WI: Wisconsin Reporter kicked out of Democrats’ state convention

By   /   June 8, 2012  /   News  /   No Comments

By Wisconsin Reporter

The Wisconsin Capitol in Madison.

APPLETON – Democratic Party of Wisconsin spokesman Graeme Zielinski is at it again, this time throwing Wisconsin Reporter beat reporter Ryan Ekvall out of the party’s state convention, Friday at the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel in Appleton.

Wisconsin Reporter was in Appleton to talk with rank-and-file members and leadership about the party’s strategy following the Democrats defeat in Tuesday’s historic recall election.

Zielinski interrupted Ekvall during an interview with a conventioneer in the hotel’s lobby, telling Ekvall he could not interview Democrats.

When Ekvall protested, Zielinski responded, “You just want to see what you can do to cause problems.”

Ekvall recorded the exchange on video.

“That’s exactly what Wisconsin Reporter does. They have a history of that in that organization,” Zielinski tells hotel security.

Zielinski walks off toward the security department. When the video resumes, someone off-camera tells him that Ekvall can speak to people in public areas of the hotel.

“Not in here,” Zielinski replies. “I mean, he can go on the, on the, you know .. . but we don’t want him here . . . . He’s bought and paid for by the same people that bought and paid for Scott Walker. So we don’t want them here.

Zielinski then points at the camera.

“And please don’t film me, please don’t film me,” he says.

Ekvall takes the camera off Zielinski and points it at the spokesman’s feet.

“All I’m saying is . . . .” Ekvall attempts to explain.

“Please turn that off,” Zielinski says.

“Why? I want to have a record of what’s said. I don’t know what you’re going to say about it later,” Ryan says.

“Please turn that off,” Zielinski says.

“This is just a record,” Ekvall says.

“Please leave,” Zielinski said. “This is not a record. You’re not a reporter. You’re not a reporter. And you’re still recording.”

Hotel security told Ekvall that he could remain in the hotel lobby and interview convention-goers, if they approved.

But Zielinski persists. In the video, he guides Ekvall out the door of the hotel and tells him, “You can stay out here.” On his way back into the hotel, Zielinski tells convention door guards that Ekvall lacks appropriate credentials. Ekvall protests that he is, in fact, credentialed by the Capitol press corps.

“I’m credentialed for the Capitol, but not for the Democratic Party, I guess,” Ekvall concludes.

Ekvall said he re-entered the hotel with permission of hotel staff and continued interviewing convention-goers. That’s when Zielinski reappeared — this time with a camera-wielding associate.

“I guess they were recording me,” Ekvall said. “But I kept interviewing people. I don’t know what their point was with the camera.”


Will is the vice president of journalism at the Franklin Center and editor of Watchdog.org. You can reach him at [email protected]