State Journal: WMC tells the same lie until people believe it's true

October 7, 2013
Dave Zweifel
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There's an old adage that Americans should know well by now — tell a lie enough times and people will believe it's the truth.

Our largest state big business lobby — Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce — has obviously bought into that truism in spades. It is in the middle of a million-dollar TV advertising campaign, more than a year before the 2014 election, claiming that Gov. Scott Walker has done wonders for Wisconsin's economy and is creating thousands of jobs to boot.

Never mind that it's a lie. Just repeat it over and over on eye-catching TV ads and hope that people will eventually buy it.

Interestingly, the WMC money behind these ads is coming from the very firms that typically insist that they don't have enough money to do any hiring unless the state funnels some taxpayer money their way. But they always seem to have enough money to lavish on political commercials. That's because the ads pay off so well.

Misleading political ads have become the norm and even when the advertiser is called out for broadcasting lies, the advertiser continues airing them on the assumption that the people they're trying to influence won't notice. Walker has been caught telling lies in ads and speeches by the fact-checker PolitiFact more times than any other governor, yet he seldom changes his story.

So too with the WMC ad that you're seeing on your favorite local TV newscast these days.

"Wisconsin is creating lots of jobs, hundreds of jobs, thousands of jobs. So many jobs that the Federal Reserve Bank now rates Wisconsin in the top two states in the country for economic growth," the WMC ad boasts.

While it's true that the national bank rated Wisconsin No. 2 in the country, it wasn't for its record of economic growth, but for its potential for economic growth. The problem is, and WMC knows it better than most, Wisconsin under Walker is failing to reach that potential.

Instead, the outfits that regularly rate the states' economies don't have Wisconsin anywhere near the top. Forbes Magazine's oft-cited "Best State for Business" rankings showed Wisconsin as No. 41, up from 42nd a year earlier. A few days later the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported year-over-year job growth through May 31 of this year. Wisconsin is No. 34.

None of that is good news and there's no reason for anyone, including Democrats, to celebrate. What it does mean is that thousands of Wisconsin families continue to suffer the impact of a soft economy. While other states are having greater success at producing jobs, workers in our state are settling for less.

Perhaps the WMC power brokers are doing OK. They're the ones, after all, who've received the tax breaks and economic development help under this governor. Walker's policies are obviously working for those at the top, but not so much for the people at the bottom.

Now all Walker and his allies have got to do is tell tall stories enough times in their devious campaign ads until enough people are suckered into believing it's the truth.


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