The tribe of journalists

Jonah Goldberg:

When the allegations about Bill O’Reilly and Roger Ailes came out, the mainstream media had a field day. But there was no larger feeding frenzy. Last year it was a “Fox News” story, not a “societal problem” story. It took the Harvey Weinstein allegations to get the mainstream press to start asking uncomfortable questions about its own institutions. I can think of several reasons for this, but one that stands out is the tribalism of media itself.

The Fox stories confirmed, to one extent or another, what a lot of mainstream liberals think about Fox or about conservatives generally: They’re retrograde. They’re bad. That’s the kind of thing that goes on over there.

It’s related to what some reporters I know at Fox call the “Fox News effect” (not to be confused with some blather from David Brock using the same term). If Fox goes hard at an important story, a lot of other outlets will reflexively go soft on it. I’m sure the folks at the Media Research Center can produce the total minutes Fox dedicated to Fast and Furious, Benghazi, Lois Lerner’s IRS, the VA, etc., compared with the other cable news networks or the broadcast newscasts. This isn’t to say that Fox doesn’t occasionally over-cover or under-cover some stories too. There’s no scientific formula for how much airtime or resources any particular story should get, and from the outset Fox has prided itself on not reflexively following the lead of the New York Times on every news event.

But it just seems obvious to me — and many other people in and out of Fox World — that there’s a kind of seesaw dynamic. If Fox puts a lot of weight on a story, other outlets go the opposite direction. That’s why so many conservative pundits played the “If this was Bush” game during the Obama presidency.

But back to the sexual-harassment thing. One of my longstanding gripes is how when conservatives do something bad, it’s proof of the inherent badness of conservatives and conservatism. But when liberals do something bad, it is immediately turned into an indictment of America itself. Joe McCarthy’s excesses were a window into the nature of conservatism, according to historians, intellectuals, and journalists. But when liberals — Attorney General Palmer, Woodrow Wilson, et al. — did far worse, the villain was America itself. When conservatives are racist, it is because they are conservatives. When liberals are racist it is because racism is an “American sin.” In other words, liberalism is never wrong. I could go on at length about this.

Similarly, the sexual-harassment story is now being covered — largely correctly by my lights — as an American story, not a story about liberals. Again, that’s fine. But three points come to mind.

First, is it crazy to think that there’s a problem specific to liberalism at work here? I mean this all started with Harvey Weinstein, and he first thought he could survive the scandal by promising to go after the NRA. Where did he get that idea? Maybe because he had good reason to think it would work?

Perhaps there are a lot of liberal men who think they can buy indulgences by toeing the party line on equal pay and Title IX, and emptying their bladders over things like Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women.” To be fair, in recent weeks, quite a few liberals have been coming to grips with the fact that Bill Clinton survived the exposure of his predations precisely because he bought such indulgences. It’s worth remembering that he even admitted that sexual misbehavior should take a backseat to winning when he chastised Donna Shalala, his HHS secretary, for criticizing his behavior — at a cabinet meeting set up to let Clinton apologize for his behavior:

The participants said Shalala rejected what she took as Clinton’s implication that policies and programs were more important than whether he provided moral leadership.

“And then she said something like, ‘I can’t believe that is what you’re telling us, that is what you believe, that you don’t have an obligation to provide moral leadership,’” one participant recalled.

“She said something like ‘I don’t care about the lying, but I’m appalled at the behavior.’ And frankly, he [Clinton] whacked her, let her have it,” this source said. The president told Shalala that if her logic had prevailed in 1960, Richard M. Nixon would have been elected president instead of John F. Kennedy, the source said. After that, no other Cabinet member had anything critical to say, the participant added.

The second point is the reverse. The stories of sexual harassment at Fox were entirely newsworthy and legitimate on the merits. But not because Fox is “right wing.” Yet it seems fairly obvious to me that the press enjoyed the Ailes and O’Reilly stories precisely because they involved toppling someone else’s icons. Where there was barely constrained glee in the voices of many pundits and reporters when it came to exposing the sins of Ailes and O’Reilly, there’s equally obvious remorse when it comes to Matt Lauer, Mark Halperin, NPR’s David Sweeney, and, obviously, Bill Clinton. It speaks well of the media that it’s reporting these things anyway. But it would be a good thing for the press to meditate on what that remorse (and glee) says about its own tribalism.

Last, it’s simply worth pointing out that many conservatives have now embraced the Clinton position. Substitute John F. Kennedy for Donald Trump and you have precisely the argument that Clinton made to Donna Shalala, only now many conservatives are making it. Likewise, with Roy Moore. Winning is more important than literally anything Roy Moore has said or has allegedly done. It seems that, just like sexual harassment, no party has a monopoly on cynical expediency. The problem lies not in ideology but in human nature.


On the other hand, more media jobs are now available

James Freeman:

Two more media stars were fired on Wednesday due to allegations of sexual misconduct. Matt Lauer and Garrison Keillor are the latest celebrities to lose their jobs in a cascade of accusations and revelations that began with the October exposure of the many misdeeds of film producer Harvey Weinstein. If recent history is any guide, some will say that other industries are just as bad as the ones that produce information and entertainment. But the hopeful news is that this may not be true, based on the results of a new public opinion survey.

As for Mr. Lauer, co-anchor of NBC’s “Today” show, the speed of his exit from his longtime perch atop the world of morning broadcast television was striking. According to the Journal:

NBC News Chairman Andy Lack said in a memo to staff Wednesday that the network received a detailed complaint from a colleague about misconduct by Mr. Lauer that represented “a clear violation of our company’s standards.”

The alleged incident between Mr. Lauer and the staffer took place during the network’s coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, a person briefed on the matter said.

“While it is the first complaint about his behavior in the over 20 years he’s been at NBC News, we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident,” Mr. Lack added.

Ari Wilkenfeld, a lawyer for the accuser, said his client “detailed egregious acts of sexual harassment and misconduct by Mr. Lauer” in a meeting Monday night with members of NBC’s human resources and legal departments. Mr. Wilkenfeld said NBC “acted quickly and responsibly” in investigating the claims and firing Mr. Lauer.

As far as this column can tell, Mr. Lauer has not commented publicly on the allegations. In the matter of Mr. Keillor, this doesn’t appear to be a case of unwanted prairie home companionship, but rather a workplace issue. According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

Citing “inappropriate behavior with an individual who worked with him,” Minnesota Public Radio said Wednesday it has terminated its relationship with Garrison Keillor, the former host of “A Prairie Home Companion” who helped build MPR into a national powerhouse.

In an email to the Star Tribune Wednesday, Keillor said, “I put my hand on a woman’s bare back. I meant to pat her back after she told me about her unhappiness and her shirt was open and my hand went up it about six inches. She recoiled. I apologized. I sent her an email of apology later and she replied that she had forgiven me and not to think about it. We were friends. We continued to be friendly right up until her lawyer called.”

Ironically or perhaps not, Mr. Keillor had just this week published a defense of fellow Minnesota liberal Sen. Al Franken, who has also been accused of sexual misconduct. The accused naturally deserve the presumption of innocence.

Today’s news follows the firing of numerous other alleged malefactors who held leading positions in the information and entertainment media. Just last week another staple of broadcast television, Charlie Rose, was fired by CBS, PBS and Bloomberg amid numerous accusations of appalling conduct.

There will likely be commentary in the coming days about how this problem exists in every industry, and it surely does. But there’s reason to believe that workplaces may be relatively safer outside of Hollywood and journalism. A new Economist/YouGov survey out this week finds Americans understandably and deeply concerned about the issue, but also finds that Americans are generally not working in places like the Weinstein Company.

While a large majority see sexual harassment as a serious problem for the country in general, they see less of a problem in their own workplaces. Specifically, a full 80% see sexual harassment as either a somewhat serious or very serious problem in the United States. Large majorities of both men and women hold this view.

But when asked about sexual harassment in the places they have worked, just 36% call it a somewhat serious or very serious problem. Of course one would hope for the complete absence of harassment, but the difference is striking. According to this survey, most American women do not regard sexual harassment as a serious problem in the places they have worked.

Traditional media have faced formidable challenges created by new technologies. This column’s most celebrated alumnus has described how unchecked bias has also undermined media authority. Now beyond questions of opinion and judgment, the industry faces a new test of its moral authority. How much cultural power can a movie or a television program exert if the audience decides its creators are repulsive?

A guide to a political or non-political Thanksgiving

First, Daniel Greenfield:

Senator Schumer wants to argue about tax reform at Thanksgiving dinner. And he has a handy chart for lefties to take along and wave at their more conservative relatives while screeching about the 1 percent. In an article titled, “The Case for Ruining Thanksgiving,” GQ Magazine urges its readers to punish their parents who voted for Trump by staying away, insulting them or ranting about police brutality.

The Scientific American wants readers to push Global Warming over mashed potatoes. The organizers of the Women’s March want you to accuse your uncle of having “white privilege.” Desperate lefties can text Standing Up for Racial Justice at the dinner table and get anti-Trump talking points. “You Should Absolutely Fight About Politics With Your Relatives This Thanksgiving,” Quartz insists.

And then it just gets worse.

“Thanksgiving: The annual genocide whitewash,” declares Al Jazeera. “The Thanksgiving Day story represents the violence of colonialism,” fumes Bustle. Retelling the story of Thanksgiving, pardoning a turkey and watching football are all “offensive, racist, or just plain problematic”. And if Thanksgiving with lefties wasn’t miserable enough, the Village Voice offers 5 politically correct television episodes to inflict on your “terrible aunt or insufferable uncle” who don’t want to admit they voted for Trump.

There’s plenty of spite. What’s missing from leftist Thanksgiving is… thankfulness.

When Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, asked the press corps to state what they were grateful for, a collective howl went up from the media. “How Sarah Sanders Humiliated the Press,” wept a CNN editorial. The New Yorker railed against, “The Degrading Ritual of Sarah Huckabee Sanders’s Pre-Thanksgiving Briefing.” Asking lefties to be grateful is humiliating and degrading.

Just ask LaVar Ball, who has spent days reveling in his refusal to say, “Thank you.” And the media, which believes that gratitude is humiliating and degrading, has been cheering on his ingratitude.

It’s Thanksgiving 2017. And gratitude has become a partisan issue.

Why is it so hard for the left to be thankful? The answer is as easy as pumpkin pie. The left is a movement built on resentment. And resentment and gratitude are opposing emotions.

That is why the left really hates Thanksgiving.

The revisionist autopsies of American history and the guides to sensitively calling your uncle a racist are about substituting resentment for thankfulness. Whether it’s a family getting together once a year, the Pilgrims and the Indian tribesmen breaking bread or the White House press corps being asked to talk about the good things in their lives, a moment of thankfulness has to be ruined with resentment.

Resentment is the force that gives the left meaning.

What animates the left is the conviction that everything (except their own tastes, preferences and opinions) is terrible and must be reformed until it too is like them. America is racist, homophobic, transphobic, Islamophobic, arachnophobic and claustrophobic. Every second the prison-industrial complex is gunning down drug dealers for no other reason than the color of their skin (and the guns in their hands), the military-industrial complex is bombing countries full of terrorists just because of the color of their skin, and the turkey-industrial complex is destroying the environment.

The militant lefty is an overgrown brat who never made the emotional transition from the funk of total unfairness that teenagers inhabit to the appreciation for life of the mature adult. Picking a fight at the Thanksgiving table is exactly the sort of thing a teenage brat would do. That’s why there are a dozen guides telling lefties exactly how to pick an unwinnable fight whose only purpose is to ruin a meal.

The family argument isn’t an unfortunate side effect of leftist politics. It’s the whole point.

Resentment doesn’t just color the politics of a militant leftist. It encompasses his entire outlook on life. The personal conviction that the world is an unfair place fits neatly into an ideology that claims to be able to prove using science and history that the world is a truly unfair place.

That is why the best antidote to leftist resentment is conservative thankfulness.

There are plenty of problems in our country and the world. But if we can’t stop to be thankful for the good things, we will sink into the same swamp of resentment as the left.

To be thankful is to be reminded of what we are fighting for. The resentful left doesn’t really fight for anything. Its resentful causes have no end point. There will never be a time when race relations, the environment, social mobility and caloric intakes are good enough for them to hang up their hats. The left maintains a perpetual state of crisis because it justifies a perpetual state of resentment.

The left isn’t actually fighting for anything. It’s fighting against things. Big things and little things. It’s fighting against America. And it’s fighting against families sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner.

Conservatives fight for the things in our lives that we value. And these are the very things that we are thankful for. Our gratitude reminds us of what we want to conserve. These include the tangible things, our families, our homes and our lives, and the intangible things, our freedoms and our traditions.

The left can’t be thankful because it can’t admit that there’s anything worth appreciating. Revolutionary movements don’t create, they destroy. But we can and should be thankful for what we conserve.

Thankfulness is not just a passive act. It’s a moving and transformative experience that changes us.

Choosing between gratitude and resentment is a fundamental personal and political choice. It defines how we respond to the challenges and blessings of life. And it shapes how we view our country.

Thanksgiving is the tradition of an optimistic and humble people. That is who Americans are.

The War on Thanksgiving is the campaign of a hostile leftist movement that is pessimistic and arrogant. Ruining Thanksgiving is its mission. And it isn’t out to win an argument, but to ruin an America tradition.

If we lose our ability to be thankful for the good things in our lives, we lose everything.

We can win by refusing to let the left’s resentment ruin Thanksgiving. We can win by remembering that Thanksgiving is not just an occasion, but a tradition whose attitudes give us strength and meaning. We can win by finding the power to live our lives better through gratitude rather than resentment.

We can win, as Sarah Huckabee Sanders did, by countering resentment with thankfulness.

GQ used to be an abbreviation for Gentlemen’s Quarterly. Now it’s short for “GaQass.”

For the nonpolitical view, watch this …

… or this:

State of the stadium

At 10 this morning (Central Standard Time) I will be calling the 2017 WIAA state Division 7 football championship here.

This will be the third state football championship game I’ve called. The first two were losses — Platteville to Winneconne in the 2013 Cinderella Bowl (both teams ended up 9–5, which is an unusual record for the top two teams in a division), and Shullsburg to Edgar last year. That doesn’t really minimize the experience because I got to announce the last game of the year (in their enrollment divisions) those years. I’ve also done state basketball championship games where the right team won.

The worst game to lose is not the state championship game, though you might think that. The worst game to lose is the game before state — Level 4 in Wisconsin football and the sectional final in other sports. That’s because if you lose that game, regardless of what you accomplished, it won’t include the state tournament experience — having entire communities wound up for you, having your games on statewide TV, being on Camp Randall’s field or the Kohl Center or Resch Center’s floor, and having your name reverberate through those stadiums when introduced.


Hey Zuckerberg: Your Facebook (insert pejorative term here)

You are probably not reading this on Facebook, at least not initially.

I was suspended from Facebook due to what the left-wing millennial idiots who run Facebook considered a photo that violates its community standards, despite the fact that I didn’t post that photo. The photo was on this blog Sunday. That meant that, for 24 hours, I was unable to access Facebook for my various roles as blogger, newspaper editor, church member or anything else.

That photo, which relates to a day in music history (which means it comes up yearly), has never been flagged before this. The photo could be described as PG-13. It was good enough for a record company to use on Jimi Hendrix’s “Electric Ladyland” album cover, though (which was the point of the Presty the DJ entry). I would say that it shows less than other photos on Facebook, except that it might make the reader think I troll Facebook for porn when I do not. (However, remember what Avenue Q says about the Internet.) produced a list two years ago of things that it claims can’t be posted on Facebook. At least three of the four are demonstrably false assertions. As conservatives on Facebook know, Facebook violates its own rules, refuses to allow posts that criticize Facebook, allows posts of hate speech as long as the speech is targeted at whites (so does Twitter and YouTube), allows online harassmentbans conservative posts (and others), violates its users’ privacy, believes that statements of a president of the United States should be considered hate speech, and violates the principles of free speech in wildly inconsistent ways. And one of Facebook’s new targets appears to be me.

I am unaware of any successful business model that produces satisfactory financial results by alienating one-third of its target audience. (Assuming that liberals, moderates and conservatives are in roughly equal numbers in the U.S.) Unfortunately the middle school detention room that is social media does not have alternatives for Facebook and Twitter that anyone reads. That may make liberals happy, though it should not, because the censors could be coming for them next.

There is Gab, which describes itself as “a social network that champions free speech, individual liberty, and the free flow of information online. All are welcome.” I’m going to see if I know anyone there.

My suggestion to those who read this blog on Facebook is to click on the subscription link so it can be delivered to your email more reliably than the U.S. Postal Service each day, not just on days that are not government-employee holidays. My suggestion to Facebook might get me not just permanently banned, but visited by the police, since the former clearly doesn’t believe in free speech and the latter sometimes considers words to be threats.


The press box’s big three

I had a great time announcing a women’s basketball game at the UW–Madison Kohl Center Wednesday.

The team I was covering lost 107–58, and we had some technical problems. I don’t care. It was still fun. Sports announcing, as I think I’ve said here before, is the most fun thing I do in my life.

I pointed out to my on-air partner how things had changed in that neighborhood over the years. Thirty years ago, when I was a UW journalism and political science student (pause to blow the dust off myself), the first story I did for my TV news class was of a proposal to finally build a replacement for the Fieldhouse and the Dane County Coliseum on the east side of campus where students lived in old houses. As part of that story I got to interview UW men’s basketball coach Steve Yoder and hockey coach Jeff Sauer, and they were nicer to students who weren’t their own players than one would figure. (Sauer was a class act who didn’t get enough credit for his coaching success.)

The Kohl Center did open in 1997, after Herb Kohl donated $25 million of the $72 million for it. A lot changed at UW over that time, beginning with cratering football, followed by football’s rebirth. Twenty years after it opened, I cannot think of a better college basketball facility, and it’s better than the soon-to-be-replaced Bradley Center in Milwaukee, since the Herb Garden has basketball sightlines patterned on the Fieldhouse and the Bradley Center did not.

Then while wasting time on Facebook (and I apologize for the redundancy) someone mentioned former UW football announcer Fred Gage. Which got me to find this:

Long off the tee and legendary around a piano bar, Fred Gage was a pillar of the local radio market and a voice of the Badgers in the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. He was also a pretty good athlete. At Green Bay East High School, he competed in football, basketball and golf. At UW (1938-1940), he lettered three times in football for head coach Harry Stuhldreher. One of his earliest teammates was running back Howie Weiss, the Big Ten MVP and sixth-place finisher on the 1938 Heisman ballot.

After serving in the Navy during World War II, Gage returned to Madison and went to work in the communications business with the Capital Times and WIBA radio (the former owned the latter through 1977). In the late ’60s, Gage was instrumental in expanding the FM band, out of which “Radio Free Madison” was born. Besides sitting on the board of directors of the Cap Times and the Evjue Foundation, he was one of the top amateur golfers in the state of Wisconsin.

It has always been hard to sell Shreveport, Louisiana, as a desired postseason destination. But the Independence Bowl committee scored a major coup in 1982 by landing Don Meredith to be the guest speaker at the luncheon honoring the competing teams, Kansas State and Wisconsin.

Meredith, the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback (1960-68), was then sharing ABC’s Monday Night Football booth with Frank Gifford, Howard Cosell and Fran Tarkenton.

“Everyone has asked me what Howard is really like,” Meredith crowed to the gathering. “Well, he’s a guy who changes his name from Cohen to Cosell, wears a toupee and says he’s telling it like it is. You’ve got to be kidding.”

That got yuks from the audience, which included announcers from Wisconsin’s three broadcasting teams. Prior to radio exclusivity, Madison listeners could choose from Jim Irwin and Ron Vander Kelen (WISM), Earl Gillespie and Marsh Shapiro (WTSO) or Fred Gage and John Jardine (WIBA).

Following the luncheon, Gage and Jardine, the former UW head coach, were mumbling to themselves “You’ve got to be kidding” when they learned of their broadcast position for the game. Because the stadium press box was too small to accommodate everyone, they drew the short straw.

Gage and Jardine were perched on top of the press box. They had to climb a ladder to get there. Save for a tent over their heads, they were exposed to the elements. Of course, it rained. Cats and dogs rain. Thunder and lightning. Sideways rain. Below freezing temps and 23 mph gusts.

About 50,000 tickets were sold. About 25,000 showed up.

On the air, Gage noted that the Independence Bowl committee had spent $20,000 to paint the field with a gigantic red, white and blue eagle, whose wings spread from the 20-yard-line to the 20-yard-line. But he quipped that they hadn’t spent a nickel on a tarp to protect the field.

Gage and Jardine soldiered on. As they did famously throughout their friendship. When Jardine retired from coaching, he had his choice of analyst jobs.

“My dad had a choice between taking the money (from the other competing radio stations) or hanging out with Fred on a Saturday afternoon,” Dan Jardine once recalled fondly of the negotiations. “And he went with hanging out with Fred on a Saturday afternoon.”

Friday nights were fun, too. Especially since Gage could never turn down an opportunity to belt out “Danny Boy” — his go-to Irish ballad. Former UW athletic director Pat Richter used to say, “There are certain people who are characters in every lovable sense of the word and Fred was one of them.”

Gage was the Voice of the Badgers in football for 35 years.

As previously mentioned, there were other “Voices” who shared the stage before exclusivity.

Irwin was best known as the Voice of the Packers. That was his title for 30 years — 20 of which were spent bantering with analyst Max McGee, the former Lombardi-era wide receiver. There was a folksiness to their broadcasts, not unlike Fred and John. They were Jim and Max to their loyal fans.

Irwin was ubiquitous.

In addition to his “Ironman” stretch with the Packers, 612 consecutive regular season and postseason games, he was a voice of Wisconsin football for 22 years. During that period, Irwin missed only one Badgers game, and that was when his father died in 1977.

In another role, Irwin was the Voice of Hoops in the state. He did UW basketball for five years and UW-Milwaukee games for two years during which his partner was Bob Uecker, for whom he’d sub on Brewers broadcasts. Moreover, Irwin was the voice of the Milwaukee Bucks for 16 years.

Irwin was indefatigable.

For those 16 years, he pulled off the hat trick as a voice of the Packers, Badgers and Bucks.

“I probably had, from a sportscaster’s standpoint, the three best jobs in the state and that’s very fortunate,” Irwin told the Wisconsin State Journal in 1999. “But I don’t know whether I would recommend anybody trying to do that. It was a logistics nightmare trying to get to all of those events.”

It might mean covering the Bucks on Friday, the Badgers on Saturday, the Packers on Sunday.

There was even an occasional doubleheader.

“There were a number of times when I would do a Packers game,” Irwin told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “then jump in a plane and fly home for the Bucks. Somebody else would start the (Bucks) game and I would slide into the chair at the end of the first quarter and take over.”

While Irwin was synonymous with the Packers, he had strong feelings for the Badgers.

So did Gillespie, who was the Voice of the Milwaukee Braves after the franchise moved from Boston in 1953. Gillespie’s run lasted a decade. (The Braves eventually relocated to Atlanta in 1966.)

His signature phrase with the Braves was “Holy Cow,” which he began using while broadcasting the Class AAA Milwaukee Brewers in the early ’50s. Even Harry Caray conceded Gillespie used it first. “You tried to paint a picture with your words and I painted it the way it looked to me,” Gillespie said.

When covering the Badgers, he used broad strokes.

“There are so many people in the business who look for the glass being half-empty,” Shapiro, a longtime TV sports anchor in Madison and the owner of the Nitty Gritty, once noted. “Earl always looked for the bright side and it was always half full when he talked about Wisconsin football.”

Whether listening to Gage, Irwin or Gillespie, the results were always the same even though the on-air presentations were different. So it was on Dec. 11, 1982, when the Badgers beat Kansas State, 14-3, in the Independence Bowl. It was the school’s first bowl win.

But it was not Gage’s and Jardine’s first rodeo.

They survived the wind, rain and rooftop view.

It’s a safe bet that they even toasted to it once or twice.

Jardine, who stayed at Wisconsin after he retired as football coach and did a lot for the UW, was Gage’s last on-air partner. Having done a high school football playoff game on a press box roof in similarly dire weather (no rain, but 50-mph winds), I am highly amused at the thought of having to do a Division I bowl game (known to the UW Band as the “Inconvenience Bowl,” because it was played the day before fall-semester final exams, and known by others as the “Insignifance Bowl”) outside. Somewhat amazingly, the Independence Bowl (now sponsored by something called Walk-On’s Bistro and Bar, previously sponsored by the Poulan Weed Eater) still exists today.

Gage’s UW broadcast was only on WIBA in Madison. Gillespie’s broadcast originated, believe it or don’t, in Wisconsin Rapids; his partner before Shapiro was ’60s Packers radio announcer Ted Moore. Gillespie, as you know, was the first voice of the Milwaukee Braves.

Irwin’s broadcast originated from WTMJ in Milwaukee and was on WTSO before WISM. When Gage and Jardine retired, their replacements were Paul “Shotandagoal” Braun and former UW tight end Stu Voigt, who did Vikings radio for several years. There were two other broadcasts until UW decided to consolidate broadcast rights in the late 1980s.

Irwin first worked with Gary Bender (as well on Packer games) …

… and then got the play-by-play role when Bender left for CBS, leading to …

Those three and others worked during the days when the Badgers would go entire seasons without being on TV. (Though Wisconsin Public Television carried replays the night of the game, with Braun announcing.) The only way to follow what was happening at Camp Randall if you weren’t there was by radio.

Irony that didn’t happen: Had Bender, instead of (future Bucks announcer) Howard David, had done the game (it was a syndicated broadcast), he would have been announcing his alma mater (Kansas State) against one of his former employers (Wisconsin). Irony that did happen: The Badger quarterback that year was Randy Wright, who ended up getting drafted by the Packers and replacing KSU alum Lynn Dickey as quarterback.


One year ago right now

One year ago at the exact moment this was posted, the polls closed in Wisconsin.

This was about the time that the news media and political experts started to see evidence (NSFW language warning) that the predicted easy Hillary Clinton win and Democratic sweep wasn’t going to happen:

And how did the media professionals act? The Washington Free Beacon chronicles:

Esquire interviewed 40 people who either covered or worked on one of the campaigns during the 2016 presidential election. The individuals gave their personal stories about the unexpected election of President Donald Trump and the defeat of Hillary Clinton. Most of the reporters and editors who were interviewed expressed shock and horror at Trump’s upset victory.

Here are some of their stories.

For some reason, I feel compelled to add:

Rebecca Traister, writer at large for New Yorker Magazine, shared her feelings on being confident about a Clinton victory and how she subsequently felt “so alone” when it was apparent that Clinton would lose. She also observed Clinton supporters throwing up and crying on the floor, according to Esquire, which recounted the progression of her thoughts throughout the night.

They were serving, like, $12 pulled pork sandwiches [at the Javits Center]. It was nuts, people were bouncing off the walls. Everyone genuinely believed she was going to win. I don’t know if it made me feel more confident or not.

I felt so alone, I knew it was done. I was by myself on the floor. I started to cry.

I was thinking everything from, “I’m gonna have to rewrite my piece” to, “Can we stay in the U.S.?” I texted my husband, “Tell Rosie to go to bed. I don’t want her to watch.”

People were throwing up. People were on the floor crying.

In the cab home, the cabbie had on the news, that’s when I heard his acceptance speech, and I said, “Can you turn it off?” I couldn’t hear his voice. I was like, “I can’t listen to his voice for the next four years.”

I got back to Park Slope, I went to check on the girls. When I went to say goodnight, I looked at Rosie, and I had this conscious thought that this is the day that will divide our experience of what is possible. This is the day where a limitation is reinforced for her.

MSNBC correspondent Jacob Soboroff said his thoughts changed from not believing Trump could win to “totally” believing Trump could win.

“I went from this feeling of, ‘Oh my god, wow. I can’t believe it,’ to, in a matter of seconds, ‘Oh, whoa, I can totally believe it,'” Soboroff said.

“Crooked Media” podcast host and former senior political correspondent for MTV News Ana Marie Cox recalled how some of her friends worried about their future.

“A Muslim colleague of mine called his mother. She was worried he was going to be the victim of violence at any moment,” Cox said. “A colleague who is gay and married was on the phone with her wife saying, ‘They’re not going to take this damn ring away from me.'”

Editor of the New Yorker David Remnick discussed his sudden revelation that journalists need to “put pressure on power,” once Trump was elected.

Not only did I not have anything else ready, I don’t think our site had anything, or much of anything, ready in case Trump won. The mood in the offices, I would say, was frenetic.

That night I went to a friend’s election-night party. As Clinton’s numbers started to sour, I took my laptop out, got a chair, found a corner of that noisy room, and started thinking and writing. That was what turned out to be “An American Tragedy.”


Jelani [Cobb] and I spoke around midnight. We were both, let’s put it this way, in the New Yorker mode of radical understatement, disappointed. Jelani’s disappointment extended to his wondering whether he should actually leave the country. He wasn’t kidding around. I could tell that from his voice.

We agreed that night, and we agree today, that the Trump presidency is an emergency. And in an emergency, you’ve got a purpose, a job to do, and ours is to put pressure on power. That’s always the highest calling of journalism, but never more so than when power is a constant threat to the country and in radical opposition to its values and its highest sense of itself.

Jelani Cobb, a writer for the New Yorker, was discomforted by the New York Time‘s headline “Trump Triumphs.”

“I saw the New York Times headline and I was very discomforted by it,” Cobb said. “For one, I knew that I had a child on the way.”

U.S. news editor for BuzzFeed News Shani O. Hilton remembered how quiet the train was from Brooklyn the night of the election.

“You get on the train from Brooklyn. It’s silent. And not in the normal way of people not talking to each other. It felt like an observable silence,” Hilton said. “I saw at least three people sitting by themselves, just weeping silently.”

New York Times reporter Michael Barbaro went home and questioned whether he should change jobs.

“I went home and woke up my husband, I think it was 4 or 5 in the morning, and asked him what the next steps should be journalistically. Should I move to Washington? Should I change jobs?” Barbaro said. “It was pretty disorienting.”

Washington Post reporter Dave Weigel opined that most of the people he saw at an Atlanta airport who looked like him—”a white dude with a mustache, fairly bloated by the campaign”—voted for Trump who, as far as they knew, was a a “bigot.”

“I was connecting through the Atlanta airport. I looked around and thought, well, for eight years, I didn’t really think about who voted for who,” Weigel said. “But as a white dude with a mustache, fairly bloated by the campaign, most of the people who look like me voted for this guy who, as far as they know, is a bigot. I remember feeling that this divider had come down, this new intensity of feeling about everybody I saw.”

Univision news anchor Jorge Ramos shared his plan for the Trump presidency, which is to resist and not be neutral.

“I’ve been to wars, I’ve covered the most difficult situations in Latin America. But I needed to digest and to understand what had happened. I came home very late. I turned on the news. I had comfort food—cookies and chocolate milk—the same thing I used to have as a kid in Mexico City,” Ramos said. “After that, I realized that I had been preparing all my life for this moment. Once I digested what had happened with Trump and had a plan, which was to resist and report and not be neutral, then I was able to go to bed.”

Former CNN host Reza Aslan expressed his horror, describing how he had a panic attack when he heard the news that Trump won.

I thought, “Oh my God, how terrible are we that it’s even this close?”

My wife stayed up and I went to sleep, then she woke me up around 1 or 2 in the morning bawling and told me that it was over. My poor, sweet wife. She wanted to hug and kiss me but I went into a panic attack and couldn’t breathe.

I remember thinking, as clear as day, this is who we are. This is what we deserve.

You take your kids to school, you go to the store, you go to the post office, you’re looking around, and you’re thinking, “These people hate me.”

The Stockholm Syndrome reactions to Saint Hillary’s losing might be the biggest reason I’m glad Trump won, even though I didn’t vote for him. The examples of gross lack of professionalism should have gotten all of these “reporters” fired, along with their bosses.

Kevin McCarthy evaluates the past year, as RightWisconsin reports:

National Review contributing editor Andrew McCarthy says that even though President Donald Trump’s behavior can be at times maddening, we’re still better off with Trump rather than Hillary Clinton.

“While I was not a Trump person in the primaries, I was a Cruz person, I was always Never Hillary,” McCarthy said. “Even though I find some President Trump’s antics maddening, I still think we’re better off than had we been – by far – if Hillary Clinton were president.” …

McCarthy cautioned Trump supporters about talking about thwarting the president’s agenda.

“When they talk about moving the president’s agenda, I think they ought to bear in mind he is a president that won with a minority of the popular vote,” McCarthy said. “He won fair and square. But more people, substantially more people, voted against him, supported the other candidate.”

“Even within the tens of millions of people who voted for him, a goodly slice of them were more antagonistic towards his opponent than enthusiastic about him,” McCarthy said.

But McCarthy said conservatives were better off because they were not enthusiastic backers of Trump during the primaries, so they don’t “own” him.

“So I think we do what we’ve been doing, which is support him when does the right things and try to encourage him to do the right things,” McCarthy said. “And we can feel perfectly free to oppose him when he does, you know, when he strays.”

“I haven’t found life under Trump difficult at all from that regard,” McCarthy said. “I’m sure I might feel differently about it if I held elective office, because that’s when you have the complications of party discipline, but that’s not my problem so I haven’t found it too difficult.”


If it’s Wednesday I’m in …

I am making my season college basketball announcing debut tonight when UW–Platteville plays Wisconsin in women’s basketball from the Kohl Center on at 7 p.m.

This is a first for me because I have never announced a game for an opponent of my high school or college alma mater. However, it’s an exhibition game. It will also be the first time I have ever announced a game where the UW Band will play.

I have done two Division I games. The first was when Ripon College played at Utah (the defending national runner-up, coached by the entertaining Rick Majerus) in 1999. It was a great trip extended because the day of the game O’Hare International Airport in Chicago was hit by two feet of snow, pushing our departure three days back. About 18 inches of snow fell that night in Ripon, and since the game wasn’t on TV the radio station news and sports director said they probably set a listener record.

The second was when the UW–Platteville men played at UW–Milwaukee (then coached by former UWP guard Rob Jeter) in 2014. I sat courtside at the old Milwaukee (now Panther) Arena, the same place where Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Sidney Moncrief played and Al McGuire and Don Nelson coached. That was a cool realization that I didn’t get to savor because after that game I had to run from Milwaukee to Green Bay to announce two days of state volleyball.

The great thing about doing college sports is that someone else does some of your work for you — compiling statistics going into the game (though that is now easier thanks to such websites as and MaxPreps), and statistics and other information during the game from sports information directors. That takes one big thing off your plate to allow you more time to report and observe. (Packers announcer Wayne Larrivee says the hardest sport to announce is high school football due to the need to generate your own information, along with sometimes, shall we say, interesting settings. I think a lot of high school announcers put into a major college or pro broadcast would probably sound a lot better just because they would have comparably less to do.)

Then, Friday night, I get to announce a Level 4 football game between Black Hawk and Fall River from Middleton on Level 4 is the game before state, so of course it is the most pressure-packed game of all.

Wait! There’s more! I am also making my public address announcing debut at UW–Platteville’s final football game of the season against UW–Stevens Point Saturday at 2 p.m. (If you listen to the game online here, you may be able to faintly hear me. I will not be doing any sort of impression of Michael “lllllllletsgetreadytorumbbbbllllllllleeeeeee!” Buffer.)


It Better (not) End Soon

Suburban Chicago newspapers report:

Chicago founding member Robert Lamm knows it’s soon going to come to an end.

But before you hit the panic button, the band isn’t going away, but 2017 is. In a year that’s seen the band sell out shows around the world, including a summer run with The Doobie Brothers, there’s still work to be done before Chicago takes a much-needed end-of-the-year break.

But before the band goes home for the holidays, there’s the matter at hand of “Chicago II.”

On Nov. 7 and 8, Chicago will perform the album in its entirety at WTTW’s Grainger Studio in Chicago. The show will later be aired on the PBS show “Soundstage.”

Chicago II includes …

In a phone interview with the Sun Herald, from South Bend, Indiana, where Chicago was making preparations to perform with the legendary Notre Dame Marching Band, Lamm talks about revisiting “Chicago II,” his love for The Beatles and the impression a young Elvis Presley made on his life.

Tell me about the upcoming revisiting of “Chicago II” — was it difficult to relearn those songs?

As you probably already know, the album “Chicago II” was remixed at the request of Rhino Records, which owns the master. It was done by Steven Wilson, who is a British producer. It’s not really a remix, because he was just really working with a stereo master. He was able to bring out certain aspects of what was really an 8-track recording. And, by the way, that remix has been very favorably reviewed by some of the most demanding music journalists around.

Because of those good reviews and because of Rhino’s satisfaction with that work and because the album once again has been nominated for a the Grammy Hall of Fame, a couple of projects have arisen. One of them is performing the whole album top to bottom live, which is also going to be filmed. We are actually in rehearsals for that as we speak.

Is it tough revisiting some of those songs? I know you’ve been playing “Wake Up Sunshine” from the album on this tour. But is it challenging playing songs you haven’t played in 47 years?

Yes. For me, personally, yes and probably because of my hesitation to go back and re-examine even some of my own songs I wrote and I have not performed or even listened to for decades.

But I’m pretty excited about performing it in front of an audience. I would say all of it has been interesting, especially from a songwriting and arranging point of view. Some of the songs were written by Terry Kath, but I arranged them. Looking at the charts we used when we actually arranged them reveals certain qualities that I left long ago. I like to think that over the years that I’ve improved as a musician and as an arranger and songwriter. We were all a little bit dubious when we agreed to embark on this, and now that we have, everyone is pleasantly surprised. …

Last time we spoke, you discussed the possibility of the band doing some recording in 2018 with the current lineup, which includes new singer Jeff Coffey. Is that still a possibility?

Our problem in 2016 and 2017 has been an intense scheduling of concerts. But we have several months in 2018 that we may use to record an EP. I think it’s definitely a possibility. We recorded our last album “Now” on the road. Although that was a good result, it was pretty taxing. I’ve been pretty adamant about not recording that way for what we do next. We’ll probably record at Lee Loughnane’s studio in Arizona.

The other big Chicago news is …


Trump surrogates vs. talk radio

Readers will recall that Donald Trump’s path to the presidency got temporarily derailed in Wisconsin because he decided to take on conservative talk radio, and lost.

(Although Trump’s loss paled in comparison to the April 2016 Democratic losses, and things went far worse for the Democrats seven months later.)

Proving that there are n0ne so dumb as those who refuse to learn, National Journal reports:

Steve Bannon has drawn plenty of ire around the country as he wages his “war” on the GOP establishment. In Wisconsin, the president’s former chief strategist—and by extension, his preferred candidate in the 2018 Senate race—has struck a nerve with a uniquely influential group: conservative talk-radio hosts.

One host, Mark Belling, has accused Bannon-backed Kevin Nicholson—one of two major Republican challengers to Sen. Tammy Baldwin—of “polishing Steve Bannon’s shoes with his tongue.” Another, Jeff Wagner, predicted that the firebrand’s endorsement would be “a recipe for electoral disaster.” A third, Jerry Bader, called Bannon “toxic” and “bad for the conservative movement.”

There’s perhaps no other state where conservative talk radio has played as outsized of a role in Republican politics as it has in Wisconsin. Popular hosts, particularly those in the vote-rich southeastern part of the state, have helped lift candidates like Scott Walker, now running for a third term as governor, to prominence, and helped sink candidates like Donald Trump in the state’s last presidential primary.

Now their attention is on the burgeoning Senate race, which will be one of the most hotly contested of next year’s midterms. Many hosts in the state were already partial to state Sen. Leah Vukmir, a strong Walker ally who has been a regular on their programs during her 15 years in the legislature. By contrast, Nicholson, a businessman and former Marine who’s never run for office and was previously a Democrat, entered the contest as completely unknown to them. And a seal of approval from Bannon only adds to their uncertainty about him.

“I can’t imagine this is going to be a net plus for him,” Charlie Sykes, once the leading voice in Wisconsin conservative talk radio, said of Bannon’s endorsement of Nicholson. Vukmir has “a very, very strong base in talk radio. … She’s certainly got the home-court advantage.”

Belling, who hosts an afternoon show on WISN in Milwaukee, has been the most critical of Bannon’s involvement. After he interviewed Vukmir on his program Tuesday, Belling questioned the “bowing and scraping” Nicholson did to win Bannon’s endorsement. Belling said in an interview that Nicholson emailed him right after that day’s show “to touch base.”

“If Nicholson runs as Bannon’s boy, he’s not going to win in Wisconsin. He just isn’t,” Belling said. “I’m trying to give him the benefit of the doubt. He’s just making it real hard to do so right now.”

Asked to respond to the talk radio hosts’ comments on the Bannon endorsement, Nicholson campaign spokesman Michael Antonopoulos said in an email: “Kevin’s mission to bring an outsider’s perspective to the U.S. Senate and demand conservative solutions unites Republicans. His support continues to grow because Kevin’s background as a Marine combat veteran and conservative businessman appeals to conservatives across the state.”

Belling said he doesn’t plan on making an official endorsement in the race, and hopes to have both candidates continue to appear on his show in the coming months. But he’s been effusive in his praise of Vukmir, saying she is “maybe the best Republican member of the entire state legislature.”

Others are ready to pick sides. Bader, of WTAQ in Green Bay, says he’s only waiting to see if Eric Hovde, a Madison investor who ran unsuccessfully for Senate in 2012, jumps into the race. If he doesn’t, Bader said in an interview, there’s “virtually zero doubt” he’ll endorse Vukmir. “I have no intentions of supporting the Bannon candidate in this race,” he recently said on his show.

Whether other hosts choose to go the route of Belling or Bader, they are at the very least prepared to defend Vukmir from what they see as unfair attacks. Several of them pushed back against a recent article from Breitbart News, where Bannon serves as executive chairman, that lambasted Vukmir for being backed by the “Washington establishment” and for refusing to say if she would support Mitch McConnell as Senate majority leader (Nicholson reportedly said he would not). Vicki McKenna, whose radio program broadcasts in Milwaukee and Madison, dismissed the story as a “political hit piece” and brought Vukmir on to rebut it.

For these radio hosts, the term “establishment” doesn’t ring true for Vukmir, despite her relatively long tenure as an elected official. Unlike at the national level, Republican leadership and the grassroots have largely been aligned in Wisconsin. Over the past seven years of statehouse control, they’ve worked together to pass a laundry list of conservative policies, ranging from right-to-work to voter ID to abortion restrictions.

“I think Leah Vukmir—and again, I’m not endorsing anybody—I think she’s a strong conservative candidate, and if people try to come in and say that she’s something other than that, there’s going to be a backlash,” said Wagner, who hosts a morning show on WTMJ in Milwaukee. “Because we know her.”

Trump experienced this dynamic during the 2016 presidential primary when his “drain the swamp” message didn’t resonate in Wisconsin like it did in other states. But he still went on to win the state narrowly in the general election, so there’s certainly upside for Nicholson nabbing Bannon’s endorsement as well. Indeed, Vukmir also spoke with Bannon before he took sides in the race.

Of course, not all listeners will share every opinion of the hosts they tune in to. And while talk radio is an important way to reach conservative voters, it’s only one part of the equation. With the backing of major GOP donor Richard Uihlein and outside groups such as Club for Growth and FreedomWorks, Nicholson will have little trouble getting his message out.

“I doubt someone who hates Bannon is going to completely exclude Kevin from consideration from the rest of the whole primary just because of one endorsement,” said Matt Batzel, the Wisconsin-based director of the conservative group American Majority. “There’s going to be 20 more people that they like more than Bannon that endorsed Kevin.”

More than anything, radio hosts in the state are concerned that Bannon’s involvement will only escalate what was already shaping up to be an expensive and divisive primary, much like the one during Baldwin’s first run for Senate in 2012. A tight four-way contest left the eventual GOP nominee, Tommy Thompson, badly bruised heading into the general election against a well-funded and unscathed Democratic opponent.

“Whatever happens here,” Wagner said, “I hope it’s not a repeat of 2012.”

Belling, Wagner, Bader and Vicki McKenna have fought more battles on the correct side than Bannon or Nicholson know existed. Taking them on is monumentally stupid for a so-called Republican.
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