This is the lie of objective journalism and it is deeply ingrained in school curriculum. As Rachel Maddow so aptly points out, many stories cannot be "fair and balanced" if the purpose of "news" to refine issues down to what reasonable people can demonstrate to be truthful. For example, reports on the earth being round cannot legitimately present the alternative proposition as having equal merit, debunked centuries ago, that the earth is flat.
Scott Walker has have a bad week -- not only has the prosecution in an ongoing John Doe probe into the criminality behind his ascent to power released names and some damning emails (more HERE), but his longtime friend and political operative Tim Russell has copped a plea bargain to avoid trial for three felonies of stealing money from widows and orphans of soldiers killed serving in the U.S. Military. Tomorrow Russell will be in court to get a judge to accept the deal -- more details will be released.
So what do Walker and his media assets do? After the jump we will show how they ramp up the echo-chamber of disinformation, circling the wagon train around Gov. Scott Walker while they mislead the public.
The right wing media echo-chamber sometimes works subtly and other times very bluntly. On a national level, it was blatantly put on display for the entire world to see when George W. Bush/Dick Cheney wanted to launch a war of aggression against Iraq. Here's how the media deceives by manufacturing "truthiness" instead of truth. Here's how the three step echo chamber waltz works on a national level:
- High ranking officials and self-proclaimed "experts" start the process by repeating talking points that are based on political convenience instead of truth. In the Iraq/WMD fiasco, the administration and even international allies falsely asserted that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and was determined to use them against Americas on U.S. soil. Click HERE for a timeline of players and examples of their disinformation they spewed.
- A media asset, in this case, Judy Miller, wrote false "news" stories for the America's self-proclaimed "Newspaper of Record" that Iraq had dangerous weapons of mass destruction and U.S. citizens where threatened, parroting disinformation that was being released by the highest-levels of the Bush Administration.
- The rest of the media joins in crowing these false stories, echoing the propaganda as legitimate news because it was reported by a media ringleader -- in this case, NYT.
Even though Assistant District Attorney Bruce Landgraf spent more than an hour at Kelly Rindfleisch's sentencing hearing connecting the dots, naming names of higher-up co-conspirators, identifying targets of the investigation, and providing email evidence; the media echo chamber rushed to spread disinformation that the probe is now essentially over (Landgraf's full 78 slide PowerPoint is HERE).
Here's how Wisconsin media undermined real news as key low-level Walkergate players came to trial.
- On October 23rd, after convicted felon Kelly Rindfleisch of Walkergate fame accepted a deal to plead guilty to one of 4 felonies for stealing resources from Milwaukee County taxpayers to promote partisan political interests, "ace" Milwaukee Journal Sentinel "investigative reporter" Dan Bice penned a misleading report that the John Doe probe into the criminality behind Scott Walker's "rock star" status was "dead as a doornail".
- Pro-Walker right wing WTMJ-AM squawk jock Charlie Sykes repeats this disinformation, mocking the District Attorney John Chisholm on-air and dismissing the entire investigation. Sykes and his disinformation are part of the official John Doe record. (NOTE: Dan Bice did contact Sykes to clarify his original report, state that investigations into Scott Walker's administration were not "dead", and politely ask Sykes not to misrepresent his work)
- Gannett, publisher of U.S.A today and owner of newspapers that blanket Wisconsin's Fox River Valley and northern parts of the Badger State joins the misleading chorus by picking up some astounding dishonest propaganda from Associated Press that falsely proclaimed that there were "few signs that John Doe probe into Walker aides will net more suspect." This is a flat-out lie and this media conglomerate fully-knows why the probe operates in secrecy.
- The third major player in Wisconsin's pro-Walker echo chamber jumps in -- Lee Enterprises, publisher of Madison's Wisconsin State Journal and other newspapers around the state (primarily west of Journal Communication's newspaper chain) joins the echo chorus proclaiming the ongoing probe as being "terribly disappointing and distracting" and merely about "dumb and offensive mistakes".
- This week, the choruses of pro-Walker disinformation across Wisconsin reached a mighty screech when Gov. Scott Walker picked up the "its over, let's put the criminality behind my ascent to power behind us for unity's sake" meme by stating he HOPES the John Doe probe is over -- this is not real news and, in fact is a curious statement -- if Walker is truly innocent, he would not be leaving his fate to "hope" and a massive legal defense fund.
- Blame the "bad apples". Walker and the media are working hard to distance themselves from the crimes being investigating as being the work of a few highly-placed Milwaukee County employees that abused their offices to promote the gubernatorial bid of Scott Walker.
- Invoke National Security. This point may not appear to directly apply, but the fact is that Scott Walker has been featured in a national homeland security campaign. It is more than ironic that a potential felon at the heart of criminal investigations proclaims "If you see something, say something". Indirectly and remarkably, this step is being used to white-wash Walkergate!
- Appeal to "national unity" (in this case Wisconsin unity). This is essentially what Lee Enterprises is doing when they dismiss the ongoing investigation as "divisive" -- we will see and hear more of this in the coming months -- that the dire straights Wisconsin is in demand that we forget about crimes behind Scott Walker's rise though the ranks. We are at this step of the process.
- Political counter attack. We have seen this phase of legitimizing crimes already. This 5-step process in not entirely linear -- currently media assets like Charlie Sykes lead this chorus though Dan Bice reports that Walker, in a private meeting that Walker lies about having never taken place, he is reported to have been aggressive and uncooperative -- attacking the DA's office.
- Re-write history to seal the debate for all times. We have not entered this phase yet, but if Scott Walker, his media assets, and the billionaires behind him succeed in avoiding an "accountability moment", the story will be revised to make Walker the victim despite the fact that all crimes for which there are convictions to date solely benefited Scott Walker, the media echo chamber, and out-of-state interests like the Koch brothers.
Everything about our "divide and conquer" governor, Scott Walker, was made possible by a compliant media.
Concurrently, with little fanfare or attention, they feature at their All Politics Blog this fact that undermines their featured story: John Doe probe of Walker aides continues which includes an important snippet of truth:
The Associated Press' Scott Bauer reports today on Twitter that the John Doe probe that's focused on aides and associates of Gov. Scott Walker remains open.So why does the newspaper's frontpage headline carry the Walker disinformation that implies the probe is over and Scott Walker has been cleared? Why do they bury the truth in an obscure blog link?
Bauer attributed the status to the judge overseeing the investigation, who is Neal Nettesheim, a former state Appeals Court judge.
Nettesheim in May defended the probe against criticism of partisanship.
Walker told a dairy industry audience in Madison Tuesday that the probe, now some 2 1/2 years old, could be coming to a close this week. He said he based his assessment on media accounts and a growing sentiment the investigation was coming to an end.
This is precisely how George Orwell's "doublespeak" works and is another indication that MJS is intentionally misleading and carrying pro-Walker propaganda instead of being truthful and reporting actual news.