Monday, December 05, 2011

Recalling Walker Against All Odds...and Journal Communications Inc.

The growing network of Koch-Scaife-Bradley-ClearChannel-funded media outlets in Wisconsin are in full defense mode to protect the radical regime of Gov. Scott Walker from the recall he has so richly earned. 

The complete stable of radio clowns on WISN aren't so funny anymore as they provide in-kind contributions to the Republican cause on every hour of every show every day, driving talking points generated by their GOP script-writers in Madison and Washington. 

New "organizations" have appeared from the depths of Republican hell, with pretty names like "MacIver Institute", "Media Trackers" and "Wisconsin Reporter". The phony fronts, following the lead of the fake-news pioneers at Fox News, are created of lies and whole cloth, all designed to poison the well of the straight media and to provide the radio squawkers with conveniently false and slanted content, propping up Walker and smearing the loyal opposition.

All of this is made possible by plenty of money from the various Monte Moneybags active in keeping the world safe for the Rich, desperate as they are to prevent reality from intruding on their shrinking privileged world.  From the dirty Koch Brothers to our own local source of national shame -- Michael W. Grebe of the Bradley Foundation and the Walker campaign -- these self-appointed Kings of Industry have radically politicized not only the media, but also traditionally non-partisan organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce, into polarizing, Us-vs.-Them campaigners.  They were defending the 1% for years before anyone thought to point out that maybe the other 99% should, like, have a voice.

But, for all of the deliberate lies and ridiculous spin generated by the bought-and-sold other right-wing-by-design media conglomerates, the real Big Dog in the Protect Walker consortium is Journal Communications Inc.

The most obvious gift JCI gives to the Walker Survival Effort every day is their proud presentation of the Charlie Sykes radio show, in which the formerly respectable journalist wallows in the muck of his own filth for three-and-a-half hours every day.  Well-paid (as all the right-wing mouthpieces are) by not only JCI but the Bradley Foundation through his position as "editor" (heh) of a publication of yet another pretend think-tank, the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, and god-knows who else, Sykes uses his snarky "charm" to sell all manner of pro-Walker/anti-recall lies over the formerly respectable WTMJ-AM airwaves. The JCI radio station also recently took national consumer talker Clark Howard off the afternoon schedule in favor of an extra excruciating two hours of talentless local wing-nut Jeff Wagner, showing, if anyone doubted it, their firm commitment to the Walker campaign in the run-up to the recall.

But Journal Communications provides its most important support to the governor they refuse to apologize for endorsing in the pages of its flagship newspaper, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.  There, the newspaper that not only validated but approved and promoted the recall of Milwaukee County Executive Tom Ament for the sin of believing some bad accountants now stands opposed to any recall of any official associated with the radical Republican jihad that took power in January of this year. 

Earlier this year, the paper's editorial page officially stayed out of the Senate recalls.  Pooh-poohing and tut-tutting the constitutional process the whole way, the J-S refused to endorse in any of the recall elections that resulted in an important narrowing of the Republican margin to one seat (and soon to result in a Democratic majority after more recalls next year).

With the long-awaited Walker recall effort finally underway, the Kings of State Street have become a little more perturbed about their readers ignoring their anti-recall bleatings.  "Recall fever and other illnesses", they call it dismissively, concluding "We don't think Walker's opponents have made a compelling case to recall the governor." Well, that's easy for them to say, since they insist on getting the motivation of the recall effort all wrong. "And make no mistake," they claim in the same editorial, in words echoing Republican talking points, "the recall is proceeding over one issue: Walker's decision to sharply limit collective bargaining for most public workers."

No, the recall is not over a single issue or even about a number of policy differences.  It is about the entire radical Republican agenda, driven not by Wisconsinites, but by Washington think-tanks and Koch-type elites. It is about the way the Republicans drove through their attack on Wisconsin workers and the democratic process (through voter-suppression and gerrymandered redistricting), without review in committee, in the dead of night, without notice, without quorums and without shame. 

The Lords of the Journal Sentinel pretend not to understand the radicalism of the Walker Republicans or the legitimate outrage their actions and processes have produced.  But, like all of the radio talkers who are smart enough to know better, their feigned ignorance and pretended offense at those who would dare to recall is just a facade.  They know they made a big mistake endorsing Walker and refuse to admit (in the case of the Walker regime's forthcoming decimation of BadgerCare) the blood that will literally be on their hands.  So, they defend Walker by pretending to be anti-recall as a general policy.  But then there was that Ament thing...well, that was different.  Somehow.

Not satisfied with pissing on the recall effort in its editorial voice, the newspaper handed over some of its valuable opinion page real estate this past Sunday to the most insipid, childish garbage to run in the Journal Sentinel opinion pages since Patrick McIlheran went on the government dole to shill for our embarrassing Sen. Ron Johnson.  In the column, Tim Keane, the apparently delusional "Entrepreneur in Residence" (heh - really, check the link - it's hilarious) at Marquette University (makes you wonder about them, too) trivializes the very ability to recall. "And," he "writes", "if you're unfortunate enough to wind up in court, well, just get going on recalling those nasty judges. If they rule in ways we don't like, out they go." He goes on to compare the recall movement to "the path to the dictatorship...first plowed unknowingly but unerringly by Tiberius [Gracchus]".

It's a ridiculous, crap piece.  And, from what I can gather, he doesn't even get the history right.  "The killing of a tribune [Tiberius] by the senators was as much an illegal act as was the deposition of Octavius [by Tiberius]. Both parties had disregarded the law, and the revolution was begun."  What has that got to do with anything?  Nothing the recall movement is doing is illegal -- in fact, the process itself is ensconsed in the Wisconsin Constitution for just such circumstances as this -- an out-of-control, radical governor and legislature, doing real damage to Wisconsin itself.

But the Journal Sentinel runs Keane's putrid column to drive another part of the Republcian talking points -- that the recallers only want chaos -- not real, legitimate change.  If they keep trotting out people like Keane, I don't think the Journal Sentinel is going to stand on the sidelines on the Walker recall.  I fully expect them to endorse him -- again -- when the recall election inevitably occurs.  The newspaper has hit the bottom of its long slide, from community leader to obstacle.  It is yet another obstacle that we will overcome. 


OK. I'm back.  Miss me? No more Mondo Media -- back to Plaisted Writes. I'll try to write regularly.


xoff said...

Well said. Welcome back. I hope we can hold you to that "write regularly" promise. (Well, you fudged and only promised to "try," but I hope you do it.) You have much to add to the discussion.

Anonymous said...

You were long my hero of the Wisconsin political blogging world. (Nothing mealy-mouthed about you!) I can't believe it took you so long to wade back into the target-rich environment of Wisconsin's Republicans. I look forward to the inarticulute-misspelled-obscenity-laced-exploding-head comments of the rightwing trolls. LOL, as they say, it's good sport.

Anonymous said...

Charlie Sykes must have forgotten that he cheated on his wife too!! I guess it's ok when you're a conservative! He disgusts me!!

Anonymous said...

If the recall effort succeeds, and a Democratic governor is elected, you can be rest assured that those in the Republican party will, exactly one year later, start a recall against said Democratic governor.

Thus, the left has effectively pulled the trigger on what will become a series of unending elections. It will effectively make this state ungovernable.

Congratulations, Democrats. Just because you CAN do something, doesn't mean you SHOULD.

But that of course requires real, adult thinking about long-term consequences: something the Democratic Party is sorely lacking. When adults start thinking and acting as children, the future is a scary place indeed.

Jerry Hierseman said...

Welcome back Mike,
It was good to see the State Democrats backing up your position here. Zielinski and Tate are taking C Sykes head on.
It is about time!!

J Hierseman

Anonymous said...

Yes indeed, welcome back!!

Anonymous said...


What is the point of the recall if not to eexptess outrage at a gov. who has "gone too far"? This is not a serious agenda for change. The only change Falk would make is to mandate that workers once again pay union dues. Everything else has largely worked.