Media outlets pounced on Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wis.) on Monday for “lying” about voting for former President Ronald Reagan even though he was too young to vote at the time. It was later revealed that the “lie” was the result of an incorrect transcript.
Right Wing News published its interview with Walker, quoting the Republican governor as having said he “voted for Reagan” when he was a teenager. Many news websites jumped on the interview, quick to point out that Walker, born in 1967, was too young to vote for Reagan in 1980 and 1984.
Here’s the original quote as transcribed by Right Wing News:
“I remember, I was a teenager, had just become a teenager and voted for Ronald Reagan — limited government, you know, smaller government, lower taxes, strong national defense. You knew what you were getting. You knew how a Reagan administration, a Reagan presidency was going to be better for you.”
It wasn’t long before left-leaning news sites were calling Walker a liar and mocking him. Mediaite’s Andrew Kirell tracks some of the coverage:
“Scott Walker says he voted for Reagan for president, which is totally impossible,” wrote Salon. “Scott Walker Claims He Voted For Ronald Reagan, But That’s Not Possible,” wrote the Huffington Post. “Walker Claims He Voted for Reagan,” noted Political Wire. “Scott Walker Gets Busted For Lying About Voting For Ronald Reagan,” said liberal blog PoliticsUSA. Other outlets to pick up on the soundbite were Talking Points Memo and Wisconsin’s progressive Capital Times.
Most, if not all, of the outlets have since updated their initial stories.
As the news spread, Right Wing News’ John Hawkins, the original interviewer, went back and listened to the actual audio and discovered that he had made a big mistake.
“It’s a little hard to hear at that point and unfortunately, my transcriptionist made an error,” he wrote in a later post.
So what did Walker actually say? According to Hawkins:
“A vote for Ronald Reagan meant limited government, you know, smaller government, lower taxes, strong national defense. You knew what you were getting. You knew how a Reagan administration, a Reagan presidency was going to be better for you.”
Hawkins apologized for the error and said it was “very unfair to Scott Walker.” Listen to the audio from the interview here. Many are calling for the site to publish the full audio of the interview.