One could argue that I am, in fact, beating a dead horse with this one. More than a month ago, I published a diary questioning Wisconsin Senator Dan Kapanke's claim that protestors had smashed his windshield as his car was parked around the Capitol the night he and the other Republican Senators voted to pass Governor Scott Walker's union busting bill.
At the time, the issue was getting no press - from our side. No one in the "mainstream" media was questioning his contention. Yet Kapanke used that "vandalization" of his car as an excuse to cancel some of his scheduled meetings, citing "concern for his personal safety." He even brought up the tragic shootings in Arizona, implying that the damage to his car amounted to similar possible levels of threat to his own safety.
And so the story of the smashed windshield, which was the only documented damage that occurred in Madison during the protests, went viral in the conservative media. It was picked up by Drudge Report, Glenn Beck, Charlie Sykes, and so on. It was blabbed about ad nauseum in the conservative blogosphere as proof that the Madison protestors were all "violent union thugs."
At the time I published my diary, one online news outlet, WXOW.com in La Crosse, had a video of Kapanke showing the "damage" to a reporter. That video, which showed what was clearly a crack and not intentional damage, was available for about a week. Then it was suddenly pulled, and although the article remained, it was now accompanied by a generic photo of Kapanke. When I contacted the editors of the site by email and phone to ask why they had pulled the video, I received no response. My letters to the editors of several other papers in the state also went ignored. But the conservatives had a field day.
I even went so far as to contact Kapanke's office and request that they issue a statement retracting their claim that the windshield had been damaged by protestors, but to no avail.
Finally, on April 5 the lie was picked up by the mainstream media. Jessica VanEgeren at the CapTimes in Wisconsin wrote an article about the incident, and included the police report filed on March 22nd, two weeks prior, that concluded that the damage was not intentional. And today, PolitiFact Wisconsin issued Kapanke a "Pants of Fire" rating for claiming that the windshield was damaged by protestors.
So why is this important? Because once again, the mainstream media is anything but, and liberal media is shrinking. The conservatives have their pet media projects, and there are a few local liberal news sources, like my own CapTimes in Madison. But far too often, the supposed liberal media like Huffington Post that have larger reader bases is failing us. While people are angrily confronting Rep. Paul Ryan at his town hall meetings (and have the video to prove it) TPM is writing articles wondering where our anger is. Today, the Huff Post's top political stories cover the GOP; Kagan; A Democratic ad blasting the GOP over Medicare; House GOP tactics; Rick Santorum; a Rhode Island GOP Rep's drug troubles; Paul Ryan; the GOP's DOMA defense and a law firm that won't do it; Trump; Texas's trip back to the Dark Ages; and college Republicans.
Call me crazy, but I see a pattern here. We must keep fighting back.