Have You No Sense of Decency, Charlie?

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“Have you no sense of decency, sir?” Said more than 50 years ago by Joseph Welch in the famed Army-McCarthy hearing, the phrase should be directed this Wednesday morning to Charlie Sykes, the WTMJ radio talk nut.

Justice Louis Butler was unseated by a narrow margin from the State Supreme Court in voting yesterday and some of the discredit for this can surely be placed at the one-sided rumor-mongering and name-calling of talk radio hosts in the state. They jabber on and on, using innuendoes and half truths, hardly ever giving time for the other side; many do not accept phone callers, and those that do usually make it so uncomfortable for any critics that such callers shy away from further attempts.

These hosts will brook absolutely no opposing views.

Most of us have come to expect that, and rarely, if ever, listen to these one-sided talkers, but, alas, in Milwaukee, if we’re Brewer fans (or Bucks, Badgers, or Packers fans) we are locked into WTMJ Radio, like it or not. Thus, during baseball season, I typically get into my car in the morning to find my radio tuned to WTMJ (as a result of listening to the Brewers the night before) and hearing Charlie Sykes. Oh my gosh! Even the prospect of a rare sunny day in April is dampened upon hearing that all-knowing, self-assured voice of nonsense.

On Election Day, yes, Election Day, Sykes blathered on and on, exposing so-called flaws in the record of Justice Butler. Sykes referred to Butler only as “Loophole Louie,” a phrase used in his opponents’ support ads. He blamed “Loophole Louie” for the state’s failure to attracted business, for seeking to unmake laws, and might even have linked him to Brett Favre’s interception that ended the Packers playoff run had I continued to listen. (In fairness to Charlie, I didn’t listen to his entire broadcast, but I doubt much whether his tone changed.)

It’s bad enough that Sykes and Belling and the others continue their openly one-sided shows, but there should be something that says, on Election Day, you steer clear of such assaults. There is no time for the subject of these attacks to respond.

Thus, Charlie, “Have you no sense of decency, sir?”

And the same phrase should be directed to the media monopolies that permit these talk shows to go on and on with their one-sided, despicable distortions that seriously affect the making of good public policy. The airways are a public domain and it’s time our law-makers seek to regain them in the public interest. – Ken Germanson, Milwaukee , April 2, 2008.

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