If you were to ask a thousand Wisconsinites who is the most powerful influential liberal in the state, I’m guessing most would struggle mightily to answer. The answer is actually easy, if not obvious; Scott Bauer.If you’re asking "who is Scott Bauer" you likely consume your news without checking bylines.
Bauer writes for the Associated Press in Madison, Wisconsin. That means his reporting appears in newspapers, TV stations and radio stations throughout the state.That’s in print, on-air and online. How Bauer frames a story concerning state legislative matters is how many Wisconsinites get their perception of that story. Bauer approached national infamy with conservatives with his reporting on the Act 10 debate in Madison in 2011 and national sites continue to chronicle his bias. Knowing Bauer’s pedigree I was given great pause by Republican State Senate President Mike Ellis recent move to make Bauer and AP his de facto press agent.
When Ellis and fellow GOP Senator Luther Olsen unveiled their own plan recently for state aid to schools, they did so in an exclusive interview with AP. When Wisconsin Reporter asked for more information on this, Ellis advised that further updates on the plan would be provided to AP first. When Ellis proclaimed that a majority of Republican State Senators oppose Gov. Scott Walker’s school voucher expansion plan he did so to AP. When the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tried to follow up with Ellis he told them to talk to Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald.
If Ellis’ intent was to make school voucher expansion sound DOA to most of the state, Bauer didn’t disappoint: Several Gannett papers carried the story under the headline: "GOP support for Walker education budget crumbling." And when Bauer quotes a statement from Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie he is quick to point out that "He didn’t address the waning support for the governor’s private school voucher plan." Fitzgerald, on my show Thursday, said while a majority of Senate Republicans have concerns with Walker’s expansion proposal he believes most still support the concept of statewide school voucher expansion and still believes that will happen in some form.
When the newsroom at my Green Bay affiliate, WTAQ, reached out to Ellis Wednesday their calls went unreturned. It’s the type of response they’ve come to expect from Democratic lawmakers and spokespersons who won’t talk to a station that airs my show. Interesting company Mike Ellis finds himself in these days. Fitzgerald today pointed out that the media is trying spin this as the Republican Senate vs. Scott Walker. I told Fitzgerald I put the blame for that squarely on Ellis. I also told Fitzgerald he was going to punt on my assertion. He did.
Brian Fraley wrote here recently that Mike Ellis’ number one agenda item in any debate on any issue tends to be: Mike Ellis. Ellis is now using a liberal journalist with the largest platform in the state to compromise sweeping education reform and attempt to legitimize his dirigible-sized over inflated self-perception of his own importance. Well done, Brian. Well done.
Jerry Bader is a regionally-syndicated conservative talk show host in northern Wisconsin. You can find more from Jerry at jerrybadershow.com