Charlie Sykes Race-Baiting Hides his own Racist Past

He would like to paint himself as a modern day Martin Luther King Jr. but Republican shill talk radio show host Charlie Sykes has got a past he doesn’t like to talk about.

I’ve lived in the northwest corner of the county for nearly 15 years. When I moved here I liked the fact that Milwaukee’s Northridge Mall as a great place to shop. The doors to the mall closed and part of the mall has since been torn down to make way for a new Pick N Save and Menards home improvement store.

But for me and many of my neighbors the reason for Northridge malls demise has a great deal to do wth talk radio show host Charlie Sykes personal harangues against security at the mall and implications that black kids at the mall were creating an unsafe environment. But Sykes is a sneaky Republican who has a way of getting his own racist ideas across without them coming out of his mouth. Sykes uses call screeners to make sure that his views are broadcast even if his more obscene views do not come directly from his lips.

So when Sykes attacked blogger Bill Christopherson (Xoff) and Governor Jim Doyle this past week it was especially ironic. Sykes compared Governor Doyle’s unwillingness to remove the funding cap on choice schools to southern segregation that denied black students the right to attend white-only schools which would afford them a better education.

But Sykes has once again used the black community for his own purposes. The first time it was to do what he does best — inspire fear — fear that black kids would endanger white shoppers at Northridge. That issue benefitted Sykes by increasing his fan base and feeding the flames of racism. White suburban shoppers were sent the message then that Northridge was an unsafe black mall. Sykes planted the seeds of racism and knew they would grow. He watered those seeds and he nurtured those fears until Northridge didn’t have a chance.

Now Sykes is using the black community again but in a different way. Republican think tanks have been pushing to undermine public education for years. They hate the concept of public schools just as they hate that public school teachers are unionized. Sykes saw an opening to attack public school funding and he’s taking it through an anti-Doyle ad Sykes likes to brag that he produced. This time he is using African-American’s in an ad to push his Republican agenda.

In the “spot” (as Sykes likes to call it so as to avoid TMJ having to register as a political action committee) Sykes crosses the line by comparing Governor Jim Doyle to southern segregationists because Doyle won’t completely lift the cap on publicly funded private school choice enrollment. The spot completely disregards the fact that Governor Doyle did raise the cap on school choice.

Here’s what the Journal-Sentinel had to say:

A short-lived paid ad that was originally part of WTMJ-AM (620) commentator Charlie Sykes’ radio talk show tries to equate the beliefs of Faubus and (former Alabama Governor George) Wallace with those of Doyle. With the civil rights hymn “We Shall Overcome” playing in the background, students implore Doyle not to stand in the doorway of school choice, and the ad draws direct comparisons with Faubus and Wallace.

The ad’s aim is to get Doyle to lift the cap on school choice enrollment. It was put together by Sykes and Milwaukee Community Journal editor Mikel Holt, who told the Journal Sentinel that the purpose was not malicious and the ad “never called Doyle a racist.” (Sykes did not return a phone call seeking comment.)

That may be, but when Doyle is lumped in with racists such as Wallace and Faubus, it’s hard not to draw the conclusion, just listening to the ad, that it’s real aim is to smear Doyle as a racist in an election year.

Sykes was contacted to ask for his comments but as our previous columns have pointed out, Sykes is a coward and he dodged calls from the Journal-Sentinel so as to not answer any questions which might expose his true motivations.

We’ve been a staunch critic of the Journal-Sentinel in the past but for once, their comments (above) hit the mark. It almost makes you wonder if they might actually act as a watchdog and treat Republicans with the same criticism they’ve eyed toward Democrats. Enough wondering, we don’t believe it but we can always dream our only daily would remember that newsmen like Edward R. Murrow helped to give media outlets credibility. Murrow would be out of a job at the JS.



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