Subscribe. This first appeared in the RightWisconsin Daily Update on October 16, 2018. Given tonight’s gubernatorial debate and U.S. Senate debate, we thought our other readers should be forewarned about what to expect.
I’m not a big fan of writing how the mainstream media is biased. You know it. I know it. The politicians know it. Deep in their hearts, even the members of the mainstream media know it. And Republicans understand that they have to find alternative ways to get their message out.
Part of the reason RightWisconsin exists is because the rest of the media either omits stories they don’t want to tell or they slant the stories so much that an alternative is needed. The sad part is, despite knowing how unpopular they are with the general public, despite declining circulation figures and declining viewership, the problem is getting worse.
Part of the problem is that they literally have no frame of reference outside of a self-reinforcing liberal bubble. We saw that on full display Saturday night during the U.S. Senate debate, hosted by the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association (WBA), between the incumbent Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and state Sen. Leah Vukmir (R-WI). An objective observer will tell you that Vukmir still fared well in the debate. However, she not only had to prevail over her election opponent, she also had to deal with the bias of the panel’s questions.
Some of the questions were ridiculous. For example, Vukmir (who is pro-life) was asked what she would do if Roe v. Wade was overturned after a lead-in explaining how polls show support for legalized abortion. I don’t know, dance a jig? Launch fireworks to celebrate that the worst offense to constitutional law since the document was written was finally overturned?
Unfortunately, rather than have a serious discussion about abortion, moderator Jill Geisler actually tried to pin Vukmir down on the question with a 30-second follow-up. Why? Did Geisler really expect Vukmir, who has been pro-life her entire career to suddenly flip positions and endorse federal funding of Planned Parenthood? Ironically, it was Baldwin who was more serious than Geisler on the issue and actually pointed out if Roe v. Wade the question of how abortion would be handled would be left to the states.
But that was about the only distance between Baldwin and the panel asking questions. Baldwin’s answers from the last debate on a question about gun control became the basis for a question this time to Vukmir on the same subject. On the subject of immigration, Baldwin’s talking points about dairy farmers became the basis of a question -and another follow-up – to Vukmir. On the question of the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, the panelist prefaced the question with polling that supported Baldwin’s position.
The question of legalized marijuana was also framed in polling that showed Vukmir’s position was unpopular even before she was asked a question.
Meanwhile, the one question about the Tomah VA Hospital was reduced to an afterthought in the 30-second answer lightning round. There was no chance that the issue was going to be fully explored. Instead, the question was framed as one victim’s parents support Baldwin, while one whistleblower supports Vukmir.
Even Baldwin thought there was going to be more debate about the Tomah VA Hospital. She actually brought the one victim’s parents that support her to the debate and attempted to use them as props. (Remember, at the last debate Baldwin said Vukmir shouldn’t politicize the death of a Marine at the veterans hospital. That’s apparently because only Baldwin can politicize the death of a Marine.)
The debate moderators from the WBA, who phrased their question with the premise that Baldwin had the parents’ endorsement, were more than willing to allow the victim’s parents to be used as human props even though their own debate rules prohibited props and stipulated there would be no audience members. The WBA wasn’t even going to make the Vukmir campaign aware of the Baldwin stunt, and it was only after another media member spilled the beans that the campaign found out.
Only when the Vukmir campaign delayed entering the studio did the WBA backed down. Too bad the Vukmir people did not get a chance to look at the questions to see how the Baldwin talking points were going to be used. They could have left then and spared the WBA from looking so foolishly biased.
Again, this is not the griping of a candidate that did poorly during the debate. This was the easily observable bias of people pretending to be impartial questioners during a candidate debate.
The WBA recently got into trouble when it’s incoming president appeared in an ad attacking the deadbeat Democrat running in the 1st congressional district. She stepped down lest there be an appearance of bias in the media even though she had nothing to do with scheduling or arranging the candidate debates?
To hell with the appearance of bias. When is the broadcast media going to deal with the real bias from its employees? The WBA is hosting a gubernatorial debate Friday night. Let’s hope that those panelists write their own questions instead of lifting them from Tony Evers’ campaign literature.