One of the favorite tirades of wing-nuts is about the supposedly terrible cycle of dependence and entitlement by those various imagined elements of society who exist only to soak up Our Money. Whether it’s food stamps or health care or even (in the case of immigrants) education, according to the wing-nuts, there is no end to poor people living large at the public trough. Give a desperate person cooking oil and tortillas and, tomorrow, they will want...beans to put in the tortillas! Those who consider themselves adversely affected by societal injustice are said to be playing the "victim card".
But, take something from the right-wing that they consider their birthright, and there is no contest as to who is best able to loudly wail and gnash teeth. It is the wing-nut, by a country mile.
Right-wingers portray themselves as self-reliant, self-made, entrepreneurial, tough, worldly-wise and straight-shootin’. But, take away just one of their precious AM radio spots, and they will squeal like stuffed pigs headed to the bacon factory. They are exposed as guilty of the sin of dependence. They feel deprived of their entitlement to the non-Brewer evenings on TMJ. What will be done to make up for the loss of McBride? Who will make us whole for this violation of our precious local wing-nut slot?
Since McBride was bounced from the TMJ family like a ground-rule double, the wing-nut radio hogs and blogs have been in full bleat in defense of their beloved Jessica. They bemoan the increased scrutiny of what is said on the public airwaves, as if they can’t possibly be held responsible for what they say. Mark Belling was bellyaching this week about lefties trying to monitor all the wing-nuts on the radio, looking for the same sort of "gotcha" moment that "got" McBride. The premise seems to be that they are "entitled" to this free air-time for the GOP agenda – why can’t they just be left alone to poison the electorate in peace? Anyone daring to listen to what they actually say is playing a trick on them and on you.
It is interesting how hurt the wing-nuts big and small seem to be about this otherwise minor loss. The blowhard bullies have had sand kicked in their eyes and they are running home to tell their mommies. They rightly identify the problem (for them) of having one less local wing-nut on the radio. That means local elections and issues will just be a little less twisted and a little more (gasp!) fair. There will be fewer repetitions of lies about Doyle, Dems in the legislature, local alderman, school funding referendums, etc. There will be one less radio show playing scurrilous anti-Doyle Club for Growth and WMC ads for free five times, and then talking about how wonderful they are. Belling and Sykes will have to pump it up just to keep the negative hit numbers up.
No doubt about it, the GOP message machine is dependent on their radio stalwarts to anchor their daily campaigns of talking-point misinformation. Just this little hit of losing the McBride block of time has them feeling and acting fragile, like maybe their stranglehold on the AM airwaves won’t last forever. Maybe washed-up dips like Dennis Miller are the future – you know, a little nicer, relatively harmless (I said "relatively"), in-one-ear-and-out-the-other stuff, rather than the believe-or-die screechings of Hannity or Savage. Besides, I bet the Miller show is a lot cheaper than keeping the studio in McBride’s house so she doesn’t have to trouble herself with trips to the East Side (a neat little tidbit from Joel McNally’s column). And, if there is one thing radio executives appreciate, it’s cheap programing. What else could possibly explain Jay Weber?
The radio is going to have to find something to do after the Democratic Landslide of 2008, when Rove finally retires and they pull the plug on talking-point support. What will Belling and Sykes do without their marching orders? I can’t imagine them having to dream up all this wing-spin on their own. You can’t get it all from the Drudge Report. Can you imagine those two actually saying something different from each other every day? Talk about the End of the World.
And, McBride – poor Jess – is bitter, you bet. Her new/old blog is filled with the omen of dark conspiracies and mournful pleading. You can hear the pain of her denied dependence; the loss of her Sacred Entitlement, the unrequited pleadings of her lost listeners. Who dares to take her down for the sake of community sanity, better ratings and cheaper programming? You are not the Victims, dear reader, She is. Who will Right the Wrong and give her back what is rightfully hers?
Alas, no one. Maybe she’ll get back on the air as a fill-in on WISN (although they already import another wing-nut woman from Madison for that purpose, and she actually might have to step foot in the studio). She will have to settle, for now, for her unfortunate J-School students (but, wait! It’s summer!). There will be no Oprah moment, no welcome back to the public eye, and no redress for her imagined victimhood.