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Media Malpractice – Report false criminal accusations against Walker, but not contrary judicial rulings

Media Malpractice – Report false criminal accusations against Walker, but not contrary judicial rulings

Multiple judges have found there was no crime even if what prosecutors claim was true. (Update – Walker interview added)

The big breaking news in the “John Doe” anti-Conservative Wisconsin investigation is that the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals released previously sealed court exhibits detailing accusations made at the time the Wisconsin prosecutors commenced the proceeding.

So you get screaming headlines such as these:

Headlines Scott Walker Accused of criminal scheme

What is not being reported, is that multiple judges have found that the alleged criminal conduct was not in fact criminal even if the factual allegations were true. Here is part of Federal Judge Renda’s opinion, which remains in effect halting the John Doe investigation, in a case brought by two of the targets:

The standard to apply in these cases was recently made clear by the Supreme Court in McCutcheon. Any campaign finance regulation, and any criminal prosecution resulting from the violation thereof, must target activity that results in or has the potential to result in quid pro quo corruption….

It is undisputed that O‘Keefe and the Club engage in issue advocacy, not express advocacy or its functional equivalent. Since § 11.01(16)‘s definition of political purposes must be confined to express advocacy, the plaintiffs cannot be and are not subject to Wisconsin‘s campaign finance laws by virtue of their expenditures on issue advocacy….

While the defendants deny that their investigation is motivated by animus towards the plaintiffs‘ conservative viewpoints, it is still unlawful to target the plaintiffs for engaging in vigorous advocacy that is beyond the state‘s regulatory reach….

The plaintiffs have been shut out of the political process merely by association with conservative politicians. This cannot square with the First Amendment and what it was meant to protect.

A state court judge similarly found the accusations frivolous in refusing to issue subpoenas, Big defeat for anti-conservative Wisconsin “John Doe” probe.

So the media headlines are all about the accusations — accusations which have been rejected multiple times by judges.

This is what the opposition to Walker wanted, headlines making criminal accusations.

UPDATE: Read Christian Schneider’s column in reaction to the document release, Zero evidence of a Walker “criminal scheme”:

However, missing from all these accounts was one small fact: Shortly after prosecutors made the “criminal scheme” charge, it was rejected by the presiding judge, Gregory Peterson. On Dec. 9, 2013, prosecutor Francis Schmitz filed a motion in opposition to quashing subpoenas in the case in which he made the “criminal scheme” allegation. On Jan. 10, 2014, Peterson threw out Schmitz’s motion, saying that it “failed to show probable cause that a crime had been committed.”

In fact, Peterson was only the first judge to rule against prosecutors. Last month, ruling on a lawsuit brought by the defendants, federal Judge Rudolph Randa shut down the entire investigation, issuing a sternly worded rebuke to prosecutors pursing Walker and his allies. So despite all the celebrating liberal groups were doing with the release of the documents on Thursday, few of them knew that the case is currently dead….

That is why the prosecution’s case was so weak, it resulted in exactly zero criminal charges. But fortunately for the left, they received the headlines they need to jab Walker in the upcoming election. They’ve won by losing. And rendered the justice system optional in the process.

And also Nathan Schacht, Ignore The Hype: Courts Killed The Anti-Walker Fishing Expedition Weeks Ago.

Governor Walker responded on Twitter tonight:

Twitter - Scott Walker re Prosecutor Allegations in Media June 19 2014


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I’m old enough to remember when a prime requisite for being a member of “the press” (which is a dumb misnomer) was not being a Collectivist bung-sucker.

    platypus in reply to Ragspierre. | June 19, 2014 at 10:46 pm

    And that makes you REALLY old. 🙂

    Valerie in reply to Ragspierre. | June 20, 2014 at 11:26 am

    Hop on over the and search for this story and the Lois Lerner debacle. These are libertarian tech-savvy types and lots of kids who think they are. You will be pleasantly surprised on some topics.

stevewhitemd | June 19, 2014 at 4:10 pm

Battle-space preparation for 2016. The prosecutors have been thwarted in using the John Doe law to go after Governor Walker, so they’re turning their lemons into lemonade.

Prof. Jacobson’s argument is the correct one, of course, but it’s not the one the public will hear. By late 2015 / early 2016 all the public will remember is that Walker was accused of doing illegal stuff. That’s what matters to the Democrats, and remember, it’s the Democratic prosecutors and their operatives behind this.

Battle-space preparation. The Democrats are superb at it, and the Republicans suck at it.

    platypus in reply to stevewhitemd. | June 19, 2014 at 10:52 pm

    The obvious remedy to their false narrative is to sue them for malicious prosecution, and include all the favorable judicial rulings as attachments to the complaint.

    Toss in a few claims for civil rights violations (based on First Amendment and Citizens United decision) for good measure. Call a press conference and announce it would be unconscionable to allow such egregious political crap to escape unpunished; ergo the lawsuit. Close by saying that there will be no further comment on the lawsuit; referring all queries to the attorneys.

    That is how it’s done.

stevewhitemd | June 19, 2014 at 4:12 pm

And one more thought: if the Club for Growth in Wisconsin really wanted to deliver a message, they’d find a way to challenge these prosecutors in the next election in which the prosecutors stand.

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | June 19, 2014 at 4:21 pm

The Founders gave us a free press. Nobody said it is a fair press.

Midwest Rhino | June 19, 2014 at 4:32 pm

ianal, but wasn’t the real crime, the fact that some leftists illicitly used government office to silence and threaten conservative citizen activists, while making false allegations against Walker, in a malicious effort to cripple his potential presidential candidacy?

Or have Holder, Lerner, et al., standardized/legalized using government as a leftist weapon for attacking traditional America? Is selective non-enforcement now the law of the land?

Name the prosecutors.

Post their photographs. Post their email addresses and their telephone numbers.

Mock them without mercy.

    At what point can a valid defense be that the prosecutor obviously doesn’t understand the law, based on his/her previous attempts at accusing others of non-crimes?

    When might that provide the requisite “shadow of a doubt”?


    You said ‘name the prosecutors.’ I submit that you forgot the rest of the sentence: ‘as defendants in a lawsuit for damages.’

I’m sad to say, this isn’t a surprise anymore. The press gives all benefit of doubt to liberal-leaning politicians, but for conservatives an accusation – any accusation, even an empty one unsupported by law – is as good as an admission of guilt.

I’d be willing to bet that a majority of Americans – especially liberals – still believe that Benghazi was the result of a YouTube video, and that “Fast & Furious” is just a movie about racing cars.

Why? Because the press doesn’t report the other half. They don’t report on the results of the investigations against Democrats (unless the Dems are found non-culpable, of course), and they don’t print retractions of false and derogatory statements made against conservatives.

And why should they? If they’re called on their malpractice, they can just claim, “Oh, that was an opinion piece, not real reporting,” and it stands. Who puts “opinion pieces” on the front page, above the fold?

We’ve cut the cord and refuse to feed the beast. I for one don’t need 40 pages of liberal lies propaganda “opinion pieces” masquerading as “investigative reporting” filling my box every day.

Spiny Norman | June 19, 2014 at 6:33 pm

According to the Journal-Sentinel readers, two separate judges saying the prosecution has no case is actually proof that they themselves are part of the Walker criminal scheme.

Juba Doobai! | June 19, 2014 at 7:49 pm

Punch back twice as hard. Dig all the dirt that can be found on democrats and publicize it. Make hme pay the price, starting with the prosecutors.

It appears the left is attempting to use the same tactics against Walker that it did against Sarah Palin after the 2008 election.

    platypus in reply to bw222. | June 19, 2014 at 11:17 pm

    Well, I wish they’d pick on me like that. Sarah & Co became multimillionaires, as well as the darlings of the conservatives.

    Collateral damage, I suppose. Or unintended consequences.

What I read in today’s San Diego Union-Tribune was at best a false-light publication. While the standard for Gov. Walker may be actual malice, other defendants were private citizens, to whom a different standard applies.

There’s a cause of action, here, especially in light of the holdings that the lawsuit was frivolous.

inspectorudy | June 20, 2014 at 4:35 pm

Here in Atlanta the bird cage liner, the AJC, had the AP headline that Walker is being investigated for political collusion with other political groups. Absolutely no mention of the two verdicts that cleared him totally. This is the way of the msm today. Lying by omission. Look at the IRS scandal, the nightly network news agencies have not mentioned it one time since last Friday. Any wonder that obama knows how to use this ignorance.

Oh, and look here, the Washington Post has outed CNN for orchestrating an interview of Hillary Clinton.

I can forgive them for pulling in a DC crowd, but the cheerleader was well beyond out-of-line.