A Gannett reporter who writes for both the Appleton Post-Crescent and USA Today covering local and Wisconsin politics, including Gov. Scott Walker’s presidential bid, signed a petition in 2011 to recall Walker from office.
Madeleine Behr is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin Madison, and she wrote for a number of publications before joining Gannett earlier this year.
Her first story for the Post-Crescent appeared online on July 2, and since then she’s published 35 stories, including four that focus on Walker’s presidential bid, and others that cover the political aspirations and maneuvers of high profile Democratic candidates.
In 2012, then-Post-Crescent publisher Genia Lovett disclosed that 25 Gannett journalists, including nine at the Post-Crescent, signed Walker recall petitions, but none of them were assigned to the political beat. “It was wrong, and those who signed were in breach of Gannett’s Principles of Ethical Conduct for Newsrooms,” Lovett wrote.
There’s no mistaking Behr’s contribution to both the Post-Crescent’s and USA Today’s political coverage. On Twitter, Behr claims she is, “Covering Wisconsin politics for @USATODAY. Local government @postcrescent.”
Joel Christopher, vice president of news for Gannett Wisconsin Media, responded to a Media Trackers inquiry about Behr’s assignment to cover Walker, saying, “We indeed are aware that Madeleine signed the Gov. Scott Walker recall election petition in 2011 because Madeleine made it a priority to tell us before she even interviewed for a reporting position with us.”
Christopher further explained that, “With Madeleine and every Gannett Wisconsin journalist whose work we put in front of the public, we invite people to read with a critical eye because we’re confident they will discover strong journalism reported fairly and accurately in a nonpartisan fashion in service of the public interest.”
“Scott Walker had his own email controversy,” blares the headline of Behr’s July 30 story about Walker, which claims that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s e-mail controversy involving classified information and secret personal servers is similar to a private e-mail network established by Walker aides when he was Milwaukee County Executive.
“While Clinton has been scrutinized for her use of private email for public purposes, Walker’s county executive office once faced questions, and even a criminal investigation, over its use of a private email system to do campaign work on public time,” Behr wrote. Her story went on to quote Jay Heck of Common Cause Wisconsin, a far-left group, and a former Democratic attorney general of Wisconsin who downplayed Clinton’s actions and played up what they thought was wrong-doing on the part of Walker.
Unlike a similar Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story, Behr never mentions that it was Democrats who first compared the Clinton e-mail situation to Walker’s aides’ actions.
Other stories Behr has written for Gannett about Walker include a column musing about the importance of Iowa to Walker’s presidential prospects, his poll numbers in Wisconsin, his plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare, and his performance in the first GOP presidential debate of the cycle.
Prior to joining the Post-Crescent / USA Today, Behr wrote for the leftwing Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, a non-profit that receives public support via its offices at a University of Wisconsin facility. A piece she wrote for the group criticizing Walker’s Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) was published by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
In college, Behr wrote for The Badger Herald, the UW Madison student newspaper. While there she penned a sympathetic portrait of a pro-union protester, wrongly claiming he was a member of the press. In another story she took up the Left’s anti-ALEC crusade, rehashing state Rep. Chris Taylor’s (D) points about the number of Wisconsin lawmakers who have attended or otherwise participated in the right-of-center legislative exchange. She also wrote about Walker.
Authored by Brian Sikma.