Charlie Sykes said Michael McGee Jr. said what?
In what is apparently his annual dog-and-pony show on Wednesday morning at the Hyatt – self-importantly titled "Insight 2007" and broadcast live – Sykes poked his head out from his studio cocoon to make a rare public appearance. Like all national and local wing-nuts, Sykes never appears in public for an honest debate – it is always at either a GOP political rally or a carefully choreographed event that is moderated and controlled by him. He hand-picks guests that are used to playing the game on his TV show or fellow travelers in the (hah) "new media" (read: right-wing blogosphere).
So when Sykes pulled out an audio clip of McGee Jr. saying something about gay activists and "the Jude cops" (the ones who beat up Frank Jude) being behind his recall, he got the usual "yeah, you’re right Charlie"s from his assembled enablers. But, anxious to believe the worst about McGee, Sykes took his race-baiting a bit too far this time, claiming that McGee said it was "jew cops" who were out to get him. Proudly proclaiming his phony "gotcha", Sykes spent a good ten minutes trying to get everyone on the panel to agree with his pretended outrage. It wasn’t hard, although the only African-American on the panel, Michael Holt, refused to play along, politely defending McGee while his in-control host used his hard-found lie to continue his rant.
Of course, the whole conversation was premised on a lie. Willing to believe the worst about McGee or any of the easy targets he uses to advance his agenda, Sykes throws mud recklessly. Truth is the last thing he’s interested in, whether it’s discussing McGee, Iraq, Jim Doyle or any other issue.
Somehow, Tim Cuprisin, the TV/radio columnist for the Journal Sentinel, got hold of the lie and ran it in this morning’s paper. Cuprisin is hardly a bulldog on wing-nut issues and provided a soft landing for his corporate brother (Sykes is on WTMJ, a Journal Company property), quoting the station manager (you mean there is one?) saying "a mistake was made" and that Sykes would deal with it on his Thursday show. Gee, I can hardly wait. And note the lack of an apology.
If any not-right-wing reporter, commentator or blogger had made any such "mistake" about one of their precious Republicans, Sykes and others would squawk for weeks until heads rolled. Don’t expect that here. Sykes will pretend it was an honest mistake and move on to the next lie, with the blessing of his toothless station manager and his Journal Company benefactors. Safe in his studio cocoon, he will avoid the accountability that would come for the rest of us; another sanctimonious suburbanite, free to continue poisoning the political environment in Milwaukee.
[UPDATE: Sykes did indeed admit his "mistake" and apologized directly to McGee as the first item on his program this morning (before most of his listeners are tuned in). Citing his show's "high standards" (as he would say, what a bunch of crapity-crap-crap), he got it out of the way before moving into more and different lies, regretting only that he got caught. No doubt, that's the end of it, although it shouldn't be. But Sykes benefits by his own double standard regarding politicians and media types saying stupid things they dearly want to be true. He can get away with whatever he wants; you and I better be careful.]