Friday, May 18, 2007

The beat goes on:

McBride outrage demands an apology

UPDATE: McBride fired; Dennis Miller show replaces her.

Jessica McBride's tasteless exploitation of a 4-year-old girl's murder -- a segment of her radio show that she thought was so clever she blogged about it and posted the audio -- has gotten her into hot water.

It is time to turn up the heat on McBride and her employer, WTMJ Radio.

The station removed the offensive post from her WTMJ blog on Thursday, after it was highlighted by blogger Jim Rowen.

The Journal Sentinel's Tim Cuprisin says it was not a case of McBride coming to her senses, but station management that took the action:
ANOTHER RADIO GAFFE: This time, it's WTMJ-AM (620) nighttime talker Jessica McBride who crossed the line in an attempted comedy bit bringing up the murder of 4-year-old Jasmine Owens in a fake interview with Journal Sentinel columnist Eugene Kane.

Said McBride on Tuesday's show: "Now that a 4-year-old girl was just gunned down while. . . What was she doing? I think jumping rope or something last night. . . You acknowledge it's a crisis, right?"

The faked answer from the faux Kane was the sound of a squawking chicken.

After being informed of the bit, posted as a podcast at WTMJ's Web site, general manager Jon Schweitzer promptly pulled the audio.

"We just found it to be inappropriate," he told Inside TV & Radio.

Here's a rule of thumb for talkers: The murder of a 4-year-old girl is never, ever, ever suitable for a comedy bit.
That'a start, but hardly enough, Rowen says:
McBride and WTMJ-AM 620 Fail The Responsibility Test
If I had a dollar for every sanctimonious, preachy mention on conservative blogs and talk radio about "personal responsibility," or "taking responsibility," I'd be ever so much closer to retirement.

It's the Right's mantra, and is often hurled at a variety of liberals, poor people, bureaucrats and all the other individuals and groups that are not living up to the responsible, accountable standards of proper, upright Rightists.

Except when they cut and run the way Jessica McBride and 620 WTMJ-AM radio have done when they erased from McBride's blog all references to the insensitive audio mocking she posted earlier this week about the drive-by murder of four-year-old Jasmine Owens.

McBride and her radio producer thought they were being hilarious when they first played the bit, contained in a juvenile, fake interview with McBride nemesis Eugene Kane, the Journal Sentinel columnist. The audio featured her self-congratulatory chatter.

And she bragged about the radio bit on her blog, too, posting the audio along with more text and threw the whole thing in her podcast section, too, because she wanted readers and other bloggers to know about her handiwork - - until the heat began to come down on this blog, and elsewhere.

I hope someone has saved the audio, because the items have disappeared.

Erased, as can be done on Internet postings.

So it's gone, perhaps. But not forgotten.

For WTMJ-AM, the self-proclaimed "biggest stick in the state," it was an employer-sanctioned, 50,000 watt abuse of the public airwaves - - allowing an employee to poke a big stick in the eye of a community already appalled, but united in grief.

Save for one irresponsible blogger/talker and her employer who failed the personal responsibility test.

Rather than delete the offending items with a keystroke, both McBride and station management should step up publicly, take responsibility, and at least issue an apology.
Others have joined in calling for an apology, rather than a simple erasure, from McBride and the station. Among them:

Cory Liebmann at One Wisconsin Now.

Jay Bullock of folkbum's rambles and rants.

Dyskeptic Radio.

Michael Mathias of Pundit Nation.

Bill Christofferson on Uppity Wisconsin.

Will WTMJ do the right thing? Or will McBride's admirers, like Charlie Sykes and Jeff Wagner, come to her defense? Will any conservative bloggers speak up?

Stay tuned.

If you'd like to email McBride or her boss, you'll find the addresses here.

UPDATE: Here is McBride's original post, thanks to Google's cache system, although there is no way to restore the audio:

TUESDAY, May 15, 2007, 11:32 p.m.

Listen here.

This is part of a new segment I launched tonight called LEFT SIDE OF THE MOON.

I am a bit sick of hearing conservatives only invite prominent conservative guests on their programs - the usual suspects. How fun it would be, I thought, to debate a prominent liberal every now and then. The number one reason for the segment is to ask liberals the questions the media don't/won't ask them and to see if they can defend their positions under challenge.

Left Side of the Moon is a segment I created with my producer, Robert. It will run only on Tuesdays and Fridays. Not every Tuesday and Friday. I will alert you, through this blog, in advance, to the days it will run.

My first invitee was Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columnist Eugene Kane.

This is not NPR. It is not going to be a "conversation." We are not going to play guitar and hold hands and roast marshmallows in the studio. It's a debate. I believe that, most of the time, the conservative viewpoint is stronger than the liberal one logically and ethically. Can the liberal viewpoint withstand the challenge?

On the days when my liberal guest refuses to come on, I may just open the phone lines to any old liberal for a half hour or so. I find them vastly entertaining a lot of the time.

Update! Someone said Kane is on vacation. Just for the record, I know that! I invited him on the radio program without a specific date. I was willing to work around his schedule, and he flat-out refused to ever come on. It's a standing invitation. I think it would be tons of fun. But anyway, you can listen to our interview above!!!!
UPDATE: Tim Cuprisin on Why McBride broadcasts in obscurity.

UPDATE 2: Ken Mobile at Mobile's Take and Jim McGuigan of Watchdog Milwaukee weigh in, and A conservative/libertarian blogger joins the chorus:
I honestly don't get the talking heads and their pure hypocrisy. They rightly complain about how people were insulting Jerry Falwell too soon after he died. They rightly complained about Michael McGee's trash regarding Charlie Sykes' mother. They ask for leadership and acting like adults when Summerfest invites Ludicrous to perform. Yet somehow it's funny and cool to use the tragic death of a poor little girl to score political points against a rival columnist? Who's acting like an adult now? Who's being compassionate now?


  1. I believe that, most of the time, the conservative viewpoint is stronger than the liberal one logically and ethically.

    I guess this must have been one of those non-most-of-the-times. And I'm sure we can count on Ms. McBride to decry this act of outrageous censorship on the part of WTMJ in her forthcoming "Media Matters" blathering.

  2. This is not NPR. It is not going to be a "conversation." We are not going to play guitar and hold hands and roast marshmallows in the studio.

    For some reason that clip bothered me more than anything. She must listen to a different NPR that I do. WTMJ can only dream of being as informative and professional as NPR.

  3. Logically and ethically? Well, I think she was being very logical and deliberate in her choice of police chief as lover - she's shrewd and ruthless and well knows the value of controversy. I'm sure the book deal will be very cushy, though she's a sad cliche (if someone had ended up dead it would have been a stock Law and Order episode). As for ethics, she certainly has no claim to superiority here. If she's still teaching, she must be a laughing-stock for her students. She thought fame and money would be enough to quell the pain of how people perceived her (or didn't bother to perceive her - she hates nothing more than her own insignificance). But I think she'll always feel empty, and she'll take as many people down with her as she can.