Gov. Scott Walker (R, Wisconsin) and the Washington Post’s institutional bias.

You’ve no doubt already heard that Scott Walker is, yea, indeed, running for President – with a hundred ‘Throne of Skulls’ jokes already blossoming on Twitter – but I don’t want to hit that.  I want to hit a problem that I have with the Washington Post’s reporting on the subject.  This passage, in particular:

[Scott Walker’s] decision to take on public employee unions in Wisconsin in early 2009 created huge protests around the state Capitol building in Madison and left the state deeply polarized around his leadership…. That anger resulted in a recall election in 2012, which Walker survived. He went on to win his reelection campaign last November by a comfortable margin, and his three victories in four years have made him a hero among many conservatives.

Bolding mine.  Here’s the thing.  In the 2012 recall election, Scott Walker beat Tom Barrett, 53/46. According to the Washington Post, that’s ‘surviving.’ And in the 2014 general election Scott Walker beat Mary Burke, 52/47.  According to the, erm, Washington Post, that’s ‘comfortable.’  Presumably the Washington Post would also concede that Scott Walker’s 2010 general election 52/46 win over Barrett was also ‘comfortable?’ …The point is, strictly speaking either all three elections were won by ‘comfortable’ margins, or none of them were. Particularly since Walker did better in the recall than in the general elections, if only by a hair.

And that’s media bias in action.  It might even be unconscious media bias, at that.  Here is the basic reality of the Wisconsin public union fight: from beginning to ignominious end Democratic and progressive activists conducted themselves as if they were spoiled, vicious children.  The electorate spanked them for it: there is no credible way that any anti-Walker fanatic can presume to speak for Wisconsin. Wisconsin refused to let the anti-Walker fanatics win.  It’s not that Scott Walker was the hero of that particular story (although most conservatives would happily call him one) as he was the protagonist.  Walker, from start to finish, had all the agency in that conflict. Scott Walker did not ‘survive’ his recall election. He smashed the recall movement to the floor and walked away, whistling.

But apparently the Washington Post’s editorial staff don’t want to present that in those terms – and that’s going to be a perennial problem for our eventual candidate, whoever he or she might be*.  It is a natural thing to want to present both your victories and defeats in the best possible light. I do it myself. But I flatter myself that I wouldn’t try to pretend that the (technically) best election result in a field of three was actually unambiguously the worst. Perhaps I’m wrong: perhaps I would have flunked that particular character test.  Pretty obvious that the Washington Post already has flunked it, though…

Moe Lane (crosspost)

*I like Scott Walker, like his record, and thought that he gave a good speech just now. But it’s only January of 2015. Let’s see how he does in the primary scrum first. No coronations: we call ourselves Republicans for a reason.

16 thoughts on “Gov. Scott Walker (R, Wisconsin) and the Washington Post’s institutional bias.”

  1. Forget that nosie, I am unapologetically Scott Walker guy. Clearly I don’t agree with everything that he’s done, but the guy got results and I like that most of all.

        1. Rubio remains dead to me.
          A stint running FL would perhaps allow him a shot at redemption.

    1. yeah, I don’t think “survive” necessarily connotes closeness, merely that he won. that doesn’t necessarily mean WaPo’s not displaying bias with the choice of word, but its plausibly deniable.

      1. And then there’s the classic example of weaponized journalism, Pravda‘s report on a car race in pre-Wall Berlin:
        “The Soviet Moskvitch placed second in the race, while the poor American Ford was next to last.”
        (Yes, it was a two-car race.)

  2. The recall was also 57% turnout which is higher then any WI Gubernatorial election in recent history, and comparable to turnout in a Presidential election. Also it happened in the middle of the Summer so, as Rebecca Kleefisch said “This is what Democracy looks like!” which bugs the Left more then anything else.

  3. i’ll be perfectly happy if he survives November 8, 2016. or barely scrapes by. or edges out the commie slime-ball flavor of the month.

  4. And what is more, Scott Walker has that bland, Midwestern, Jimmy Stewart thing going for him. He is so…normal…in appearance and behavior it probably scares the devil out of all of the SJW-types no matter where they may be or which party they nominally are part of. What is worse (from the SJW and Democrat POV so much as I can see it) is that he is so happy, at ease, and cheerful. His persona must be like garlic to a vampire – to them.

  5. If I had to vote for someone today, based on everything I know about them up to this point and my projections of their likely performance as President, I would vote for Scott Walker. Having said that, there are at least three other people likely to be in the field whom I could see myself supporting in the primary with no qualms, and easily another half-dozen whom I would happily vote for in the general ahead of anyone the Democrats cared to put up. (And then several more whom I would not so happily vote for, but I’d still pull the lever anyway.) Who’s to say that one of those won’t show themselves to be better in the debates and on the campaign trail?
    Moe’s right. Long way to November 2016.

      1. An embarrassment of riches, really. And yet I have no optimism that the GOP will manage to field a good candidate

        1. That’s because the selection process goes through Iowa and South Carolina, which are noted for voting for the candidate who promises the most ethanol subsidies and the most theocratic approach to governance.

  6. Also, all three margins are greater than Barack Obama’s nationwide reelection margin. Does anybody ever say he “survived” against Mitt Romney?

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