|The Wisconsin State Journal fronted|
for Scott Walker and legislative
Republicans in its coverage of
the unprecedented effort by the
Wisconsin GOP to block elections.
GOP election-blocking spectacle tamped down in news coverage of Madison daily
Madison, Wisconsin—Press coverage of Scott Walker and state Republicans' scheme to block two elections reveals the Wisconsin State Journal misled readers in what amounted to a propaganda exercise covering for the Wisconsin governor with laudatory or vague headlines, an examination shows.
On March 24, two days after Dane County Judge Josann Reynolds, (Branch two), ordered Scott Walker to call two special elections, and one day after Republicans vowed to enact legislation blocking the judicial order, the Wisconsin State Journal ran a banner, 3/4-inch headline reading "State GOP seeks swift action" in its print edition.
This March 24 headline misleads readers with the undefined "seeks swift action," omitting the fact state Republicans scrambled to continue to block elections, (as the news piece reports).
The Republican effort to block elections was an unprecedented project that involved legislative Republicans, Walker, and the Republican Dept of Justice. Republicans demonized the judiciary and an entire Wisconsin county, Dane County.
On March 28, the Wisconsin State Journal ran the headline, "Walker denied extra time," after Judge Richard Niess humiliated DoJ attorneys in open court and legislative Republicans plotted their next move.
On March 29, the Wisconsin State Journal ran the headline, "Gov won't appeal ruling," after a third judge in a state appellate court rebuffed Walker, excoriating Walker's failure to perform his duty, and after Republicans abandoned their scheme to change the special elections statute in a new special session.
On March 30, the Wisconsin State Journal ran the headline, "Walker: Two open seats to be filled," omitting that Walker blocked elections, was being ordered to call elections, and Walker's move is a reversal coming only after a third judicial defeat by three different judges, two of whom are Republican.
In objective journalism, headlines should be accurate summations of a news piece.
Headlines should inform readers about major occurrences in continuing coverage, especially in a spectacular and rapidly developing story such as Wisconsin Republicans blocking elections and fighting judicial orders mandating elections be held.
Readers often will scan only headlines.
The Wisconsin State Journal copy editor(s) know these facts and chose to abandon journalistic obligations in service to the Republican Party in an election year.