Friday, May 04, 2007

The Double Standard, Redux

While Don Imus prepares an expected lawsuit against CBS, he must be shaking his head. Mr. Imus, of course, was terminated by both CBS and MSNBC for referring to members of the Rutgers University women's basketball team as "nappy-headed ho's." It was an ill-considered, unfortunate and yes, racist remark.

However, if the Imus program originated from Milwaukee, he might still be on the air--assuming that he worked for the "right" company, and managed to offend the "right" person or audience. Consider the recent on-air tirade from WNOV-AM host (and former city alderman), Michael McGee Sr, directed at the mother of his on-air rival, Charlie Sykes of WTMJ-AM. Mrs. Sykes perished in a house fire on Tuesday. McGee, who has been battling with Mr. Sykes for years, expressed glee at her passing, according to WISN-TV:

"Mother Sykes, she dead. To me it's the vengeance of God. I ain't got no tears. Matter of fact a woman that would have a fool like that deserve whatever is coming her. She raised a sure enough idiot," McGee said on his radio show. "My instincts say Charlie Sykes killed his momma, cuz she live out in this big palace in Mequon all isolated. He got tired of waiting for her money."

As you might have guessed, Mr. McGee is black; Mr. Sykes is white. But this is not a matter of race; it's a question of what should (or should not) be allowed on the airwaves. If Mr. McGee is allowed to express joy at the death of an elderly woman, then Don Imus should be back on the air at MSNBC and CBS. On the other hand, if Imus deserved the boot, so does Michael McGee, Sr. Michelle Malkin reports that McGee is off the air today, but so far, he has not been fired.

An employee at WNOV told WISN-TV that the radio station had received a "lot of calls" about McGee's remarks, and that most listeners were not happy about what he said.

But as of right now, Michael McGee Sr. still has a talk show. Don Imus is unemployed.

More on Mr. McGee. his race-baiting habits--and his son's illegal activities--at Modern Commentaries. That post is very informative; turns out that McGee's program airs at the same time as Charlie Sykes. According to the most recent Arbitrons, Sykes' station (WTMJ) is #1 in the market, and Mr. Sykes is one of their most popular hosts. By comparison, WNOV is #23 in Milwaukee, and judging from that dismal performance, it sounds that Sykes is thumping McGee in the ratings. Nothing like a little professional jealousy to help stoke the fires of racism. If WNOV is interested in getting out of the Arbitron basement--and avoiding a ton of negative publicity--they'd be well advised to get rid of Mr. McGee.

Express your disgust by calling WNOV's program director or general manager at (414) 449-9668.


Tanker311 said...

You need to make two corrections to your post:

Michael McGee Sr. (the one who made the comments) is an ex-alderman. Michael McGee Jr. is currently a Milwaukee alderman.

The station's call letters are WNOV, not WVON.

David Casper said...

I was just about to point out the very same thing, but it appears my esteemed partner in blogging beat me to it!

Otherwise, nice post.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the catch; I started out with the correct call letters (WNOV), then started transposing them for some reason. WVON is in Chicago, if I'm not mistaken.

Wendy said...

To call McGee Sykes' "rival" is a little weird. Charlie has 3.5 hour talk show with bajillions of listeners. McGee actually buys the time himself for his one hour rinky dink show on an urban station. I doubt they even calculate the ratings for McGee's show because it is essentially a paid advertisement.

They are rivals in the sense that McGee and his son, believe it or not, are considered "leaders" in the black community, and Sykes is critical of their, um, leadership.