May 26, 2012
Want to meet the Pope? Apparently sending money to him will help. Italy's most well-known television host recently sent his meeting request along with a check for $12,500 to the Pope's personal charity. A director of a major bank sent $32,000 hoping for a visit. "They want the Pope's ear more than anything," said one insider.
The Vatican sounds more and more like Congress. Want time to discuss issues with a Senator? Send money! Access is the important result of a big campaign donation. The Vatican is a mess. The Times reports that there are many allegations of corruption and cronyism. Perhaps if the Pope, Cardinals and Bishops spent more time on managing the Vatican than on American politics, and less time investigating those awful nuns, things would get better in a hurry.
MARQUETTE: I keep writing about the Marquette Law School polling operation and a friend asked that I explain again the objections to the Journal Sentinel's reliance on the so-called Marquette poll. (The Marquette Lawyer publication suggests that the funding comes from the Dean's special funds. Who puts money into that fund?) A couple of years ago, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel carried a story in which George Lightourne boasted that Wisconsin Policy Research Institute (WPRI), headed by Lightbourne and funded by the right-wing Bradley Foundation, had formed a "partnership" with the UW-Madison political science Department. As a UW graduate of that department, it seemed odd to me that the UW would lend its good name to ideological Bradley so we asked the UW to give us copies of all documents involving the "partnership as required by Open Records." What we found was astounding. The contract provided that all work by UW Poli Sci and WPRI would not be subject to open records requests. In other words, the public should keep their noses out of the partnership. Other revelations included the agreement that WPRI had final say on almost everything, including when to poll, when to release polls, whether to release the polling data, the polling questions to be asked, and agreement that the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel would have exclusive access to polls about to be released.
Specifically, MJS reporter Dave Umhoefer would have time to write about the poll before the other news media could even see the results. The "spin" would from WPRI and Umhoefer!
The key participants in this drama were Lightbourne, 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.
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.
Franklin has been described as "director of the poll"; on "sabbatical"; on leave; and a "visiting professor" of law and public policy." Is he "visiting" from UW Madison? If so, shouldn't they be subject to Open Records? The Law School, in a burst of braggadocio, said recently "if polling provides the voice of the total population, the Marquette Law School Poll is the leading vehicle for that voice to get heard this year, amid all the partisan rhetoric and advertising sweeping across the state." As Ed Koch would say, paaaahhleeezee!
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The National Council on Public Polls publishes a guide for journalists called 20 questions a journalist should ask about poll results.
Mr. Garvey is right on track.
-Rick | Eau Claire, Wisconsin | May 26, 2012
Can no one else take a poll....make sure it is objective, and publish it? It's time to boycott the MSJ and WSJ. Do not even mention their name. Read something else....Go to Fighting Bob, Huffington Post and Democracy Now. If every US progressive, every Democrat, every union member in the United States would start the boycotts of MSJ and WSJ papers, GOP TV stations as well, and go to sources that you can trust, that would be half the US. Perhaps someone might notice?! Push the boycotts.
-hmj | madison, wi | May 26, 2012
...and Bishops spent more time on managing the Vatican than on American Politics...
Can there be anything more amusing than a group of conservative Catholic Bishops trying to pass themselves off as defenders of religous liberty?
-nonheroicvet | Amused, WI | May 27, 2012
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.
This is all very strange. Although 82 years old, my wife's cousin has a keen mind and follows Milwaukee politics closely. It's possible she misheard what the caller said but it raised in my mind the possibility that the MacIver institute may be financing the poll or even involved in selecting who is called or writing the questions. Who knows? The Marquette poll is overly secretive. When you consider the former(?) relationship between Charles Franklin and WPRI it doesn't seem outrageous that MacIver would be involved.
This would explain why the Marquette poll samples are so heavily weighted toward conservatives and the suburbs surrounding Milwaukee. I have no idea how one would go about confirming this.
-Gareth | Madison, WI | May 30, 2012