Monday, July 09, 2007

Why We Love Jess

"What's with the weird obsession most of the Lefty Blogger Guys in Milwaukee have with Jessica McBride? By comparison John Hinckley had a take-her-or-leave-her attitude about Jodie Foster. I really don't get it. "

This question was broached by Tom McMahon in a previous post and I thought it deserving of an answer because, unlike what J-J-J-Jeff Wagner said about those of us who follow McBride ("the kook fringe ...insanely jealous of her..."), we are all relatively sane individuals.

So why the attention?

For myself, McBride deserves the attention because she is an embarrassment claiming to be a professional journalist. She mocks the history and the role of the press every time she puts fingers to keyboard. She disregards Thomas Jefferson who said: "Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost." She misses the point of Napoleon Bonaparte who said: "Three hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets."

Journalists are not here to cater to the party line, which McBride unfailingly does; they are the bulwark of our freedom. That's why she annoys me so much when she so freely besmirches this respectable institution and yet claims to be a card-carrying member. Her forays into commentary contain a disregard for fact and decency that begs for attention.

Bill Christofferson and Mike Plaisted also agreed to comment. Christofferson said:

"It's why Willie Sutton said he robbed banks; "that's where the money is." McBride is an easy and inviting target because she is so wrong so often. You might disagree with (Charlie) Sykes, for example, and challenge him on his view on issues, but you won't catch him making inane comments or stupid mistakes on a daily basis. That is what sets McBride apart.

"She is in a class by herself -- a self-centered ditz, with very little knowledge, who got built up and promoted way beyond her ability and capacity. Her commentary might be tolerable from a teen, but not from someone who presents herself as an insightful adult."

And from Plaisted:

I agree with Bill that one reason she gets so much negative attention from us is because she is such an easy target. Much more so when she had the radio show -- she was such an outrageously bad radio personality, listening to her was like watching a train wreck -- horrible, but somehow engrossingly bad.

I try to give her as little thought as possible. However, when I do, I envision her as Margaret Holihan, played by Sally Kellerman in the original M*A*S*H. Donald Sutherland as Hawkeye described her as a "typical Army clown". I think that's as apt a description for McBride -- inserting wing-nut for Army -- for the same reasons.

We do have to be a bit cognizant, it seems to me, that part of her target-worthy status is because she is a woman. Although the WISN radio geeks don't have vanity blogs, a minor nitwit like Jay Weber is just as insignificant, intellectually offensive and politically vapid as McBride.

But somehow, the same sort of nonsense coming from a smug, elitist woman has much more of a fingernail-on-the-chalkboard quality to it and is so much more fun to criticize. I don't think this is sexist -- she just stands out from the white-boys who usually run the GOP talking points. Her (literally)air-brushed self-image wrapped up with her nose-in-the-air sanctimony and the fact that she is so marvelously wrong all the time just makes her too wonderfully bad for words. It would be blogger malpractice not to take on her glamour-puss at every opportunity.

Now Tom, are you going to ask the same question of those who find every word written by Eugene Kane fodder for comment?

12 Swings of the bat:

Michael said...

I think the Eugene Kane mention is relevant.

Jessica does seem to occupy the same spot for the lefties in the Cheddarsphere as Eugene does for the right.

On the other hand, Eugene still has the state's biggest newspaper as his pulpit. I think Jessica has much less impact.

xoff said...

She has much less impact now that she's off the air and doesn't have the WTMJ-sponsored blog which brought her a lot of traffic.

She was a much bigger target when she was part of Sykes & Co.

But she's just as inane and irritating as ever.

Tom McMahon said...

So it's kind of one of those guilty pleasures of Lefty blogging -- OK, I get it now.

As for Eugene Kane and my right-wing brethren, I get it, but whatever reason it simply bores me to tears. Whenever I see his name my eyes do that involuntary roll upwards like they're trying to look at my brain.

And just so I'm not misunderstood, I meant "guilty" in the eating-the-whole-bag-of-potato-chips sense, and not in the bury-all-the-bodies-in-the-back-yard sense.

Other Side said...

I'm on a diet.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to blog-whore, but I've just issued a blogger's challenge that I would like you to consider.


Dad29 said...

Umnnnhhh...seems to me that J McB is not a "journalist," but an editorialist these days.

So what's your complaint about "journalism"?

Other Side said...

Umnnnhhh...she teaches journalism classes. That's complaint enough.

Anonymous said...

Well, you could say that she teaches mass communication classes, since that's in the name of the department, too. She teaches newswriting, yes -- but she also teaches editorial writing.

And a lot of teachers in that department don't teach journalism at all. For that matter, a lot of people in English departments don't teach writing, either -- they teach reading (literature) or watching (film). For all we know, some may not even teach in English but may be teaching literature and film in other languages. So should they be renamed Subtitled Departments?

Just sayin' -- as facile answers and lack of research easily done, even online, are the sort of thing being criticized here, after all.

xoff said...

She fashions herself an expert on the media, and her credentials are (a) writing for daily newspapers and (b) teaching journalism.

Here is how she describes herself on her own blog:

I am a journalism faculty member at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (Master's degree in Mass Communication, 2004) and a newspaper columnist for the Waukesha Freeman. I am a former daily newspaper reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and a former talk radio host.

Anonymous said...

Well, there's another problem with the facts in that self-description -- facts easy to check. . . .

Renees Take said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Renees Take said...

As a FEMALE blogger, I do want to put my 2 cents in on this question...

I fear that somewhere in this conversation a conservative will (or maybe already has) made some stupid comment that implies that the liberal bloggers have some twisted sexist aversion to McBride...

After all, most bloggers in general are men in the political arena, and here's this woman who spouts ultra-conservatism with reckless abandon and all the liberal male bloggers go after her tooth and nail... from a purely outsider's view it could almost seem that some sexist conspiracy is going on to attack poor Jessica from the left...

Let me assure you that the opinion of this FEMALE blogger is very much in line with my male counterparts!

I personally am appalled with this woman.

She is a blatantly and disgustingly racist, blatantly opposed to women's rights (I'll never understand how someone could take a stand against their OWN rights???), and blatantly anti-family... I could go on an on and should I need to prove it, give me a minute to pull up the often horrible stuff that comes out of this woman's mind.

My problem with the content of her spew is my personal problem though, she (as do we all) has the right to say whatever foul things pop into her mind and I'd defend her right to do it.

What really galls me about her though is her complete lack of thoughtfulness in making her case. Women have enough of a hard time fighting for respect in this world, but when I have 5 or 10 conservative bloggers (I don't segregate my friendships with my politics ;) complaining to me privately that they are embarrassed by her lack of ability to make "a coherent point" and telling me behind the scenes they'd LOVE to have her disappear from the conservative talking head scene altogether and begging us to keep up the pressure, it's pretty clear that she has not only made a fool out of herself, but in the process taken a level of respectability from the feminine side of the blogosphere...

Listen, my dear and beloved and now unfortunately deceased white Grandma was a Rush Limbaugh republican from Park Falls, WI. She could make even the most coherent liberal think again about their position on nearly EVERY subject. She and I would sit at the kitchen table until 4 or 5 in the morning for years every night and discuss (argue;)? the political happenings of the day. I KNOW what an intelligent conservative woman can do in a political argument and Jess is just a plain disgrace to not only womanhood, but the education sytem, the media, the conservative movement (or what's left of it anyway...) and to Wisconsin as a whole.

My point is this, the attacks on her are NOT based on the fact that she's a woman (so don't even go there...), but primarily on her incredibly shallow attempts to make a case for any political position. UNLESS you count me who feels incredibly embarrassed as a woman that she resides in the female realm.

To this day, I CANNOT figure out how she managed to become a journalism professor, how anyone took her seriously across the kitchen table or otherwise and why someone(s) in the conservative realm thought it was a good idea to put her on television or the radio. Do they have that little respect for the average Milwaukeean? It really is quite insulting.