The Franklin Center for Public Integrity and its Wisconsin Reporter website have aggressively attacked the "John Doe" probe into possible campaign finance violations during Wisconsin's 2011 and 2012 recall elections, and have broken news regarding the apparent targets of the investigation, but have omitted an important fact: some of its key staff may be caught up in the investigation.
Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has taken the unprecedented step of asserting that a state legislator cannot be held accountable for refusing to disclose public records in response to a lawful open records request by the Center for Media and Democracy.
As newsrooms across the country have cut staff reporters -- due in part to slipping ad revenue and corporate media conglomeration -- the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity has rushed to fill the gap, as the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) has documented. The Franklin Center has 40 state news websites, with reporters in 34 states so far. Its reporters have received state house press credentials and its stories appear as news in mainstream print newspapers in each state without alerting readers to the heavy right-wing bias of the Franklin-related publications.
This week, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a non-profit government watchdog group, released a report -- "The Worst Governors in America," and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker came in sixth in the top category. The report has an amusing circus theme and dubs Walker a "Ringmaster," but it is heavily documented and footnoted to reliable sources and primary documents. The criteria CREW used when assessing the nation's governors were the following: corruption, transparency, partisan politics, pressuring public officials, cronyism, self-enrichment, scandal and mismanagement.
The Center for Media and Democracy will be hosting the inaugural event celebrating the publication of Dollarocracy: How the Money and Media Election Complex is Destroying America, the new book from acclaimed authors John Nichols and Robert McChesney.
In a series of blockbuster reports published in the Washington Post and in the British newspaper The Guardian, sources reveal that the National Security Agency (NSA) is running a previously undisclosed program called PRISM, which allows federal officials to collect material including "search history, the content of emails, file transfers and live chats" from an array of internet companies including Google, Skype, YouTube, Facebook, Apple, and more without a court order.
In an era when traditional journalism is collapsing and all limits on campaign spending have been removed by the courts, spin is becoming more powerful and permanent than ever before.
Last week, the Center for Media and Democracy and The Nation magazine worked together to publish a package in The Nation and a new online wiki resource on Pete Peterson and the Campaign to Fix the Debt, an entity we consider an "astroturf supergroup" with a huge budget working hard to create the fantasy that Americans care more about national debt and deficits than jobs and the economy. Fix the Debt is currently exploiting the "sequester" debate in Congress to encourage steep cuts to incredibly popular social programs like Medicare and Social Security.
by Dylan Brogan
At the height of the collective bargaining protests, when nearly all the doors at the Capitol were locked and guarded by police officers from every corner of the state, Dick Wheeler -- the unquestioned leader of the Wisconsin Capitol press corps -- ensured that members of the media were not denied access to the building.
You helped make the world a better place this year. You helped expose corruption and thwart efforts to distort our democracy.
1. You helped force 42 major corporations and 70 legislators to do something they did not want to do, leave the American Legislative Exchange Council.