What a bunch of Grade-A hypocrites at WTMJ

From the WTMJ News Team…

We have some news we need to tell you about ourselves, and the recall election against Governor Scott Walker.

TODAY’S TMJ4 and Newsradio 620 WTMJ discovered that several members of our staff signed the recall petitions for Governor Walker.

The posting by the WTMJ News Team continues, “Our reputation of being a fair and unbiased news source is of paramount importance to both TODAY’S TMJ4 and Newsradio 620 WTMJ.”

There’s a tremendous amount of irony in the folks at Newsradio 620 WTMJ being concerned about their reputation as a “fair and unbiased news source,” considering their stable of “fair and unbiased” personalities like Charlie Sykes and Jeff Wagner. According to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign’s Campaign Finance Database, “fair and unbiased” Charlie Sykes donated $500 to then-Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker in 2010, leaving me to question just how “fair and unbiased” Charlie Sykes really is.

According to the report by the WTMJ News Team, WTMJ is “in the process of dealing with it internally,” leaving me to wonder why WTMJ would take any action at all against its employees for daring to exercise their constitutional rights to sign a recall petition under the guise of protecting the station’s reputation as a “fair and unbiased” news source while at the same time turning a blind eye to Charlie Sykes’ significant donation to the gubernatorial campaign of Scott Walker. The fact that Charlie Sykes saw fit to donate $500 of his own money to help elect a Republican governor seems to undermine WMTJ’s quest to preserve their reputation as a “fair and unbiased” news source, and the fact that WTMJ has turned a blind eye to Charlie Sykes’ extremely partisan bias shows what a bunch of Grade-A hypocrites the folks at WTMJ are.

The folks at WTMJ should be ashamed of themselves for targeting staffers who signed petitions to recall Gov. Scott Walker while at the same time turning a blind eye to the highly partisan behavior of Charlie Sykes.

MAL Contends has more on this.


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61 thoughts on “What a bunch of Grade-A hypocrites at WTMJ

  1. What’s even more damning is what’s in this awesome article from Audrey Crawford, which shows TMJ allowed Sykes to violate this same alleged policy when he was a cheerleader for Tom Ament’s recall in 2002.

    Sykes even used his show to give credibility to the Walker front group that is CRG, and Sykes led “Recall Ament” events- which seems to be a whole lot more public and reflective of the station than a worker privately signing of a recall petition.

    Occupy the TMJ Road Show at Miller Park?

  2. Well, Sykes and the Bumbler aren’t exactly news. Still, they are employees. Conservatives are truly irony free, or willfully ignorant. Your pick, Zach.

  3. He actively used 620WTMJ to raise money for Leah Vukmir in her campaign against Jim Sullivan. Not just pump up her campaign, but raise money, yet no discipline.

  4. Maybe it was just a typo.. it should have said, “unfair and biased”?

    Seriously, any true journalist that has to advertise that they are fair and unbiased is like an ice cream seller advertising with “cold and untainted”.

  5. Zach,

    Wagner and Sykes don’t have that in their contract because they are NOT news reporters and are NOT unbiased thus NOT fair and balanced and it is not a hypocritical issue whatsoever. I don’t think you understand the difference and this has been an issue with Fox News and the ‘Fair and balanced” slogan yet have Bill and Shawn on. Think of the MJS which reports news yet has and Opinion/Editorial section. The problem lies in titling and awareness. People know when they watch Bill or listen to Wagner it is slanted just as when people read the Opinion/Editorial section, but a news reporter is not to slant or bias the news just report it.

    1. If it is important for WTMJ to persuade the public that their organization is not biased, which employees do they promote the most? If we surveyed the public, would they be more likely to identify the face of Charlie Sykes or the faces of WTMJ’s reporters?

      1. John Foust,

        “WTMJ is one of the few major AM stations in the market to featuring a large amount of local programming. WTMJ airs news blocks in the morning with Gene Mueller, Jon Byman, and Jodi Becker with Greg Matzek giving sports reports, and afternoon with John Mercure, Erik Bilstad, and Dan O’Donnell with Trenni Kusnierek providing sports updates. During the midday Charlie Sykes and Jeff Wagner host talk shows and during the evenings Matzek and Kusnierek host a sports program. Reporters Nick Iannelli, Michelle Richards and Jay Sorgi provide news reports throughout the day and evening as well…”

        I don’t think people feel Charlie Sykes is a WTMJ reporter! It isn’t news reporting, it’s infotainment. They sell and give entertainment. I suspect the people to whom you refer are the same ones that get their “news” from John Stewart or Stephen Colbert.

        There is a major difference between news reporter and pundit, commentary/commentator, talk show opinion host.

        A biased p.o.v is still one-sided, whether you read it in the base gazette or picked it up from first-hand accounts.

        Do we all agree there is a difference between a tabloid and news organization? They both report on things correct?

        News fails when it panders to the sensationalized headlines and spin in the articles.

        And the staffers who (have not been fired last I heard) are at issue work for the newsroom and have the same thing in their contract.

        You all seem to fail in the understanding that it is in the contract! No one forced them to sign it and it has been there and they knew what was in the contract …The mind boggles!

        1. Randy, are you arguing that those staffers who signed recall petitions shouldn’t be allowed to sign petitions (a right granted to them by the Wisconsin constitution) for fear of retribution from their employers?

    2. Randy- Most of the people who are getting disciplined are support staff not reporters.

    3. People know when they watch Bill or listen to Wagner it is slanted just as when people read the Opinion/Editorial section

      Do they know all the goat-blowing that Sykes does behind the scenes?

      1. Zach,

        Show me where I make the general statement the WTMJ is not fair and balanced as the news reporting part goes and it is or should be.

        The radio hosts parts are not!

        For some reason you choose not to see that and comprehend it as well.

        These employees new the contract and even though people have rights (remember guns/arms) a business can place rules. These people knew the contracts and willfully engaged in an activity that may get them fired. Actions have consequences.

  6. The flaw in your argument, Randy, is when you say people can tell the difference between slanted and unslanted reporting. You’re right – the newspaper has a well-defined “opinion” section. However, there isn’t such a label in TV and radio. The growing trend for news organizations to mix commentary with hard news (often one right next to another) simply blurs the line further. It also damages the credibility of a news organization when persons featured on the network spew hyperbole or even outright lies, yet it can be simply dismissed by stating: “oh, well, he’s just an entertainer” or “he’s a commentator, not a reporter.”

  7. Charlie Sykes and Jeff Wagner are not journalist’s. They are conservative talk show hosts on the radio. Would you argue that Liberal talk show hosts should be held to the same standard as a journalist? Because if that’s your arguement, then what about the disgusting behavior by some of the liberal talk show hosts who were venting their spleen and verbally sodomizing Lt Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and attacking her daughter? Does that meet or exceed journalistic integrity?

  8. And taking a pro-active stance against the likes of Sykes would entail a vocal/viral boycott of advertisers supporting his show, or the station in general. I am out of radio range here and my online bandwidth is reserved.

    Two major soft-drink companies just publicly pulled out of A.L.E.C. iirc. (My cynic says all that is public is not always what happens with those two cases in point). Two letters, P.R.

  9. Just sent an email to TMJ suggesting a news story:
    the chilling affect that might happen when employers decide to ‘deal’ with employees who as private citizens exercise their legal rights.

  10. I wouldn’t call what Sykes et. al. does infotainment. It’s hate radio and it appeals only to those who hate. btw: Be honest. Do you think this would be an issue if it was a Dem being recalled?

  11. I always giggle when I see or hear Charlie Sykes name because of “Alien Nation”. And WTMJ makes me think of jaw disease. Fitting, eh?

    1. Other side,

      I wasn’t even going to quantify your response as it is NOT Hate radio! Unless you mean you hate the shows. Hate is such a strong word! The left uses the word hate so much it has lost its true meaning!

      Show me an example of hate radio on the right! While I don’t hide my friendship with Jay Weber of WISN, I don’t listen to WTMJ nor do I listen to Rush on WISN. If you would like to sit and have a real conversation and want to personally talk with Jay, just email me and is make it happen. rhollenbeck@gmail.com

      1. Randy: It’s “qualify”, not “quantify” a statement. I see you went to the Sarah Palin School of Wrong English Language Usage.

          1. Zach for comprehension to happen one must read and you prove that over and over you don’t! See below!

            1. Randy Hollenbeck, intellectual “elitist.”

              When Randy’s arguments fail, he resorts to accusing others of not being able to comprehend his arguments.

              Randy, I comprehend your arguments just fine, because they’re the same tired talking points I’ve heard time and time again from conservatives.

              1. I haven’t failed at all Zach and haven’t resorted to anything but telling the truth! You agreed with Jan while they were wrong. My word choice was spot on! I forget, you liberals are the smarter ones, just ask any of you and you will let us know!

                1. Randy, I’m not the one who likes to denigrate others for their supposed comprehension problems; that’s you.

                  You’re the one who’s trying so hard to make yourself seem intellectually superior to others.

                  1. And Zach, if you would stop skimming and going right to comment without reading the whole way through I wouldn’t need to remind you that “Literacy does not guarantee comprehension”!

                    1. I am not! Just stating a fact that I have to keep reminding you about.

  12. Randy, We disagree about hate radio. Fine. I just don’t think calling someone a slut and asking for sex videos is kind and gentle. Too many other instances for this space.

    My real question was for you to tell what you think TMJ would do if a Dem was being recalled and a staffer signed a petition.

  13. Rush calling her a slut was not hate!

    Madison’s Sylvester vulgar and sexist attacks on Wisconsin Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch—and her children still isn’t hate!

    The same thing D or R doesn’t matter to the contract! You seem to think so, it is cut and dry, black and white! Do you live in the grey areas?

  14. Randy, I did miss that you said you didn’t listen to Rush. Good on you but for these purposes — so what. My comment wasn’t about stations Randy listens to, it was about the culture of right-wing talk radio. Its overall record is sadly deficient of any sort of humanity. Are all conservative talk radio shows hateful? Probably not. I have difficulty believing it could be universal.

  15. So what, Randy. I read your posts. You’re as guilty as you claim we are.
    When are going to get off the liberals trying to silence righties schtick. Those sort of comments show me two things: self-pity; and what you really want, free rein to say anything without consequences.

  16. Why does this continue to be news? We all know the majortiy of the media is liberal, why are people still pretendign to be shocked by this? Big deal they signed a recall petition.

  17. No spelling, grammar, and word police Jan Tessier, the word I wanted is quantify not qualify, Typical liberal!


    quan•ti•fy   /ˈkwɒntəˌfaɪ/ Show Spelled[kwon-tuh-fahy] Show IPA
    verb (used with object), -fied, -fy•ing.
    1. to determine, indicate, or express the quantity of.
    2. Logic . to make explicit the quantity of (a proposition).
    3. to give quantity to (something regarded as having only quality).

    Example Sentences:

    Every pediatrician knows the frustration of trying to quantify the speech and language skills of a screaming toddler.

    It may be hard to quantify the quality of a writing program.

    They are experts in terrorism insurance, striving to make their models quantify the threat to commercial interests.

    Other Side, when the left stops asking MJS to take down my blog, then and only then will I stop the posts of stopping my voice. Even Zach attempted that in 2008.

      1. Jan Tessier,

        As your point was pointless and invalid, yeah it was a lot of information to disprove your point.

        I should have said, when a liberal cannot argue the merits, they resort to spelling, grammar or word choice even if they are wrong!

    1. I don’t know the specifics of that, but I am a firm believer in free speech. Thank you for your comments.

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