Analysis: Mainstream Media Missing the Point on Scott Walker

It's not education or evolution, but abortion that is the question for the potential 2016 GOP candidate.

By Anika Smith Published on February 12, 2015

The mainstream media have set their sights on Scott Walker, but he’s proving to be a tough target to hit.

Yesterday the Washington Post ran a long piece on the Wisconsin Governor’s college years and early political history, rehashing his grades in French class and hinting darkly that something more lay behind his decision to leave college in 1990. (Walker says that he got a full-time job and leaves it at that.) This is of course in contrast to media lack of interest in the undisclosed segments of President Obama’s education.

Now we have the “gotcha” question du jour, “Do you believe in evolution?” The question lacks nuance or context and is designed to trap Republican politicians into either alienating the base or looking like rubes. As David DeWolf wrote in the Boston Globe back in 2007:

These are trick questions, because “evolution” was never defined. Do I believe that the Corvette has evolved over the years? Yes, I do. Do I think that it evolved by random mutation and natural selection? No, I don’t.

Scott Walker refused to be caught out, as Breitbart reports, telling the UK press that he was “going to punt on that one as well. That’s a question that politicians shouldn’t be involved in, one way or another.”

Meanwhile, the substantive issues of Walker’s yet-unannounced presidential campaign are being covered by outlets like Breitbart, where Austin Ruse examines Walker’s recent pro-choice campaign hires, following up on a story John Zmirak ran yesterday at The Stream.

What Zmirak finds is more interesting than Walker’s comments on evolution. Pro-life leaders within Wisconsin are nervous about Walker’s recent appointments, though Ruse notes that Steven Ertelt at defends Walker’s pro-life record:

Walker does have pro-life defenders. Steven Ertelt is editor of the influential and runs a pro-life group in Colorado. After the Zmirak piece went around today, he Tweeted, “Trashing our pro-life candidates is not so helpful. Geez.” He went on to defend Walker, “He’s signed pro-life bills, worked with directly with pro-lifers . . . and that’s more credible than hearsay about potential staffers.”

Last week, Ertelt published a piece called, “Meet Scott Walker, the Pro-Life Governor Catching Huge Republican Presidential Buzz.”

“The good news for the pro-life movement is Governor Scott Walker is not only pro-life but has a lengthy pro-life record he can tout on the campaign trail,” he wrote, noting that Walker supported a 2013 ultrasound bill that also requires abortionists to have admitting privileges at the local hospital.

Governor Walker’s campaign may take off soon — and given the detail of that piece in the Post, some people are certainly afraid so. What’s going to matter to most conservatives, though, is his commitment to life, not why he dropped out of college or what exactly he “believes” about evolution.

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