Daily Beast latest media outlet to retract fake story about Scott Walker

Daily Beast latest media outlet to retract fake story about Scott Walker

Did you hear the latest scuttlebutt about Wisconsin governor Scott Walker? Seems the 2016 presidential hopeful sat in the pews of a racist church for 20 years, listening to anti-American sermons from an unhinged pastor who Walker called his “spiritual adviser.” Oh, wait: That was a different candidate — and besides, what difference at this point does it make?

The election is still better than a year and a half away, and already the “elite” media are in “full vet” mode when it comes to Walker. As Politico’s Nick Gass notes, “Last week it was the New York Times” that ran a story accusing Walker of cutting state aid to education, which resulted in teacher layoffs in 2010. The only problem with the bombshell, by Gail Collins, is that Walker didn’t take office until 2011. The Times, like any reputable news source, scrubbed the article from its active website, relegating a “corrected version” to its archives.

This week it’s the Daily Beast’s turn to print and then apologize for a j’accuse directed at the governor, whose star in the Republican party is on the rise. Culling its information from the liberal blog Jezebel (which has also since appended an editor’s note to its post), the Beast’s Brian Weidy reported:

Walker’s $68 billion budget proposal for Wisconsin is a gutpunch for advocates for assault victims: provisions to end requirements for colleges and universities to report sexual assaults on campus to state law enforcement.

Interestingly, the claim, even if were true, is designed to stoke the passions only of the Democrats’ liberal base since the topic of campus rape (which LU’s resident legal scholar Hans Bader has written about extensively) is the left’s latest witch hunt — one that proceeds from the mythological statistic that 1 in 5 women is sexually assaulted while at college.

Even so, the story was wrong. As Gass notes:

In fact, the University of Wisconsin system requested the deletion of the requirements to get rid of redundancy, as it already provides similar information to the federal government, UW System spokesman Alex Hummel told The Associated Press on Friday.

The Daily Beast ran a correction and retraction replete with an update. The 250-word mea culpa follows:

A Daily Beast college columnist at the University of Wisconsin based this article off a Jezebel posting which was incorrectly reported. Jezebel updated their post on Saturday with the following after USA Today published a story debunking Jezebel’s account and clarifying Gov. Scott Walker’s position. “UPDATE: After Jezebel ran this item yesterday, a spokesman for the University of Wisconsin came forward—over two weeks after the budget was released—to clarify: the University requested that Gov. Walker delete the requirements because efforts were redundant with their compliance of the Cleary Act. Scott Walker’s camp assures that he’s committed to protecting victims.”

When The Daily Beast contacted Republican Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel for comment on Friday, his office expressed reservations about Walker’s proposal. His office told The Daily Beast in a statement that the Attorney General “is concerned about some of the provisions in the budget that may reduce information provided to college students and take away reporting requirements. He will work with representatives from UW and the Governor’s office to determine what prompted these changes and to ensure that we provide all of the protection we reasonably can for our college students,” but it is unclear if Schimel’s office was aware of the stated purpose of the provision in question. The Daily Beast is committed to covering the news fairly and accurately [!], and we should have checked this story more thoroughly. We deeply regret the error and apologize to Gov. Walker and our readers. Our original story should be considered retracted. [Emphasis added]

As noted earlier, Jezebel also recanted its tall tale, although the author of the post, Natasha Vargas-Cooper, tweeted (her tweets since “protected”) that she was sticking to her guns:

By Saturday, she relented, tweeting:

I know I said I wasn’t going to say sorry but I hope you won’t fault me for changing my mind.

— Natasha VC (@natashavc) February 28, 2015

Too bad she didn’t hang tough. She might have had a promising future as a Democratic Party operative.

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Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.

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