« The Bader Blog

Republicans Right to Kick Liberal "Journalism Center" off UW Campus

by Jerry Bader

This provision approved by Joint Finance is meeting resistance, not surprisingly, from RINO State Senator Dale Schultz. It is also meeting resistance, quite surprisingly, from my fellow conservative talk show host Charlie Sykes(WTMJ, Milwaukee). Charlie has called the move "petty, vindictive and dumb."  His argument is puzzling:

Imagine how we would have reacted if Jim Doyle and Democrat legislature had passed legislation targeting conservative talk radio or any of the independent new media watchdog groups that have arisen in recent years. Imagine a budget amendment that targeted the MacIver Institute or, Media Trackers, or well, Right Wisconsin(a conservative site run by Charlie's employer to which I contribute).

By juxtaposing the Center with these conservative entities Charlie is, whether he realizes it or not, acknowledging the Center is left leaning. But none of the conservative entities he mentions gets to use public resources. Let's turn this around. Imagine Charlie's show or my show airing on Madison campus radio. Imagine Media Trackers or the MacIver Institute having UW Madison-supplied offices. All Republicans are doing here is ending a government subsidy of a journalistic entity with an admittedly liberal bent. To compare this with what the Obama administration did to Tea Party groups, AP or James Rosen is, well, absurd. Republicans aren't singling out the Center because its liberal. Republicans are ending a government-subsidized advantage for a liberal outfit that conservative media outlets would never get, ever.  Here's a little experiment you can try Charlie; make plans to broadcast your show from Madison and request use of a campus studio from which to broadcast. See how that works out for you.

And while mentioning all the good work the Center has done, in his estimation, Charlie leaves out what may be their signature piece: revealing one half of the David Prosser/Ann Walsh Bradley choke hold polka story . Was that good work? More often than not the Center's work has a decidedly liberal slant. And with the resources provided by taxpayers it provides its stories for free to newspapers around the state. These are liberal leaning stories that are often featured on the front page.

Charlie admits that his view may be colored by his long-running association with the Center's Bill Lueders. That would explain the nearly non-sequitur argument the normally very logical Charlie Sykes makes in this case. Charlie, if they do good work (and I will concede they've done some good work), let them strike out on their own and sell their product to newspapers the way any other news agency does. Which leads to one final point; Charlie, why do you support for-profit, left leaning newspapers around the state receiving for free a generally left-leaning product subsidized by taxpayers? Ending a publicly funded free ride is not petty, vindictive, or dumb.