Last month, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that "Wisconsin is one of five states that have no equal-pay laws on the books."
You gotta hand it to the boys at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Politifact department: They'll shoot at whatever comes through the door-- even if it's someone from their own paper. They thoroughly investigated this claim and found that it was "false."
Kudos to the Journal-Sentinel for having the courage to shine the light of truth on their own paper!
Or not. Instead, they tagged gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke for quoting the Journal Sentinel verbatim, when she said,"Wisconsin is now one of just five states without an equal pay law."
The Journal Sentinel's Politifact can be useful, but more often than not, the Politifolks are hamstrung by their own convoluted process of finding statements to judge and they vary wildly on whether they judge the larger point or quibble about a minor detail. Sadly, this was actually a great statement to analyze--it wasn't something ridiculous like checking the veracity of a re-telling of the origin of the state's nickname--and it was judged from just the right camera angle.
The only problem is that they judged the wrong person. Humorously, the Potitifact article does mention off-handedly that the Journal Sentinel had reported the same information, but they quickly shift their own blame to the research conducted by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL)-- even though the original Journal Sentinal article never cited the NCSL as the source.
Curiously, three days before the Journal Sentinel's Karen Herzog wrote that "Wisconsin is one of five states that have no equal pay laws on the books. The other states are Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina and Utah," The Washington Post wrote, "Five states have no equal-pay laws whatsoever: Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina, Utah and Wisconsin. Three states — Louisiana, Oregon and Vermont — passed or amended existing laws last year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
So, Politifact basically discovers that one of their own is guilty of not citing the NCSL and that the information is wrong anyway, but instead of calling out the Journal Sentinel reporter or the NCSL... they go after Mary Burke.