Lately, talk radio host Mark Belling has been blasting WISN 12 for their coverage of gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker. Back in May of last year, Brendan Conway reported that Walker "complained other states were taking Wisconsin jobs", but apparently the candidate had no problem using an Ohio firm to build his own campaign website. Conway's narrative proved to be skewed for a number of reasons.
First, Conway interviewed a Wisconsin website developer who had a vested interest in telling WISN what they wanted to hear. What better publicity is there for a young entrepreneur than to tell WISN he's better than his national competitors? It's difficult to believe that WISN would have received a difference answer?
Second, Conway found a time-tested Walker critic to call foul. County Supervisor Chris Larson told WISN 12, "If this early in his campaign it's coming out that he is not doing this for his own campaign, how can we expect him to do that when he is elected to something higher?"
Why didn't Conway balance out the reporting by finding both friend and foe?
And third, the news report was misleading. Walker's website specifically criticized the loss of "existing" jobs to firms in other states. A good example of this would be if Harley Davidson had moved its Menomonee Falls plant out of Wisconsin. This would result in real job losses including benefits and pensions.
When Walker hired an Ohio firm to build his website, no jobs were lost. What was lost was a bidding opportunity. Bidding is a lot like interviewing for a job. The job isn't yours until you make the final sale. No wages, benefits, or pensions were lost. Conway had to have known this.
Last week, it was discovered that Tom Barrett spent half a million dollars on a Philadelphia firm for radio and television ads. After Belling criticized channel 12 for their failure to cover the story, their television station was pelted with phone calls. They said they would pass along the information, but WISN 12 has yet to run the story.
On Barrett's campaign website, it says,
"His vision features specific plans for investments in financial capital, our colleges and universities, and workforce skills that make the difference in whether the high-paying jobs of the future come to Wisconsin or go elsewhere."
Barrett's message is clear: invest in Wisconsin or jobs will "go elsewhere." But Barrett has invested half a million dollars in Pennsylvania's economy, not Wisconsin's.
To be fair and balanced, Conway should find an advertisement firm in Wisconsin that says they are "disappointed" with the Milwaukee Mayor and that there were a dozen other agencies in Wisconsin that could have done better work than what Barrett's out-of-state firm.
After that, Conway should find County Supervisor Chris Larson to see if he thinks Barrett is a hypocrite for outsourcing campaign work. After all, if Barrett can't keep jobs in Wisconsin during a simple campaign, thow can we expect him to do this when he is elected to something higher?
El Conquistador has called WISN's news director Lori Waldon four times for an official response. The first time we called, she was on lunch break. The second time, she was unavailable. The third time, she was out and would return in an hour to take our call. And the fourth time, she was in a meeting for an "undetermined" length of time.
When we asked for her regular office hours, they said they didn't know what they were. Really?