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.


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.