June 26, 2011

Update: AP Still Won’t Acknowledge Both Sides of Wis. Supreme Court Judges’ Altercation

AssociatedPressAbsolutePropagandaGiven a chance to revise and extend its 9:58 a.m. report (covered this afternoon at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) on the June 13 altercation between Wisconsin Supreme Court Judges David Prosser, Jr. and Ann Walsh Bradley, the Associated Press’s 5:29 p.m. version persists in telling its national audience only one side of the story.

Although the fact is that accounts as to who was the aggressor completely differ, the wire service’s oddly unbylined story (a 650-word AP item usually has a byline — it’s almost as if someone doesn’t want their name on it) will cause its readers, including subscribing news outlets around the country, to believe that the only open question is whether and how hard Prosser choked Bradley. One suspects that AP’s “fairness” defense will be the employment of these three words in Paragraph 8: “While accounts differ …” Sorry guys, that doesn’t cut it when the accounts are totally opposite.

Here are excerpts from that AP report (saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes):

A member of the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s liberal faction has accused a conservative justice of choking her during an argument in her office earlier this month – a charge he denied.

Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Justice David Prosser put her in a chokehold during the dispute. She contacted the newspaper late Saturday after Prosser denied rumors about the altercation.

“The facts are that I was demanding that he get out of my office and he put his hands around my neck in anger in a chokehold,” Bradley told the newspaper.

… The argument took place June 13, the day before the court, in a 4-3 decision that included a blistering dissent, ruled that Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi overstepped her authority when she declared the polarizing union law void. While accounts differ, the justices were apparently discussing the decision and its timing.

The AP ignored the opposing version of the story which appeared early Saturday evening at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, even though the time stamp on the wire service’s report is over 20 hours later, and even though it was an earlier Journal Sentinel report which formed the basis for both the current story and the AP’s coverage this morning (bolds are mine):

another source told the Journal Sentinel that Bradley attacked Prosser.

“She charged him with fists raised,” the source said.

Prosser “put his hands in a defensive posture,” the source said. “He blocked her.”

In doing so, the source said, he made contact with Bradley’s neck.

Another source said the justices were arguing over the timing of the release of the opinion, which legislative leaders had insisted they needed by June 14 because of their work on the state budget. As the justices discussed the case, Abrahamson said she didn’t know whether the decision would come out this month, the source said.

At that point, Prosser said he’d lost all confidence in her leadership. Bradley then came across the room “with fists up,” the source said. Prosser put up his hands to push her back.

Bradley then said she had been choked, according to the source. Another justice – the source wouldn’t say who – responded, “You were not choked.”

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air raised an important point about the Bradley-as-aggressor version which I overlooked earlier today relating to the words bolded in the above excerpt:

… that looks like two sources for the JSO version supporting Prosser and one for the WW version supporting Bradley as the victim.

Madison, Wisconsin blogger Ann Althouse has also made this inconvenient (for Bradley’s defenders) “two vs. one” point.

“WW” is WisconsinWatch.org, aka “The nonprofit Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism … which also collaborates with Wisconsin Public Television, the UW-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication and other news media.” WW originally “broke” Bradley’s side of the story (including the Journal Sentinel’s first version), while “somehow” not learning of the alternative version of events.

WW’s work has been exposed as incomplete at the very least and arguably agenda-driven.

Meanwhile, as the AP refuses to acknowledge what appears to be the majority argument in favor of Prosser’s version of events, I believe I have uncovered a clue as to the unbylined item’s author in this paragraph from the story:

Leaders in the Republican-controlled Legislature had pushed for a decision by June 14 because they were working on the state budget, and Walker’s proposal depended on expected savings from the law. Along with limiting most public employees’ bargaining rights, it requires them to pay 12 percent of their health insurance costs and 5.8 percent of their pension costs.

That paragraph repeats a drop-dead obvious mischaracterization of the bill’s provisions — affected employees will really pay 5.8% of their gross pay into the state’s retirement system, not 5.8% of the related costs — which was present in a June 15 AP report on public-sector unions’ filing of a lawsuit attempting to overturn the related law, commonly known as the “Budget Repair bill.”

That reported was authored by the AP’s Scott Bauer. If it’s his work, it would not exactly be out of character for Bauer, whose reportage in the four months since the confrontations over the bill began has been consistently anti-Walker and pro-public sector union, to ignorantly or deliberately leave out Prosser’s defense.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

AP Predictably Tells Only One Side of Wis. Judges’ Altercation

Despite the accumulated reportage and commentary available to the Associated Press this morning, the wire service, at 9:58 a.m. Eastern Time (saved here for future reference, fair use, and discussion purposes), only reported on one side of the story relating to an altercation that took place between Wisconsin Supreme Court Justices David Prosser, Jr. and Ann Walsh Bradley. In doing so, it ignored the existence of a follow-up story published at least 12 hours earlier at the Milwaukee Journal, the newspaper it cites as the primary source of its original coverage.

In AP-Land, despite contrary assertions, the conservative Prosser is the alleged choking aggressor, and the left-leaning Bradley the supposed innocent victim. Taking all known accounts into consideration, the matter is hardly so clear-cut.

Prosser “just so happens” to have won a hotly contested Supreme Court race in April which was seen as a referendum on the popularity of 2011 Wisconsin Act 10, commonly known as the “Budget Repair Bill,” which imposed out-of-pocket pension and health insurance premium costs on most Badger State public-sector workers while limiting their collective-bargaining rights. On June 14, the Supreme Court reinstated the law, overruling a Dane County judge who the court ruled had usurped her authority in nullifying the law on procedural grounds. Act 10 appears to be set to become law on July 1.

Here are key paragraphs from the unbylined AP report (internal link added by me):

Wisconsin justice accuses colleague of choking her

A Wisconsin Supreme Court justice has accused another justice of choking her during an argument in her office earlier this month – a charge her colleague denied.

Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Justice David Prosser put her in a chokehold during the dispute. She contacted the newspaper late Saturday after Prosser denied rumors about the altercation.

“The facts are that I was demanding that he get out of my office and he put his hands around my neck in anger in a chokehold,” Bradley told the newspaper.

Prosser said in a statement the allegations “will be proven false” once a “proper review of the matter and the facts surrounding it are made clear.”

Wisconsin Public Radio and the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, quoting anonymous sources, reported Saturday that the argument occurred before the Supreme Court’s decision earlier this month upholding Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s bill eliminating most of public employees’ collective bargaining rights.

… AP’s description is at the very least irresponsible, in light of the following item published at the Journal Sentinel yesterday at about 6:30 p.m. Central Time (based on when the first comments appeared; bolds are mine):

Sources told the Journal Sentinel two very different stories Saturday about what occurred. Some confirmed Bradley’s version. According to others, Bradley charged Prosser, who raised his hands to defend himself and made contact with her neck.

A joint investigation by Wisconsin Public Radio and the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism first reported on the incident early Saturday, stating that Prosser “allegedly grabbed” Bradley around the neck.

Before Bradley spoke to the Journal Sentinel, Prosser issued a statement that said: “Once there’s a proper review of the matter and the facts surrounding it are made clear, the anonymous claim made to the media will be proven false. Until then I will refrain from further public comment.”

A source who spoke to several justices present during the incident told the Journal Sentinel that the confrontation occurred after 5:30 p.m. June 13, the day before the high court’s release of a decision upholding a bill to curtail the collective bargaining rights of public employees.

… The conversation grew heated, and Bradley asked Prosser to leave. Bradley was bothered by disparaging remarks Prosser had made about Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson, a source said.

… another source told the Journal Sentinel that Bradley attacked Prosser.

“She charged him with fists raised,” the source said.

Prosser “put his hands in a defensive posture,” the source said. “He blocked her.”

In doing so, the source said, he made contact with Bradley’s neck.

When the AP article went up, this was at a minimum a he-said, she-said situation where, depending on the truth, either party may be subject to discipline or other sanctions. By omitting the alternate version of events in the Journal Sentinel’s follow-up report, the AP either negligently or deliberately gave the nation’s readers an incomplete and substantively false version of what has been alleged, creating the impression that only Prosser could be in the wrong.

Madison, Wisconsin blogger Ann Althouse has been following the situation since news about it first appeared, and is none too pleased with how leftists are dishonestly attempting to orchestrate a political hit. Her posts on the topic, as of 3 p.m. this afternoon, are, in chronological order here, here, here and here.

This blogger’s speculation: If this information about an alleged June 13 incident took 11-12 days to surface, it has the distinct aroma of a group of people possibly attempting to coordinate to get their stories straight. But it looks like someone may have busted that plan.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Krauthammer: ‘This Is Lawlessness’

Filed under: Immigration,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:19 pm

Item:

President Barack Obama’s administration is quietly offering a quasi-amnesty for hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants, while aiming to win reelection by mobilizing a wave of new Hispanic voters, say supporters of stronger immigration law enforcement.

The new rules were quietly announced Friday with a new memo from top officials at the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency. The “prosecutorial discretion” memo says officials need not enforce immigration laws if illegal immigrants are enrolled in an education center or if their relatives have volunteered for the US military.

“They’re pushing the [immigration] agents to be even more lax, to go further in not enforcing the law,” said Kris Kobach, Kansas’ secretary of state. “At a time when millions of Americans are unemployed and looking for work, this is more bad news coming from the Obama administration… [if the administration] really cared about putting Americans back to work, it would be vigorously enforcing the law,” said Kobach, who has helped legislators in several states draft local immigration-related laws.

At Fox News on Thursday (HT The Right Scoop):

Money quote: “Respect for the Constitution trumps politics.”

Well, it should. With this bunch it’s not even a consideration.

Positivity: Special students taken under wing of ‘special’ woman

Filed under: Education,Positivity — Tom @ 11:25 am

From Milwaukee:

Jun 25, 2011 / 01:15 pm

Who could blame Susie Fieder Kelly for not recognizing God’s voice calling her through the 1981 parish bulletin? After all, she was a brand spankin’ new member of St. Gregory the Great parish in Milwaukee, Wisc. and had little experience with “God speak.”

Besides, she had just finished her master’s degree in special education: learning disabilities, from Cardinal Stritch College her life was suddenly less hectic, and besides, she just found a comfortable spot in the pew.

“I didn’t grow up in this parish so I was not one of the frozen chosen,” she said, laughing. “No one knew me, and I didn’t know them and it was just fine with me.”

The first time it happened, Kelly was sitting in her pew and reading the Sunday bulletin. Like a magnet, her eye caught an ad that said, “Help needed with special religious education program.” As soon as she returned home, she tossed the bulletin in the trash, convinced that this ad was designed to somehow taunt her.

“I felt very personal with that,” she joked. “The next Sunday it was in the bulletin again and of course, I threw it away again.”

After the ad made it to the bulletin for the third time, Kelly began to identify with Samuel and nearly felt inclined to respond, “Speak Lord for your servant is listening.” Instead, she phoned the church and inquired about the job.

The position entailed assisting the woman who ran the special religious ed program in existence since 1957. Classes met Saturday mornings and Kelly’s job was to help the coordinator/teacher work with the four to five special needs students.

While the teacher did a great job with the students, Kelly’s experience was that not all students learned at the same pace, especially in a more abstract subject as religion. She was also interested in reaching out to special needs adults who had not been instructed in Catholicism or received the sacraments. The following summer she took a class in special religious education curriculum to learn more about teaching methods, and suddenly another path unfolded that would absorb 30 years of her life.

“The coordinator decided to retire and I interviewed for her position,” said Kelly. “I explained what I would do differently and she offered me the job. At first I wanted to scream that I didn’t know anything about this, but then as I worked to individualize the program for kids, teens and adults, and a parent support group, the program began to fall into place.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

Sunday Sarcasm: Support Job Growth, Ban ATMs

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:32 am

Yeah, let’s go back to horses for transportation, mules for plows, and operator-assisted phone calls while we’re at it.

Really, automation is bad (HT Hot Air via The Blaze):

Milton Friedman’s classic response:

Reportedly, while traveling by car during one of his many overseas travels, Friedman spotted scores of road builders moving earth with shovels. When he asked why powerful equipment wasn’t used instead of so many laborers, his host told him it was to keep unemployment low. If they used tractors, fewer people would have jobs was his host’s logic.

“Then why don’t you give them spoons?” Friedman inquired. It was quintessential Friedman: Employment doesn’t make us wealthy — production does.