Article that is subject of MacIver Threats of Libel


Hamlet Act 3, scene 2, 222–230


Hamlet:
Madam, how like you this play?

Queen:
The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

Taken Down 3 Times

The following article has been removed from three blogs, The Capital Times, Blogging Blue, and Host Madison, after the editors received threats of being sued for libel. The quote from “Hamlet” – “the lady doth protest too much,” almost always means that the lady objects so much as to lose credibility.

Note: The article is now reposted atBlogging Blue

The article is written by Dustin Beilke who is a freelance writer and essayist and has written for dozens of publications throughout the last 25 years.

Beware of the MacIver spin machine
The MacIver Institute is a partisan political operation in a think tank’s clothing
By Dustin Beilke

In the past several months, journalists who ought to know better at the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and dozens of other publications have quoted the staff at the Wisconsin-based John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy on policy issues important to Wisconsin’s future.

If you’re a MacIver staffer looking to spread your ideas to millions of readers without paying the high cost of advertising, that’s pretty nice for you. But for advocates of good journalism – and a public that counts on it to help understand and evaluate ideas – it’s very bad.

That’s because the MacIver Institute isn’t a public policy research “institution’’ by any reasonable definition. MacIver is a political campaign office. It’s that simple.

MacIver is staffed by veteran conservative Republican campaign operatives. It is run by a board that looks like a “Who’s Who’’ of past conservative Republican political campaigns.

MacIver has the right to advocate for any idea it chooses, but it does not have the right to claim to be an honest player in the exchange of public policy ideas.

It is headed by Brett Healy, the former veteran chief of staff (and campaign manager several times over) for former Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen – the leader who was charged with several felonies for his role in using taxpayer-funded staff for political campaign operations.

Jensen, who led the GOP takeover of the Assembly in the early 1990s, is now a consultant to the institute. In fact, he’s so involved that, in some cases, he even writes some of its press releases.

MacIver’s communications director, Brian Fraley, is a well-paid national insurance industry lobbyist who was director of the Senate Republican caucus when it was also knee-deep in the illegal use of taxpayer funded employees for campaigns. Fraley has been a campaign manager and consultant for dozens of conservative Republican campaigns.

Some of MacIver’s scholarly contributors are, well, not scholarly at all.

Its most prolific writer these days is James Widgerson, a self-identified right-wing blogger who boasts on his website such non-scholarly credentials as serving as campaign consultant for a host of conservatives, including former U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann, State Sen. Mary Lazich and former State Sen. George Petak.

One of Widgerson’s “qualifications” is his ongoing effort to assist the Republican get-out-the-vote strategy. As almost anyone in Wisconsin politics knows, what “get out the vote’’ means is a well-funded effort to discourage voting by citizens who might lean Democratic.

MacIver’s ties to the GOP campaign machine go still deeper. Its past and current board members include Mark Block, a GOP operative best known lately for his blundering work managing GOP candidate Herman Cain’s presidential campaign. Arch-conservative radio commentator Charles Sykes appears regularly in both its “issues’’ and “news’’ coverage.

Good journalists usually are careful to avoid phony think tanks. The MacIver Institute might have interesting, even credible ideas, but it doesn’t exist to help us wade through difficult issues and facts. Its job is precisely the opposite – to sway voters by stacking or manipulating facts and data.

The reading public should call upon Wisconsin’s editors, reporters, publishers and station managers to follow their professional standards and use sources that are honestly participating in the marketplace of public policy ideas — and avoid groups like the MacIver Institute whose sole job is to manipulate it for partisan reasons.

Dustin Beilke is a freelance writer and essayist and has written for dozens of publications throughout the last 25 years.

Is the IRS Sleeping?

Exemption Requirements – Section 501(c)(3) Organizations

To be tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, an organization must be organized and operated exclusively for exempt purposes set forth in section 501(c)(3), and none of its earnings may inure to any private shareholder or individual. In addition, it may not be an action organization, i.e., it may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities and it may not participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates IRS

The right wing is out of the closet to expose the skeletons of racism, sexism, disregard of the middle class.

Wealth buys power and control of the message

Just such a man is Michael W. Grebe president and chief executive of the Bradley Foundation, which during the period of 2001 to 2009, doled out nearly as much money as the seven Koch and Scaife foundations combined. Less than a week after being elected governor, Scott Walker and his wife met privately with Michael Grebe, one of the most powerful philanthropic forces behind America’s conservative movement. The list of major recipients reads like an all-star roster of conservative think tanks: millions of dollars directed to well-known groups such as the Hudson Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute, the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace, and the Federalist Society – all trying to put their stamp on three branches of government.

Grebe likened the Bradley Foundation to the 1960s Green Bay Packers, who ruled the football world with a fearsome ground game and a deceptively simple running play, the sweep.

“We’re going to run off tackle, right over there, and we’re telling you we’re going to run there and we’re going to knock you on your butt and carry the ball down the field,” Grebe said during an interview inside the foundation’s headquarters near downtown. “There are no surprises.”

Bradley Foundation jsonline


The Bradley Foundation is a “Philanthropic” Organization

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10 thoughts on “Article that is subject of MacIver Threats of Libel

  1. “…to sway voters by stacking or manipulating facts and data.” And that’s not what Dustin Beilke does? A former WEAC operative? Madison teachers union staffer. Writer for Center for Media and Democracy, partially funded by George Soros’ Open Society Institute.

    Like

    • Thank you for finding this. I can see why the folks behind MacIver don’t like being exposed for the propaganda outfit that they are.

      Like

      • I’ll answer your question in the faint hopes that you will answer mine. I have written for the Waukesha Freeman, The Capital Times, the Wisconsin State Journal, Isthmus, and Wisconsin Review. You can decide their reputation. Now for my question: how is Dustin Beilke any more of a “journalist” than Mr. Wigderson and/or how does he have any less of an agenda?

        Like

      • Whether or not Beilke’s stories are as biased as McIver’s is irrelevant. The question is the accuracy of his description or McIver as “a partisan political operation in a think tank’s clothing.” Is there any serious doubt that this is true? Even were Beilke a hypocrite his description of McIver still would be accurate. But as Beilke has not tried to pass himself off as an objective news source, your implied accusation of hypocrisy is unfounded.

        Like

  2. I’m eager to see MacIver’s explanation of where the errors are, as opposed to what areas are opinion or spin. I’d love to hear why they think spin is bad.

    I’ll start.

    1. Fraley “was” a lobbyist, not “is” a lobbyist.

    2. Rindfleisch worked under Fraley, took direction from him in the earlier caucus scandal, as shown in her recent complaint (page 9) in Walkergate. She was granted immunity. So which is right – that Fraley was around when the caucus scandal happened, or that because none of his subordinates were charged, he wasn’t “knee-deep”?

    Like

  3. I love the video. And this is worth repeating, isn’t it?: “Grebe likened the Bradley Foundation to the 1960s Green Bay Packers, who ruled the football world with a fearsome ground game and a deceptively simple running play, the sweep.

    “We’re going to run off tackle, right over there, and we’re telling you we’re going to run there and we’re going to knock you on your butt and carry the ball down the field,” Grebe said during an interview inside the foundation’s headquarters near downtown. “There are no surprises.””

    Like

  4. Pingback: Article that is subject of MacIver Threats of Libel | Occupy Wall Street Info

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