Editorial: On Integrity

By the Members of the Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative

We have reported allegations against Scott Walker made by Dr. Bernadette Gillick, who unequivocally states she knew him at Marquette University. Dr. Gillick has put her reputation on the line in making them.

The allegations are serious, and based on our research we judged Dr. Gillick to be a highly credible source. We chose to publish Dr. Gillick’s story because we felt that information already well known to major Wisconsin press organizations also should be known by the people of the state. We did not make this decision lightly.

The modern established press sees itself as a gatekeeper of information. We reject that role. Journalists are no more qualified to weigh the importance of a story than the average citizen. In keeping with its self-assigned gatekeeper role, the established Wisconsin press chose not to report Dr. Gillick’s story; in keeping with our rejection of that role, we chose to run it.

The true account of what actually happened is far more likely to emerge when many people know about the story than when it is the tightly guarded secret of a few journalists.

We see ourselves not as gatekeepers, but as responsible messengers. WCMC staff put in untold hours doing extensive background research for this story, many of the details of which we chose not to publish to protect the privacy of people who were allegedly victimized by Walker’s alleged actions.

The role of the journalist as responsible messenger is eloquently described by Paul DeMain of News From Indian Country. DeMain is the former President of the Native American Journalists Association and UNITY: Coalition, the largest organization of Journalists in the world, and describes the ethic of the media organization from this point of view as this:

“As a “Skabewis” my job as a messenger was not to prevent information (good or bad) from flowing out to the masses, but to moderate and relate it, including opinions, accusations, and facts, so that people could ask good questions, contemplate integrity, examine, debate and come to a consensus to act. Our integrity was in how we handled the information even if it might have been flawed by human handling, and not always making sure that an I was dotted for those that find that important.”

The meaning of “citizens” in Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative can be seen as twofold: Citizen journalists and an outlet for citizens’ voices. It was in that spirit that we published both Dr. Gillick’s remembrances of Scott Walker during their time together at Marquette University. Not publishing Dr. Gillick’s story would have amounted to a conscious decision to silence someone we have no reason to distrust, and who appears to be have nothing to gain from lying.

WCMC is not alleging that Walker fathered the child; we are reporting the allegations made by someone who has every appearance of credibility and no discernible ulterior motive. We are giving Dr. Gillick the opportunity to recount her memory of the Walker she knew at Marquette.

According to Dr. Gillick’s attorney, Michael Fargione, who was present for an interview of Dr. Gillick conducted by Dave Umhoefer from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel last week, he asked Dr. Gillick, “How do you know it was this Scott Walker?” She told him she had multiple conversations with him because her roommate was dating him. She exchanged words with him directly and in person after, as she alleges, he turned on her roommate once she notified him of her pregnancy and became unsupportive of her. “There is no mistake that it’s him,” she said.

We contacted “Ruth” for her comments on the story and she had this to say: “I can confirm that it was not Scott Walker who is my daughter’s father.” When given the details of Dr. Gillick’s allegations and asked about the identity of the roommate in question, “Ruth” went on to say, “Unfortunately, I don’t know her name. But it was…[pause] I do know that one of Bernadette’s roommates, either sophomore or junior year, was pregnant and had a child while she was at Marquette. So that would have been either a year or two after I had had [my child]. And I don’t know whether, you know, I’d have no idea, to be honest with you, if Scott Walker was the father.”

Upon hearing the comments made by Dr. Gillick’s former roommate, Mike Fargione, her attorney, says Dr. Gillick stands by her statements and the timeline of her original story.

 

 

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20 Comments on “Editorial: On Integrity”

  1. Joe Rogo June 3, 2012 at 5:44 pm #

    I think a great deal of the skepticism over this story comes from the fact that we don’t have any idea who you are, anonymous NON-MEMBER. We sure as heck Know who Daniel Bice is.

    Curious, too, is that this editorial is both “by NON-MEMBER”, and “By the Members of the Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative”. Still anonymous, but with added confusion.

    • SOFIA BORQUIST June 3, 2012 at 11:50 pm #

      This is a “kill the messenger” attack.

      If you don’t like the message, read something else. Scott Walker’s freshman girlfirend got pregnant. [fact] Someone who apparently has a sterling reputation noted how Walker became unresponsive to the mother. [fact] Three or four different people have commented on the blog post claiming to be Daniel Bice. [fact].

      Scott Walker will lose the recall election and/or be indicted by a state or federal grand jury. [my opinion]

  2. bob June 3, 2012 at 5:48 pm #

    Wouldn’t a shorter, and more true, explanation be: We want Walker to lose, regardless of provable facts or our integrity.

  3. Definitely NOT a lie June 3, 2012 at 5:50 pm #

    I was one of Dr. Gillick’s roommates during her Marquette years, and I can confirm that her freshman roommate (“Ruth”) did bear a child, but that her other roommates (including myself) did not. As I knew her, Ruth was not a timid woman in her MU days. In fact, her young motherhood illustrates her bravery and courage in the face of a difficult situation. I understand if she’s moved on with her life, but for the sake of her friend (whose name is now on the line), it would be good if she could muster that courage once more.

  4. Bea June 3, 2012 at 6:03 pm #

    Many people deny the truth for many reasons throughout their lives.

  5. Donna June 3, 2012 at 7:05 pm #

    Try for a minute to imagine how you would feel as a woman impregnated by Scott Walker while in college. Have you ever made a mistake in your life? How would you react if this suddenly became public knowledge in the middle of divisive politics with the whole world watching, national and international media ready to descend on you, interrupting your life? Most would severely deny it to protect their privacy. Don’t get stuck on whether the alleged mom verifies or not. There are plenty other people involved.

  6. D. Metzger June 3, 2012 at 7:18 pm #

    The point still is, why did Walker leave Marquette without graduating in his senior year? He said he had a passing average, but has never offered an explanation.
    D.M.

    • Don A. Marquardt June 3, 2012 at 11:55 pm #

      Well in answer to your question, D. Metzger, we can only surmise it was because of his cheating in the Marquette student government election, or what he did to “Ruth.”

      But Walker won’t answer questions about this or why he needs $160k for a legal defense fund, why all of his cronies have been arrested, why they’ve agreed to immunity, apparently agreeing to testify, which of his many big out-of-state donors agreed to pay for the legal defense fund, what are contained in all the secret emails and what else was on the secret computer system, and now we need to know the same things for his governor’s office!

      The sunlight shown on Scott Walker has shown him to be a truly repulsive character.

  7. mu_warrior83@yahoo.com June 3, 2012 at 8:06 pm #

    I should’ve lived in the dorms when I was at Marquette… I always had to get laid in Madison. As for Walker, any guy who can raise $30M for a recall can easily pay someone for a case of amnesia. And then again the mother may just want to keep her daughter from getting dragged through the mud, much like a distinguished professor has by the dropout’s trolls.

  8. Brookfield Betsy June 3, 2012 at 9:08 pm #

    According to this article, Dale Umhoefer of the MJS interviewed Dr. Gillick in the presence of her lawyer. That should be easy enough to verify. One can understand why the MJS chose to ‘sit on the story’, to research it more thoroughly. But Dr. Gillick didn’t tell it with the intent to ‘out’ or hurt a former friend and classmate; it’s a story she wanted to share on it’s own merits (ie, without the media needing to know who the mother and child actually are.)

    Dr. Gillick’s story has news value without needing verification. Of course it puts HER reputation square in the bullseye of the right-wing firing squad. But having her lawyer present in the media interviews confirms that she understands the serious implications and potential legal consequences of telling the story.

    IOW, the media doesn’t need to find the mother and child in Dr. Gillick’s story for it to be credible. They need to find a plausible reason to doubt her.

    That’s the standard applied to fake job numbers and fake BLS verification of fake job numbers (ie, that Walker and his DWD are to be believed until actually disproven.) Why should it be any different here?

  9. kbman June 3, 2012 at 9:29 pm #

    @Betsy – absolutely. Has no one here ever heard of cash settlements? Hush money? Just like John Edwards was accused of doing … It is clear that Scottie has backers with DEEP pockets. Paying the mother to deny Walker is the father of her child is a no-brainer. Taking her denials as proof positive that Walker didn’t father the child is childish in itself. Furthermore, there have been many in the comments here and the original story who have claimed that Dr. Gillick is at risk for being sued for libel. This will never happen. Why? Because then the truth or falseness of her claims becomes the central legal issue. Scottie isn’t about to open that can of worms because he knows where his was.

    I also find it quite laughable reading people claim that this was debunked by Daily Kos. The DK story simply referenced the Daniel Bice posts in the original story. It is true that the people at Daily Kos have tried to get the facts, we liberals tend to do that sort of thing. But it is not true that the story has been debunked there any more than it has here – purely circular reasoning … Daily Kos said that Daniel Bice said that Daily Kos said that Daniel Bice …

    This story may or may not be true, but on the basis of the information presented so far, to claim it has been disproven is simply false.

    • Don A. Marquardt June 3, 2012 at 11:58 pm #

      I think there are a number of different “Daniel Bices” who have commented on the original story.

      Right wing trolls exist everywhere.

  10. Kris Knight June 3, 2012 at 11:11 pm #

    Some questions……might it be possible to determine whether two Scott Walkers, both less than savory characters to be sure, were students at Marquette in 1989? wouldn’t a non-tampered with yearbook show that? Seems like it would be a pretty amazing coincidence, to me, if there were.
    How reliable is CCAP? Who has the authority to add and edit information on there? If this is a government site, and our governor wants info changed on there, well…….how hard would that be, given the morals we’ve seen with this administration?
    How hard would it be to actually hack into the CCAP site and alter a middle name? A year? Etc.?
    Is it typical for non-disclosure agreements to be signed to protect the name of a father who has been proven to be the father but he does not want this to be known? How does that work? Is the mother paid for signing this? What are the consequences if she then reveals this?
    All these queries seem very relevant to the challenges here.
    Bravo to Dr. Gillick, although whistleblowers in our country are becoming less popular by the day.
    Thank you all for your courage and your steadfastness.

  11. kbman June 3, 2012 at 11:56 pm #

    @Kris Knight – Scott Kevin Walker was one of the most high-profile students at Marquette. He was running for class president and showed up for class everyday in a 3 piece suit – one of his professors called him her very own “Alex Keaton”, after the Michael J. Fox character from Family Ties. There is no way that Dr. Gillick confused him with ANOTHER Scott Walker.

    • Kris Knight June 4, 2012 at 6:53 am #

      Thanks for further explanation re. Scott Walker. The more info that counters the flimsy arguments that this is misinformation, the better. That’s how I like to think. I did know he was high profile but countering every counter allegation in my mind makes this all even a firmer scenario in my mind, and also makes this easier to discuss with others. And no doubt this will be discussed for a long time to come, unless it becomes irrelevant to us because Walker is rendered harmless through jail time or something else.

  12. Macon Payne June 4, 2012 at 9:14 am #

    It seems that only groupthink is allowed on this site, which is fully expected from progressives. Enjoy the moments in your little echo chamber but know that the truth will only be more painful when it slaps you upside the head.

  13. Alan June 4, 2012 at 12:49 pm #

    The plot thickens.
    Not sure if I buy this, but I can understand why it was posted and I appreciate how the caveats were handled.
    Makes bullying a gay classmate (Romney) seem not as bad.
    I was already aware that Walker is a dick thanks to what I heard about the union issues.

  14. treeman June 4, 2012 at 3:12 pm #

    The article by WCMCOOP.COM about Dr. Gillick’s direct experience with Scott Walker while they were at Marquette University is well researched and presented with sensitivity to the alleged birth mother of Walker’s child. The article was simply written as a report of one woman’s account of her direct experience with Walker. WCMC received information about Dr. Gillick’s statement made through her lawyer. The coop’s team of researchers looked into this story to verify that both Dr. Gillick and her attorney (Mike Fargione) were indeed who they claimed to be. After direct conversations with Dr. Gillick and Mr. Fargione, the researchers assessed their credibility and checked out the facts surrounding their assertions. In discussing their findings, all members of the coop found this story to be solidly supported by additional information that was withheld to protect the birthmother and the child. Withholding this information showed sensitivity, and coop members would not have given voice to Dr. Gillick’s story if they had any reason to doubt its accuracy. Researchers for the coop continue to compile more evidence to support Dr. Gillick’s report of her direct personal experience with Walker. The birthmother has reportedly denied that Walker is the father of her baby that was born at that time. However, she admits that she was Dr. Gillick’s roommate at the time of her pregnancy, and she claims that Dr. Gillick is confused and that there was “another” roommate that was pregnant in the following year. Gillick and her subsequent roommate deny any “other” pregnant roommate. It is not surprising that the birthmother may want to deflect attention from herself and her child (it would be horrendous to deal with the aftermath of such an admission, or her child may not even know, or the deep pockets of Walker’s allies may have even lead to some sort of nondisclosure agreement in the past). If this is the case, it is easy to see why she would have to deny such a claim when she was suddenly put on the spot. But this is not only her story. Dr. Gillick has her own direct experience with Walker and his behavior at Marquette. After she watched the debate where Walker bragged about his own integrity, Dr. Gillick feels that it is her moral obligation to share her story related to a man who has already caused great harm to his state, a man who could be reelected based on his claims of integrity and be positioned to inflict even more harm. I admire Dr. Gillick’s courage to share her story. She has nothing to gain and everything to lose if it were not true. I also respect the WCMC for their courage to publish a controversial story that they have thoroughly investigated, and continue to pursue.

  15. Sheila Berry June 4, 2012 at 5:51 pm #

    If Scott Walker threw “Ruth” and her child under a bus a quarter century ago, what do you think he’d do to her now, with all the power at his disposal, and an army of trolls ready to rip her apart? Of course she denied it. I would.

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