October 19, 2011

Recall Walker training session filled to over capacity

According even to the Bradley Foundation front group Wisconsin Reporter. As a matter of fact enthusiasm for the movement to recall Governor Scott Walker is so great it even attracted at least one suspicious interloper from the Bradley Foundation front group Wisconsin Reporter. While her tale is certainly amusing and Dem Party spokesman Zielinski is correct the outfit is generally up to no good, this was a training session for volunteers, not for the press, as evidenced by the two Democratic Party documents that Wisconsin Reporter provides.

One is a schedule of upcoming training events for volunteers, and the other is the WisDems' sign-up form for volunteers. Members of the legitimate press understand the distinction between public meetings and closed training sessions and they would do more in advance of their desire to attend than fill out the online form, which is for volunteers.

Either the Wisconsin Reporter is aware of that protocol and was being cute by trying to gain admission as a volunteer or else the Wisconsin Reporter is not aware of that protocol, in which case they come off as pretty amateurish in this latest stunt to antagonize Graeme Zielinski.

Because that's what this "story" is all about. Apparently the reporter sat and listened to remarks delivered by Kathleen Falk, the former Dane County Executive who is among the leading contenders to challenge Walker in the event of a recall election next year, but didn't see fit to report one single thing Falk said, preferring to gin up a fake controversy brought about by the alleged reporter's own questionable tactics.

If the training session was so well attended that organizers even ran out of printed packets for actual volunteers, it's no surprise that the reporter managed to essentially sneak by, given that the organizers' attention would have been necessarily focused on, well, organizing.

All in all, an entertaining diversion for the usual wing-nuts but apart from the fact that the Recall Walker volunteer enthusiasm exceeded even the organizers' expectation, there's not a lot to see here except as more evidence Wisconsin Reporter is less interested in reporting than trying to make a bigger deal out of its ongoing feud with Zielinski.

Most importantly, any legitimate news outfit that insists on using Wisconsin Reporter — or the MacGyvers or the so-called Media Trackers — as a source needs to be aware that Wisconsin Reporter may be muckracking but without any commensurate commitment to objectivity.


Cindy K. said...

It's sad that no one could photograph this capacity crowd. Just sad.

gnarlytrombone said...

do more in advance of their desire to attend than fill out the online form

Wow, I'd breezed over that. I suppose it'd be hypocritical to condemn it, given that I very much enjoyed Matt Taibbi infiltrating the Hagee cult and the Florida GOP. But at least he filed actual stories, doesn't pretend to be a white-shoe reporter and doesn't whine about being "threatened" afterward.

Display Name said...

Building a list of suspects, Cindy?

Anonymous said...

Zielinski is correct that the Wisconsin Reporter's action was unprofessional. Signing up with the Wisconsin Reporter's eaddress was not sufficient to make clear that the person was not signing up as a volunteer. And announcing that she was a member of the media only after being present at the session for a while was not sufficient, either. For example, did she take one of those packets for volunteers, when there were too few for volunteers? Did she offer to compensate the organization for the cost, in line with the Society of Professional Journalists' code of ethics re freebies? Did she accept any other free items that may have been available? Prior to her announcing that she was a member of the media, did she have contact with any other participants who did not know that?

If she did not take those steps and others that a professional ought to do, and as she was not a volunteer, the reporter was just an infiltrator and received the appropriate response. If you want to be treated as a member of the press, act as a member of the press is supposed to do -- from the start, from the first contact.

Graeme said...

For the record, I've never "threatened" Wisconsin reporter. This is a deliberately inflammatory word and I've asked for clarification-never given. I've also asked REPEATEDLY for the organization to tell me the source of its funding, since this is an important way to distinguish the bias of an organization. I've also asked the Wisconsin Reporter "reporters" whether they were subjected to the ideological litmus test that has been reported. They've refused to answer any of what I believe are sensible questions. Funny how their latest report of injury made it to the early promos of the Sykes show this morning, though, and how their previous grievances were taken up almost immediately by a panoply of right-wing blogs and news sources which receive funding by right-wing corporate front groups. I guess with Wisconsin Reporter, there are just a lot of coincidences by their innocent ol' selves.

J. Gravelle said...

I captured a few stills, Cindy:


You're welcome...


Anonymous said...

Thanks for clarifying a few more facts, Graeme. This is Anonymous again, as above -- watching your work, as I used to do when you were at UWM.

Stay cool. Stay calm. Have a script straight from the SPJ code of ethics to read to the next one from Wis Reporter. Then rinse, repeat, and reread, being a broken record.

Above all, protect the participants by informing them of the pretenders as soon as they are outed -- and then just sit back and let the public tell these faux reporters what they think of liars.

morninmist said...

Thanks for the write up.

I plan on attending a meeting near me soon.

Stay cool and best to all those that attended.

Anonymous said...

Careful Graeme, that kind of sexual innuendo gets horny housewives all wet-in-the-pants excited.

Anonymous said...

oops, meant to address Gravelle with that post.

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a comedian you are, J. Gravelle!

Jesse said...

Funding for the Wisconsin Reporter isn't hard to find.

This post details some of it.