Attempt tp smear Scott Walker blows up in media's face

Much of the left wing media beclowned itself this week when several prominent news outlets, including HuffPo, Daily Beast, and Raw Story, all reported that Scott Walker wanted to remove the requirement that Wisconsin schools report sexual assaults to the state. The story was first reported by the feminist blog Jezebel, who thought they had Walker dead to rights on a "war on women" issue.

Unfortunately for them, the attempted smear blew up in their faces when it was reported that the University of Wisconsin had requested the changes in reporting requirements because they were already sending the data to the Department of Education.

Washington Examiner:

"UW System spokesman Alex Hummel said Friday that the university requested the change because information given to the state is duplicative of data required to be reported to the U.S. Department of Education under federal law," the Associated Press reported. "The university also posts the information on its website."

Walker's budget would also cut orientation programs on sexual assaults and remove the requirement that employees who witness or hear about a sexual assault must report to the dean of students. But, the university spokesman said, those processes aren't going away.

"Student education and mandatory reporting are important practices also built in, and those practices are going to continue on our campuses," Hummel told the AP. "We are not lessening our commitment here or at our institutions one iota."

Walker is actually trying to reduce the government's burden on college campuses, not do anything that would hurt sexual assault victims.

Laura Bassett, who wrote the Huffington Post article titled "Scott Walker Budget Deletes College Rape Reporting Requirements," at least included a response from Walker's office that they removed the requirements at the university's request. She said she was also open to changing the headline (update: and eventually did).

Weidy of the Daily Beast, who also quoted only people who were upset about the idea that this was a decision proposed only by Walker, did not respond to an Washington Examiner request for comment.

The Daily Beast eventually issued a retraction after blaming the state's attorney general for the erroneous information:

When The Daily Beast contacted Republican Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel for comment on Friday, his office expressed reservations about Walker’s proposal. His office told The Daily Beast in a statement that the Attorney General “is concerned about some of the provisions in the budget that may reduce information provided to college students and take away reporting requirements. He will work with representatives from UW and the Governor’s office to determine what prompted these changes and to ensure that we provide all of the protection we reasonably can for our college students,” but it is unclear if Schimel’s office was aware of the stated purpose of the provision in question. The Daily Beast is committed to covering the news fairly and accurately, and we should have checked this story more thoroughly. We deeply regret the error and apologize to Gov. Walker and our readers. Our original story should be considered retracted.

This sort of thing happens a lot more often than we realize on both left and right. Someone bothers to read a voluminous piece of legislation and misinterprets a line or two, blowing it up into something it's not. It happens because Congress refuses to write legislation using plain English.

A few decades ago, California Senator S.I. Hayakawa introduced a bill that would have required all legislation to be written in plain English, understandable to the average citizen. A professional semanticist, Hayakawa knew that the it was fundamental to a democracy that the people have an understanding of the laws they were supposed to live under and obey.

The bill went nowhere - largely because making legislative language obscure and difficult to understand is a feature, not a bug on Capitol Hill. The more complex you can make the law, the more control  is granted the elites. They are the only ones wealthy enough to afford the army of lawyers, accountants, and regulatory compliance experts to maneuver their way through the law without falling afoul of it. 

There is no doubt that the left jumped without looking on this story. In their eagerness to smear Walker, they made themselves look foolish.

 

Much of the left wing media beclowned itself this week when several prominent news outlets, including HuffPo, Daily Beast, and Raw Story, all reported that Scott Walker wanted to remove the requirement that Wisconsin schools report sexual assaults to the state. The story was first reported by the feminist blog Jezebel, who thought they had Walker dead to rights on a "war on women" issue.

Unfortunately for them, the attempted smear blew up in their faces when it was reported that the University of Wisconsin had requested the changes in reporting requirements because they were already sending the data to the Department of Education.

Washington Examiner:

"UW System spokesman Alex Hummel said Friday that the university requested the change because information given to the state is duplicative of data required to be reported to the U.S. Department of Education under federal law," the Associated Press reported. "The university also posts the information on its website."

Walker's budget would also cut orientation programs on sexual assaults and remove the requirement that employees who witness or hear about a sexual assault must report to the dean of students. But, the university spokesman said, those processes aren't going away.

"Student education and mandatory reporting are important practices also built in, and those practices are going to continue on our campuses," Hummel told the AP. "We are not lessening our commitment here or at our institutions one iota."

Walker is actually trying to reduce the government's burden on college campuses, not do anything that would hurt sexual assault victims.

Laura Bassett, who wrote the Huffington Post article titled "Scott Walker Budget Deletes College Rape Reporting Requirements," at least included a response from Walker's office that they removed the requirements at the university's request. She said she was also open to changing the headline (update: and eventually did).

Weidy of the Daily Beast, who also quoted only people who were upset about the idea that this was a decision proposed only by Walker, did not respond to an Washington Examiner request for comment.

The Daily Beast eventually issued a retraction after blaming the state's attorney general for the erroneous information:

When The Daily Beast contacted Republican Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel for comment on Friday, his office expressed reservations about Walker’s proposal. His office told The Daily Beast in a statement that the Attorney General “is concerned about some of the provisions in the budget that may reduce information provided to college students and take away reporting requirements. He will work with representatives from UW and the Governor’s office to determine what prompted these changes and to ensure that we provide all of the protection we reasonably can for our college students,” but it is unclear if Schimel’s office was aware of the stated purpose of the provision in question. The Daily Beast is committed to covering the news fairly and accurately, and we should have checked this story more thoroughly. We deeply regret the error and apologize to Gov. Walker and our readers. Our original story should be considered retracted.

This sort of thing happens a lot more often than we realize on both left and right. Someone bothers to read a voluminous piece of legislation and misinterprets a line or two, blowing it up into something it's not. It happens because Congress refuses to write legislation using plain English.

A few decades ago, California Senator S.I. Hayakawa introduced a bill that would have required all legislation to be written in plain English, understandable to the average citizen. A professional semanticist, Hayakawa knew that the it was fundamental to a democracy that the people have an understanding of the laws they were supposed to live under and obey.

The bill went nowhere - largely because making legislative language obscure and difficult to understand is a feature, not a bug on Capitol Hill. The more complex you can make the law, the more control  is granted the elites. They are the only ones wealthy enough to afford the army of lawyers, accountants, and regulatory compliance experts to maneuver their way through the law without falling afoul of it. 

There is no doubt that the left jumped without looking on this story. In their eagerness to smear Walker, they made themselves look foolish.