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Sep 1, 201601:08 PMBlaska's Bring It!

with David Blaska

News flash: Democrat(ic) hitman One Scot Ross doesn’t like Ron Johnson

(page 1 of 2)

Want to know why conservatives have given up on the mainstream press? Why some of them have gone off the deep end into the Alt-Right universe of Breitbart and Prntly?

It’s so-called news stories like this Associated Press article in Wednesday morning’s usually credible Wisconsin State Journal: “Sen. Ron Johnson has another awkward campaign moment,” reads the headline. (The print edition headline read: “Johnson’s day care remark is latest goof.”)

One Scot Ross, left, with one of his losing candidates. Credit: MediaTrackers

Who says Ron Johnson goofed? What professional organization? What state regulatory agency? There are none! The only one who says the Republican senator’s remark was an awkward campaign moment (and just the latest, at that) is a particularly mean-spirited Democratic operative named One Scot Ross.

The AP “news” story takes issue with a radio interview wherein the U.S. senator suggested that welfare mothers obtain gainful employment by working at day care centers. Reporter Scott Bauer then ticks off several other statements with which one may agree or disagree with. In one of those examples, RoJo stressed the importance of voting by recalling that the heroic passengers aboard hijacked United Flight 93 on 9/11 took a vote before declaring, “Let’s roll!” Voting, the senator said (I was present to hear it firsthand in Cleveland), is what Americans do in stressful times.

That is hardly “awkward,” much less a “goof.” This ear-witness found it exhilarating. Want real goofiness? Barack Obama’s “You didn’t build that.” Or Hillary’s wiping her server clean, “like with a cloth?”

Undeterred, Bauer piles on the tendentiousness with freighted words like Johnson’s “handlers” are “scrambling to understand, then explain what their boss meant.” They’re scrambling? You get the image: Clowns piling out of a miniature car.

The bias evident in this political hit job is underscored with the very first reaction quote. Yes, it is given to Democratic bomb thrower One Scot Ross. He runs the dark-money liberal chop shop One Wisconsin Now. He delivers the money quote, upon which the entire “news article” is based: “bizarre to insulting to simply ignorant,” sayeth the hitman, never more. Suggesting personal enterprise is bizarre?

Reporter Bauer observes the journalistic niceties by checking in with a RoJo supporter before resuming the Johnson-bashing for another 330 words without attribution before concluding with an actual Johnson “handler.” RoJo’s Democratic challenger couldn’t have done it better. Oh, wait, they likely did. One Scot Ross is funded (it is believed) by the same special interests bankrolling Feingold.

Activist Facts reveals that “One Wisconsin Now is a liberal attack group that masquerades as a benevolent, non-partisan “watchdog” organization.”

Bless you please, Mrs. Robinson

Bauer dismisses Johnson with a subtle put down: “Johnson spent his career running a plastics manufacturing company.” Cue The Graduate and Benjamin Braddock: “Plastics.” Get it? Ron Johnson is the plastic man.

This old news scribbler knows how the game is played. Bet your bottom dollar Bauer didn’t go to One Scot Ross for a comment. No, the crud flowed in the other direction. Dark-money political operative Ross fed Bauer this story shrink-wrapped and postage paid.

Thank you to State Journal editor John Smalley for responding to my inquiry:

Probably not the greatest story ever, and probably could have been framed a little better and sourced a little stronger. But given all that, when a U.S. senator running for re-election in a high-profile race says something odd — something that sounds like he’s suggesting an option that goes against state law — that certainly feels like a story to us.

Your point about language usage is fair, and that’s something we’ll do better on moving forward. The line you cite below about handlers” and such should have been edited in a more neutral way. We’re not perfect, by any means, but we’re also not the ones saying odd stuff on radio interviews. And when the odd stuff gets uttered by a U.S. senator, we need to write about that.

“Odd,” Mr. Smalley, is in the ear of the beholder. I was not aware that welfare mothers couldn’t work at the same centers caring for their own children. I’m guessing neither were Senator Johnson or former Senator Feingold, for that matter. But the suggestion is hardly an offense against nature. Certainly not as “odd” as prohibiting certain businesses from defending their business 60 days before an election, as Feingold attempted with his overturned campaign finance law. (Newspapers excepted, of course.) More than odd, it’s an offense against free speech.


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Comments, page 1 of 2 1 2 Next »
Sep 1, 2016 01:49 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Dear Readers:

Don't you find it both odd and troubling that blaska would defend a sitting senator who openly promotes violating the law? Oh, the hypocrisy !!

And for those of you that listen to WPR, be prepared for dave to be at his rudest and crudest.

Sep 1, 2016 03:02 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

It amazes me that blasska can write like he does and then bitch about what Ross writes about. Hypocrite and loser comes to mind for blasska and his pal explat.

oh and by the way johnson is a total loser, what has he done for Wisconsin. Besides, look stupid?

Sep 1, 2016 05:29 pm
 Posted by  AnonyBob

Dave, do you ever READ the words you write? All these things about mean old Scot Ross - you mean he's partisan?!?! You're getting vapors. Of hypocrisy.
Methinks you doth protest too much.

Sep 1, 2016 08:30 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

The very troubled and pathetic Right-Wingers have now started to campaign that it is the fault of the centrist and fair reporting media for themselves having to behold to Donald Trump and Breitbart. Blaska and other mouthpieces (including Charlie Sykes interview on the BBC) will do their usual skewering of facts and truths over-and-over-and-over again until their sheep believe what they are saying is true. In the end, it is all about the money, as these mouthpieces will get compensated very well for creating an oligarchy and turning the U.S. into a third world country.

Sep 1, 2016 09:12 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Blaska vs. Ross? A beggar's banquet of wit. A veritable library of political acumen, if what you're looking for are failed campaigns and smarter-than-thou lectures from career losers. They deserve each other. May both wind up on a leaky life raft. They're cut from the same cloth of those who believe the height of political rhetoric is that which degrades those who dare to take an opposing view. They keep score by the taunt.

A pox on both their houses.

Sep 2, 2016 12:39 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

America's dumbest senator must have missed class when the video was shown.

Sep 2, 2016 07:39 am
 Posted by  madisonexpat

A better edited response from editor Smalley,
"We should have used a few more weasel words in that article. Here are some more, Dave."

Sep 2, 2016 09:33 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

I don't think Blaska was complaining about Ross being partisan as much as the WSJ putting him out there as a legitimate source.

Sep 2, 2016 09:59 am
 Posted by  AnonyBob

9:33 - OK, that's kind of a fair point. I'll remember it the next time I see "noted local blogger David Blaska" quoted.

Sep 2, 2016 10:53 am
 Posted by  David Blaska

Not getting it, folks. Quoting adversaries with opinions is legit. The beef with the AP story is that it is based upon the premise that Sen. Johnson is a wreck, One Scot Ross agrees he is a wreck, do Johnson's "handlers" deny it? Odds are that the "news story" is a rehash of bullet points cooked up by the gnomes at One Wisconsin Now. A more honest accounting would read, "Democratic operative disagrees with Republican candidate's remarks."

Well, stop the presses! Have a great weekend! See you on the flip side.

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About This Blog

Raised on a farm near Sun Prairie, David Blaska is a recovering liberal who spent 18 years in daily newspapers, including 12 at The Capital Times in Madison as a reporter and editor. He served Gov. Tommy Thompson as acting press secretary in 1998 and is a veteran and survivor of 19 years in state government. He served 12 years on the Dane County Board of Supervisors. From December 2007 to November 2011 he wrote the consistently popular "Blaska's Blog" for Isthmus online's "The Daily Page" until, he says, the intolerant liberals ran him off. He blogs from Madison.

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