Why the JS will Support Walker Despite Email Scandal

For years, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has endorsed Scott Walker in his political races. Despite unanswered questions and ethical lapses, Milwaukee’s only daily newspaper has shown the formerly obscure State Assembly Rep. and unusual amount of gentleness. At campaign time, they have given him the benefit of the doubt in nearly all instances.

Walker is politically smart and has benefited from people underestimating him through his entire career. He has the ability to evade questions like no other politician. When asked a succinct question about scandals, inconsistencies, or problems in his own governing, he has aptly taken the time that a reporter normally allots for answering to push yet another agenda item or to claim success in areas where he has failed.

If pressed on those items and issues where he simply makes up his own facts and statistics, he will simply restate the fiction or move on to claim success on another issue, regardless of whether there was truly a success or a failure. The most interesting part about this is not about Walker himself — it is about how the media lets him get away with it under the guise of being impartial, or in some cases, “fair and balanced”.

Walker has shown himself to be amazingly talented in his handling of televised media — especially live television. He has an understanding that on live television, reporters have a finite amount of time for their segments and if he doesn’t want to answer a question, he chews up all of a reporters time without answering the question or by deflecting the question. He has shown an unwavering focus on restating his talking points and if he sits down with a reporter he controls the interview.

Team Walker has covered all the bases. They have been especially adept at making sure that if their candidate is tainted, that the opposition will have plenty of taint, or at least doubt, in the mind of the voter. Even in the Journal-Sentinel screen capture to the right (larger version here), you’ll notice that Team Walker made sure to get a negative campaign ad attached to the Journal-Sentinel article and that ad has a headline that is even larger than the Journal-Sentinel headline. ‘Which one is the most important story’ is the question that Team Walker hopes to stick in the minds of voters.

Going forward, it is difficult to see a possibility that the JS will not endorse Walker. Their track record has been one of accommodation, not critical journalism. The media savvy that the incumbent Governor and his team have accumulated will serve him well, even if the email scandal escalates.



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