Saturday, June 20, 2009

McBride's Lame Excuse

All of southeast Wisconsin is abuzz about L'Affaire Ecarlate de McBride.

McBride came out with a short release (actually an email) of an excuse, trying to protect her "professional" (as in what does she teach, anyway?) integrity. Her excuse reads (emphasis mine):
It is because the relationship with Police Chief Flynn has unfortunately become public that this statement is released. This was a deeply personal matter between two adults who have addressed the relationship with those who need to know the details. I am grateful to my family, friends and the many other people who have expressed kindness and support. It is truly humbling.

The romantic relationship did not occur until long after the reporting and editing of the magazine article on Chief Flynn. I completed and turned in the Milwaukee Magazine story on Chief Flynn on Jan. 5, 2009 and a final edit was turned in Feb. 16. The story was in mailboxes in mid-April. At that point, my professional relationship with him had ended.

The romantic relationship with Chief Flynn began in May at Brocach’s Irish pub – four months after I completed and turned in the Milwaukee Magazine article.

Contrary to a media report, I never interviewed Chief Flynn at Brocach’s. Prior to my May social meeting with him at Brocach’s, I only met with and interviewed Chief Flynn once in December 2008 at the police department with other officers and the public information spokeswoman for MPD present. At the time of the Brocach’s meeting in May, I was an academic who no longer covered Flynn and would not ever do so again.

I ask that the media now respect the privacy of all of the parties involved.
This caused some red flags to go up, but I wasn't sure why. Call it my Whallah! instinct.

Apparently, it also apparently caused Dan Bice, who continues his coverage with this new story, some suspicions:

"The romantic relationship with Chief Flynn began in May at Brocach's Irish Pub - four months after I completed and turned in the Milwaukee Magazine article," she wrote.

That's, in short, what she put out there.

Even more interesting is what she left out.

Her statement fails to address details from a letter that she wrote to Flynn last month. In that note, the 39-year-old journalist describes how it was love at first sight during her first interview with the 61-year-old top cop. She also suggests that her feelings and attitude toward the chief affected her handling of the story.

"Perceived you instantly - knew you were a good person who does things for the right reason," the letter says. "As a result, I began to struggle with the story - having to give time to vitriolic, baseless critics."

Bice goes on to give the reason for McBride's defensive and elusive response:

Overall, the tone of Flynn's statement was contrite, whereas McBride's was combative.

The stakes for her, though, are pretty high.

McBride, a lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, has taught ethics as part of her journalism classes. Reporters are forbidden from writing about individuals to whom they have strong personal ties.

In the next year or two, McBride will be up for "indefinite status," which is similar to tenure for academic staff members. Officials in the journalism department have declined to comment so far on the matter.

The right wing bloggers are hanging a lot on this one statement from McBride. They have started to champion her again, saying something to the effect of: "See, Jess said it's OK, so there's nothing to it. Bice and all the lefties owe her an apology!"

To which I would respectfully and simply say, "Horsefeathers!" (Actually a more apropos compound word dealing with male bovine excrement would be more likely to be uttered, but you get the idea.)

The Milwaukee Magazine story was not her last piece on Flynn. Almost everyone seems to have forgotten that McBride also has a weekly editorial column for the Waukesha Freeman.

On April 25, 2009, just one week before the supposed start of their affair, McBride wrote an editorial about the open carry controversy. In it, McBride talks about Flynn's policy on how to deal with a person who is openly carrying a gun. She is somewhat critical of the policy, but she is very careful not to mention Flynn by name, as if he is somehow not responsible for his own policies.

That editorial could help make much more sense of a phrase from her mysterious love letter, in which she wrote:
"Perceived you instantly - knew you were a good person who does things for the right reason," the letter says. "As a result, I began to struggle with the story - having to give time to vitriolic, baseless critics."
It is as if she is apologizing for having to write something critical of his policy. She wouldn't want to hurt the feelings of her paramour, now would she? After all, he completes her.


  1. Oh man. This is not news. I can't believe a newspaper would run a story on an affair between two consenting adults. Okay...I get it's fun for some to gossip about it considering both have enemies...but gossip shouldn't be elevated to being news.

    Now...find out who gave Dan the emails...that would be much more interesting!

    It's too bad this had to come out right before the fundraiser today for the MPD officers who were shot. The focus should be on important issues like these officers and their families...but you know people will be distracted by this gossip.

  2. If it was McBride and another lecturer at UWM, it wouldn't have been news.

    It was McBride and Sykes, it would be tabloid news.

    But this is the fricking police chief. That makes it news. There are ramifications to it that we probably haven't even figured out yet.

    I agree with the part about the fundraiser though.

  3. You are right that there are columns written about police matters that have appeared after April. For example, what about the latest column posted on gmtoday... that talks about racial profiling and defends the cops? By Instructor McBride's own admission the affair started long before this column was written, in which she defends cops like Edward Flynn...

  4. I don't know. How does being romantically involved with a cop keep one from writing objectively about general??

    Yeah...capper...I don't care it's the police chief. I guess I must be jaded or something. Nothing bad is going to happen to the city *just* because the police chief had an affair.

    I actually think the fact it made the news is news. That is where the city takes a hit.

    I hope the fundraiser is going good. I really wanted to go.

  5. Heard on tmj that people were wondering why this is news. Of course in many cases there were certainly blinders.

    There are many ingredients to this stew, but one is schedenfraude.

    And why not. McBride worked hard at being the local version of Michelle Malkin, and in there was clubbing us over the head with family values and moral pronouncements on behavior.

    If you put stuff like this out to the community you'd damn well better be able to prove you use the product you endorse.

  6. Ah, excuse me, you ask whether the article is focused on "cops in general". But it's not. It particularly focuses on an issue facing MILWAUKEE, and says that.

  7. FYI: I posted a blog entry this morning on New Berlin NOW about the McBride-Flynn affair. You can post a link to it if you want.
    By the way, your site mentions Blognetnews in the sidebar. I am wondering why my blog Inside New Berlin (New Berlin NOW)is listed on Blognetnew's sidebar but with an asterick indicating they can't retrieve the posts? I'd think if Blognetnews can retrieve Kevin Fischer's Franklin NOW posts regularly as they do, they should be able to retrieve mine, Sen. Lazich's Conservatively Speaking blog(which also has an asterick)or other NOW blogs.

  8. Linda...I just read your blog post on the "affair"...and I think it is absolutely ridiculous to think someone who has an adulterous affair should be charged with a felony. Someone should really work on getting that law off the books. What a stupid law.

  9. Thanks for reading my blog post. I don't disagree with your feelings about the adultery law. But frankly, whether you, I or anyone else thinks the adultery law is ridiculous or stupid is irrelevant to the current situation. The fact remains adultery is a felony under Wisconsin law. One would think the Milwaukee Chief of Police would know what is considered criminal offenses & classified as felonies in our state. If he didn't, he's inept. If he did, but chose to break the law anyway, is that the proper person to be in charge of the Police Department?

  10. Uh, if you're in New Berlin, he's not your police chief.

    Start paying Milwaukee property taxes to support the city that serves New Berliners and others who just use city streets to take you to the university, the stadium, the arena, the museums, and so much more -- and pays more for police here to protect you visitors, too -- and then you can have a say about who's in charge of the MPD.

    The MPD. Not the NBPD.

  11. Linda...I do think at this point in time Chief Flynn is the "proper person" to be in charge of the MPD.

    I don't care one way or another if he knew it was a felony and decided to "break the law anyway" or if he didn't know and he's "inept" on that point. He had sex with an consenting adult...what is the big deal??

    I'm beginning to think some of the schadenfroh people are experiencing has hints of the green-eyed monster in it.

  12. No right to an opinion unless you pay Milwaukee property taxes? Wow.
    Milwaukeeans who rent, the elderly or disabled in nursing homes, and students should have no say either, huh?
    Well, I disagree and am glad that in our country free speech is a Constitutionally protected right.
    By the way, I was born and raised in Milwaukee (And my family paid property taxes). I attended school & college in Milwaukee. I lived and worked in the city. Milwaukee is my husband's hometown, too. (His family paid property taxes) We lived in the city for awhile after our marriage and then built a home in New Berlin. We have relatives and friends who live in Milwaukee.

  13. A blogger displays her ignorance. Linda, renters and any residents pay property taxes indirectly; read up on how it works before blogging.

    And I once lived in New Berlin -- where I was a renter, so I paid New Berlin and Waukesha County property taxes indirectly, in my rent to the landlord who paid them directly -- and family members of mine grew up there -- as well as in other suburbs of this city. But I don't tell your burb what to do, because it's not my town now. For that matter, I have family members in other states and other countries, and I don't tell them how to spend their taxes, either.

    It's American exceptionalism to the max with you, in its worst form: Waukesha County exceptionalism. Believe me, until you start to act like metro residents, you have nothing to say that will be heard or heeded. Pay to play.