September 9, 2013 By Bill Dunn
“Broadcasting live from Planet Madison, where everything is beyond parody,” is how Vicki McKenna opens her “Upfront” show on WIBA-AM. Going by my dictionary’s definition of upfront as frank, honest, candid or forthright, I must either say, “Vicky, thy name is perfidy” or “Please, check your sources, or lack thereof.”
In other words, stop making stuff up.
On September 4, your third hour opened a Syria discussion with, “A treat, I think, for listeners: What has happened to the anti-war left? Where have they gone? Where have you gone, Medea Benjamin and Code Pink? Where have you gone, Cindy Sheehan? Where have you gone, MoveOn.org?”
You claimed to sidekick Brian Schimming that most of the war protesters “were just anti-war Republican protesters.” They “are nowhere to be found, Brian, nowhere to be found.”
Schimming harrumphed, “It just shows you how phony the hard left can be.”
If you weren’t so clueless or bent on ginning up and presenting a false narrative, you’d have done some research before bloviating about Obama getting a free pass. Because that very same day, you could have seen these stories online:
- Medea Benjamin and Code Pink holding up hands dyed red to protest testimony by Secretary of State John Kerry before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. (Benjamin and Code Pink also disrupted Obama’s counterterrorism speech several times in May.)
- Liberal advocacy group MoveOn announced that 73 percent of its members voted they were opposed to military intervention in Syria. “The group said in an email that it would launch a ‘major effort’ calling on lawmakers to vote against a proposed resolution authorizing the use of military force in Syria.”
Better yet, if you were following local news more closely, you’d have known that Benjamin and Sheehan were both in Madison and at the Capitol in August for the national Veterans for Peace convention. Benjamin and Will Williams of Madison gave fiery speeches August 10 behind the Wisconsin Veterans Museum. Madison-area Vets for Peace have been active and regularly display a 1/5-scale Predator drone as part of their ongoing war protest at the Capitol and elsewhere.
You ask, “Where have they gone?” Not far at all. We sang “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” at the rally by the museum, where the drone with Hellfire missiles was draped with peace flags after a march down State Street.
On August 29, peace groups rallied against Syrian intervention outside the Capitol, “calling for ‘an escalation of diplomacy’ and an end to endless wars that cause misery and death around the world and take vital resources away from U.S. communities.”
The ‘disrupted’ wedding
The July 26 “Upfront” with guest attorney Jim Troupis featured Schimming reading an email from an alleged Capitol employee:
“Today in the Capitol rotunda, a wedding party had a permit to use the first floor. And the [Solidarity] singers came in after seeing a [police] note about it and sang over the wedding.”
“That’s a fine political statement,” Troupis said, calling the singers “professional protesters.”
I heard this total fabrication on my drive home from work. I was in the rotunda, getting there shortly before noon, and saw no wedding party. I’d already read the State Journal and Journal Sentinel stories online that cast doubt (legitimately, it turned out) on whether the bride and groom ever came in the Capitol and had been forced out in the rain.
Indignant caller Tony raged, “To do this to a wedding — what kind of people are we as a society raising? If I found out my kids were down there doing that, I would beat them …”
Caller Jim piled on. “Aren’t we also people that want to have a wedding in the People’s House?”
“No, no, you’re not allowed, not unless you agree with them,” McKenna told Jim. “Not unless the bride’s gonna wear the blue fist instead of a blue garter belt.”
I called “Upfront” from home to set the record straight but didn’t get on-air. I understand that callers who disagree with the party line don’t get that privilege. For someone who wants all voices heard in the Capitol, is it a little hypocritical to hog the rotunda of the public airwaves that way?
But what I told the screener must have gotten through to the hosts, because there was no mention (and no clarification or correction) of the disrupted wedding tale in the second half-hour. There was, however, plenty more dissing of the Solidarity Sing Along, including a McKenna slam at Sen. Bob Jauch, “who’s not going to be confused with a MENSA member anytime soon.”
The distortion was later completely dispelled by wedding officiant Dan Floeter, a Dane County court commissioner. He “disputed the characterization by the Department of Administration that the couple got married in the rain,” reported the State Journal. “It wasn’t raining. It may have started raining after we finished.”
The couple chose to exchange vows outside because the weather was nice enough, not in response to the gathering crowd inside, Floeter said.
I hope I just missed the correction from Planet McKenna. If not, it’s never to late to give the truth to your listeners.
P.S. Please stop calling Obama a child. It sounds like racist code.