WNY Editor Prank Calls Governor of Wisconsin

4:41 PM, Feb 24, 2011   |    comments
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BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The editor of a Buffalo-based Web site prank called the governor of Wisconsin, setting off a fire storm in a state already embroiled in a heated budget battle that's getting national attention.

Republican Governor Scott Walker is trying to take away collective bargaining rights from some state workers as a way to save the state money; however, Democrats say Walker's goal is to bust unions, not balance the budget. The 14 Democratic state senators, who are in the minority, left the state to avoid a vote.

Because the Democrats said the governor wouldn't even speak with them, Ian Murphy, editor of BuffaloBeast.com, wanted to find out who Walker would talk to, so he prank called the governor, pretending to be wealthy Republican donor David Koch.

Listen to Part 1 and Part 2 of the phone call (courtesy of BuffaloBeast.com and Youtube)

In the 20-minute conversation, Walker indicated he would try to convince Democrats to return to the capitol to talk, but he would instead force the vote.

Murphy called that a "trick." Walker disagreed.

"It's not a trick," Walker told reporters Wednesday afternoon. "We've said it point blank, 'come on in and talk about it.' I'm willing to talk about it... but I ultimately believe it needs to lead to a vote. I don't think that's a trick."

Murphy also criticized the governor for the following back-and-forth:

Murphy (as Koch): "What we were thinking about the crowd was, uh, was planting some troublemakers."

Walker: "You know, well, the only problem with that -- because we thought about that."

"I recommended that we place imposters in the protesters -- troublemakers I called them -- to make the pro-union forces look bad," Murphy said, reacting to the call. "The reason they didn't do it wasn't because it was unethical. It was because they didn't think it would work."

Walker and his staff repeatedly claimed he said nothing in the phone call that he hasn't stated publicly.

As for the tactics used during the prank, Murphy said he didn't have a problem lying about who he was, because he said that was the only way to get to the truth.

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