And it's happened before in Wisconsin. UW-Madison had to withdraw its name, students and logo from polls conducted by UW professor Ken Goldstein when evidence surfaced that WPRI was compromising the integrity of the polls. In this case, the WPRI "guidance" came on the subject of school vouchers, as polls weren't going the pro-voucher way the Bradley boys wanted it to.
Scot Ross, a liberal muckraker who runs the group One Wisconsin Now, was critical of the deal from the beginning. He said his "worst fears were confirmed" after he obtained e-mails under the open records law showing WPRI President George Lightbourn lobbied Goldstein to publicize results from one question in a way favorable to its agenda.With that in mind, check out this great post from Ed Garvey at Fightin' Bob, which explains how Franklin left UW to do this similar project with Marquette Law, in no small part because it let him get around the Open Records Laws that allowed Ross to expose Goldstein's unethical setup.
The question asked whether government funding should be used for school vouchers, which WPRI supports. A majority of residents statewide were opposed, but those surveyed from Milwaukee County were in favor.
Lightbourn wrote Goldstein he was concerned critics would portray the data as showing a lack of support for vouchers and asked for the Milwaukee County results to be emphasized. The university's press release read: "School choice remains popular in Milwaukee."
The key participants in this drama were Lightbourn, Ken Goldstein and Charles Franklin. It should be noted that Mike Gousha is part of the Marquette poll and that pro-voucher former MJS education reporter Alan Borsuk has joined Team Marquette as well.And then Garvey's concerns are backed up in the column by an interesting comment from "Gareth".
When WPRI found to its dismay that open records laws applied to its deal with UW, because the UW is a public institution and the public has a right to know what the UW is doing, that killed the partnership. Instead of fighting the decision, Goldstein and Franklin took leaves from UW Poli Sci while they proceeded to pursue their plans. Goldstein formed a company, and Franklin went to Marquette Law School to "provide unbiased polling results in a volatile political year like 2012."
How would Marquette define Franklin's role? Who would pay for the expenses of polling? Who would frame the questions? Who would have final say? Does MJS still have an exclusive?
We asked the MJS several times if the paper knew who was funding the polling, who had final say on questions, and what Franklin's title would be. We never got an answer. Nada, nothing, no-way.
My wife's elderly cousin in Milwaukee received a phone call from the Marquette poll last week. She is very skeptical of the poll and asked the caller "What part of Marquette, The MacIver Institute?" After a pause the caller said "Yes" at which point the cousin hung up the phone.So Charles Franklin is clearly in partnership with the Milwaukee right-wing bubble world notorious for organizations like WPRI and the MacIver Foundation releasing flawed studies which magically support positions that favor their points of view. And given that Franklin's paycheck is reliant on keeping the bosses happy, it would make perfect sense for him to put his fist on the scales toward the favored candidate of WPRI, MacIver and Bradley- Scott Walker. Add in the uncritical, pro-Walker antics of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, and it is no surprise that they joined in to get exclusive interviews with Franklin to go over the data, and spread these "scientific" polls to an unaware public.
It's much like how the Koch Brothers set up shadow organizations and think tanks in D.C. to create an echo chamber that tries to tear down our social fabric. A great illustation of how this works is described by the awesome Sen. Bernie Sanders in the movie Koch Brothers Exposed
A related story is how the Koch-funded Heartland Institute tried to set up Operation Angry Badger to make up stories about the "success" of Act 10 with Wisconsin schools to support Walker's pro-voucher policies.
Given the evidence of Charles Franklin's connections to right-wing organizations like MacIver and WPRI, why would I not believe this new Marquette Law polling outfit is nothing more than a disguised propaganda outlet? Especially when I know and the Koch/Bradley leaders know that our state's lazy media is likely to run with any results that come out of this Marquette Law poll to mold their storylines?
Now Charles Franklin may be tricking the foolish transcribers at the Journal-Senintel and State Journal (or just appearing to fool them, I bet some of them are in on this sick joke), but those of us on the ground in Wisconsin are not fooled. We know that Charles Franklin chose his paycheck over credibility, and MacIvered this poll so that it could appear on the surface to show Scott Walker comfortably ahead.
Walker's has recently released panicked, fear-filled ads, which tells me they know they are in serious jeopardy of getting blown out of power. And combined with the massive and increasingly pathetic spinning Walker continues to do on John Doe, I'm becoming convinced that if the real Wisconsin continues to march over to the polls, and especially shows up on June 5, that we will end the age of Fitzwalkerstan. And there isn't anything Charles Franklin's MacIvered polls can do about that.