Monday, December 17, 2012

"Pants On Fire" Rating For Walker Jobs' Misinformation Should Raise Paper's Ire

Readers of the Journal Sentinel probably saw that the news side of the operation handed Scott Walker a scoring of "pants on fire" for his false claim to have created nearly 100,000 jobs.

The context, of course, is Walker's signature pledge made during his 2010 gubernatorial campaign, and repeated during the 2012 recall, that he'd preside over the creation of 250,000 new jobs (and 10,000 new businesses, to boot) by the end of one term.

Close readers of the paper also saw that, beginning today, there will no longer be daily editorials, as that page is redesigned and redefined.

So the question is: will the paper editorially comment on the PolitFact finding? Put another way, does the Editorial Board which endorsed Walker in his campaigns for Governor and Milwaukee County Executive think the issues raised by Walker's own words are worth the board's commentary?

Editorials that comment on staff-generated news stories have been commonplace at the newspaper, and others - - a sort of a one-two punch that helps focus attention on an important matter at hand.

A deeper look at Walker's entire PolitiFact history shows relatively few "true" and "mostly true" ratings - - just 11 out of 59 - - with more than 60% of Walker statements the paper has investigated under the PolitiFact flag carried ratings and findings containing the word "false."

People on the left and right argue about PolitiFact, find fault with it when it is aimed their way, and cheer when the other side gets skewered, but the math underlying the jobs claim's "pants on fire" analysis and his total true/false PolitiFact dichotomy don't lie.

The paper's editorial board should confront Walker's jobs claim, and his PolitiFact record in full. and hold him accountable.

After all, he is the Governor, atop the state government to which he said, on a still-existing campaign website, he would bring the highest standards:

"The culture of government has destroyed the integrity and the idea of public service," said Walker. "My plan seeks to restore the public trust, and instill the confidence that our elected leaders are working for the people," Walker added.

1 comment:

Rich Eggleston said...

When I arrived in Wisconsin to work for a small daily, then for a large wire service, the Milwaukee Journal was regarded as -- and considered itself -- the state's paper of record. Times have changed, and journalism especially has changed. I haven't heard such a claim by or on behalf of the Journal Sentinel.