Friday, March 06, 2009

Shady Organization’s Shady Start Requires Real Reporting

On Saturday a full array of right wing madness will be on display in downtown Milwaukee at the “Defending the American Dream” summit. According to the listed agenda the opening session will not only include all sorts of right wing politicians but will also include the 2nd official announcement of the Maciver Institute. Perhaps they will be hiring folks to fill their apparently vacant staff spots. One thing that we do know is that they will be releasing a poll.

In their first official introduction via sudden press release on Wednesday, they state that they will be releasing “results of a statewide poll on Governor Doyle’s proposed state budget, the economy and Wisconsin politics” on Saturday. But before the media just swallows up the talking points and simply reprints poll results, I certainly hope that they do their due diligence. The bottom line is that this already appears to be a shady organization that is off to a shady start. Many questions need to be asked and answered before the media just jumps on the bandwagon.

First, who is the executive director for this new organization? It has been reported that Scott Jensen was involved with starting this organization and Bruce Murphy has reported seeing documents that show a possible $120,000 salary for him. So if these documents do show that, then why is he not listed in their official launch press release or on their website? By the way, wasn’t Jensen ordered to repay the taxpayers of Wisconsin some $190,000 for legal costs associated with his first criminal felony trial? If he is involved in this group how can they have any credibility on issues of taxes, spending and personal responsibility?

Another important question that some in the media should be asking is of themselves, particularly the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and the Wisconsin State Journal. Bruce Murphy has also reported that several reporters from both papers were recruited to take a research director job at Maciver. Is this true and is this why none of them have reported a single thing about the start of this organization? If this is true, how is it not a conflict to now carry their poll and their activities without having some sort of conflict?

It is pretty clear that the major thing that Maciver has done at this point, apparently without a staff, is produce a poll. Again, before simply reporting the results of this poll, the media has a responsibility to ask some questions and point out some facts. Based on Maciver’s own description of the poll, it is pretty clear that it will serve as little more than an attack on Governor Doyle. Should this be a surprise when the President of this shady organization is Fred Luber, former Finance Co-Chair of Scott Walkers failed 2006 run for governor and major GOP bagman? If there is going to be any reporting at all on this poll, shouldn’t this be very clearly stated?

One of the other major set of questions that the media must ask about this organization is who are their funders? We know from Mark Block’s Twitter account that there is supposed to be some “very important” meeting on Saturday involving the Bradley Foundation’s Michael Grebe and former Governor Thompson disciple James Klauser. What are their roles in this? Is the Bradley Foundation funding this new right wing operation? Did they pay for this poll? Does the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and the other papers just print the results of any group’s poll in the paper without knowing such things?

How can the media treat this organization or their poll as legitimate without first asking all of these very important questions? So far this has proven to be a shady organization that is off to a very shady start and if the media doesn’t ask the important questions before reporting its talking points, then the are abdicating their most basic responsibilities and they are just as shady as all the rest.


Anonymous said...

You must be kidding. One Wisconsin Now is calling out another groupd for being shady?

Where does the funding for OWN come from? How much polling did you do during the last election?

C'mon - get real.

Cory Liebmann said...

My poor poor are sadly very confused. This is Eye on Wisconsin, not One Wisconsin Now. If you want to ask questions about them maybe you should ask on their blog. They do have a fully capable staff and Executive Director (unlike Maciver) that I'm sure would be fully willing to educate you.

Try reading and commenting to this blog post:

Zach W. said...

Nice job, Cory.