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COMMENTARY: Bad journalism, bad medicine for libs in salacious Walker 'story'

By   /   June 3, 2012  /   No Comments

By M.D. Kittle Wisconsin Reporter

MADISON – OMG! This is repulsive.

You know the “story” that made the rounds over the weekend about Scott Walker’s love child?

Turns out that “report,” which depends on the account of Bernadette Gillick, a University of Minnesota professor and reported former roommate of the alleged mother of said love child, is as close to the truth as Milwaukee violent crime statistics.

Turns out, the “reporters” got the wrong Walker.

OMG! This is ironic.

The “news organization” that put this piece of crap together, the Wisconsin’s Citizens Media Cooperative, headlined this complete lack of journalistic integrity, “Integrity: The Child Scott Walker Left Behind.”

According to its website, the co-op is a group of citizen journalists who began covering the "Wisconsin Uprising" in February 2011. "We came from different walks of life, different professional backgrounds and different parts of the state to document the dismantling of democratic process and tradition taking place in the state under the rightwing onslaught of the Scott Walker regime."

Shorthand: They hate Scott Walker and his reforms and the reporting flows from there. Got it.

OMG! This is absolutely sad.

With a couple of days before Wisconsin’s historic gubernatorial election when voters will decide the political fates of embattled Republican Gov. Scott Walker and his Democratic opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, this load of innuendo, rumor and allegations – though debunked – was nevertheless rabidly picked up by the liberal network as a kind of Hail Mary play. Trailing in the polls, Barrett's backers apparently thought this story might save their candidate.

More sadly, beyond the basement-dwelling liberal bloggers, the Daily Kos, one of the more respected and widely followed liberal websites, ran with the Walker love child piece.

“OMFG!! Scott Walker’s Got A Love Child,” the esteemed Kos contributor PVTJarhead ecstatically declared on the website. 

The site later updated and corrected the nonsense.

“The story that Scott Walker abandoned his pregnant girlfriend in college (dKos diary link) apparently failed the first test of verification by a professional reporter. Daniel Bice, the "Watchdog" columnist of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Online interviewed the anonymous woman who had the baby, but she adamantly denied that Scott Walker was the father according to a comment by Daniel Bice to the linked story.”

Bice is no friend of the Walker camp; conservatives say he has pursued the John Doe investigation surrounding Walker with the zeal of a Democratic partisan. But here's what Bice had to say about the co-op’s (or is that commune?) hideous account, according to Daily Kos:

Daniel Bice June 3, 2012 at 3:15 amReply

I am getting a lot of emails because of this post. Two things: (1) I tracked down and talked to Dr. Gillick’s freshman-year roommate at (Marquette University) yesterday, and she adamantly denies that Walker is the father of her child. Yes, she got pregnant as a first-year student, but she believes Dr. Gillick is mixing up stories; and (2) I Can Read CCAP has taken a family court suit involving Scott Alan Walker and mixed it up with the governor, Scott Kevin Walker.

In recanting its story, Kos seemed to express some faint hope that there’s a Bice impersonator out there:*Note, you can get into a lot of trouble impersonating an investigative reporter – the mainstream media seems to all the time.

"We need to be careful with stories like this that haven't been verified. Yes, someone could be impersonating Daniel Bice, but the comment rings true to me. Yes, the woman who had the baby could be covering up for some undisclosed reason, but we have zero evidence of that. Note, the official CCAP family court records that Daniel Bice and others accessed do not indicate that governor Scott Walker was the father," Kos wrote.

Wisconsin Reporter did the record check. The comments from "Daniel Bice" hold up. See.

Zero evidence.

Yet, as of Sunday evening, the salacious, miserable excuse for reporting remained on the Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative website.

I will not insult your intelligence. If you want to read it, you can do so here.

But the piece includes an accompanying, “Editorial: On Integrity.” Go figure: The co-op has editors, but apparently no fact checkers.

“The allegations are serious, and based on our research we judged Dr. Gillick to be a highly credible source,” the editorial states.

The good Dr. Gillick, wasn't heard from over the weekend. Wisconsin Reporter attempted to reach her on her University of Minnesota email account late Sunday. No replay.

Bice reportedly got in touch with Gillick's roommate, the one Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative identified as Ruth (not her real name), the one Gillick reportedly claims carried Scott Walker's love child.

Here’s what some readers of the “story” thought about it.

• “Wouldn’t a shorter, and more true, explanation be: We want Walker to lose, regardless of provable facts or integrity,” posted a commenter identifying himself as bob on the co-op’s website.
• DeelinHouston was not as kind: “What an idiot. This story has already been shown to be false by the ultra-lib Daily Koz. But keep on believing it, moron.” Deel found particularly funny the co-op’s claim about what it saw as the failure of the “modern established press” to run the story. “We see ourselves not as gatekeepers, but as responsible messengers,” the co-op’s editorial boldly stated.

In fact, there’s a good reason most media – not all – but most didn’t touching this flaming pile of awful: it isn’t true.

This group has had problems with the truth in its brief run. But the latest incident, it seems, takes the bad journalism cake.

The co-op said no one from Republican leadership would comment. Can you blame them?

Wisconsin Reporter tried to contact Tom Barrett’s campaign about the false allegations, still represented as fact and like fire in the liberal blogosphere. That call was not returned.

Liberal blogger Uppity Wisconsin boldly quipped this:

"Yesterday, the University of Minnesota's Dr. Bernadette Gillick was best known as a nationally recognized scientist for her research into how the brain recovers from injuries.

"After today, she will likely be forever known for coming forward and telling the world that Scott Walker fathered a child and refused to take responsibility for it while at Marquette" University.

Maybe. But right now, is that a good thing?

Bob Kiefert, vice chairman of the Brown County Democratic Party said there’s no room in this race for that kind of reporting. He said Democrats are working hard to get voters to the polls with hours remaining before the monumental election.

“I personally don’t report that type of thing,” he told Wisconsin Reporter. “It doesn’t live up to the standards we should uphold for political discourse we should have in Madison and everywhere in the state.”

OMG! Reason returns.