Scott Walker has done it again. And by “done it” I mean “been the victim of a vicious media smear.”
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker believes forced ultrasounds are “just a cool thing for women,” a handful of online news sites reported Wednesday.
Problem is: That’s not exactly what the Republican governor and likely 2016 presidential candidate said.
In an interview Friday with conservative radio host Dana Loesch, Walker defended a bill that he signed into law in 2013 mandating that women seeking abortions must also be provided with ultrasounds.
The measure, Senate Bill 206, or Sonya’s Law, reads, “This bill requires … that before a person may perform or induce an abortion the physician … [must] perform, or arrange for a qualified person to perform, an ultrasound on the pregnant woman using whichever transducer the woman chooses.”
Walker bragged in his interview with Loesch that he and his team, “defunded Planned Parenthood.”
“We also signed a law that requires an ultrasound. Which, the thing about that, the media tried to make that sound like that was a crazy idea,” he said.
The Wisconsin governor, who is also the father to two sons, then marveled at the technology behind ultrasounds.
“Most people I talk to, whether they’re pro-life or not, I find people all the time who’ll get out their iPhone and show me a picture of their grandkids’ ultrasound and how excited they are, so that’s a lovely thing. I think about my sons are 19 and 20, you know we still have their first ultrasound picture. It’s just a cool thing out there,” he said.
“We just knew if we signed that law, if we provided the information, that more people if they saw that unborn child would, would make a decision to protect and keep the life of that unborn child,” he added.
Newsrooms took it from there, editing together Walker’s comments so that they could claim in headlines that the Republican lawmaker said “forced ultrasounds” are “cool.”
Right Wing Watch, a left-wing watchdog group, was one of the first to take on Walker’s comments, publishing a story Tuesday titled “Scott Walker: Ultrasounds Should Be Mandatory Since They’re ‘A Cool Thing.'”
On Wednesday, multiple newsrooms appeared to follow Right Wing Watch’s lead.
Talking Points Memo published a headline that read, “Scott Walker: Mandatory Ultrasounds Are ‘Just A Cool Thing’ For Women.”
“Potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) said in an interview on Friday that mandatory ultrasounds for women hoping to get an abortion was ‘just a cool thing,'” read the opening paragraph to TPM’s write up of the Walker interview.
Politico published a story with the headline, “Scott Walker on mandatory ultrasounds: ‘It’s just a cool thing out there.'” That headline has since been amended so that it now reads, “Scott Walker defends mandatory ultrasounds.”
The Week chimed in, “Scott Walker defends mandatory ultrasounds: They’re ‘just a cool thing.'”
Not to be outdone, Salon claimed in its write-up of Walker’s remarks that he said, “Women should be forced to have transvaginal ultrasounds because they are ‘a cool thing.'”
Raw Story also jumped in with a story titled, “Scott Walker: Women should be forced to have ultrasounds because they’re ‘a cool thing.'”
Then there was Mother Jones, which published a report titled, “Scott Walker Says Mandatory Ultrasounds Are ‘Just a Cool Thing’ for Women.”
Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards cashed in on the media brouhaha Wednesday afternoon by saying in a statement to NPR that, “Women are very clear that forced government ultrasounds are not ‘cool.'”
Technically, you could argue (as Josh Marshall was doing last night) that the original story is true because Scott Walker actually said all the things he is quoted as saying. But if you argued that you would be both wrong and stupid.
There is a word for selectively quoting someone out of context to distort or change the meaning of what they said. That word is “lying”.
Meanwhile, over at the New York Times:
Carly Fiorina spends a lot of her time as a Republican presidential candidate attacking Hillary Rodham Clinton, the leading Democratic candidate, and has earned considerable news coverage for it. On Wednesday, with Mrs. Clinton set to give a speech at a South Carolina hotel, Ms. Fiorina arranged a news conference outside – for little reason, it seemed, other than to taunt her.
Unlike Mrs. Clinton, she pointedly assured reporters, she would take their questions.
And she did – saying, for example, that she did not regret appearing at one Clinton Global Initiative event herself, despite the controversy recently over foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation. “Last year we didn’t know all the things that we now know about the Clinton Foundation,” Ms. Fiorina said.
Would she go back? “Well, that was a hypothetical,” she said. “My guess is, they won’t invite me again.”
But Ms. Fiorina quickly grew discomfited when the questions seemed to treat her more as a heckler pulling a stunt than as a formidable candidate making an otherwise significant campaign stop.
One reporter asked if Ms. Fiorina was being used by the men in the Republican field to harass Mrs. Clinton.
Ms. Fiorina insisted she had planned her trip here “many, many weeks ago, so perhaps she’s following me.” She said she had lots more to offer than merely Clinton-bashing: “Anyone who has sat through these avails over many months knows that I will take any question on any subject, and the vast majority of my speeches in front of anyone are about a host of issues.”
About 20 reporters and photographers circled her near a side entrance to the Marriott, leaning in to hear Ms. Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive who spoke softly, at times barely audible.
One reporter asked if she was here because of Mrs. Clinton.
“I planned to be here weeks and weeks ago!” she said. “I have a luncheon to go to, with the G.O.P. here.”
At this hotel?
“This trip has been on my itinerary for a very long time,” she said.
Ms. Fiorina was only too glad to discuss immigration reform — she criticized President Obama and Mrs. Clinton — and equal pay. “A man can sit in a government office and watch pornography all day long,” and still earn more than a hard-working woman in the same job, she said. Women, she said, were “held to different standards.”
She did not indicate whether she felt that was true of Mrs. Clinton as well. But she stressed that Mrs. Clinton needed to be held accountable.
“I hope you will continue to be as aggressive with Mrs. Clinton, wherever she is,” Ms. Fiorina said.
“All right, thank you, everyone,” an aide interjected after about 11 minutes.
A reporter tried to pose another question. But Ms. Fiorina demurred.
“Thanks, you guys — I have a lunch to go to,” she said, carefully stepping across the cables stretching to the satellite trucks that had arrived to record Mrs. Clinton’s appearance inside the hotel.
Did you see what they did there?
That is certainly a different definition of “ambush” considering that Fiorina never spoke directly to Hillary. While it is fair to point out that the news conference was a campaign stunt, so is pretty much every campaign appearance Hillary makes.
The life of a reporter is just so unfair:
Sidney Blumenthal, a longtime confidant of Bill and Hillary Clinton, earned about $10,000 a month as a full-time employee of the Clinton Foundation while he was providing unsolicited intelligence on Libya to then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, according to multiple sources familiar with the arrangement.
Blumenthal was added to the payroll of the Clintons’ global philanthropy in 2009 — not long after advising Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign — at the behest of former president Bill Clinton, for whom he had worked in the White House, say the sources.
While Blumenthal’s foundation job focused on highlighting the legacy of Clinton’s presidency, some officials at the charity questioned his value and grumbled that his hiring was a favor from the Clintons, according to people familiar with the foundation. They say that, during a 2013 reform push, Blumenthal was moved to a consulting contract that came with a similar pay rate but without benefits — an arrangement that endured until March.
A Clinton loyalist who first earned the family’s trust as an aggressive combatant in the political battles of the 1990s, Blumenthal continues to work as a paid consultant to two groups supporting Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign — American Bridge and Media Matters — both of which are run by David Brock, a close ally of both Clinton and Blumenthal.
Nope, nothing to see here. Move along.