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USA Today Reporter Covering Scott Walker Campaign Signed Recall Petition

USA Today Reporter Covering Scott Walker Campaign Signed Recall Petition

Excuse me ma’am, but your bias is showing

Scott Walker is no stranger to political challengers or an adversarial press.

But what does it do to Walker’s national political aspirations when a homegrown reporter who once signed a petition to recall the Governor, happens to be covering his presidential bid for a nationally circulated paper?

Tuesday, Media Trackers reported Gannett reporter Madeleine Behr, political writer for USA Today, signed a petition to recall Walker in 2011.

Gannett media company knows Behr signed a recall petition because she disclosed as much during the interview process.

A Gannett reporter who writes for both the Appleton Post-Crescent and USA Today covering local and Wisconsin politics, including Gov. Scott Walker’s presidential bid, signed a petition in 2011 to recall Walker from office.

Madeleine Behr is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin Madison, and she wrote for a number of publications before joining Gannett earlier this year.

Her first story for the Post-Crescent appeared online on July 2, and since then she’s published 35 stories, including four that focus on Walker’s presidential bid, and others that cover the political aspirations and maneuvers of high profile Democratic candidates.

In 2012, then-Post-Crescent publisher Genia Lovett disclosed that 25 Gannett journalists, including nine at the Post-Crescent, signed Walker recall petitions, but none of them were assigned to the political beat. “It was wrong, and those who signed were in breach of Gannett’s Principles of Ethical Conduct for Newsrooms,” Lovett wrote.

There’s no mistaking Behr’s contribution to both the Post-Crescent’s and USA Today’s political coverage. On Twitter, Behr claims she is, “Covering Wisconsin politics for @USATODAY. Local government @postcrescent.”

On November 18, 2011, Behr signed a petition to recall Walker from office. The address she lists is a UW Madison residence hall.

Joel Christopher, vice president of news for Gannett Wisconsin Media, responded to a Media Trackers inquiry about Behr’s assignment to cover Walker, saying, “We indeed are aware that Madeleine signed the Gov. Scott Walker recall election petition in 2011 because Madeleine made it a priority to tell us before she even interviewed for a reporting position with us.”

Christopher further explained that, “With Madeleine and every Gannett Wisconsin journalist whose work we put in front of the public, we invite people to read with a critical eye because we’re confident they will discover strong journalism reported fairly and accurately in a nonpartisan fashion in service of the public interest.”

“Scott Walker had his own email controversy,” blares the headline of Behr’s July 30 story about Walker, which claims that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s e-mail controversy involving classified information and secret personal servers is similar to a private e-mail network established by Walker aides when he was Milwaukee County Executive.

“While Clinton has been scrutinized for her use of private email for public purposes, Walker’s county executive office once faced questions, and even a criminal investigation, over its use of a private email system to do campaign work on public time,” Behr wrote. Her story went on to quote Jay Heck of Common Cause Wisconsin, a far-left group, and a former Democratic attorney general of Wisconsin who downplayed Clinton’s actions and played up what they thought was wrong-doing on the part of Walker.

Unlike a similar Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story, Behr never mentions that it was Democrats who first compared the Clinton e-mail situation to Walker’s aides’ actions.

Other stories Behr has written for Gannett about Walker include a column musing about the importance of Iowa to Walker’s presidential prospects, his poll numbers in Wisconsin, his plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare, and his performance in the first GOP presidential debate of the cycle.

Prior to joining the Post-Crescent / USA Today, Behr wrote for the leftwing Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, a non-profit that receives public support via its offices at a University of Wisconsin facility. A piece she wrote for the group criticizing Walker’s Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) was published by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

“But the LAME STREAM MEDIA is ALL BIASED!!!!” Yeah, I know. Which is precisely why discoveries like the above must be amplified.

Follow Kemberlee Kaye on Twitter @kemberleekaye

UPDATE: The originally published version of this post credited the American Mirror for releasing the story. The American Mirror reblogged the original report from Brian Sikma at Media Trackers. This post has been updated to reflect that.


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And to think that I thought these people were reporters/journalists and not democrat party operatives! No, wait…

A leftist journalist! Man, that’s at least two I’ve heard about this year alone.


There’s another question someone should ask her: how many times did she sign a recall petition, or stated differently, how many recall petitions presented to her did she sign??

I screened recall petitions for True-the-Vote during the recall and can tell you a great many people signed numerous petitions.

The fact that Madeleine Behr is a political writer who graduated from UW-Madison tells you all you need to know. Madistan is Wisconsin’s portal to an alternate universe.

“But what does it do to Walker’s national political aspirations when a homegrown reporter who once signed a petition to recall the Governor, happens to be covering his presidential bid for a nationally circulated paper?”

About the same as it’s meant to do when FOX tried to undermine Trump with gotcha questions. And what Fox does when covering Hillary and other Democrats; and what liberal media like HuffPo does – tries to undermine the opposition candidates, and distort reality to for their own political benefit. In other words the same exact strategy LI would employ if you had approved press credentials. That’s the nature of modern media: push your own agenda. The rationale from both sides is that they’re trying to balance the slanted presentation of the other side.

But in truth, the antidotes to unbalanced news reporting soon overdose themselves and become poison to fair-balanced news reporting. This quote by Mark Twain sums it up (add/replace ‘media’ with ‘newspaper’…

“If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you’re mis-informed.”

Way more true now then in his time.

    TX-rifraph in reply to jayjerome66. | September 9, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    “That’s the nature of modern media: push your own agenda. The rationale from both sides is that they’re trying to balance the slanted presentation of the other side.”

    This is a worldview of the left where the ends justify the means.

    “In other words the same exact strategy LI would employ if you had approved press credentials.”

    Would you please support this assertion with evidence?

Here’s a Critical Eye Headline for you:

Aware Joel C-, VP of news for Gonzo Wisconsin Media, wants it to be known that he is proud of his yellow press urinalists.

    Thanks for that, Jennifer.

    But you’ve only put weight on one side of the partisan balance scale. Someone as smart and energetic as you are could have found similar evidence from the right as well. Unless your point is to put your thumb on the scale too.

    BTW, I tried find a reference to ‘Gonzo Wisconsin Media,’ and ‘yellow press urinalists’ because I wasn’t sure what that reference meant: but all that search turned of interest was a story about Scott Walker’s recent budget, where he included provisions to force public aid recipients to take a pee-in-a-cup drug test as a condition for receiving government benefits.

    I think it’s a great idea! But there’s even a more effective way for Walker to insure drunks and druggies aren’t wasting Wisconsin public money: he should have included provisions for pee-in-a-cup tests for all members of the Wisconsin State Senate, and the State Assembly, and their staffs too – and of course, the Governor and his staff too.

    Maybe Scott will get around to across the board drug testing if he’s elected President. My advice is if it looks like Walker has that in mind it might be a good idea to investigate profitable urine testing companies for investment: it’s already a business with huge gross (in both senses) profits in the hundreds of millions. Do you think any of that money is ending up in Republican coffers, as Republican lawmakers around the country have been embracing the idea of making clean urine a condition of receiving public benefits.

    If Walker is elected Prez and puts a federal drug-testing policy into motion, you can bet some of those unprincipled Lefty yellow press urinalists will start calling him the “Pee-Party President.”

    And poor Mark Twain will be turning over in his grave.

      MaggotAtBroadAndWall in reply to jayjerome66. | September 9, 2015 at 3:30 pm

      I had to pee in a cup a couple of times when I was in the military back in the early ’80s. They also told me how to cut my hair. What clothes to wear while on duty. Made me shine my boots. Scrubbed the latrine down every morning. Oh yeah, and if the politicians decided to go to war, they could have ordered me to get shot at. All for a measly few hundred bucks a month provided by taxpayers.

      Nobody is forcing welfare recipients to go on welfare. If they don’t want to pee in a cup, then the solution is to not draw welfare. But if all they have to do is pee in a cup and a bureaucrat will hand them money someone else earned, that seems like a great trade to me. Sure beats getting shot at.

        Well, a lot of them DO get shot at…or run the risk…when they score the drugs that they buy with other people’s money.

        And a lot of those on the welfare teet are not renowned for their sound decision-making, which of course includes abusing substances.

      Me trying to tip the scales. Nah!

      It’s more like I’m trying to balance the pH from acidic to neutral. So, peeing into cups is necessary, too.

      As Ben Hawk Franklin might say: One cup of clear untainted pee is worth two dollars of welfare.

        Wait! i’ve got his actual quote:

        “One cup of clear untainted pee in the hand is worth two hundred dollars of welfare in the hood.

          I like your acid to neutral example; nice turn of phrase, you’re talented with language; now if only you were less alkaline in your political positioning. But let’s return to my scale ideom.

          With this Ben Hawk Franklin $200 of welfare quote you now have your elbow on the scale. I don’t know who the ‘Hawk’ is or where the $200 amount came from (you didn’t link it), but even if a real quote, you must know pee-sampling programs to reduce drug use among public assistance recipients, and thereby save tax payer money, haven’t seemed to work well in most of the seven states who have initiated those programs.

          Utah, Tennessee, Arizona, Florida, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri – have been spending big bucks to ferret out drug users, but in some cases applicants are testing lower then the national average for drug users, and costs have exceeded savings.

          The stated purpose of Walker’s pee in a cup program is to find drug abusers and help them kick those habits, so they will be more able to find work and get off the public assistance rolls. That’s supposedly how taxpayer money will be saved. But if the programs don’t do that, and create bureaucracies that cost more then they save (a Conservative No-No) shouldn’t concerned LI writers and readers be informed?

          Shouldn’t the Hawk be saying ‘$200 of pee in the cup is really costing $400 of dough out of pocket?’

          So, what IS your concern?

          Are concerned about welfare recipients peeing into a cup to receive a check? I am not concerned about this. I have to show up at work on time, sober and drug-free and do my job to get a paycheck.

          Are you concerned about government over-spending while drug testing welfare recipients? I am not concerned about this. People who receive my tax money should be held accountable.
          At the same time as the drug testing we must also restore the Welfare Reform that was gutted by Obama the King of Food Stamps.

          “Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). The immediate effects of welfare reform were striking.
          During the four decades preceding the 1996 welfare reform, the number of participants on welfare had never significantly decreased. By 1995, nearly one in seven children was on AFDC. Yet within just a few years of TANF’s implementation, the caseload was cut in half, and employment rates and earnings among single mothers soared.
          Rather than keeping people trapped on government welfare—for an estimated average of 13 years prior to the reform—the new law sharply reduced the number of people entering welfare and moved those who were on government assistance into work.”

          And, as mentioned, if welfare people do not want to be held accountable then they should bow out of the welfare programs.

          Are you concerned about peeing into a cup? I hope not.
          Now, I am not in favor of welfare/entitlement programs except for the truly poor and then only for a limited time. These very poor people should be helped by their neighbors and churches and charities.

          I am a mainly a libertarian who is financial and social conservative. I am a Milton Friedman type libertarian up the point of Friedman’s drug policies-he’d rather there would be freedom of drug use instead of paying exorbitant sums to battle drugs and jailing people.

          I, on the other hand, hate drugs. They in no way benefit human flourishing and drug users are not the best “informed” voters in a democracy.

          I am also a conservative in the William F. Buckley sense. As a Christian I know there so many better ways for humans to flourish other than welfare and having big brother’s thumb on our lives.

          BTW: this this post was about biased journalism. I used the word ‘gonzo”. Here’s why:

          “Gonzo journalism is a style of journalism that is written without claims of objectivity, often including the reporter as part of the story via a first-person narrative. The word “gonzo” is believed to be first used in 1970 to describe an article by Hunter S. Thompson, who later popularized the style. It is an energetic first-person participatory writing style in which the author is a protagonist, and it draws its power from a combination of both social critique and self-satire. It has since been applied to other subjective artistic endeavors.”

          Hunter as gonzo journalist advocated for drugs and alcohol and insanity before he committed suicide at age 67. Now he is immortalized by the Left and by counterculture wannabes.

          “gonzo journalism” and its practitioners suggested that a deeper truth could be found in the ambiguous zones between fact and fiction.

Walker’s county executive office once faced questions, and even a criminal investigation, over its use of a private email system to do campaign work on public time,” Behr wrote.

Politicians can’t use public resources to do political activities so that have to use private email systems.

But they complain about politicians doing political activities! OMG!

USA Today Reporter Covering Scott Walker Campaign Signed Recall Petition

mmm… sorta like Hugh Hewitt but payed with Socialist dollars instead of RINO dollars.

Funny how this is apparently ignored…

Watch: Stop Iran Rally Livestream Featuring Trump, Cruz, Palin

    Ragspierre in reply to VotingFemale. | September 9, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    I don’t know who you think is ignoring it. The Mushroom Media, very like, yah.

    But those Jebites at FOX are live-streaming it. Among others.

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | September 9, 2015 at 2:51 pm

She signed a recall petition seeking Walker’s removal from office prior to the expiration of his term. That is more than passive participation in the political process. It is activism. It forces the majority of Wisconsin voters who duly elected Walker to be their governor to defend their vote in an expensive and unscheduled election because she is a sore loser who didn’t like the outcome of his election.

She should disclose at the end of each story she writes about Walker that she signed the recall petition. Then readers would know that she is political activist who sought to nullify the will of the majority. They could then judge the value of her reporting accordingly.

Anyone who compares Walker’s email issue with Clinton, H.’s, is clueless. Secretary of State versus county executive?

As for drug tests for welfare recipients and elected officials:

As another observed, welfare recipients get other people’s money; elected officials are chosen by vote by citizens. No comparison. And the idea that anyone is buying into testing firms because of these laws falls into ridiculousness. These are desperate measures by desperate taxpayers’ representatives, to rein in the overspending on welfare by able-bodied recipients.

I’ve heard that Florida’s requirement cut rolls by 40%!!! Massive!!!! People just didn’t want to take the test. So they were able bodied enough to find another way to make ends meet, and taxpayers kept more of their own income. Bloody well right!

    jayjerome66 in reply to CloseTheFed. | September 9, 2015 at 7:40 pm

    You heard wrong about Florida.

    The drug testing program was a failure, law suits galore, and a low number of applicants who tested positive for drugs, about 100 out of 4,000, between 2 to 3 percent. The most common drug found was marijuana.

    The program was only in operation a few months before it was shut down. But in that short time it cost the state $118,000: More then would have been paid out in benefits to those who failed the test. The reason for the loss of money, which would have been ongoing at the low failure rate, was because the Florida law required applicants to pay for their drug tests up front, but the money was reimbursed to those who passed. At $30 a test, 97% of the total was paid by the taxpayers of Florida. It was bloody screwup legislation. And Walker is walking ether taxpayers of his state down the same road.

      jayjerome66 in reply to jayjerome66. | September 9, 2015 at 7:44 pm

      That’s walking the taxpayers……

      Ragspierre in reply to jayjerome66. | September 9, 2015 at 8:12 pm

      Well, that is not exactly true.

      Big surprise. No “law suits galore”. Just one by the ACLU.

      It only lasted a few months before the courts over-rode the republican government of the people of Florida.

      But you can read it yourselves and see if JJTrombone gave it to us straight.

        jayjerome66 in reply to Ragspierre. | September 10, 2015 at 2:58 pm

        “Big surprise. No “law suits galore”. Just one by the ACLU.”

        OK, I’ll make that “law suits protracted and expensive.” Still law suits PLURAL.

        You want to bet your ass it wasn’t just one suit by the ACLU?

        But even if it was a single suit and not law suits galore, everything else I said was accurate. But there you go getting all narcissistic, looking to nitpick small inconsequential details to build up your own fragile ego.

        Why so small minded? I could do that to your posts regularly, and pick out misstatements of fact and opinion. But I don’t when they’re mixed in with things that make sense.

        For example, your comments the other day about not seeing immigrants flooding across the Northern border, because Canadians “have a standard of living very similar to our own.” You used that example to reinforce your theory of ‘gradients.’ The theory was OK, but Canadians as an example was not.

        A million legal Canadians immigrants live in the US, and another 65,000 to 75,000 are here illegally. Nearly 10% of Canadian citizens live outside their country — a pretty high percentage compared to 1.75% of Americans, 2.5% of Chinese, 3,3% of the French.’ In your next iteration of ‘gradients’ you should chose one of those for your example.

        But I didn’t jump on your back and call you a liar for understating the substantial number of Canadians who keep coming here, did I? I didn’t nit-pick the theory for one poor example.

        But if you want to keep huffing and puffing, go ahead. All that hot air has to be dispelled, to keep the narcissism from reaching critical mass.

        BTW I like the JJTrombone name. It’s one of my favorite instruments.

      You would expect a low number of applicants to test positive, because most those who would have tested positive would have dropped out and not taken the test.

        jayjerome66 in reply to Milhouse. | September 10, 2015 at 1:42 pm

        Mihouse, how they hanging, dude?

        You’d expect the drop out rate to be high, but they weren’t in the studies I’ve been able to find so far.

        In Florida:
        “Of the 4,086 applicants who scheduled drug tests while the law was enforced, 108 people, or 2.6 percent, failed, most often testing positive for marijuana. About 40 people scheduled tests but canceled them, according to the Department of Children and Families, which oversees Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, known as the TANF program.”

        In Arizona:
        “Checking in again in March, the Arizona Sonora News Service cited state Department of Economic Security figures which found that over the course of more than five years, “42 people have been asked to take a follow-up drug test and 19 actually took the test, 16 of whom passed. The other 23 were stripped of their benefits for failing to take the drug test.”

        That adds up to a grand total of three failed tests from 2009-2014. The net savings reaped from withholding benefits for those who either tested positive or failed to complete a drug test was around $3,500, once the $500 cost of testing the 19 is factored in, according to one state agency report. The haul is shockingly unimpressive when you consider the $1.7 million in savings state officials promised when they began the program.”