Thursday, April 19, 2007

Walberg Punishes Journalist for Good Reporting

[UPDATE] The article included below was just Thursday's preview of the full column, which is now on the Enquirer's website. Go check it out. My favorite part:

It's not personal. It's just a bad public relations move, typical of a staff composed of 20-something "Jesus Camp" counselors who almost managed to lose the general election to Sharon Renier, a chicken farmer with $1.03 in the bank.

They're not ready for primetime.


Susan Demas (now at the Battle Creek Enquirer) was probably the most prolific and professional journalist in the 7th Congressional District to cover the 2006 election. She's always been fair to all candidates-- even when I might wish she were a little more harsh on Walberg. Her articles on Tim Walberg have been cited on this blog again and again, and, at one point, she and I were briefly in contact for a possible story that never ran.

In hindsight, I suppose it was only a matter of time before Tim Walberg saw that she was, you know, reporting the truth about him. We can't have that, can we?

An anonymous reader was kind enough to include this in the comments. I hope Susan Demas and the Enquirer won't mind if I repost the whole comment-- which includes the text of an article that appears in today's issue.

Anonymous said...

I know Fitzy is on a trip, so I figured I'd bring this to everyone's attention. It is an article today discussing Walberg's fundraising for the first part of the year. For those of you in other parts of the District, you will still be getting news coverage, but those of us who read the Enquirer are finally free from the daily embarassment---

Article published Apr 19, 2007
Demas: Walberg haunted by specter of Schwarz
Susan J. Demas
The Enquirer

Truth is, I was dying to read about U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg’s Black History Month legislation, even though the press release didn’t arrive until March.

But alas, I’ve now been stripped of the privilege of at least 23 Walberg e-mails clogging my inbox each day. That means, loyal Enquirer readers, that I may not be able to apprise you of the Tipton Republican’s valiant scraps to lower taxes, protect traditional marriage and restore the Great Lakes.

It seems a recent story hit a nerve. Not when I quoted Walberg insisting Iraq is just as safe as the body armor-free streets of Detroit. That was kosher.

This was the remark by Walberg’s aides didn’t want you to read:

“Our goal is to make a real strong (financial) showing in the first quarter, so people like Joe Schwarz back off.”

Well, he didn’t. And the specter of Schwarz, whom the conservative preacher edged out in the 2006 GOP primary, still seems to be breathing down his neck.

Schwarz, 69, has returned to his surgical practice and is playing coy, saying he’ll decide this summer whether to take another stab at Congress. The Battle Creek native has been busy with stuff like investigating Walter Reed as a member of the blue-ribbon Pentagon panel.

But he clearly remains the No. 1 threat to Walberg’s job security.

My punishment from Fort Walberg was swift and severe.

“I took you off the (media) list,” his spokesman informed me this month, “because the congressman has decided he will no longer talk to you.”

That hurt. Congress’ 423rd most powerful member and I have been through a lot together since last year’s venomous, cash-chucking race. Walberg even posted some of my stories on his campaign Web site, which was even better than seeing them hang on my mom’s fridge.

Once, a grandmotherly supporter mistook me for the 56-year-old’s trophy wife. Good times.

(Emphasis added.)

"The congressman has decided he will no longer talk to you." Hm.

That, my friends, is certainly the reaction of a mature, seasoned politician that is perfectly secure in his seat. Obviously he's not worried at all.

Really, this is going to be a problem for him somewhere along the way. I mean, if he won't talk to people that report, you know, facts, getting his message out is going to be a lot harder. If the local press is against you, it doesn't matter how much help the Club for Growth gives you.

Needless to say, while Walberg might not want to talk to Susan Demas anymore, I do, and I'd encourage every candidate considering running in 2008-- Democrats, Republicans, or others-- to take their stories to the Battle Creek Enquirer first.

Unlike Tim Walberg, I support freedom of press and good, honest journalism (which is more than just reprinting press releases). Walberg is punishing Susan Demas and the Enquirer. Potential candidates, I think you should reward her for doing a good job. The same goes for the DCCC, the MDP, and all the various groups that may be hurt if Tim Walberg's ideas ever made it into law.

(By the way-- I'm back from Chicago, but I'm busier than ever. I promise regular posting to resume... sometime soon.)

Labels: , , ,

Walberg has never cared about the truth, the lied repeatedly about Schwarz throughout the election. I've said it before and I'll say it again. He's a charlatan masquerading as a precher who has no ethical or moral compass.

He's always played fast and loose with the facts. Remember, he narrowly beat Schwarz in the primary with only 8 percent of the GOP vote. A very small minority elected him and Reiner almost took him down.

If I were him, I'd be scared too. His house of cards is falling down.
Looks like Walberg is going to rely on his employee who is also a radio newcaster to spread the word in Battle Creek now.

Dumas was the best reporter on the last race, hands down. I cannot imagine her being more fair to Walberg, and he throws a hissy fit over her printing a quote. Was it off the record, Mr. Walberg? Either he said it or he didn't. It is almost like he is calling her a liar.
Can you explain what you mean by 'his employee who is also a radio newscaster'?

Walberg's staffer is doing his radio show, and called Demas a "religious bigot." He asked what her chip on her shoulder was, her bee in her bonnet.

Then, he mentioned that she must have been a spy when she worked for the paper in Jackson, back when they were running the last campaign...

They? Was a member of the media working on a political campaign while he maintained a lie of impartiality and reported on the campaign?

A caller called in a thanked Chris for going after the Enquirer. Chris accepted the thanks.
Check this January CitPat column out on Chris Simmons:

Chairman Invokes GOP amendment
By Susan J. Demas

Thou shalt not raise taxes.
Thus sayeth Michigan Republican Party Chairman Saulius
Anuzis in an e-mail to GOP members of Gov. Granholm’s
Emergency Financial Advisory Panel (AKA the 12
Saul — who almost got the ax after last fall’s GOP
election debacle — was subtly invoking the state
party’s first commandment. (The second, in case you’re
wondering, is “Thou shalt oppose abortion.”)
The bipartisan group is charged with figuring out how
Michigan can survive the plague of a $3 billion hole
harvesting next year’s $9 billion general fund budget.
The problem is Michigan runs a structural deficit of
more than $500 million each year due to an outmoded
tax system, said Tom Clay, state affairs director for
the Lansing-based Citizen Research Council. He also
served as deputy treasurer under that wacko liberal,
Gov. John Engler.
Clay thinks we need to fix taxes enacted when Jerry
Ford was president and polyester suits looked cool.
In agreement is “Apostle” Joe Schwarz, R-Battle Creek
(who says he’s Thomas, the skeptic.) But tax-hike
rhetoric is alarmist, said Schwarz, who thinks policy
is best left to the panel.
“Let the party worry about politics,” adds the former
7th District congressman.

Simmons on staff

A familiar voice — if not face — has joined U.S. Rep.
Tim Walberg’s team.
Chris Simmons, 33, serves as Branch and Calhoun
counties’ district representative for Walberg,
The Battle Creeker is still the part-time host of WBCK
radio’s “Hotline,” which he describes as “kind of a
conservative talk show.”
Hmmm… think Simmons will be able nab any exclusive
interviews with his boss?
Simmons “definitely” won’t cover Walberg during
election time, said WBCK News Director Tom Forde. The
station and its parent company, Clear Channel, do not
have a conflict-of-interest policy, he said.
“We made sure everything was above board,” Simmons
said of Walberg’s office. “We checked with the House
Ethics Committee.”
Coincidentally, I was going to announce here that I’d
taken a job on the side with U.S. Sen. John McCain’s
presidential exploratory committee. After all,
everyone else has in Michigan, from Attorney General
Mike Cox to former Dick DeVos running mate Ruth
But alas, my CitPat masters said I’d have to give up
my column — and my paycheck.
Just as well. I’m holding out for former Gov. Mitt
Romney, who pundits say is the guy to beat. And
they’re never wrong. Just look at how close the guv’s
race was last fall.
Walberg's staffers are on the loose:
April 20, 2007 10:00 AM Anonymous, I'm assuming you're the same "Anonymous" that's been posting about the Walberg staffer on the radio before.

Would you be interested in contacting me so we can discuss it more?

E-mail me at[at]gmail[dot]com
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