Friday, February 17, 2012

Wisconsin Reporter? Try Walker Supporters

Wisconsin Reporter has been a thorn in the side of the people of Wisconsin for a long time now.  They claim to be an "independent news source," but the fact is that it would be a kindness to call them a political tabloid, but with a lower level of credibility.

I've already written about this mob of GOP activists pretending to be reporters and shown their connection to the Koch-funded Franklin Center for Public and Government Integrity.

The sorely missed Tom Foley also wrote about them a few times, including how they stole into a private meeting and purloined training documents.  Another classic is their very loose qualifications for what they consider reliable news sources.

And I was recently reminded of, they also took part in a scheme to try to discredit the future Senator Jessica King when she was running against the fake Democrat.

Their lack of journalistic ethics and integrity shown through again the other day.

When President Barack Obama came to Milwaukee to tout Master Lock for bringing back good jobs from China, the Wisconsin Reporter sent someone to the event.  While there, said reporter (and I use that term loosely) tried to get in the face of DPW Chairman Mike Tate and record a private, off-the-record conversation he was having.

Graeme Zielinski sent an email to WR to complain of their unprofessional behavior, and he got a very rude response from Matt Kittle, who not only disregarded Mr. Zielinski's concerns, but also made tasteless cracks about mental illness.

A Google search showed that Wisconsin Reporter isn't his only job. He's also enmeshed with a thing called The website's "About Section" sadly was not surprising: is a part of, a collection of independent journalists and organizations covering state-specific and government activity. is the national leading news website dedicated to aggregating news from the nation’s state capitals. The news website networks with dozens of state-based news organizations to provide in depth coverage of state legislation, government & special interests, state budgets and political/campaign news. was launched in September 2010, as a project of the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to promoting new media journalism and government transparency and accountability.

The Franklin Center serves as a capacity builder, providing trainings and networking opportunities and supporting a network of investigative journalists and statehouse 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.

The Franklin Center is not responsible for the information that appears on this site. The organization serves as a capacity builder and networking agent for independent, state-based journalists and organizations.
I naturally went to and found that their self-description was almost identical to and to Wisconsin Reporter. This makes sense since they are all bought and paid for by the same group.

So now we know that all these sites that Kittle is part of a larger cluster-family of Koch-funded groups aimed at promoting one their warped ideology.

But there's more. There's always more.

I called upon the research team at for some assistance in confirming who owned these sites. came back as registered to the Franklin Center of Government and Public Integrity, but the site proved to be most interesting.

The domain is owned by Gateway Ventures. Gateway Ventures' had a vice-president by the name of Dan Morse, who is a big time supporter of Scott Walker. In fact, his LinkedIn profile shows that he's a fundraiser for Friends of Scott Walker as well as the CEO of Dan Morse Consulting. Clients of his consulting business include the campaigns for Scott Walker and Michael Huebsch.

Also very interesting is that the check on the domain showed that the administrator is Phillip Prange. Prange is the CEO of Gateway Ventures and the President and CEO of Wisconsin Business Council. This is significant since 77% of the members of this group donated to Republican politicians, including Scott Walker.

As a point of interest, it should also be noted that Prange is the brother-in-law to Nick Hurtgen, who has his own sordid history with Walker.

So now, thanks to Kittle's intemperance, we have learned that Wisconsin Reporter is just a small part of a larger right wing echo chamber, all of which is headed up by the Koch-funded Franklin Center for Public and Government Integrity.  On top of that, this echo chamber is tied in with and, at least partially, controlled by two people with direct ties to Walker's campaign.

Instead of calling themselves investigative reporters, Wisconsin Reporter, and Walker's campaign, should be investigated by the authorities for their questionable campaign-related contributions and activities, since Walker never claimed their work as an in-kind contribution.

And there is no way that any established, serious news source should be allowing them to put up their political propaganda as anything but that, with a warning that any resemblance between their spin narratives and a credible news source is purely coincidental.


  1. Honestly, I love you dude...sincere kudos for the research and writing that you else would we begin to untangle the spider web of deceit on our state

  2. And their little brother is the SUn prairie Star and Christopher Mertes because h contonue to run their "stories" like they have any value....

  3. Thanks for writing this and doing the research. You've got a new fan. Our local paper uses Wisconsin Reporter like it's gospel and I've always had some question about their reporting. Now I have something to fire at my local newspaper. Keep up the good work. -saw-

    1. Question that paper for sure!!!

    2. Stay on them too. If they think people stopped watching, they'll go right back to putting this crap up unchallenged.

  4. And this, students, is how real reporting is done.


    (And reading wagthedog's comment that this fine reporting provides him with information to have impact with his local paper must make your day.)

  5. Eau Claire Leader-Telegram questioned their funding sources (Wisconsin Reporter) awhile back, I think they no longer feature news from this source.

    Speaking of Eau Claire, the poor-richest man in WI is making a stink about his latest settlements, as well as the wetland mitigation.

    Which is kind of funny, since in the case of the poor-richest man in WI, I would have been very supportive of a cooperative effort of he and the state in refining regulation in the one case.

    But, the poor-richest man in WI can just buy himself an employee-elect.

  6. I don't care where the funding comes from? It's all about content. Should we ignore ABC because a Clinton adviser is their main anchor? NBC hired a Bush daughter. Should they be viewed as bias?

    These claims are crap and only speak to choir who prefer bias reporting from their viewpoint than objectivity. I've read WR for a year and they offer objective straight forward content.

    1. The irony in your comment is so great, it actually makes one's eyes bleed.


  7. Socialists have to control the message so the truth never gets out.