Wisconsin Recall Roundup May 23, 2012

Not Dead Yet: New Poll Shows Barrett and Walker in Dead Heat

A new poll sponsored by "We Are Wisconsin" shows a closer race between Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Governor Scott Walker than other recent polls. Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research did a survey on behalf of the labor PAC that sampled 472 recall voters from May 19 to 21. In that poll, Walker leads Barrett 50 to 47, but the results remain within the poll's four-point margin of error. Last week's Marquette University Law School poll showed Scott Walker ahead of Tom Barrett, 50 to 44 percent. Recent analysis of the Marquette poll, however, has shown that it "oversampled" conservatives, who were more likely to vote for Walker. John Nichols in the Capital Times describes how this oversampling explains Walker's gain in its entirety:

The previous Marquette poll, which showed a dead heat between Walker and Barrett, found that 43 percent of those identified as conservatives, while 32 percent identified as moderates and 22 percent as liberals. [T]he new [Marquette Poll] upped the number of conservatives interviewed -- those most likely to support Walker -- by five percentage points while it reduced the percentage of liberals polled -- those most likely to vote for Barrett -- by two points.

Pollster Paul Maslin, who worked for California Governor Gray Davis during that state's gubernatorial recall election, believes there is a "sleeping giant" of voters who will decide the race. He told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that 2.16 million people voted in the 2010 governor's race in which Walker defeated Barrett by about 125,000 votes. By comparison, nearly three million Wisconsin residents voted in the 2008 presidential election. Maslin said he believes Barrett would win if 2.5 million or more people vote in the June recall election. The new poll numbers from Greenberg Quinlan Rosner prompted We are Wisconsin to declare: "Reports of Our Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated."

Milwaukee Conservative Radio Talk Shows Accused of Violating FCC Rules With Their Support of Walker

The Media Action Center, which monitors partisan misuse of the public-owned airwaves, held a press conference in Milwaukee yesterday to release data in support of its claim that key Milwaukee radio stations are violating the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) rules by providing excessive airtime in support of Governor Scott Walker in the recall race. The group has been monitoring five radio talk shows in Milwaukee for the past month, and found that the radio stations are giving an average of 50 minutes a day, since Walker's official campaign began on May 9th, to Walker supporters and only seconds per day to supporters of Walker's opponent Tom Barrett. The shows they monitored included shows hosted by Mark Belling, Vicki McKenna, and Jay Weber on WISN, and Charlie Sykes and Jeff Wagner on WTMJ. The group found that this support was equivalent to giving Walker's campaign, each week, between $70,000 to $180,000 in free airtime. The group will file a formal complaint with the FCC on their findings. According to Media Action Center Founder Sue Wilson, "Radio stations must offer comparable time to candidates under Section 315 of the Communications Act, and to supporters of candidates under the Zapple Doctrine. WISN and WTMJ management are fully aware of this; even their own Wisconsin Broadcasters Association has warned them about it."

Fitzgerald and Compas to Debate Tonight

Wisconsin State Senator Scott Fitzgerald is going to debate his recall challenger Lori Compas, a photographer who has become active in politics and policy, today in Jefferson. The debate is sponsored by the radio station WFAW (940 AM) and will take place at 7pm at the Jefferson High School Auditorium at 700 W. Milwaukee Street. Compas originally challenged Fitzgerald to five debates, but Fitzgerald has only agreed to one. The debate will be broadcast on WFAW and can be heard live online here.

Flyer Targets Janesville Teachers Who Signed Recall Petition

Residents in Janesville awoke on Tuesday morning to find a flyer tucked in with their Janesville Gazette newspaper. The flyer lists the names and salaries of the 325 highest paid teachers and staff in the Janesville School District, and encourages parents and citizens to look up the teacher's names in an online database prepared by the group "Verify the Recall" (VTR) to see if they signed the petition to recall Governor Scott Walker. VTR has been described as a project of a group called "True the Vote," which the Center for Media and Democracy's PRWatch has documented as producing deceptively distorted information. VTR claims to be nonpartisan; it began as an outgrowth of the King Street Patriots, a controversial Tea Party group in Texas. The flyer also contained a tear off section at the bottom that was a form for parents to fill out and send to the Janesville School Board and Superintendent that read, in part, "I respectfully request my child be assigned to a classroom taught by a non-radical teacher."

The flyer does not include any information about who compiled the information, paid for the printing, or distributed the flyers. However, according to the Wisconsin State Journal, a group called Citizens for Responsible Government (CRG) in Milwaukee filed an open records request for information about the names and salaries of teachers in Janesville. CRG runs a non-profit and a PAC. The PAC says it works "to help citizens elect fiscally conservative candidates, assert property rights, and remove corrupt and/or fiscally irresponsible politicians from office." According to its website, CRG was involved in the recall effort against Milwaukee County Executive Tom Ament, whom Scott Walker was elected in a special election to replace.

A representative of CRG said it was not responsible for compiling the information distributed in Janesville although it did request and receive that information. CRG admitted it gave the information to a group that distributed the flyers, but CRG said the group wished to remain anonymous "for obvious reasons."

Milwaukee DA Defends Staff Against Media Trackers

Media Trackers, a right-wing attack group that does not disclose its funders, said that David Budde, an investigator in the high-profile "John Doe" criminal investigation of Governor Walker's associates and some former staff, has a "Recall Walker" sign in his yard and the blue fist/Wisconsin symbol on his front door. Media Trackers has attacked the John Doe investigation before and has also pushed a story that 43 people in the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office signed the petition to recall Walker.

John Chisholm, the Milwaukee County DA, has explained that none of those identified by Media Trackers were on the John Doe team. On Monday, Chisholm noted that Budde's wife is a county employee and is responsible for the sign. "I do not regulate or control the constitutional freedoms of my employees' families in their private lives. ... They have the right, under state law, and in this case, county civil service rules, to express their political views as does any other citizen." Chisholm, who was elected as a Democrat, has gained a reputation as a straight shooter responsible investigating both Democrats and Republicans for political corruption or other violations of Wisconsin law.

The Center for Media and Democracy does not endorse or oppose any candidate for office. Since 1993, CMD has been reporting on corporate spin and government propaganda, exposing public relations tactics, and debunking PR campaigns.


The author listed as "PRwatch Editors" is for reports attributable to CMD's editors or guest authors.


Is it legal for Brian Schimming,Vice-Chair of the Wisconsin Republican Party, to have a regular show promoting GOP agendas, candidates, and disinformation via WIBA in Madison and other media outlets that carry Vicki McKenna. He may not be a formal host, but he is a regular co-host and often subs for VM when she is away. I've never understood why the air time given to Walker et al has not been scrutinized/legally challenged. Any insights?

Simply put, no, however it's important to note manmade laws are relative in a plutocracy.