Sunday, May 06, 2007

Some Punishment

From Michelle Malkin and the Marquette Warrior, we learn the Milwaukee radio hate monger Michael McGee, Sr., has been slapped with an "indefinite suspension" for expressing delight over the death of a rival's mother.

On his WNOV-AM talk show last week, McGee welcomed the death of the mother of Charlie Sykes, a popular host who has criticized McGee (a former alderman) on his program, and McGee's son, who now holds the city council seat. In his broacast tirade, the elder McGee also suggested that Mr. Sykes had killed his mother to inherit his money. The incident was virtually ignored by the MSM (outside Milwaukee), but attracted national attention, thanks to the conservative blogosphere.

As John McAdams notes at the Marquette Warrior, the managers of McGee's station took a rather bizzare approach in announcing--and implementing--the suspension. After publicly stating that the talk show host had "crossed the line," station owner Jerrel Jones promised to "deal" with the situation. But the press release that announced McGee Sr. would be off the air also stated that the program would continue--with his son, Michael McGee, Jr. as host. Milwaukee radio programmers tell me that McGee is cut from the same cloth as his father, so listeners can expect little change in the show's "content."

In fact, Mr. Jones described the McGee's show--"Word Warriors"--as an "an integral ingredient to the community’s cry for information and access." He also suggested that Mr. Sykes had, in fact, criticized the younger McGee for highly publicized misconduct. Jones never stated that Sykes had somehow invited the attack, but the inference was clear.

It's just another example of the double standard that exists in many broadcast circles. Don Imus was fired for inappropriate remarks that were (arguably) far less offensive that McGee's suggestion that Charlie Sykes killed his own mother. True, the elder McGee will be off the air--we can only wonder how long the suspension will list--in the meantime, his son will carry on the family tradition.

Making this situation more odious is the financial arrangement that exists between Mr. Jones and the McGees. Turns out that father and son buy their airtime from WNOV, so the program represents an important revenue source for the station. The community's cry for information and access is really about a few more dollars in WNOV's coffers. When you rank #23 in the local ratings, a radio station will (apparently) do almost anything for money, even if it means providing a public forum for a race-baiter like Michael McGee, Sr. In the world of radio, never exactly known for its moral courage and principled stands, WNOV has managed to reach a new low.

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