Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sykes Turns Yellow Over "Broadcast Blues"

Sue Wilson, public airwave crusader, brought her show, "Broadcast Blues," to Wisconsin.

This has Charlie Sykes and his right wing allies terrified:
Via Media Trackers; Apparently unable to win the argument, the left turns to the coercive power of the federal government to shut down conservative talk radio. Their agenda is not subtle: they do not believe that talk radio is protected by the constitutional right of free speech and hey want the government to pull the licenses of stations like ours... because they don't like the things that are being said on the air.
But that's not even remotely true, as Wilson explained to Erik Gunn of Milwaukee Magaizine fame:
Wilson's Wisconsin visit drew the ire of WTMJ's Charlie Sykes, who claimed on his blog that Wilson wanted to "shut down" conservative talk radio. But Wilson says that misses the point: Her aim, she says, is to open up the airwaves to a greater diversity of points of view.

"I am afraid that we are losing our ability to distinguish between fact and fiction, we are losing our ability to have a real debate and discourse in this country," she said after her Racine showing.
Or to put it another way, all Wilson is asking for is a chance for the public to hear all sides of the story, just not the one Sykes' corporate masters want you to hear.

Yet Sykes is terrified of this.

If you ever wonder why, just look at how he does on TV during an election cycle against any Democrat or liberal. He ends up losing his sammich and having it eaten in front of him.

Of course, that's not hard to do when he's got nothing to support his false arguments.

If you want to help scare Sykes some more by bring the public interest back to the public airwaves, here's how.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Crusing with Belling

Is it just me, or does the guy on the left  have a Frankenstein's monster quality about him? 

Jessica McBride takes on talk radio, defends public workers

Jessica McBride, who once aspired to talk radio fame and fortune, wants to know what's the matter with Tommy Thompson? He's running into a lot of flak from conservatives, and McBride, who once worshiped at the feet of Charlie Sykes, now says:
Thompson has run into the “new Republican party,” inspired by a tea party hold-theline ethos, a zero-tax-levy governor, and a talkradio machine that demands absolute fealty to a message. Or else.
She defends Tommy's spending, and even says:
Tommy is also out of step with current conservative dogma because he grew the size of the state work force. In other words, he didn’t ascribe to the “public workers are greedy people at the trough” rhetoric. Well, those jobs employed people and put them to work, so they could put their money back into the economy. (Now Republicans tout stimulus job creation in Rick Perry’s Texas). Scott Walker didn’t lay a bunch of people off, either. I am sure Tommy needed some more workers in the prison system because he was so tough on crime. Remember truth in sentencing and all that?
Of course, her husband was a state employee for quite awhile, and she still is. That tends to make one a little more empathetic.

If you must, read it here.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

For the files

Might want to hang on to this quote from Mark Belling, writing in the Milwaukee Post issue dated Sept. 25, 2011, for future reference:
"But Scott Walker  is the straightest political arrow I've ever met.  I can't imgine him allowing any employees to do anything even slightly improper."

Monday, September 19, 2011

Wisconsin Media Watch: Your Help Is Needed

As you already know, Sue Wilson is visiting our once and future great state, bringing to us her knowledge of how to fight the unfair and illegal domination of the corporate media in our airwaves.

To aid us in our battle to reclaim our airwaves, she brings many useful things.

She has set up the website for Media Action Center with pointers on what we need to do to overcome the propaganda machine known as talk radio and to get them to present a balance of viewpoints to truly serve the people's interests.

On that website, there is a short survey that she would like you to take, so that our limited resources can be put to the best use.  Please take the survey, it's easy and only takes a few minutes.  I know, I tried it.

They have also established a streaming page, Hanniprocrisy, that people can go to and put down their observations.  For example, I just wrote about how WEA Trust is threatening to sue Mark Belling for his libelous and slanderous lies. I noted that on this site.  You can do the same thing.

If you hear Belling, Charlie Sykes or any of the other squawkers and screechers go overboard in their hyperbole or their rhetoric, or are just being unbalanced in their "news," you can report it here.

Consider it a crowd-sourced Whallah!, if you will.

Finally, and on a slightly more personal note, Sue and her husband are not being backed by big money special interests like the Koch Brothers, Wall Street or WMC.  They don't even own the movie "Broadcast Blues" although they do own the right to sell copies of it.  They're doing this on their own and out of their love for justice. So, when you go catch one of her presentations, please be so kind to scrape up some cash and buy a copy on DVD.

Let's help those that are helping us.

Belling Gets Schooled

A press release from WEA Trust lays it down for Mark Belling, who has been once again playing fast and free with the truth:
The WEA Trust, a Wisconsin-based private group health insurance company, today delivered a legal “cease and desist” demand to conservative talk show host Mark Belling, aired on WISN Radio, for repeatedly accusing the private company of “racketeering” by transferring its “profits” to the state teachers union, which is illegal under state and federal law.

“These are deliberate attempts to destroy a good company’s reputation,” said WEA Trust President and CEO, Mark Moody. “The accusations made against the WEA Trust on the air are not true—Mr. Belling has a responsibility to his listeners. He must state that his accusations of the WEA Trust are not true. The Trust is working with Wisconsin’s premier First Amendment law firm to demand an end to his false and defamatory public accusations.”

The WEA Trust was formed 40 years ago by the state’s largest teachers’ union in cooperation with small Wisconsin school districts to help them “pool” their health insurance, Moody noted.

“The WEA Trust is a ‘trust’ under federal labor law. It is not ‘owned’ by the union. It would be against both state and federal laws to use the Trust’s income to support the union’s political activities, as Belling has repeatedly charged—and the Trust has never done so,” said Moody.

Moody went on to add that the WEA Trust is a state-regulated, Wisconsin-based, fiscally sound, private health insurance company. The WEA Trust takes compliance with the law extremely seriously.

“Mr. Belling’s deliberate distortions don’t stop there,” Moody said. “We’re not a monopoly as he claims. We provide health insurance to roughly a third of the state’s teachers and school staff. Like our competitors, we win and lose customers all the time.”

“Belling’s accusations that the Trust was deliberately “overcharging” school districts is little more than a political attack that deliberately distorts the basic economics of our complicated industry in order to further destroy our reputation,” Moody said.

The Trust returns 93 cents out of every premium dollar back to school districts in the form of quality health care. Our seven cents of every dollar for overhead is less than half the overhead cost of many for-profit competitors.

The rapidly changing school district health insurance market has encouraged many other companies to bid for the business. And school districts are seeing health insurance costs drop in some cases, regardless of the carrier.

“But there’s no economic miracle at play here,” said Moody. “When employers, including school districts, require employees to pay more for their health insurance or reduce their benefits, it costs less for the schools.”

“The WEA Trust is demanding a retraction,” Moody said. “Mr. Belling’s statements are malicious and designed to damage our company’s reputation. He has a long record of attacks on our company, which we have on file. We have had enough.”
Looks like another retraction will soon be forthcoming. I wonder how long his employers will put up with this continuing embarrassment.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

TMJ's Straw Man Is Made Out Of Toilet Paper

For at least two day, Charlie Sykes, Jeff Wagner and the hack John Mecure have been bashing on Senator Lena Taylor.

Their supposed issue with the good Senator is that she had posted a comment on her Facebook site which called for a boycott of all Koch Brother products.

What their faux outrage really is is a distraction stunt to keep people focusing on the people's favorite pastime of watching Scott Walker's world crumble down over his corrupt head.

How do we know it's faux outrage and just a decoy maneuver? Well, simply because they are a little too desperate to make a point and continuously hammering at it.  Also, they have to ignore a helluva a lot to get to that point.

For starters, Taylor is not the first person to advocate for this boycott, nor is she the only politician to do so.  People have been participating in this boycott since it was first learned that Walker and WISGOP were under the influence of Koch.  What Taylor wrote is nothing new and it's disingenuous of these squawkers to say otherwise.

Secondly, the squawketeers claim to be so worried about the 2300 or so employees that work for Green Bay's branch of Georgia Pacific.  They say that if the boycott takes off, some of those people could lose their jobs.

Again, this is a straw man made up of so much wet toilet paper.

As noted above, the boycott has been going on for a while and the company hasn't folded.  Secondly, why are these idiots worried about those jobs and not about the 2300 jobs that Walker has already caused to disappear.

Also, why are they not concerned about the loss of voters' rights, workers' rights and women's rights?  Do people's rights matter less than if the Koch Brothers make a few bucks less?  Apparently so in the eyes of the squawkers.

All three of these clowns, as well as TMJ management, owes Senator Taylor an apology.

Then they owe another apology to their listeners for their misleading and inaccurate statements.

Then they can admit that their biased as all get out and start immediate action to help restore our airwaves to serve the public interest.  For if they don't want to do so willingly, they will still do so, sooner or later.  The lessons on how to do that starts tomorrow.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Their Bite Is Worse Than His Bock

On Friday morning, Charlie Sykes again was trying to make hay out of the story of Miles Kristan, the boor who has crossed the line of protesting to harassment and assault by dumping a beer over the head of Representative Robin Vos. Not that Vos didn't deserve that and more, but that sort of thing is not done in a civilized society and is actually more detrimental to the cause than it helps.

Case in point, Sykes and the other using it to try to keep the heat off of Walker and his growing scandal.

In his ongoing rant, Sykes had Vos call in and whine about the "abuse" that has been suffered by him and his fellow Republicans by people aiming to hold them accountable for their own unforgivable behaviors, such as assaulting the rights of the working men and women of the state, focusing on gifting their campaign donors rather than creating jobs, abusing the state's ecology and violating almost every right we have.

But what really got to me is when he'd whine about his constituents who yelled at his aides.  First of all, if he bothered to speak to, and more importantly, listen to the people, he wouldn't even need to use his aides as human shields for his delicate feelings.

Secondly, having someone vent about the atrocities their boss has committed is considerably less offensive that what he and his colleagues did to the aides to the Democratic Senators, treating them like pawns in their political games, threatening to take away their parking places, withholding their checks, micromanaging them to the point of counting printouts and staples and even threatening their jobs.

If Vos is concerned about not being liked, maybe he should consider not acting like an arrogant and pompous ass himself.

Then to top off this comedy routine, Sykes had fellow adulterer Randy Randy "Bed" Hopper on the air who was whining that people were still mad at him for his role in the assault on Wisconsin.  I just wonder how much of the verbal abuse he supposedly suffers is from his malicious attack on the people and how much is due to the fact that he is a two-faced liar that abandoned his family.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

'They Are the Public Airwaves, Not the Republican Airwaves'

 Sick of politically unbalanced radio and TV programming that only offers a right-wing point of view? Then Sue Wilson's media reform tour of Wisconsin is for you. The Emmy-winning journalist and producer will screen her documentary, Broadcast Blues, in eight Wisconsin communities throughout September to highlight the damage done by corporate-owned media outlets that dominate the national conversation. Wilson will also appear at Fighting Bob Fest in Madison on Saturday, Sept. 17.

The Shepherd Express has a Q-A interview with her in its current issue.

Monday, September 12, 2011

As If There Wasn't Enough Air Pollution Already

This state is full of noise pollution, especially if you live in one of the bigger cities.

There's trucks, cars with bad mufflers, motorcycles, construction equipment, horns beeping, low flying planes, people with their radios blasting and a myriad of other things that assault our ears on a near constant basis.

One of the most offensive perpetrators is squawk radio.  In almost every corner of this state, you can find some radio station (usually on the am dial) that has its day filled with one blathering idiot following another bloviating liar.

In Milwaukee alone, we have Charlie Sykes, Jeff Wagner, John Mecure, James T. Harris (until the Journal Broadcast company made him do a lateral transfer to one of their stations in Arizona), Jay Weber, Vicki McKenna and Mark Belling filling the days with their tiresome and fact-free rantings and ravings.  So much so you can just visualize the spittle dripping off their microphones as they tell you the evils of creating jobs, taking care of the vulnerable and having everyone carry their fair share of the burden of being part of a society.

And that doesn't even cover the syndicated squawkers like Dennis Miller, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh.

(Is it any wonder I so look forward to going up north where I can shut these immoral and asocial blowhards out?)

Now we find out that the powers that be don't think there's quite enough insult to our intelligence, enough assault on our eardrums.

Nope. Now they had to go and give Scott Walker is weekly ramblings.  Instead of fireside chats, we get Pants-on-fire squawks. Oh, huzzah.  Be still my heart. (/off-sarcasm)

And just with squawk radio, there is not even the appearance of honoring the federal laws regarding the public airwaves.  They are giving the Republican governor a free shot of air time without a rebuttal:
Were Democrats invited to produce a regular alternative message? "The WBA has a history of working with Wisconsin's governor throughout the years (regardless of party) -- as we are a non-partisan organization," wrote Michelle Vetterkind, the association's president and CEO, in an email response to my inquiry. 
Did former Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle have such a program? "Not a weekly radio address, no," she wrote. "However, this is something we'd love to continue" with governors of either party. 
She said legislative Democrats can do their own. "If the Democrats wish to offer a response, we are more than willing to post a link to it as well," she said. "It would be posted at the same time." 
Democrats appear likely to take them up on the offer. Melanie Conklin, an aide to Rep. Peter Barca of Kenosha, leader of Assembly Democrats, says she is in contact with an aide to Sen. Mark Miller of Monona, leader of Senate Democrats, on a next step.
Um, no, a link is unacceptable. The law requires equal air time and a link is not the same as free time over a powerful radio station's airwaves.  If it were, Whallah! would have vanquished Milwaukee squawk radio long ago.

The Democrats should not and cannot settle for anything less than equal time as Walker.

Fortunately, even as it looks like Walker and the corporate media of the state are about to take another round of treading on our rights, we are about to gain valuable knowledge and skills on how to counter this.

Sue Wilson will be bringing her "Broadcast Blues" tour to the state this week, premiering in Madison this Saturday, first at Fighting Bob Fest and then again in Madison Saturday night at the First Unitarian Society Landmark Auditorium.  The rest of her tour can be found on this handy poster. (H/T Uppity Wisconsin)

For more information and to learn how you can join the fight to reclaim our airwaves, please check out their new website - Media Action Center.

Cross posted at Cog Dis.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Sykes Hits Yet Another New Low

Charlie Sykes' irrational and hypocritical* anti-union hatred has gone so far he rips into a tribute to firefighters, including the heroes that sacrificed their lives ten years ago.

What a sick, demented jerk.

*It was Sykes' membership in a union that allowed them to fight to keep his job when he was caught making stuff up on his show, including quotes.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Reclaiming Wisconsin's Airwaves: Broadcast Blues Comes To Wisconsin

If the gentle reader will recall, I told them that while we take the state back from the greedy clutches of the Republicans and their corporate puppet-masters, we could also take back the airwaves of Wisconsin and make them serve the public again.

Here is a press release from Sue Wilson, the maker of Broadcast Blues, announcing her upcoming tour of Wisconsin:

2011 Wisconsin Media Reform Tour
Putting the Public Back into Broadcasters' Public Interest Obligations
When Delafield resident Barbara Begale went to see a documentary film about media reform in Florida, she never thought she'd return to Wisconsin to organize an entire film tour. But after seeing the award winning Broadcast Blues, which shows how the consolidation of the media into a few corporate hands is jeopardizing our news, information, and even public safety, Begale says a light bulb went off. "Suddenly I understood why the United States is so divisive. The film explains why the news is filled with lies and why there is so much hate speech. If people know the truth, people will make the right decisions, but they're not getting the truth. Everyone in this country needs to see this movie." 
So she contacted the film's director, who readily agreed to travel throughout the state with the film. "This is a great opportunity to remind the people of Wisconsin that they actually own the Radio and TV airwaves," says filmmaker Sue Wilson. "Local TV and radio stations receive licenses for the privilege to broadcast, but there's a catch: in exchange for their licenses, the law requires them to 'serve the public interest.' If they do not, people can legally challenge those licenses and take them away. The question is, are the broadcasters serving the public interest of Wisconsinites?" 
Wilson plans to answer that question by surveying those who attend the screenings about how well local broadcasters are serving local needs. If people tell her their local TV and radio stations are not serving the public interest, she will teach them how to reach out to local broadcasters with the goal of improving the quality of local broadcasting. "Sometimes," says Wilson, "all it takes is a friendly visit to station management to create a dialogue between the broadcaster and the community. Unfortunately, sometimes it takes a legal petition to deny a station's license, and we're prepared to help people whichever way it goes. What's important is that people understand they have unique rights as owners of the public broadcast airwaves."

The 2011 Wisconsin Media Reform Tour kicks off September 17 in Madison with continuous screenings at the FightingBobFest, then goes to Madison's Landmark Auditorium that evening for a 7:30 showing and organizing event. The tour continues to Appleton Sept. 17, Mequon Sept. 21, Milwaukee Sept. 22, Hartland Sept. 23, Racine Sept. 24, Wausau Sept. 26, ending in Eau Claire Sept. 27th. 
All events are free and open to the public.

Here is a trailer of the movie:

And via Steve Hansen at Uppity Wisconsin, here is a poster with all the dates, times and places that Sue and Broadcast Blues will be visiting. Please share this with your friends, family and neighbors.

Cross posted at Cog Dis.