Monday, August 29, 2011

Is Talk Radio Really That Popular?

A picture is worth a thousand words, and this one comes via my buddy, Shaina:

If you actually sit down and compare audience pull and equalize the wattage of the stations, progressive media can easily go toe to toe with the right wing shows.  They just don't have the backing of the money of corporate media.  Another reason why we need to take back our airwaves!

Reclaiming Wisconsin's Airwaves

Several years ago, an unknown blogger using the pseudonym "Template" created Whallah!  The purpose of this blog at that time was to be a foil to then squawk radio host Jessica McBride.  Soon after McBride was fired by WTMJ, which used a racially charged gaffe as an excuse, but really just wanted to cut corners and bring in the cheaper syndicated squawkers Dennis Miller and the always offensive Michael Savage.

At that time, Whallah! expanded to take on all of the local right wing squawkers, from Charlie "Mr. Woodhouse" Sykes to Mark "Wetback" Belling to the now departed but not missed Republican regurgitst Patrick McIlheran of Milwaukee Journal Sentinel infamy.

But this is just one little blog. It can do so much.

The powerhouses such at WTMJ-620 and ClearChannel's WISN-1130, not to mention other stations around the state are still spewing their one-sided message in order to support Republican/Teahadist causes and agendas.

So how the hell did this happen?

Let me introduce you to my new friend, Sue Wilson, who has more than a passing familiarity with talk radio.

Sue has made a movie about this (which is probably why she is willing to come to Wisconsin and get us started) but her ideas have sound basis and reflect much of what #wiunion has done in the past several months on its own.  To describe how we got here and her plan on how to help us, I would refer the gentle reader to her post (which is unfortunately on Huffington Post - Side word to Sue: Daily Kos, dear, Daily Kos).  Here is a couple of key excerpts:
That's not to say the demise of the Fairness Doctrine did not have an adverse effect. I produced public affairs programming under that rule at KCBS-TV in Los Angeles, and found it very workable. I did not have to tell both sides of the story, I just had to try to do so. I also witnessed how, once it was abolished, TV programs that covered the local community just disappeared. And on the radio side, once the Fairness Doctrine went away, there is little question that Rush Limbaugh went hard right on a national microphone, attacking Democrats and anyone else who gets in the way of his pro-corporate right wing agenda.

Copycats soon moved in, creating an industry of right wing propagandists. In 90 percent of radio programming today, no real debate is allowed (unless a brave or committed few sneak past the microphone hoarders' screeners.)

But the Fairness Doctrine wasn't perfect. Part of the problem was it employed a top down approach, with Big Daddy Government putting broadcasters in the untenable position of being liable for lawsuits even over content in comedy programs. (CBS was sued under the Fairness Doctrine when the Norman Lear character Maude had an abortion in the TV show of the same name; opponents sued, saying CBS must do other shows where women did not have an abortion.) Rather than face such reprise, some broadcasters chose not to cover any controversial issues at all, which many argue chilled debate rather than engendered it.

In August, 2011, the final nail has been pounded into the coffin of the Fairness Doctrine.
Sue goes on to point out that the Federal Appeals Court made a clear and cut ruling that the airwaves, despite the demise of the Fairness Doctrine, are clearly the public's airwaves. They belong to us, not to the Koch Brothers or to Journal Broadcasting. We only let them use them, via the government. If they violate the public interest in using the airwaves, we, the people, can and must correct that, as they did in Sacramento:
This is not to say the only way to get broadcasters to serve the public interest is by filing legal challenges to their licenses. The Sacramento Media Group, affiliated with Common Cause, has successfully employed a model of knocking on TV stations' doors, asking for five minutes of daily political coverage on TV during election season. It took meetings with station management making that request, monitoring stations' coverage for three election cycles, writing several reports and releasing them to local newspapers (which caused the stations considerable embarrassment.) But today, SMG has found success. Their next goal is to ask local Talk radio stations for balanced political coverage, again during election seasons.

At the end of the day, the publicly owned airwaves are about public safety, about community and about ensuring First Amendment rights for everyone in the public square of broadcasting. Luckily, the Supreme Court is on our side.
So, what does this have to do with any of us? Sue answers that question too:

That's the First Amendment Right of all the viewers and listeners, not the just ones who listen to the most profitable formats for corporations.
There is much energy around restoring the Public into the Public Interest. A grassroots movement started earlier this year in Florida, when the UU Legislative Ministry supported an 11 city media reform tour featuring Broadcast Blues.
But it is really finding its legs next month with the 2011 Wisconsin Media Reform Tour featuring Broadcast Blues. (Broadcast Blues is the 2009 documentary film I made which delves into issues of public interest obligations of broadcasters.) Thanks to the organizing efforts of local folks, I'll be traveling to eight cities in Wisconsin, showing the film, then surveying citizens as to their specific public interest needs. Next, we'll work on how to approach their local broadcasters, not just by email, but with personal visits, and convey to the broadcasters what they need. In some cases, friendly visits will get great results: heck, the manager of the station could be somebody you went to high school with. But other times, protests, boycotts, maybe even legal petitions to deny the stations' licenses may need to be filed.

We'll do whatever it takes to restore the public -- all the public -- into the public interest obligations of broadcasters.

But unlike the Fairness Doctrine, this is a bottom up approach. This is "We the People" holding both broadcasters -- and the FCC accountable to us. We are taking back that which we already own: our public airwaves.

Stay tuned as we get closer. We will need to form teams to take on not only Milwaukee's broadcasters, but in cities all over the state, from Madison to Wausau to Green Bay. The more hands that we have on board, the easier and the faster we can correct this problem which has plagued us for far too long.

Just as we are taking back our state, we need to take back our airwaves.

Are you with us?

Cross posted at Cog Dis.

It's Hard To Be A Conservative: Part Really I Lost Count

You have to continuously complain that some companies might drop their health insurance plans in favor of that offered through the Affordable Care Act, or as the RWNJs like to call it, Obamacare.

Yet at the same time, you have to hope that you won't have to explain why you've been silent for years about the companies like Walmart, McDonald's and Aurora who haven't been offering health care coverage in favor of government-sponsored health care programs like BadgerCare.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Making Us Feel Better All The Time

Dan, aka Las Vegas Badger, decides to take what I'm sure is the high road for him and gives his two cents worth on the fact that David "Chokehold" Prosser is getting away with assault and battery, using the most misogynist and confusing ramble since Tom McMahon gave up blogging regularly:
Both Bradley and Abrahamson have put work place safety, a legitimate issue where people actually have been harmed, in less than serious light. But because both of these wenches are liberals, they will get a pass from liberals because, well because they are liberals and facts be damned. These two liberal hair brained bimbos put the issue of work place safety back 20 or more years in Wisconsin and that is a shame, shame, shame.
Um, yeah, because calling the victim of a crime and the Chief Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, wenches and bimbos really gives you some serious gravitas, y'know?

Thanks Dan, you just keep on making everyone feel better about themselves!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Saving PolitiFact The Trouble

It's been a while since PolitFact has taken a look at Charlie Sykes' outrageous statements and lit his arse on fire, so we'll just have to do it for them.

Thursday morning, Sykes was ranting and raving about this article in the paper which told of how hundreds of people came out to Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele's budget hearing to speak passionately about saving paratransit.

I only caught parts of Sykes' steaming pantful, but there were two glaring lies he was telling his audience.

One, he said that the advocates for the disabled were saying that the paratransit fees were going to more than triple.  All this proves is that Sykes is illiterate.  The article actually reported this (emphasis mine):

The cuts proposed by the Milwaukee County Transit System also include elimination of service on six regular routes, ending Freeway Flyer service and shortening routes or cutting bus frequency on 28 other routes. The transit system also is proposing to raise paratransit fares for riders with disabilities by $1.25, to $4.50.

Again, it only shows that Sykes can't read.

But where Sykes really got it wrong, and thereby set his own trousers ablaze, was when he claimed that no one has ever threatened to cut paratransit services before and that he was outraged about it.

The only thing is that paratransit services have been threatened before, even as recently as last year when then Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker threatened to cut that service to the bare minimum required by federal law.

Secondly, per county records, now Governor Walker and his Republican allies in the legislature have decided to cut transit and paratransit funding by $5.5 million in the recently passed budget.

Don't expect Sykes to admit to that any time soon, though. He's too busy trying to keep the flames from his pantaloons from reaching all that hairspray in his helmet-hair.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

There Are No Mirrors In the Dooley Home

Fred Dooley, RWNJ and owner of the most inappropriately named blog in the state, had this to say as he was gloating over 42 WEAC employees losing their jobs:
Wouldn't it be great though to legislate that a select group of people had to use your product and then have the government collect the payment for that product and pass it along to your business?

Now imagine the organization that got that incredible deal regularly gave a percentage of that payment back to one political party in order to ensure that they protected this unethical business model as long as it was possible.

Can you imagine the outrage from that political party when that campaign gravy-train was threatened? Why they might be so mad that they would leave the state in protest!
Interesting thought, isn't it?

Of course, Dooley wouldn't know a thing about a group that received incredible deals and generous giveaways from the government, then turned around and used some of that obscene profit taking to buy politicians of a certain party.

Oh, and by the way, here's a picture of Dooley speaking at a Koch Brothers-sponsored TEA Party rally in Racine:

Need I say more?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Milwaukee's Collective IQ Is About To Experience A Significant Jump

Just like we did when Jessica McBride was given the boot or when Paddy-Mac performed the ultimate hypocrisy, Milwaukee is about to be blessed with a significant spike to our collective intelligence.

Drama Queen James T. Harris is leaving the great and about to become greater state of Wisconsin to spew his hatred, bigotry and sexism across the deserts of Arizona.  Gilas will no longer be the only monsters slithering across the sands there.

The funniest part of it is that his mentor, Charlie Sykes, couldn't even let a small time conservative blogger her moment of glory by being the one to break the news, but had to hog it for his own vain self.

The only real question is whether the Petty Child is leaving because he found a better deal for his soul or because he's leaving like a rat jumps from a sinking ship.

Monday, August 1, 2011

You Can Take The Man Out Of Talk Radio But You Can't Take Talk Radio Out Of The Man

It was inevitable. Some idiot does it every year.

Every summer, when it gets stupid hot such as it's been for the past few weeks, with heat indices in the triple digits, the media and local health departments and/or politicians give the warning to keep hydrated, keep cool, watch out for the elderly and disabled and mentally ill, and to never leave your kids or pets locked in the car.

And every summer, some right winger shows themselves to be an idiot by complaining and mocking the warnings.

This year's idiot is former TMJ squawker who left the station and did the lateral move of speaking more directly for the Republicans - in this case, specifically for Senator Scott Fitzgerald:

And despite all the warnings, we have already had four deaths across the state which have been contributed to the heat wave.

But given the way he's been cheering on Scott Walker and the Snittin' Fitz, don't expect Jagler to give an apology for his callous remarks any time soon.  He's still got too much squawker in him to have even an ounce of class.

What Does WISGOP, Squawk Radio and Right Wing Bloggers All Have In Common?

The answer is that their positions are so indefensible that their only line of argument anymore is name-calling, as exemplified in this mass email from WISGOP:

You know that squawkers like Sykes and the echo chamber will be using these names until election day and beyond as they lick their wounds.  

After all, original thought has never been their strong suit.