Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Daily Caller: More Media Bias

Even as I was finishing the earlier post pointing out the blatant bias and hypocrisy being spewed out by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, another example of media bias came across my desk. This time, it's The Daily Caller.

The story actually starts with the Wisconsin Reporter, who had put up a story touting Walker's exaggerated jobs numbs a couple of weeks ago. Not satisfied with hyping the hype, they then went on to misquote and misconstrue the words of Graeme Zielinski, spokesman for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.

Zielinski responded to their propaganda by sending them a scathing email and advising them to stop pretending to be a news source and just admit that they're a front group for the right wing.  The poor little darlings at the Wisconsin Reporter got their undies in a bundle and wrote a whiny, fact-free piece pretending they're the victim.

Enter The Daily Caller, who jumped at the chance to defend the "independent Wisconsin news outlet."  The Daily Caller's bias quickly became evident when they referred to Zielinski as the "Democratic flack" and tried to portray the Wisconsin Reporter as some kind of trusted news source.

There are two glaring problems with both the Wisconsin Reporter's and the Daily Caller's positions.  Both involve the fact that they are telling glaring, easily-disproved outright lies.

The first glaring in your face lie is that the Wisconsin Reporter is an "independent Wisconsin news outlet."  

Both articles admit that the Wisconsin Reporter is a branch of the Franklin Center for Government and Public integrity.  That much, at least, is a factual statement.

However, I would point the gentle reader back to the piece I wrote regarding the false advertisements that were flying around during the Democratic primaries. In that piece, I wrote the following:
And this is where we go into the same sordid incestuous intermingling that the Koch Brothers are known for.

Patriot Advisors is headed up by Tim Dunn and Denis Calabrese.

Calabrese, the former Chief of Staff for Dick Armey, is also on the director of the Sam Adams Alliance, yet another Koch Brother front group and money chute. This Sam Adams Alliance also funnels the Koch dollars to other groups like Americans For Prosperity and the Franklin Center for Public and Government Integrity*.

The sharp-eyed reader might have already noticed, but it was the Franklin Center which is quoted in the anti-King flyer.

Just to be clear, the Sam Adams Alliance, Patriot Advisors and Franklin Center are all Koch-funded groups with incestuous ties to each other. One of them is using the other to justify voting for the fake Democrat instead of trying to defend the Republican and his boorish behavior or facing the consequences for his actions.
In that same article, I mentioned the article by Gene Gibbons, writing for the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. Again, I would point out this passage:
At the forefront of an effort to blur the distinction between statehouse reporting and political advocacy is the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity, which finances a network of websites that focus on state government. This center has ties to a number of conservative organizations, including the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, whose founder is billionaire David Koch. He is a longtime financier of right-wing causes whose shadowy political dealings were highlighted this past summer in a New Yorker article by Jane Mayer headlined “Covert Operations.”
In summary, we know that the Wisconsin Reporter is a puppet for the misnamed Franklin Center for Goverment and Public Integrity, which is in turn funded by the Sam Adams Alliance, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Koch Brothers. This looks more like a money laundering scheme than an "independent Wisconsin news outlet." The Koch Brothers do not have a history of being concerned about unbiased reporting, but rather only in manipulating state and federal governments, and local newspapers, to smooth the way for them to get more money and more power.

The other blatant and egregious lie these two Newspeak operations propogate was Scott Walker's claim that Wisconsin produced half of the jobs in the country in the month of June.

Mike Rosen easily names five statesthat produced more jobs than Wisconsin. Rosen did add that Wisconsin was in another sort of rare class, but not a good one (emphasis his):
Let’s put Walker’s jobs victory dance in perspective.

Several states; Texas (+32,000), California (+28,800), Michigan (+18,000), Minnesota (+13,200) and Massachusetts (10,400) had more job growth than Wisconsin.

Using the Bureau of Labor Statistics data Walker touted, Texas was responsible for almost 200% of net job growth in June, California 150%, Michigan 100%, Minnesota 65% and Massachusetts slightly more than 50% .Nor was Wisconsin’s monthly percentage increase among the nation’s largest. Alaska experienced the largest over-the-month percentage increase in employment (+1.7 percent), followed by North Dakota (+1.2 percent), Vermont (+0.9 percent), and South Dakota (+0.8 percent).

In fact, Wisconsin was one of only 9 states that reported statistically significant over-the-month unemployment rate increases in June.
In fact, the claim was so bogus, that the erratic PolitiFarce had to point out that Walker was lying about it.

Even more telling, Walker himself had to backpedal from the claim and lie about what he had originally lied about.

Yet I saw no evidence of either of these sites reporting the retraction or the fact that Walker's facts were, in fact, nonfactual.

I can fully empathize with Zielinski's frustration. However, I would advise him not to worry about the press credentials. Groups like these two don't worry about such things, and the Republican politicians will still give them the soundbites whether they are credentialed or not.

With groups like these, you have to hit them where it hurts. Put a call in to the IRS and Department of Revenue for violating their legal status. After all, on Wisconsin Reporter's own website, they have this:
WisconsinReporter launched in January 2011 as a division of StateHouseNews. It is a nonpartisan organization, dedicated to playing the watchdog role on state government, while localizing stories to certain districts: La Crosse, Kenosha, Eau Claire, Wausau, Stevens Point, Chippewa, and Beloit.

Statehouse News Online utilizes a state-specific approach, in order to provide readers with information that is of proximate and practical interest. Interested parties can contact for more information.

StateHouse News Online began in June 2010 and is a product of the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to promoting non-partisan, new media journalism.
I believe that this claim* of non-partisanship is easily shown to be a false claim, and would open them to all sorts of fines and penalties**.

PS: If any of my researcher friends want to look into the Daily Caller and who sponsors them, I'd be glad to do that story as well.

*I also screencapped this page for future reference, if it's needed.
**While you're at it, file one against the equally egregious McIver Institute, would ya?


  1. If they'd be shut down, they'd just pop up again with a different name. It's like GOP Whack-a-Mole.

  2. Hey, Jimbo, don't get discouraged. You do this for enough of them and prove the link with the Koch organizations and you'll open the door for RICO investigation due to fraud.

  3. Thank you for giving us the facts and unveiling how biased to the right that the Daily Caller is, and editorializing their news. I just discovered The Daily Caller. When you look at their front page it initially seems independent. It's nice, cozy and a fair looking home page. But then you look at their list of columnists including Ann Coulter, and the fact that "nice guy", unwitting right wing blind faith believer Tucker Carlson and some other guy who was an aide to none other than war criminal Dick Cheney, run this "news" website, I am not going to waste my time to read their "news" reports. They have a few token sort of left wingers. Under a Tom Hartmann column in daily caller and dismissed his opinion as being whatever(naive or something)i.e. not to be taken seriously, at the end of the column! outrageous!

    It's rather disturbing how much the Daily Caller attracts so many impressionable twenty and thirty somethings.