Thursday, May 03, 2007

He's hardly worth it

But I can't resist. With respect to Michael McGee's comments on the tragic death of Charlie Sykes' mother, three things occur to me.

1. I assume that McGee only sounds like he's wasted at 8 am in the morning, so that drugs and alcohol are not an excuse.

2. If the local left and "responsible establishment" continues to coddle this guy, it is racially condescending. Too often we are asked to "understand" the "authenticity" of the "rage" expressed by people like McGee and his son. Years ago when McGee Sr. went on one of his rants at a Common Council meeting threatening racial Armageddon, Larraine McNamara-McGraw said (and I roughly paraphrase) that she "really liked Mike tonight." More recently, Eugene Kane seems to think that the incoherent press release by McGee, Jr. "explaining" that his comments about bricking speeding motorists were a "psycho-political" message actually means something. (Perhaps if he would have omitted the word "political.")

The upshot of all of this is that people like the McGees are not expected to be grown-ups. They need not be rational or responsible. They only need play the role that white liberals have assigned them in a stale political morality play.

If we treated McGee like a man, we'd treat him like a pariah. The failure to do so is accord him something less than full human agency.

3. Jerrell Jones who owns WNOV and who continues to host this cancer will apparently not be compelled by sponsors or McGee's audience (which is not the same as WMCS' listeners where I do not believe this garbage would be tolerated) to do anything. Jones may be compelled to do something by the fact that McGee flat-out defamed Charlie Sykes. If I were Charlie, I'd go see a lawyer and see if I can't add a radio station to my portfolio.


Anonymous said...

The "left" coddles McGee. What the hell are you talking about. That is fantasy.

Anonymous said...

What did he say?

Anonymous said...

I heard that is was McGee Senior.

Either way -- yes, it is past time that Jerrel (one l) Jones pulls the plug. And this is just the thing to make it happen. I'm not even a Sykes fan, but this was beyond appalling.

Rick Esenberg said...

Anon-6:10 If it is a fantasy, then undoubtedly I'll see the same energy behind calls to remove him from the air that we saw when Belling made his comments. I'll read denouncements of him in the Shepherd Express. Lena Taylor, Willie Hines, Gwen Moore, et al, will call a press conference to disassociate themselves from him. Joel McNally will take to the airwaves to decry his comments.

Anon 6:19 - I am reluctant to repeat it but he said that Mother "Sucks" got what she reserved for having such a "fool" and, later, that Charlie Sykes killed her because he did not want to wait for the money.

Anonymous said...

There is a special place in hell for hateful people like McGee Sr.

anon 6:10 At least you could have offered a bit of sympathy prior to getting all worked up. This is a very difficult way to lose an aging parent; I wouldn't wish it on anyone much less rejoice over it. McGee's sentiments are trash.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Rick, a failure to denounce and seek a recall is coddling? Gimme a breack. And the fact that a rightwing host, elected by nobody who sells random outrage to make a living shrieks about this doesn't mean a thing.

The notion that McGee is "left" or the "left" supports him is a complete invention. Its like me holding the Republican party responsible for Louis Farakan, who happens to be a conservative.

Or, Rick, in your mind is this a "left" thing regardless of what the "left" does or thinks just because McGee is African American?

Anonymous said...

Hey 7:44 - one needs to send sympathy comments to Charlie to participate in a discussion about a politician? What a strange notion.

Anonymous said...

The left "coddles" based on (1) what a has-been politician said "years ago" (she has been gone so long, it must be a decade or two ago) and (2) a JS columnist. If this is what you consider evidence -- you teach law?

As you are not of the left, you cannot and do not know the disgust that many actually on the left have for the McGees, et al.

And to think that they are part of the left also betrays ignorance. They are some sort of political ilk unto themselves.

Commercially, though, the state is making money from their hate speech, and using our airwaves to do so. Since Jones won't do anything, I hope that this goes to the FCC.

Anonymous said...

I sent the following message to, as that address was listed as the registrant of the domain. I understand that is only the webmaster/designer of the site, so I am also posting the letter around the web to possibly get it to where it needs to be.


I send this to you as you are listed as the registrant of in the hopes that you can forward it on to the appropriate parties.

Attn: Mr. Jerrel Jones / Ms. Sandra Robinson, WNOV 860AM

With respect to the comments recently made by Mr. McGee on the death of Charlie Sykes' mother, I find them to be some of the most deplorable and despicable comments I have yet heard on Milwaukee radio. Regardless what opinion I have of Mr. Sykes, anyone who would celebrate the tragic death of someone's mother with an on-air rant like Mr. McGee did, or throw around false rhetorical accusations about a son killing his mother has no place on the public airwaves.

I understand that Mr. McGee pays for his airtime with either his personal money or donations, and while it is nice to think that everything is for sale for the right price - I believe the price in this case to be the integrity of your station. I would suggest that your station stop enabling Mr. McGee to do so.

To that effect, I intend to spend my free time listening to your station, and while I will enjoy the jams, I will also be noting the advertisers I hear, contacting them, and urging them to cease paying for advertising on any station that would allow or promote such cruel and mean-spirited hatemongering on their airtime. I am also sending this message to a number of my other Milwaukee friends to encourage them to do the same.

In a day and age when we should attempt to work towards coming together as a city, country, and world, I find the comments aired in Mr. McGee's segment to be divisive and fuel for increasing racial tensions, which, in my opinion is the last thing Milwaukee needs.

I will leave you with words you may be familiar with - they are, in fact, the words of the late Dr. Martin Luther King:

"There is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred"

Rick Esenberg said...

Anon-*:21 You are right. I won't know unless they say it. I cite McNamara-McGraw because I've been around here for a while and there has been a tendency on the responsible left to tolerate the McGees in a way it would certainly (and justifiably) criticize were folks on the responsible right to tolerate a David Duke-type character (an, no, our conservative talk show hosts are not that). That so many otherwise rational people rallied around McGee Jr. during the recall campaign is an example of that and its not good for Milwaukee. My hope is that this will be the last straw.

Anonymous said...

To add to this "dialogue", I love how the Shark lumps all of us on the left as coddling McGee (whether it be Jr. or Sr. Talk about stereotyping.

Anonymous said...

Who on the left has publicly denounced either McGee?

Rick Esenberg said...

That's precisely my point. When Belling says something stupid (and he has never gotten nearly as low as the McGees), left opinion leaders are all over him. Conservative talk radio in Milwaukee is repeatedly denounced as hateful and shrill. I don't think that responsible people on the left endorse what the McGees say. But they let it pass. If my explanation of this is wrong, provide another.

Anonymous said...

As Anon 8:23 proves, McGee Sr. just voiced what many on the left were already thinking, but were just too civilized to say.

Anonymous said...

In reference to Mark Belling, I don't remember any conservative outrage when he used an hour of his show to rip unionized schoolteachers as the Columbine massacre was unfolding.

As teacher Dave Sanders lay bleeding to death after saving a classroom full of kids, there was Belling encouraging callers to rip teachers, including one caller who opined that the shooters were just getting rid of bad teachers one shot at a time.

Though Belling's show was the sickest, Sykes, Belling, and Rush have frequently used tragic school shootings to further their agenda bashing public schools.

Funny how I don't remember even one conservative ripping their sick comments. Maybe it's because they are willing to say what most conservatives really think.

Rick Esenberg said...

Anon 12:20 - I have no idea what Belling said during Columbine because 1) I rarely hear Belling and 2) I was in Ireland then. But if someone said that public school teachers deserve to be shot, you damn well better believe I would be one angry shark. My daughter-in-law is a public school teacher. My sister and brother-in-law work in public schools.

On the other hand, I don't think that criticizing public schools or teacher unions is verboten because sometime there are a school shootings. You suggest that Sykes has done more than that, but, if he has (and knowing him a litte I doubt it), then I certainly haven't heard of it.

Disagreement or criticism is not tantamount to "bashing" or "hate."

Anonymous said...

The talk shows did exactly that, and they were hateful in encouraging discussion of taking out teachers. And

(a) that it was not a discussion "sometime" but at the very time of a school shooting makes it as out of line as McGee's comments about Sykes at the time of his mother's death, and

(a) that you didn't hear about it doesn't negate it. You teach that?

Rick Esenberg said...

I apologize for not seeing the last comment earlier and, in the blogosphere, everyone has moved on. But I am extremely skeptical that Charlie Sykes encouraged people to "take teachers out." That seems wholly out of character and I guess I'd need to see or hear proof of it before I believe it.

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