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The Media’s Insanely Inaccurate Reporting of the Scott Walker “Prosecution”

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If you do a Google News search for “Scott Walker” right now, you get this list of results, which would lead you immediately to conclude that Scott Walker is in the midst of some potentially very serious legal trouble. If you click links to the stories contained beneath the glaring headlines, most of them somehow fail to contain the single most important salient fact about this entire non-story: that Scott Walker has been cleared and that there is no ongoing investigation.

The reason for this failure to accurately report the facts of this case go beyond media bias against a leading national conservative figure. As someone who’s watched the media cover legal issues for years, including on cases I’ve been personally involved in, the simple fact is that most reporters are not very smart, especially when it comes to covering legal cases. I’ve read numerous stories written by reporters about cases  where the reporter very obviously pulled one of a complaint off PACER and used it as the sole source document for a story, reporting on all allegations in the complaint as fact, without even noting the basic truth that you can allege any unfounded thing you want in a complaint or bothering to contact the other side for details.

Here is another classic example of this phenomenon. Is it technically true that “prosecutors allege[d]” that Scott Walker was at the center of a “criminal scheme”? Yes. There is in fact a document that was filed in court that says that. And this document has caused various assorted leftist morons to hilariously assert that prosecutors are “closing in” on Scott Walker (one especially dumb leftist – we will call him Markos Moulitsas – does not even know whether these prosecutors are feds or county prosecutors or what).

The facts of this case are quite literally 180 degrees from the way this story is being reported. This all began when five Wisconsin County DAs – all elected Democrats – began a transparent witch hunt into virtually every conservative group operating in Wisconsin, as part of the left/unions’ scorched earth campaign against Walker. Their effort failed, and spectacularly. Their tactics were so far off base both factually and legally that a federal judge in Wisconsin actually shut down their prosecution. This is perhaps not obvious to non-lawyers, so I will go ahead and state it: almost never will a judge order a prosecution shut down in this fashion, particularly a judge in a completely different legal system, and the fact that it was done in this case (and affirmed by the 7th Circuit) shows just how hopeless the partisan DAs’ cases were. The Federal Judge’s ruling shutting down the case contains a lengthy and thorough demolishing of both the behavior and legal theories of the district attorneys in question, concluding that the prosecutors had instituted their prosecution without a reasonable chance of obtaining a conviction.

If you are interested in the more granular particulars of the legal postures of this case, Powerline has a good writeup here which is worth reading in full. If you want the tl;dr version, it is very simply that this prosecution was utterly meritless to begin with, the prosecutors in question have been publicly shamed and embarrassed in front of multiple federal judges, and this story is ultimately dead. It is being reported by lazy and incompetent reporters in a completely contrary fashion because they are too lazy or stupid (or both) to actually take the time to understand the full factual context of this case or to even bother calling a knowledgeable attorney for context.

Sorry to disappoint you, everyone who got really excited about Scott Walker going to jail yesterday – there’s zero percent chance of that happening.

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