Milwaukee Magazine editor -- and MJS alum -- Bruce Murphy goes after the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for being the party of a partisan dirty trick in publishing the "police" report on "voter fraud":
The fact that no one claimed responsibility for the study makes it impossible to question the “researchers” or their results. That would be an obvious red flag to any news publication, not to mention that it’s bizarre to have the police department telling the state of Wisconsin how to handle its elections. But the red flags were ignored and the report was deemed the top story of the day.
On Sunday, JS columnist Dan Bice did a piece that covered the real story here: This report was purely political and was leaked to the press before Police Chief Ed Flynn or Mayor Tom Barrett had a chance to review it. Flynn said the report was unsigned, pretty moldy (it was largely finished some 18 months ago), hadn’t been officially authorized and had nothing to do with the mission of the police department. “We’re not the Department of Making Policy Recommendations,” he noted.
In short, the report was an anonymous stink bomb intended to rile up people about alleged voter fraud, and the JS provided a nice front page to explode it. Why? Because Borowski was the reporter who wrote countless stories about alleged voter fraud, pushed by editors bent on a crusade. This dusty report by a few cops reiterated the findings in Borowski’s stories, and this gave him and his editors yet another chance to repeat their by-now discredited stories and show everybody how right they were.
But of course, they weren’t. Their alarmist stories in 2004 and 2005 overplayed the situation, convincing readers there was wholesale voter fraud. But since then, a joint investigation by U.S. Attorney Steven Biskupic and former District Attorney E. Michael McCann found there was no widespread fraud. Nationally, as The New York Times has reported, there were few successful prosecutions for voter fraud, and Biskupic was particularly unsuccessful at prosecuting anyone. Furthermore, since 2004, there have been no snafus in how the city has handled elections.
Amusingly, since Bice's report came out, there's been a narrative spun by rightwingers that the leakers were righteous whistleblowers who knew their conclusions would only be squelched by the politicians -- so they had to leak it without telling MPD Chief Flynn or Mayor Barrett. And they also had to do it without it getting vetted by the other investigative bodies who looked into fraud...right?
It's a laughable counternarrative...all the more so because it trusts the analytic powers of "investigators" who thought Gerry Boyle's kid had a shot at beating Gwen Moore.