Dem Flack Goes Off On Reporter... Again
Fascinating account of an unhinged Graeme Zielinski going off on a reporter for wisconsin Reporter, who attended a Dem/union training session on the Walker recall.
MADISON — The campaign to recall Gov. Scott Walker may be a grassroots effort as its organizers insist, but it proved less than transparent Tuesday evening when Wisconsin Reporter showed up to report on a recall training session.
Graeme Zielinski, a Democratic Party spokesman with a history of threats against Wisconsin Reporter, ranted at the news organization's reporter in attendance by phone and threatened Wisconsin Reporter again.
More than 100 supporters turned out to the event at the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees Council 40 office on Madison's west side. The session, led by the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, is designed to ensure that recall volunteers know how to collect signatures properly.
Within minutes of arriving, however, a Wisconsin Reporter journalist who identified herself as a member of the media was asked to leave by an organizer who cited the campaign's desire to keep the information out of the media.
The reporter agreed to leave, but asked to speak with the person making the request. The reporter was then put on the phone with Zielinski.
Zielinski called the reporter unprofessional, accused her of sneaking into a party function and then threatened to discuss the incident Wednesday with the statehouse press corps, of which Wisconsin Reporter is a member.
“Get out,” Zielinski shouted. “Don’t come to our party functions anymore.”
He then hung up the phone.
The Wisconsin Reporter staff writer had signed up to attend the event on the Democratic Party of Wisconsin's website, using her name and wisconsinreporter.com email address.
In August, the spokesman sent an email to Wisconsin Reporter Bureau Chief M.D. Kittle complaining about the organization's news coverage, charging that it was biased to conservative or Republican causes.
“What happens next is that I contact the publishers and editors of the papers that publish you as ‘unbiased,’ and let them know our deep concern about the obvious bias that permeates your entire operation,” Zielinski wrote in his email.
“Then, we let our activists know which papers publish you, and they write the publisher and editor. Then, we contact the Capitol press pool and let them know about our concerns about your credentialing.
“And we continue on until you actually admit to the truth of your operation.”
Wisconsin Reporter's stories appear in a numerous daily newspapers statewide and several national publications.
The Madison-based news bureau requested to attend the meeting to report on the recall process, an unprecedented event in Wisconsin political history. Nothing in the invitation stated the session was closed to the media.
This event is one of several Democrats are holding statewide.