Friday, January 02, 2009

WISN: A Wing-Nut in the Newsroom


Clear Channel’s WISN is running a promo spot this week about how wonderful their all-wing-nut-all-the-time lineup is. And what a line-up it is! They have the unapologetic racist, Mark Belling, winning his afternoon time slot by successfully exploiting and validating his audience’s darkest instincts. In the morning, they feature a steady stream of third-rate "talent" like drive-time chucklehead Jay Weber and hyperventilating Madison import Vicki McKenna to carry the daily Republican message and otherwise poison the political environment. Nationally, they run the table in the race to the bottom with Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and the ridiculously apoplectic Mark Levin.

You could listen to the station all day and night and not find one legitimate opinion backed up by one true fact. That’s WISN for you – beating you over the head the license they hold from your very own government.

Of course, the never-ending parade of fabricating squawkers have to catch their breath once in a while during the broadcast day. They will certainly step aside for commercials, the printing of money by use of the public airwaves being the sole purpose of all for-profit radio stations. Then at the top of every hour, WISN pretends to lurch back from their right-wing fantasy world and present "the news". It might be only a minute-and-a-half of content, crowded by more commercials, traffic, weather and sports, but, still...They call it a "newscast", it sounds like a "newscast"; what the heck. If they want to pretend to be a good corporate citizen by giving their listeners a little unskewed information – even if it is only to placate the toothless FCC and their quaint "public service" expectations – let’s at least give them credit for that.

But, not surprisingly, WISN’s commitment to the "news" is as thin as its commitment to the truth the rest of the broadcast day. For one thing, their national news feed is from Fox News. The only difference between Fox News on television and Fox News on the radio is you can’t see Brit Hume smirking through the stories about Democrats on the radio. It was a couple of years ago that Fox took over for legitimate news organizations that had provided hourly news updates for affiliates like WISN for decades. Apparently, the wing-nuts complained that the truth was getting in the way of their shtick, and Fox News very existence is to give them a softer landing.

Then there is the local part of the "news" programming. Clear Channel never took local news seriously, actually trying to run it out of their studios in Cleveland several years ago, the "anchors" and "reporters" pretending to be in Milwaukee.

These days, the news during the day is frequently read by a "reporter" named Nick Reed. Reed has even anchored some of the station’s election coverage, I believe. Just one problem: Nick Reed is also a fire-breathing fill-in for WISN’s regular wing-nuts when they get days off.

So, there he is, the same guy who read the straight news yesterday is on the radio today, running the same talking points as the other wing-nuts, scoffing at the same Democrats, making excuses for the same Republicans. He is quite the little whack-job, too, obviously having gone to the finest finishing schools for such art. For instance, after the news of John Edwards’ affair broke last year, he followed a proud WISN tradition by making racist comments, saying we didn’t have to worry about Obama straying in such a way because a black woman would "slap the tar" out of her husband if such a thing happened. Get it? Black...tar. Classy, no?

No. But tomorrow, he’ll be back at the news desk (if they have one), churning out supposedly objective content, for people gullible enough to believe he is going to play it straight. Not that WISN gives a rip about tradition or journalistic ethics or anything else, but does anyone else see a problem here? Why would anyone believe anything Reed says during his "news" spots? What stories does he choose or not choose to fit the Republican agenda he drives on the right-wing shows? When he leads with the GOP reaction to a Democratic proposal rather than the proposal itself, do you think maybe he might be playing favorites? Gee, ya think?

As long as this is going on, why not just cast all pretensions of objective journalism to the winds and just let Belling read the news? What’s the difference? At least it would be entertaining to make him try to read straight stories all this year about Obama's high approval ratings. Maybe, just maybe, we might be lucky enough to hear his head explode.


As if to prove my point, wing-nut reporter Nick Reed was wearing his "news" hat this afternoon (1/5) when he "reported" on Obama's pick for head of the CIA. After announcing it was Leon Peneta, in the same breath, he "reported" that the selection created "shock" from unnamed someones, somewhere, because Peneta had no intellegence experience. Never mind that Penetta was emersed in all manner of intellegence as Clinton's chief-of-staff or even that he was an intellegence officer when he served in the armed forces. But the good wing-nut reporter never lets the facts get in the way of a good spin job that his compatriots or even he can use in the coming days. He sets 'em up, and, if McKenna gets the hiccups tomorrow, he'll knock 'em down.


AnotherTosaVoter said...

I'm going to propose a radical solution that some might call crazy, or impossible, or unthinkable.

It's so radical it could change the very paradigm of human life as we know it.


Here it is:


Other Side said...

Excuse me, but I have a right to expect some sort of balance from WISN. After all, its frequency is allotted with the understanding that it will provide some sort of public, non-biased service. All wingnut, all the time, is not in the best interest of the public.

Anonymous said...

You don't have a "right" to anything. You are, however, free to change the channel or turn the radio off if you don't like what is being broadcast.

I can't stand country I have a "right" to not hear country music all the time on the publicly-owned, for-profit airwaves of FM106?

And Mike, you need a new schtick, we all know you hate conservative talk radio (and especially conservative talk radio hosted by a BLACK person)'ve told us time and time and time and time and time and time and time and time and time again.

TerryN said...

The only right you have it to not have to listen. All you want is censored content that fits your leftist views.

What you can do is expose them as the frauds you think they are and they will go away as their listeners will have done.

There's obviously no free speech on the other side...

Mike Plaisted said...

This post really isn't about the "right" of WISN or any of the others in the right-wing radio industry to poison the political discourse of the nation with their lies and GOP propaganda. Since the death of the Fairness Doctrine, they apparently are free to do so. The 24/7 free advertising provided for the Republicans provided by mainstream radio seems to have had an unintended effect, however, since both houses of Congress and the executive are now controlled by Democrats. I think overcoming that extreme disadvantage makes the Democratic gains in recent years all the more impressive.

No, this post is about a full-throated racist wing-nut pretending to be a straight news "reporter". This is a violation of journalistic ethics and represents an important misrepresentation and lie by WISN. The lie is that they are giving you the "news". The fact is that their reporter is unquestionably biased on a whole range of the issues he pretends to be "reporting" on. I am not aware of any other stations that have wing-nuts reporting the news.

As for "change the channel", ATV, you wish I would. If only the right-wing stations could just keep telling their lies unchallenged, presenting opinion as news, flipping "reporters" back-and-forth from "news" to wing-nut shows and back again without scrutiny from non-believers. It doesn't and shouldn't work that way.

I could just as easily say "if you don't like this blog, stop reading it", but why would I do that? The whole point of this blog is exploration of issues, holding whatever I'm saying out there for anyone to take a shot at, if they can. Mainstream talk-radio pretends to want to discuss issues, but that's the last thing they want. They want to demogouge issues, lie, provide free advertising for Republicans and they whine like spoiled piggies everytime someone dares to call them on their bullshit.

AnotherTosaVoter said...

I like this blog because it's entertaining in the same way The Onion is entertaining. You seem to have an obsession with conservative talk radio that leaves you unable to accept its reality and move on.

Your real problem Mike is that you underestimate talk radio's audience. Sure, a good chunk are right-wing hosebags who believe everything the hosts say, but those people aren't going to change their minds whether talk radio goes on or ends tomorrw. Look at you - unlike them you don't have 2 or 3 stations devoted to your ideology yet you're not going to be changing your mind anyway.

Then there are people like me, who listen occasionally (or maybe more often) for reasons other than to be led by the nose. I think Weber is a pussy, McKenna brainless, Limbaugh a psychopath, Belling a schill, and Hannity an uber-douchebag.

I listen to get news, because regardless of their misguided opinion about everything they are discussing topics I may not have known about. So once I hear their biased take I can go research the issue to see if they're right, and sometimes - but like you not often - they are.

Or, I listed for entertainment. Belling is very enjoyable when he talks sports, plus I love when he rips on Paul.

So I know this goes against every fiber of your being, but you need to understand that it's not a simple either-or proposition with their audience.

Oh and, as wrong as they often are, you are no better. Whacked out partisans like you and McKenna have one major thing in common: you're usually wrong.

Anonymous said...

Hey, that's just like Mike "pretending" to be accepting of beliefs other than his own! A farse to be sure!

Mike Plaisted said...

Funny, ATV, I've never heard you challenge any of my facts. The only I've heard you demand is that I take some position outside the progressive mainstream just for the sake of being different. If I got a fact wrong, I'll retract it. Try getting that out of Vicki McKenna.

I agree some, maybe even most, of the audience for right-wing talk are not knuckle-dragging stereotypes, sitting around in tank tops, swilling Hife Life and running kids off their lawn. But that's the demographic the shows aim for. I know many listeners are more discriminating and take it for what it's worth. And for those who really research to see if what they are saying is true, well, I'm here to help.

But you continue to avoid the point of the original post, ATV. What do you think about fill-in wing-nut Nick Reed pretending to be a real news reporter? Do you think that's beyond the pale? If it isn't, is anything with you?

AnotherTosaVoter said...


It's hard to challenge the "factual basis" of this post because frankly there isn't any. It's just a bunch of buzzwords thrown together so redundantly that the actual point is hard to decipher.

For one, even in the back of your kool aid-soaked brain you must understand what a gross over generalization it is to claim that not one single opinion expressed on the show is based on one legitimate fact. Even all your hyperbole on this site manages to find a nugget of rationality here and there.

Second, while I don't listen all day every day, I do seem to recall that their "news breaks" are generally legitimate news segments, though the host usually does jump in at the end with his or her idiotic opinion.

As for your broader point that WISN expresses the news in a partisan fashion rather than a straight journalistic fashion, I think I can actually agree but ask, so what? Watch any cable news network anymore and it's basically the same thing - every nugget of news is expressed with some partisan perspective. I'm a big MSNBC fan and their news coverage has an obvious liberal bent to it.

About the only news coverage that really sticks to the straight facts anymore is NPR. Everyone else is chasing a target audience, a trend that likely isn't going anywhere as media evolves. This is neither a good nor bad thing, it just is.

The fact is, nobody is likely to agree on what news is straight and what is biased. Having worked in the business of government I can tell you plainly that no reporter gets the whole story and I've rarely seen a story covered without bias.

Besides, I find it impossible to believe that if WISN were heavily tilted towards your brand of BS instead of theirs, you'd be complaining. So just get over it.

Anonymous said...

ATV - what Mike wants isn't a slant to the left as they currently slant to the right, he wants a forced airing of "opposing views" because he knows darn well that it would sink WISN in ratings and thus force them out of business. It's not about fairness or equality to's about forcing them out of business so conservative is never heard.

Anonymous said...

ATV and Anonymous, Mikey is a left wing douche bag, thinking only his brand of liberal anger and hate is progressive or mainstream, they are neither

Anonymous said...

Mike Plaisted, exactly which of your "facts" would you have us refute? Your rants are full of accusations and name calling but just like most liberals, a little short of actual facts to debate. "Since the death of the fairness doctrine, they are apparently free to do so" What are they (conservatives)exactly free to do? Do you mean free to express their opinions with out government oversight and permission. Kind of like the whole point of the first ammendment. By the way, when your ilk, the "open minded" "tolerant" ones, try to re-institute the Fairness doctrine, who exactly is going to be the government bureacrat who is going to decide what speech is "liberal", what is "conservative" and what is "unbias"? Is the "One wev'e been waiting for" Obama going to appoint a fairness czar.

Anonymous said...

Mike Plaisted, "Since the death of the fairness doctrine, they apparently are free to do so" Apparently free to do what, speak freely without government permission? Kind of like the whole point of the 1st ammendment. By the way, when your ilk, the "open minded" "tolerant" ones try to re-institute the kill conservative speech bill, is the "one we've been waiting for" Obama going to appoint a speech listening czar?

Anonymous said...

"You could listen to the station all day and night and not find one legitimate opinion backed up by one true fact. That’s WISN for you – beating you over the head the license they hold from your very own government."

Mike, you lunatic. Thats completly false.

Interesting point about Nick Reed though. I don't see a bias in how he reports the news, but I'm entertained by his bias when he fills-in.

If there's a conflict, its a small one compared to the mainstream media. Reed's a jokester, the MSM actually thinks they're profound.

Anonymous said...

I was about to craft a logical response to your illogical rant about WISN. However, in the end, it just wasn't worth my time. The fact is you're just a typical name calling, socialist, left wing idiot!

Anonymous said...

This kind of childish diatribe is rooted in the utter ignorance and lies which the left is known for. The fairness doctrine, for example, came from another time in American history in which radio had just begun - and it was important, at that time, to make sure that two sides were heard. This was back in the 1930's. To compare that with what is happening today is completely erroneous. Even die-hard liberal Jimmy Carter was against the re-establishment of the Fairness Doctrine, explaining that it was appropriate for its time but no longer is so. We are now inundated with media sources, whereas, back then, radio was the only source.

Mike doesn't seem to want to understand such things. He doesn't seem to understand how much his own party is lying to him. Obama constantly makes up economic figures which are based in falsehood. The White House is becoming embarrassed by it. And Nancy Pelosi just told us that we need to pass healthcare bill "IN ORDER TO KNOW WHAT IS IN IT." To this date, few people have read the bill - an aggrandizing, lengthy manifesto of unknowns,made up of ambiguous statements which are unclear to the reader.

These are the dunces; these are the ignoramuses that have already emptied our coffer for years to come - our children will not experience the life of relative affluence (compared to the rest of the world) that Americans in the middle-class have known. Obama has already bankrupted our country, as Mark Levin points out so astutely, for years to come. The money isn't there anymore - he used it up - and for what, none of us is sure, for it has not stimulated jobs. Oh yeah, I forgot - Bush should be blamed for that. Oh, lets blame Bush again.

Obama has given us a class society based upon envy of those who make wealth. He, like Karl Marx, views the American middle-class as the proletariat which needs to be dictated to by government. Has Dunce Mike ever read the famous diatribe of Karl Marc, "The Communist Manifesto?" Dunce Mike ought to do so. He will be struck, as I am, by the language of this ugly document as to its similarities with Obama's speech.
Hatred for those who make wealth is the theme of the Communist Manifesto. Never before, have we seen such a thing - an American president rooted in Marxism.

Ignorance is the theme of the left. Pure, solid ignorance and this is why the conservative talk-shows are vital. They are the only venue left for discussion of opposing viewpoints. And Mike doesn't understand how many people want to hear a different point of view. He just doesn't "get it" as most liberals don't. Obama sets a precedent as anti-constitutional ; Obama views the Constitution of the United States as a flawed document and has said so, on many occasions. He is a Harvard-bred Marxist whose main goal is change our society into a purely socialist camp so that many people living on entitlements, can continue to do so, but to a much greater extent, utter crippling our society with the kind of socialism that took over eastern Europe and now, in western Europe. Those folks are no longer free -their governments tell them how to live. This is why we need conservative talk shows; its the only place the truth is getting out, as the newspapers are fully in the hands of liberals and Democrats. Mike doesn't understand this; he does not understand how much people want to hear the truth; how much people want to hear both sides of an issue.

And Mark Levin, a very astute constitutional lawyer, points this out. Mike is in no position - intellectually- to discredit anyone -especially not Mark Levin - because he does not possess the intellectual capacity of the people he discredits. He is a ranting child whose accusations are based in generalizations, a lack of understanding of the law and the Constitution, and in the general kind of pervading ignorance that keeps people poor while they are waiting for the government to rescue them.

Anonymous said...