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Friday, May 18, 2007

McBride and Clarke: People who need to apologize

by folkbum

A couple of stories that I haven't been following as closely as I should (I was in Madison much of the day yesterday):

One: It's bad enough that the recent foiled Ft. Dix attack plot has brought out Jessica McBride's inner dictator (which puts her in good company, as her new-found Milosevic-love is just like the Pinochet-love we saw when he died). Now, as Jim Rowen notes, McBride apparently thinks that the drive-by shooting of a four-year-old innocent is cause for laughter:
WTMJ-AM 620 rightwing talker and blogger Jessica McBride stages a fake interview with one of her frequent targets--Milwaukee Journal Sentinel local columnist Eugene Kane--and supplies chicken squawking sound effects as Kane's answers, since he didn't accept the interview invitation.

No surprise there, as McBride says the idea behind the kind of interview she wanted to do with Kane is to hammer a liberal on the air, so what, from the 'guest's' point of view, would be the point?

Here's her posting site [NOTE: link not included because the audio has been removed from the TMJ website], with the audio McBride supplies--and it seems as if you going to hear another juvenile but relatively harmless political radio rip...except that McBride uses those comedic sound effects for 'Kane's' answer to a question about the recent, horrific Jasmine Owens murder.

Jasmine is the little girl killed by a bullet to the head in a Milwaukee drive-by shooting.
Wow. Just, wow. I mean, I guess McBride is responsible for where she draws her own lines about what is and what is not appropriate. But in the hours after that murder, to use it as a cheap jab against a political opponent--with chicken-clucking sound effects--seems like it crosses almost any reasonable line.

And someone at WTMJ also seems to think it crosses the line, since, as I noted in the text I quoted from Jim Rowen, the audio that was available of this hard-to-believe moment is now gone--it's been disappeared from the site. I was mocked last week when I suggested that we liberals start collecting our own tape of these events if we want to mount successful campaigns againts these hateful hosts. Now you know why I said it: You can't trust these people to make the audio of their own career-threatening gaffes available.

The fine folks at the McBride-themed Whallah! blog are demanding an apology, and I think that's a good start. McBride's and TMJ's contact information can be found there.

UPDATE: Whallah has a lot more.

UPDATE II: Tim Cuprisin is also tracking blog comment. In response to a question about why he doesn't do more on McBride, Cuprisin says,

Her audience isn't very large and she generally doesn't say anything that you haven't heard on at least three other Milwaukee talk shows and dozens of national radio programs.
Best comment on McBride I've heard all day.

Two: Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke is kind of a local example of what some of my liberal blogging colleagues call the "codpiece effect," after George W. Bush's mis-wearing of a flight suit that created said effect--and the conservatives went all gooey for that, and Bush's tough talk. (You see the current round of GOP candidates trying for the same effect.) Clarke is like that: All talk, all bluster, but man do the conservatives just melt inside when they listen to his militant rhetoric!

Clarke was on talk radio the other day doing what he does best, trying to sound tough. Problem is, he often doesn't know what he's talking about. A case in point would be some of what he said about the Milwaukee Public Schools. Ken Mobile caught this first:
Sheriff Clark criticizes MPS for not making any referrals to the District Attorneys of Parents of truant students. “Parents are not being held accountable.” Clarke says, Clarke continues “look at how many referrals by MPS of parents being referred to the DA’s office for truant students, the answer is 0.”
Patrick at Badger Blogger has the audio, and this statement comes a little after the seven minute mark. And, as Ken points out, he's absolutely wrong--a Journal Sentinel article Ken found marked the start of a program to refer truants' parents to the DA back in 2004.

I work at an MPS high school, one with some truancy problems. I know the people who process the "DA letters," as we call them, on the truant students. I know the people who gather the data, the people who make phone calls and home visits to try to track these students down, and, yes, the people who send the names off to the DA's office for action. For Clarke to sit there and say that zero parents get referred for truancy is not just a lie, it's an insult to the people who do the difficult work at my school, and other schools around the district, of identifying and trying to track down truants.

Ken further points out that Clarke has cut youth services at the Sheriff's department, so he has no authority to speak from on how to help Milwaukee's children and schools. So Clarke also should be making apologies. Maybe he should go on McBride's show and they could apologize together.

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