Sunday, June 29, 2008

Right Wing Radio: Out To Do Milwaukee In

From the Waukesha Freeman:

Community leaders said in a conference Wednesday that negative comments in the media toward the formation of a regional transit authority or extensive rail service here make movements toward those efforts more difficult.

The leaders, who were part of a panel discussing how to overcome the political boundaries of establishing an RTA at the Community Development Summit hosted by the Urban Economic Development Association of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, said editorials in newspapers across the region have portrayed the effort in a negative light and talk radio personalities have unfairly condemned the idea.

In particular they repeatedly referenced a June 18 editorial column in The Freeman by talk radio personality Mark Belling in which he referred to mass transit users as “the fringe” and said transit issues fit into the “seven words you can’t say on talk radio.”

“I’m absolutely amazed by the negativity of people here,” said Donald Sykes, president and CEO of the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board.

Panelists said there are a lot of social and political boundaries halting the RTA in the eyes of the public and misconceptions cause a divide between citizens and businesses on the issue. Regional perceptions such as the stereotype of Waukesha County residents being unwilling to allow urban African-Americans into their community were also cited.

They said local lawmakers are also failing to listen to businesses in favor of rhetoric, which deepens the political divide.

It's true. Despite many business leaders, community leaders, and even a conservative transit authority have said that Milwaukee and southeastern Wisconsin will be in a world of economic hurt if something isn't done quickly to improve the transit system, the local squawkers keep their rants going. They would sacrifice the community they are supposedly standing up for, all for the sake of a couple of rating points.

Here is a prime example of someone not getting it.

H/T to James Rowen.


  1. The problem is sort of like Birmingham in 1963 -- the big business leaders use radio squawkers (Bull Connor started out as one, by the way) as their "attack dogs" to lead stealth assaults on government programs that threaten their wealth. But sometimes the rabid dogs jump the leash and attack something the business community wants -- such as mass transit.

    We always hear that the reason talk radio is "conservative" is because that's what businesses support with their advertising. If Milwaukee's civic leadership is serious about wanting mass transit, perhaps the Committee-of-100 and Chamber of Commerce types need to put the word out and hit the Mark Bellings of the world where it hurts -- $$$.

  2. Did someone just use the words "Mark Belling" in the same sentence as "personality?"