Saturday, March 2, 2013

This week in media failures

Want to know why the only institution that has an approval rating as low as Congress is our political media? This week gave 3 good indications why.

1. Bob Woodward- exposed as a Villager assclown. Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward got his Depends in a bundle when his insider discussions with Obama economic officials on the then-upcoming sequester resulted in a difference of opinion. Woodward spent the next few days whining to any media outlet that would have him (usually Faux News or some other rightie-sympathetic organization) that the White House "threatened" him. And then the emails were released, and Woodward looked like a whiny little pussy. Here's the horrible threat given to Woodward from White House adviser Gene Sperling.
But I do truly believe you should rethink your comment about saying saying that Potus asking for revenues is moving the goal post. I know you may not believe this, but as a friend, I think you will regret staking out that claim. The idea that the sequester was to force both sides to go back to try at a big or grand barain with a mix of entitlements and revenues (even if there were serious disagreements on composition) was part of the DNA of the thing from the start.
Speaking of regrets, I bet Woodward really regrets trying to turn this debate into being about him, because he sure looks bad on it. And not just for the whininess, but also because Sperling is largely accurate on this- the sequester was never intended to actually take place, it was a "poison pill" inserted to get a DC Villager-approved "Grand Bargain" in place to get the country's deficit down. And Obama has consistently called for a mix of revenues and spending cuts, unlike the Congressional GOP.

It took a real news journalist from outside of DC to tell the truth about how absurd Woodward looked- Jon Stewart of the Daily Show. Jon gets going on this around 1:00.

"Because access means never having to say you're sorry." Killer line, and it accurately sums up the complete lack of accountability Woodward and other DC media have, where they can constantly get stories wrong, but continue to get prime seats at the table on Sunday morning shows.

2. Blowing up AM1290 in Milwaukee If you're an ass-kisser, right-wing or both (like Woodward), you're a lot more likely to get that access. That was reiterated in Milwaukee this week, as one of the very few stations with any progressive voice at all in that town had that point of view silenced in a format change at AM1290, WMCS. This included the firing of morning host Eric Von, and the replacement of talk with "Martini Radio" - Rat Pack and other Big Band-type music. Now I can dig the Rat Pack, but I can also get that on a whole lot of satellite stations and oldies-type formats. While the only place you can now get anything resembling progressive radio over the air in Milwaukee is through AM820 out of Chicago, if the signal reaches that far. Shame on the Milwaukee Radio Alliance for failing to promote a station in a majority-minority city that had one of the few shows with an actual minority point of view, and in failing to get quality programming around the local talk to drive listenership (this is the real secret behind 620's and 1130's ratings - it ain't Sykes and Belling, it's Brewers, Packers, and Marquette getting people to lock on the station). So now, the only African-American talk show voice appearing on Milwaukee's airwaves is off-the-rails absentee Sherriff David Clarke - and he's not really a good representative of the community.

And if you don't think having a point of view on the radio matters, check out this quote from State Sen. Dale Schultz this week when he appeared on Sly's show on FM 93.7 this week (interestingly, it seems like Sly has more reach at this station than he did before the Thanksgiving Eve massacre at WTDY), where Schultz said WTMJ makes GOP legislators "shake in their boots."

This backs up what someone who worked in Schultz's office told me a few years ago. If they got a phone call from the 262 and 414 area codes, they knew these people had heard some BS from Sykes or Belling, and weren't going to be rational. And these losers don't vote rationally either, which skews the results of small-turnout elections like local common councils and Republican primaries, which explains why we have Glenn Gross-man in the State Senate instead of Mary Panzer. Now, the types who listen to Milwaukee RWNJ radio are small, but our media is so in fear of being labeled as biased, even when they tell the truth on a subject (like how Scott Walker has decimated public schools or failed at job creation), that they don't call out these plain falsehoods spouted on the AM dial every day, and the lies take hold in people's minds.

Of course, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin isn't up-front enough on doing this either, and that leads to fail number 3 for the week.

3. Graeme Zielinski making an ass out of himself after Gov Walker gets over on John Doe. Look, I'm disgusted that the Milwaukee County DA's office wussed out and chose to not pursue charges against Walker like anyone else who saw those emails and believes in rule of law. But that's no excuse for DPW Communications Director Graeme Zielinski to let out a series of tweets comparing Walker to Jeffrey Dahmer, and complaining that Walker won't go to jail while Dahmer did. This is an idiotic statement for a couple of reasons.

A. The analogy is way off. The correct analogy for Walker is MOB BOSS, as someone who is able to allow others take the rap for him in exchange for favors down the road. This seems a lot closer to what John Doe was than Dahmer's situation. See, Dahmer committed the crimes on his own, got caught, and got thrown in prison. Walker had others commit the crimes for him, didn't get prosecuted (for now), and won't face prison time.

B. Graeme is representing the DPW with these tweets, and it makes him and the party look petty and childish. Now, sometimes I don't mind it, like when he Pearl Harbored WTMJ for having their right-wing radio programming color JournalComm's news coverage (it worked because what he said was true). But yesterday was not the time or place to make yourself the story, and it certainly was not the right tone (he should have shrugged and said something like "Guess Walker knew nothing and just hires criminals and other losers. Interesting.") The fact that Graeme and Mike Tate aren't understanding that Zielinski is hurting the party when they obsess on John Doe and act out in this way goes helps to explain why WisGOP gets the monopoly on power that they do, despite having opinions and attitudes that very few people in the state like. It is time for Graeme to go, and I said as much in an email to the DPW yesterday.

It also illustrates another issue that comes up with lefties not having the talk show access that WisGOP and the right-wingers do. Walker and the RPW (other than Gross-man, David Clarke and a couple of other dopes) don't have to say the outrageous thngs they think, because they can send those talking points to Chuckles the Clown, Icki, and Belling to say for them (it's well-documented that Walker's staff scripts Scotty's interviews with these guys). Other than Sly in SW Wisconsin, where's a similar outlet for the left to have on the state's airwaves? It doesn't exist, and therefore the frustration becomes more likely to come out through officials like Graeme Zielinski. Graeme should be on a talk show instead of having this DPW gig, and I think he'd be good at it, but no such outlet exists in much of the state for him to get his views out. All the more reason to confront these stations and demand some semblance of balance be brought back to their airwaves, with the legitimate threat of economic pain to those who advertise on such destructive, right-wing stations.

When you look at what happened this week, it's no wonder people are skeptical of our political media in DC and in Wisconsin. We know these guys that are purported to be fact-finders and experts are far from it, and that frustration is a big reason why I started writing more 3 years ago. And apparently it's going to have to be us to hold these fools' feet to the fire and expose them as the access-driven frauds that they are, because the traditional media don't have the skills and/or guts to stand up to those that they rely on for their stories and their paychecks.


  1. I sent a letter to Mike Tate telling him that I will never contribute to the Wisconsin Democratic Party as long as Graeme Zielinski is spokesman. (I am not fond of Tate either.) I think that Tate and the other leadership need to hear directly that it's time to get rid of Zielinski.

  2. Thanks JB- As mentioned, I'm in agreement with you on this. It does look like Graeme took the "Dahmer" texts down, and apologized. But this is not a one- off, and he has descended into "buffoon" level