Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Fracturing Media Trackers' Manufactured Fairy Tales

Author's note: I wish to thank, once again, the research team at Politiscoop.com for their assistance in the research for this article.

The propagandist group Media Trackers is at it again.

In fear of the repercussions coming out of the ongoing Walkergate investigations, this group of bad actors decided to try to emulate Richard Nixon by trying to disparage the Milwaukee County District Attorney's office.

Media Hackers tried to do so by brandishing the McCarthyism that has become so popular among the wannabe bully boys of the right, and crosschecking the names of employees of the DA's Office with the recall petition database.

Before sending out a press release announcing their "breaking news,"* these sad sacks then went so far as trolling the people's Facebook pages to see what anti-Walker groups they might have joined.  That would be the cyber version of dumpster diving and stalking rolled into one.

As they had hoped, the fools that haven't figured out not to trust them yet, mindlessly echoed this noise.  Owen Robinson, who has an irrational hatred of unions, breathlessly called the staff members "activists."  Even more comical and simultaneously tragic, Mary from Freedom Eden, wants everyone fired for exercising their constitutional rights.

The real tell came from Charlie Sykes, who probably wet himself in trying to post about it, showing that this was proof positive that the Walkergate investigation was nothing but a political witch hunt.

As a late entry, James Wigderson of the affiliated MacIver Institute, was even more histrionic with his attempt to discredit the office and the investigation.  (He seems to forget to mention his own biases in his story, such as his tie to MacIver or MacIver's connection to Michael Grebe, Walker's campaign chair.)

But they have some serious problems with this line of attack.

For one, Media Hackers couldn't come up with a name closer to the Watergate investigation than a clerical staff member that works somewhere in the same unit.  They couldn't show that this person was in any way involved, so settled on their usual fallback, innuendo.

Secondly, Dan Bice, who is already aware of the poor reputation and even poorer reliability of Media Hackers, verified that none, as in not one, of the prosecutors handling the various trials signed the petitions.

Thirdly, there is nothing wrong with these people signing it if they had.  In fact, because of political bullying like these miscreants are trying to pull, the civil service code, which Scott Walker approved of, specifies that the County should not "interfere with the right of any employee in the classified service to become a member of a political club, to attend political meetings, to express his or her opinion on all political subjects, and to enjoy freedom from all interference in casting his or her vote."

So, the people from the DA's Office had nothing to do with the Walkergate investigations and even if they had, it would have been perfectly legal and ethical.

This isn't the first time this group got things majorly wrong.  During the signature gathering phase of the recall, they had "breaking video" of two teenage girls getting cigarettes for signatures, or "cigs for sigs," as they tried to call it.  Yeah, that turned out to explode in their face like a trick cigar. This stunt earned them the moniker of "Media Trackkkers," which the gentle reader will learn a little later was not an exaggeration

Brian Sikma, the face of Media Trackers, said that they did their act of McCarthyism because "“In the interest of transparency we believe the public should know about the political leanings of those who work in the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office."**

Well, alrighty then.

In the interest of transparency, I believe the public should know about the political leanings of those who are involved with Media Trackers, as well as just what that group is.

Per SourceWatch, Media Trackers receives some of its funding directly from the Bradley Foundation, but gets the bulk of its funding from American Majority, which in turn gets its money from the Koch Brothers-sponsored Sam Adams Alliance.  SourceWatch also reports a strong alliance to the MacIver Institute, who gets its funding from the same sources and does the same kind of propaganda and smear jobs.

As the reader already knows, the Bradley Foundation is headed by Michael Grebe, who is also Scott Walker's campaign chair and one of his presumed handlers.  And with the Koch Brothers money funneling in, who could ever forget Walker's chat with whom he thought was David Koch.  So I guess this means that MacIver Institute and Media Trackers are siblings with two daddies.  And like many siblings, they have their sibling spats.

But remember, these are independent, fair and balanced news services!  Yeah, right.

And just like the MacIver Institute, Media Trackers is staffed with former GOP and GOP-allied operatives.

Whereas MacIver has Bill Osmulski, who actually had some journalistic experience if no journalistic ethics, Media Trackers is stuck with Collin Forth, a wanna be operative apparently still trying to earn his chops.

Media Tracker's more interesting member is Brian Sikma, the Communications Director for the group.

Brian Sikma
Sikma is quite the busy little man.

Sikma is not only the mouthpiece for Media Trackers, he has ties to a site called Hoosier Access, a political site for - outside special interest warning! - his home state of Indiana.

He also ran a blog called Reclaiming Our Heritage.  Why a Hoosier would say he knows anything about Wisconsin heritage is beyond me, but in Sikma's case, it's obvious that he knows nothing.

Sikma, or should I say, Sikkkma, really adds to the name of Media Trackkkers, when one sees his contributions to a site called White Locust.  Look at this post and that post and you will see the unbridled racism, all the way down to the tag "Anti-White Movement."

If the racism isn't enough for you, Sikkkma also has a touch of sexism.  When disgraced former Senator Randy Hopper was caught cheating on his wife, Sikma called it "ill-timed."  I'm still waiting for his explanation of when would be a good time to commit adultery.  I bet half of the Republican Party, including Newt Gingrich and Charlie Sykes, are even more anxious to hear his explanation, but theirs are for much more personal reasons.

The site itself for Media Trackers is registered to Andrew Ryun.  Ryun is co-founder of American Majority, the filter for the Sam Adams Alliance money pouring into the Media Trackers.  American Majority is a group started by the kooky Pat Robertson.  As a fun fact, Ryun, who has been trying to enact his interference in our elections from his -another outside special interest warning! - his home state of Texas.

As a side note, apparently there is a lot of hypocrisy with these groups as exemplified by this story which describes on how one of the group's Teahadist members, even while protesting the high cost of government, was trying to cash in on some herself.

As noted at the beginning of this article, a growing number of people are marking the growing hysteria from the right regarding the Walkergate investigation. So, instead of trying to defend Walker or his allies, most likely because they realize that they are in real trouble with more trouble for even more people, including Walker, coming soon, Media Trackers and their allies are trying to use McCarthyism and Nixonian tactics to smear the DA and his staff.

This malicious and transparent effort to undermine justice by attacking the DA's office and the investigation is intolerable.  The authorities need to take a look at these groups and the way they are continuing to violate their tax-exempt status.

*Because all credible news sources have to send out press releases for their news stories, right?

**Keep in mind that several Republicans signed the petition as well, so that statement is meaningless.


  1. Follow the Sikma logic: There should be no limit on what religious people should be able to do to others, because it's just religious expression and that's protected. And "ill-timed" means Hopper should've waited until just after an election in order to give sufficient time for Sikma and others to show that he really intended to marry the girl, and therefore is a supporter of traditional marriage after having an affair.

    These right-wing "news services" simultaneously exploit the way newspapers and television will cheerfully reprint their press releases without verification, while accusing said media of being biased and inept. And then that accusation becomes another story they'll publish. It's the old "stop hitting yourself" trick.

    The hypocrisy is obvious and laughable. Media Trackers wants it both ways. They want the free pass they believe they get from admitting their political slant, but they also want to claim the mantle of journalism. They want a moral high ground they don't deserve. They want to declare themselves equivalent to journalists simply because they believe they've pointed out bias. They do not intend to strive for objectivity. They do not intend to present facts whether or not they fit their preconceptions. They want to spin. They want to pump out PR full of selective confirmations of their preconceptions. They want to declare their bias, they want their PR / propaganda to be swallowed whole, they want to be the ones who can declare others to be biased by innuendo and implication.

    Who would be on their list of jobs whose holders shouldn't sign petitions against Walker? They want to suppress political participation by anyone in public service or media who might disagree with Media Tracker's political position. They want only their message to be heard.

  2. Nice expose.

    Minor typo?

    "The propagandist group Media Trackers is at it again
    In fear of the repercussions coming out of the ongoing Watergate(!) investigations."

  3. The Capper bringing it home! AGAIN! Thanks Cappy!

  4. Any posts coming about Fran McLaughlin?

    1. Haven't heard anything, but there is no telling with this thing what will pop next.

    2. I might have misread your comment on a previous post. Will have more on this later.

    3. I haven't heard of anything new since then. It seems like they're focusing, for now anyway, on the current trials. But like I said, you never can tell when something might break.

  5. Just for fun, I am going to retweet MediaTrakkker's tweets in Germna