggling,’ said Richard L. Hasen, an election law expert who teaches law and political science at the University of California at Irvine,” in the Post story. Hasen added that “candidates usually go to lengths to build a wall between the operations of a campaign and outside allies.”
The Walker campaign is obviously aware that this will hurt him and has already reserved air time for TV ads that could run for 12 days, Politico reports. These ads may help Walker rebuild his reputation in Wisconsin, but nationally he has gained a black eye that may indelibly impact his widely discussed ambition to run for President in 2016.