Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Journal Sentinel Alumni: Shut Up Sykes & Wagner

Via McBride’s Media Matters:

. . . the fact that former employees of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (and the former Journal and Sentinel) have called for the silencing of local radio talk show hosts Charlie Sykes and Jeff Wagner, who often criticize the Journal-Sentinel.

Since Journal Communications, which owns the Journal-Sentinel, also owns WTMJ radio, in principle the station could fire Sykes and Wagner.
The Milwaukee Journal, Milwaukee Sentinel, and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel alumni newsletter features an amazingly elitist and arrogant article penned by former staffers Ken Roesslein and Steve Maersch that bluntly calls on company management to shut up its talk radio hosts. Or at least ban them from criticizing those thin-skinned types over at the newspaper. They write:
“We are deeply concerned about the wave of criticism of the Journal Sentinel from personalities at WTMJ radio. Above all, we do not understand why Journal Communications tolerates criticism of its own newspaper from a station that is part of the JCI family, and, as such, part of the business in which many of us own stock.”
The lengthy diatribe, which, quite originally, also calls talk radio “sqwuakers from the right”, is actually topped off by an editorial cartoon of Charlie as a panting lap dog. A record player titled “radio claptrap” is blowing dollar signs at his face. The cartoon is titled His Master’s Voice, and they apparently dusted off old editorial cartoonist Bill Sanders to draw it. Humorously, in a piece topped off by a drawing of Charlie as a lap dog, they whine that he’s allowed to criticize them!!
Good point. Just why should the Journal-Sentinel be allowed to — as it often does — criticize radio personalities on stations which Journal Communications owns? Why is it the public affairs broadcasters, rather than the print journalists, who should be censored?

This is a striking example of the intolerance of liberal journalists. And it’s not as though criticism of the paper from Sykes and Wagner hurts the value of their stock. The good ratings that WTMJ gets inflate the value of their stock, and it’s likely that criticism of the paper from talk radio actually increases circulation and ad revenue.

The desire of some of the journalists to have Sykes and Wagner shut up is not news. The issue has come up at shareholders’ meetings.

One important point has to be made, however. The alumni group is not officially associated with the paper. The newsletter in question was not actually issued by the Journal-Sentinel, but by a group of independent ex-journalists.

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