Wisconsin Election Coverage is not "fair and balanced"

Something interesting, but disturbing, happened last week in Wisconsin.

“A new Marquette Law School Poll of Wisconsin voters finds a tight race for governor … Among likely voters, incumbent Republican Scott Walker receives 46 percent, Democrat Tony Evers receives 46 percent and Libertarian Phil Anderson 6 percent.”  [Marquette University Law School]

That was the interesting part, especially since it has sometimes been difficult in the past for the Marquette Poll folks to pay attention to Wisconsin’s third largest political party, the Libertarian Party. The disturbing part is that almost all of the Wisconsin news media reported on the poll but edited out poll results for Phil Anderson! [https://www.teamguv.org] Following the refusal of the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association to invite Phil Anderson to their exclusive, bi-partisan, so-called, “Gubernatorial Debates,” something starts to smell funny, but not in a funny way.

Typical was a story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel which announced that, “Wisconsin couldn't get any more 'purple' in the latest election polling.” It appears that the Journal Sentinel political coverage couldn’t get any more purple either since the author ignored the Libertarian numbers entirely. Clearly, reading newspapers and listening to the news in Wisconsin won't make you an informed  voter.

However, somebody in the newsrooms and editorial boards might want to start paying attention. According to the Journal Sentinel, (See graph) there are more “Independents” and Undecided voters in Wisconsin than either Republican or Democrat voters. Other polls have indicated that voters would prefer more than two choices, not less. (For this graph, the newspaper apparently decided that Libertarians are “Independents.”)

Looking at those numbers, it is difficult to understand why in the world the so-called “news” media would choose to ignore such a large portion of the electorate. You might image that including news of interest to a third party and independents would increase the drama and interest in their political coverage. 

In the case of the television news, bi-partisan news reports and televised “Gubernatorial Debates” look like infomercials for the benefit of sponsors of political attack ads.  Follow the money.

Wisconsin voters expect and deserve political news coverage to be non-partisan, not bi-partisan.Will voters find out who the candidates are and what they stand for before they enter the polls in November? We shall see.

James Maas, Chair
Marathon County Libertarian Party

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