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From the Scrapbook

Apr 4, 2011, Vol. 16, No. 28 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
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News organizations, including the Associated Press, filed open records requests to see those emails and others Walker received throughout the spat. At the time Walker spoke, according to a later analysis by the AP, the tally of emails he had received that day broke down as follows: 5,900 supporting the governor and 1,400 opposed. 

So as of about 5 p.m. that day, an overwhelming majority of the emails—some 74 percent—favored Walker. His claim was not only true, it was understated. After Walker mentioned the emails at his press conference that afternoon, his office was flooded with even more supportive notes. As the AP reports: “At the end of the day, he had received more than 9,400 emails cheering him on—three times the number of messages of opposition.”

Over the week that the AP studied, messages to Walker’s office ran in his favor 55 percent to 44 percent. A second study, by the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, put the support for Walker even higher: 62 percent in favor, 32 percent opposed.

So what accounts for the confusion? Early in the week, after Walker proposed the legislation but before the Democrats had run away to Illinois, more emails had opposed Walker than had supported him. But the messages his office received changed dramatically once his opponents fled the state. 

But the findings were not ambiguous. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, a newspaper not terribly friendly to Walker, covered the same studies under a decidedly different headline than the one Political Wire ran on Twitter: “Walker Right on Emails, Analysis Finds.” 

Political Wire has not published a correction.

Despite this misreporting—some might call it “lying”—Walker is very popular with Republicans across the country. A poll taken by a Democratic-leaning firm, Public Policy Polling, found that 55 percent of Republicans have a favorable view of him and just 11 percent view him unfavorably.

Walker 2012? ♦

Reuters Is Up to Its Old Tricks

The Scrapbook has noted before the astonishing politicization of Reuters, the British news agency, when it comes to reporting on the Middle East. After the 9/11 attacks, for instance, Reuters identified Osama bin Laden with weasel phrases like “Afghanistan-based Saudi-born dissident” or “chief suspect in the plane attacks on New York and Washington” to avoid calling him a terrorist. “We do not characterize the subjects of news stories but instead report their actions,” the news service harrumphed at the time. 

In early 2002, as if to make sure that no reader would be unaware of the Reuters ideology, this gratuitous independent clause came across the wires in a Reuters dispatch: “The United States, which gives Israel about $2 billion a year in weaponry used to kill Palestinians, objected to the $100 million [Iranian arms] shipment to the Palestinians [emphasis added].” 

Frankly, but for the fact that it would soon become tiresome, we could feature such examples on a regular basis. Indeed, there was an especially noxious one last week, spied by the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg:

Dear Reuters, You Must Be Kidding

This is from a Reuters story on the Jerusalem bombing earlier today:

“Police said it was a ‘terrorist attack’—Israel’s term for a Palestinian strike. It was the first time Jerusalem had been hit by such a bomb since 2004.”

Those Israelis and their crazy terms! I mean, referring to a fatal bombing of civilians as a “terrorist attack”? Who are they kidding? Everyone knows that a fatal bombing of Israeli civilians should be referred to as a “teachable moment.” Or as a “venting of certain frustrations.” Or as “an understandable reaction to Jewish perfidy.” Or perhaps as “a very special episode of ‘Cheers.’ ” Anything but “a terrorist attack.” I suppose Reuters will mark the 10th anniversary of 9/11 by referring to the attacks as “an exercise in urban renewal.”

Goldberg kids. Alas, as connoisseurs of the Brit news agency are well aware, Reuters is never kidding. ♦

Crazy for ‘Crazy U,' cont,

Be sure not to miss George F. Will’s March 27 column, devoted to our colleague Andrew Ferguson’s “laugh-until-your-ribs-squeak” new book, Crazy U: One Dad’s Crash Course in Getting His Kid Into College. Writes Will: 

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