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Mary Burke has finally emerged with her first major TV ad of the 2014 campaign for Governor of Wisconsin, and it's led to the Wisconsin GOP complaining about what's claimed in the ad. And given that it involves job figures, we have a lot of that information at our disposal, so let's do some fact-checking of our own for both parties.

First, here's the ad.

After the ad hit, the Wisconsin GOP complained that the ad was untrue, quoting this part from a Washington Examiner story on the ads.

In [Scott Walker's] three years [as governor], unemployment dropped from 7.8 percent to 6.2 percent at the end of 2013 and he claims he turned a huge deficit into a budget surplus.

But that’s not the story told in the first ad from his Democratic foe, former state commerce secretary and Trek Bicycle executive Mary Burke. “Under Walker, unemployment is up,” says her ad, which shows a graphic with an up red arrow beside “6.2 percent unemployment.”

According to her spokesman, Joe Zepecki, while the ad doesn’t say it, Burke is making the comparison between Wisconsin unemployment rate today and when she was commerce secretary nearly 10 years ago, from 2005-2007.

While some see it as an apples-to-oranges argument, Zepecki emailed: “4.8 percent is the highest the annual average unemployment rate ever was during Burke’s time at Commerce. Under Scott Walker it’s never been lower than 6.2 percent. Compared to when she was secretary, unemployment is up.”

Yes, the claim is dishonest, because it compares the pre-recession bubble times that Burke served under to the post-recession time that we're currently in. But are Zepecki's numbers correct?

THEY ARE, as this information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows. When Burke served from January 2005- November 2007, unemployment was between 4.6% and 4.85% EVERY ONE OF THOSE 35 MONTHS, with the average annual rates being between 4.6% to 4.8%. Today the unemployment rate is 6.2% in Wisconsin (or 6.3%, as apparently last year's surveys just got benchmarked), so technically Zepecki is correct, that unemployment is higher under Scott Walker than when Mary Burke was Commerce Secretary.

Yes, it's a bullshit way to do it, but you know who knows how to tell half-truths and spin stories as well as anyone? SCOTT WALKER. Here's Scotty pulling the same "lie by omission" tactic IN THE SAME PRESS RELEASE CRITICIZING THE BURKE CAMPAIGN.

Walker, who is considering a 2016 presidential bid, recently bragged: “After losing more than 133,000 jobs and 27,000 businesses during Gov. Jim Doyle’s last term, Wisconsin added more than 100,000 jobs and 15,000 businesses during my term as your governor. That’s a shift of more than 230,000 jobs and 40,000 businesses. The unemployment rate that was 9.2 percent four years ago is now 6.2 percent. Wisconsin is working again, but there is still more work to be done."
That "9.2 percent four years ago" comment is intentionally deceptive, because it leaves out that half of the drop in Wisconsin's unemployment rate happened before Walker was even in office.

Wisconsin unemployment rates
July 2009 9.2%
Jan. 2011 7.7% (-1.5%, Walker takes office)
Dec. 2013 6.3% (-1.4%)

Seems like sketchy politics as usual by both sides- not lying, but not really telling the whole truth. Which is what made today's Wisconsin Politi-fact's "analysis" of Burke's ad all the more infuriating. Politi-crap gave the ad a "pants on fire" rating, claiming

...without stating any comparison between Burke and Walker, the ad claims unemployment is higher under Walker and provides figures indicating an increase from 4.8 percent to 6.2 percent. But the rate was much higher than 4.8 percent when Walker took office and it has gone down, not up, during his tenure.

Our rating
Burke's [ad] said that "under Walker, unemployment’s up," from 4.8 percent to 6.2 percent.

Burke [campaign] defends the claim by saying 4.8 percent is a reference to when she served as state commerce secretary, which was several years before Walker became governor. But the ad gives no indication that that is the comparison she is making.

Moreover, during Walker’s time as governor, unemployment started at 7.7 percent, not 4.8 percent. And rather than trending upward, the rate has steadily dropped to 6.3 percent.

For a claim that is false and ridiculous, we give Burke a Pants on Fire.

"False and ridiculous?" The impression may be false, but the data is certainly true- the unemployment rate is higher today than it was in the mid-to-late 2000's. If the narrator had said "unemployment is higher" under Walker instead of "unemployment is up", would you rate it differently, Politi-crap?

Compare this to the Politi-"fact" analysis of the Republican Governor's Association ad that is referenced in the Burke campaign's commercial, and tell me which ad is more blatantly dishonest.

In one TV spot entitled "Backward," the RGA asks: "Who’s Mary Burke?"

It’s answer: "Burke was a senior member of the Doyle administration that left Wisconsin with 130,000 fewer jobs, and a $3 billion budget shortfall." The ad concludes:  "Mary Burke would take Wisconsin backwards."...

There’s an element of truth, but the ad ignores the critical fact that Burke also worked in half of Doyle’s first term, when 86,000 jobs were gained. Employment also rose in the narrower time frame when Burke worked for Doyle over parts of his two terms.

And in any event, the role of these two officials in those losses and gains is very limited, given national economic realities of the time.

We rate the ad’s claim Mostly False.

So associating Mary Burke with results that happened after she left the Doyle Administration is "Mostly False", but giving the TRUE (if misleading) statement that unemployment is higher now than it was during Burke's tenure at Commerce is a "False and Ridiculous" claim, resulting in "Pants on Fire". ARE YOU SHITTING ME?

Right on cue, as if they were working with Politi-crap to knock down Burke's ad, the Walker campaign used the absurd "Pants on Fire" rating to whine to local TV stations and ask that the ad be pulled off the air, claiming "Failure to remove this false and misleading advertisement at this critical juncture would indicate a reckless disregard for accurate factual reporting." Yes, the same people who consistently lie by omission, and work in concert with Koch front groups who use actors and GOP activists to make false claims about Obamacare in their ads, these are the people now asking that dishonest ads used against them be pulled off the air.

There's a five-letter word that comes to mind when it comes to people like the Wisconsin Republicans that love to dish it out, but sure can't take it. It starts with P and ends with Y. If the Burke campaign is truly in it to win it, they'll take the advice of one of my favorite choirs and America's most trusted news man, and say the following to the Walker campaign, the whiny WisGOPs, and Politi-crap.

Originally posted to Jake formerly of the LP on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 07:04 AM PST.

Also republished by Badger State Progressive.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I agree Jake, Mary should (8+ / 0-)

    tell Walker to take a flying Leap!!  He cant handle any Negativity directed towards him, The How Dare you question my Screw ups and Failures that have been Buried by the Media!! Every Lie or Failure is rite there for Mary B. to use, Hopefully She can message it in a manner for all to understand, Along with a Clear, Cut and Dry message of what She will or would have done differently. I think IF Mary B. sticks to the Basic issue just to name a few, Job's, HealthCare, Education and communicates a Clear Concise consistent message understandable to Low Info Voters or 1 issue Voters, She can make him look like the A$$hat that he is.   Off Topic comment and link,

    •  my brother-in-law is from Wisconsin (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bearsguy, elwior, buffie

      he says there is an old Wisconsin saying that "you can't break a ball breaker's balls." Does it refer to shooting pool?  Or to Wisconsin Republicans?  

    •  Jobs should be secondary message (9+ / 0-)

        Agree with your main point bearsguy- no need for WisDems to get caught down into details that most people don't have the time to consider. A simple, overall message of "Walker is corrupt, dishonest, and a Bush-like economic failure," should be simple enough for people to hang onto.

        And then Burke should be portrayed as the person who can change the culture of corruption and bitterness that has defined the Walker era, and it'll ring true to most voters. Discussing economic stats has its place (and I like the ad, especially in how it turns WisGOP's deceptions on their head), but it's also something that can be spun by Walker and our lazy media, and the casual person doesn't know what to make of it.

      •  Jake (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        stevenaxelrod, elwior, nadd2, Creosote

        I live in a Red area. Many want explanations on the ACA based on results in other States. They want the TRUTH on issues without the Negativity or Divisiveness. My impression is Mary B. understands that as and will be able to Campaign positively in that manner.  

      •  Totally agree with your second paragraph! Her (6+ / 0-)

        campaign needs to negate Snotty's theme of Burke taking WI backward. Burke should embrace that to some extent by turning it right back at him and tainting the ReTHUG brand at the same time.  

        Damn right taking WI to a time...when neighbors and family members did not hate each other because of politics; when employment was high and our economy was growing; when parents supported one of the BEST education systems in the country; when the legislature had not usurped local control and communities had the right to run their local affairs; when the DNR protected the environment and water rights for ALL; when politicians did not scapegoated and incite hatred, fear, and envy for political gain; when legislators wrote law in an open process, not secretive, seeking public input instead of trying to prevent it; when elected officials truly worked for the interests of ALL not the highest, secret, often out-of-state, wealthy campaign donors; when elected officials worked for the interest of WI and all her people instead using taxpayer paid staff and positions for personal ambitions; when clean, fair political competition was valued instead of any sleazy, underhanded, and illegal means to win; when governors shared their work schedule instead of hiding it from taxpayers; when the long term good of the state and ALL her people was more important than loyalty to political party, ideology, and future political careers...the possible Snotty/ReTHUG hits are endless!  

        Robber Baron "ReTHUGisms": John D. Rockefeller -"The way to make money is to buy when blood is running in the streets"; Jay Gould -"I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half."

        by ranton on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 11:33:46 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ranton (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          peptabysmal, elwior, buffie, ranton

          Sorry for any typo's I'm Human!! It is a FACT in my Family the division. IT stinks, I cant attend any Family function without a political fight. I drive separate from my Wife when going to some events by using an excuse of running Fire Calls (VOL). It's beyond Old and tiresome and not a way to live a Happy life. I will Never get that Time Back along with the others who have endured the same. I am surrounded by Baggers as Neighbors, Though since the E-mail dump they are Quiet!! Very Quiet.

          •  No need to apologize for typos...I had one in my (3+ / 0-)

            previous comment...big sigh!  

            What you describe is something I will never forgive WI ReTHUGS for...the toll their divide/conqueror strategy has taken on personal relationships all for the sake of their largest campaign donors and political power.

            I understand completely...I am a teacher who is married to a Walker supporter. That my husband could support someone who scapegoated me and my profession, that he still supports the man whose actions negatively affect me and my students everyday...are very bitter "pills to swallow."  I shared my feelings and then had to wrap my hurt and disappointment in him like a river clam does a foreign object for the sake of our relationship...blunted but never undone.  Unfortunately, I am not the only public employee I know  (most are women) who faced the same Walker-induced  personal relationship reality.

            Robber Baron "ReTHUGisms": John D. Rockefeller -"The way to make money is to buy when blood is running in the streets"; Jay Gould -"I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half."

            by ranton on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 12:34:37 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  By far a Tougher (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ranton, nadd2

              situation than mine ranton. This entire mess is what made me really get me Busy, Better informed and involved.  Better late than Never!! Let me add this comment, This week a couple of people I know that really don't share the same Labor Views as I do, (Btw I am a Const. Worker- Union), That actually have changed Their mind on being a part of Organized Labor and actually wished they were. That in itself is a very telling sign.  

              •  Smiling...My father's union construction trade (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                nadd2, bearsguy

                made possible a solid middle-class life for his family, a college education for all his children if they wanted one, and a comfortable retirement for a man with a work-worn body and asbestos-damaged lungs; this is something I have never forgotten, unlike my Rushbo-loving brother! Considering the poverty experienced by both my parents' families, they and their children climbed the social-economic ladder because of the union movement and men like my Dad along with countless others before who sacrificed (strikes and work actions) to be able to have a better future for all working-class people.  

                My Dad so wanted to be in the crowd during the WI Uprising; if he had consented to use a rented wheelchair, I would have taken him when I went.  This union member daughter would have been so proud to "march" with her union member Dad.

                I can relate to your renewed political involvement; Walker's "bomb" helped me rediscover the political passion I possessed as a young adult. The WI Uprising was transformative on so many's why I discovered this site.  

                Solidarity, bearsguy!

                Robber Baron "ReTHUGisms": John D. Rockefeller -"The way to make money is to buy when blood is running in the streets"; Jay Gould -"I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half."

                by ranton on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 07:01:19 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

    •  You have stated a perfect theme for her next ad; (7+ / 0-)

      "He [Snotty] cant handle any Negativity directed towards him, The How Dare you question my Screw ups and Failures that have been Buried by the Media!!"

      As the infamous emails show, Snot and his ilk bully corporate media ANY time there is a hint of pushback...WI corporate media is both bought and cowered!

      Robber Baron "ReTHUGisms": John D. Rockefeller -"The way to make money is to buy when blood is running in the streets"; Jay Gould -"I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half."

      by ranton on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 10:48:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm quite sure Wanker et. al. will resort to (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      negativity, if they have not already.

      "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

      by elwior on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 12:10:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Not so sure (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, afisher, JVolvo, thomask, myboo, ranton
    Yes, the claim is dishonest, because it compares the pre-recession bubble times that Burke served
      Every GOPer has attacked Obama for unemployment not getting back to pre economic collapse levels.
        So why not attack GOP governors who claim they are doing a great job reducing unemployment.
          We can't have one standard for Obama attacks and an other standard to judge GOP Governors the GOP choose this standard so they are stuck with it.
  •  Politifact is read by who (9+ / 0-)

    News Junkies researching stuff in other words Lefties, Righties only research to confirm what they want to hear.  Guess what many Lefties if a claim sounds funny don't rely on politifact and keep researching.
        Politifact is a failed attempt I feel to control political thought by labeling news stories true or false often in a way that favors the Right.
         I like stories like this that discredit them.  I almost never read a story that uses politifact research as the sole basis for a story.
         I think politifact is a waste of the Right's money and wonder who funds them.

    •  Politi-fact= Low info (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bearsguy, thomask, elwior, peptabysmal

        Thanks for the props. Confronting Politi-fact when it decides to be Politi-crap is crucial, because I think a lot of low info voters and people who only casually follow politics look to things like to Politi-"fact" as a guide to what things are "really like." The casual person doesn't have the time or interest to look into economic stats or claims by certain candidates, so they'd rather have someone do it for them. Even scarier are Chuck Todd-like media members who also don't make the effort to dissect claims, and this is especially true with the lazy, paid-off Wisconsin media.

        Which is why mendacious candidates like Walker, Paul Ryan and the vast majority of WisGOPs are at an advantage, because corporate media won't call out their clear lies, and give them the benefit of the doubt, but won't give the benefit of the doubt to Dems out of fear of seeming "liberal".

        I have fears that Burke's campaign will be sucked into a defensive posture as a result of this (like far too many Dems are), and that's why it's important to call out Politi-crap and WisGOP for their BS every time they try to pull something like this. If Burke doesn't back down and just tells the truth (and they could do it better than in this ad, by the way), she has a much better chance of winning in November.

  •  Misleading is never "correct" nor truth. (4+ / 0-)

    Making statements that actively invite the audience to faulty conclusions is not defensible.

    Out-of-context statistics are not neutral facts -- that are numbers used purposefully without explanation, allowing the most common, expected references inferred by the audience (in the absence of the information withheld by the source) to do the dirty work of misinformation.

    You cannot even say the statement "6.2% employment is up" is true without providing the point for comparison.

    'Both sides do it' isn't a defense, either.

    Righteousness is a wide path. Self-righteousness is a bullhorn and a blindfold.

    by Murphoney on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 09:23:02 AM PST

    •  Totally agree. (8+ / 0-)

      While I have a big problem with Politifact rating this Pants on Fire while rating much worse things from the right as mostly false, if even that, Burke's ad is deceptive on this point and a missed opportunity.

      This really shouldn't be that hard. Harken back to the good old days, when unemployment was low, jobs were good, wages were respectable, people on both sides of the aisle respected each other and Wisconsin was a national leader. Contrast that with the current state of affairs and blame Walker and his cronies for everything. Play up the corruption cloud the administration is under and your job is done.

      •  Agree to a point (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

          I agree that the WisDems don't need to fall down to half-truths like we see in the Burke ad, as saying "Wisconsin is being left behind in the recovery" is a much better attack. Especially cause it's true.

          But that being said, I like that the Burke campaign is trying to pre-empt Walker and the WisGOPs, because it's the best way to beat those lying jerkoffs. And you see by the squealing that the righties are doing by this ad that they can't take it when someone gives them a punch. It's something we need a lot more of in the next 8 months, although corruption and sleaziness is a much better place to hit vs jobs.

    •  "Both sides do it" is a standard GOP defense. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      buffie, bearsguy

      "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

      by elwior on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 12:11:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Tipped, recced and republished to (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, ER Doc

    I started with nothing and still have most of it left. - Seasick Steve

    by ruleoflaw on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 10:58:05 AM PST

  •  With all the blatantly obvious truths Ms. Burke (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    could employ, what dunder-head decided the one she should use requires qualification????

    6.4% unemployment - unless of course you want to count all the people that would like to work but have given up registering with the state.  I bet you know several people like that - likely someone in your family.


    Why is Scott Walker bragging about Wisconsin comparing favorably to Alabama?  Hey Scott, how about Minnesota?

    Lobbyist, PAC, SuperPAC - a bribe by any name is still corruption

    by GreatLakeSailor on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 10:50:35 AM PDT

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