Monday, September 6, 2010

Obama at LaborFest

When I first began writing this rant many hours ago, I was so angry that I was literally shaking. At that point I had just gotten off the phone with a woman who answered the phone in the “news”room at WISN-TV, Channel 12 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, after having given her a piece of my mind.

You see, I have been a loyal viewer of WISN TV literally for years. Every single day from 10 a.m. when The View starts through the afternoon soap operas, while I’m working on various projects throughout my day, my television is tuned to Channel 12 – Milwaukee. In fact, my television is actually programmed to simply automatically change to that channel for the entirety of the day and I have even posted here in the past about things on ABC; from talking about "The View" to a little rant about a bad programming choice having to do with their afternoon Soaps. But that loyal viewership almost ended today.

Today, my President spoke at Labor Fest in Milwaukee. I was actually quite sad that I couldn’t afford to make the trip down to Milwaukee to see him live, in person. I did go to Labor Fest one year in the mid-90’s to see President Clinton speak there, and I got to shake his hand, an experience I would have loved to be able to repeat with President Obama. But my finances, my health and my circumstances did not make a trip down to Labor Fest possible, unfortunately. However, I was looking forward to seeing his speech on television, at the very least.

Earlier today, ABC re-ran the episode of “The View” on which President Obama was a guest (my blog post on that event is here: while the ladies are on hiatus (they return with live shows tomorrow). Seeing the rebroadcast of that show once again made me sad that I hadn’t found a way to get down to Milwaukee to see the speech in person. But then shortly afterward, WISN cut away from the holiday reruns of all their daytime programming to show Air Force One arriving at Mitchell Field, and they mentioned they would be carrying the President’s address live from the festival. So I kept my TV tuned to WISN, even though they were indeed reruns of episodes of soap operas that I had seen long ago (and didn’t really need a refresher on). As the reruns played on the muted TV, I basically just ignored the television while I did internet work and waited for the President to speak.

Finally he took the stage and I watched while he made a very good speech. He talked about his new plan to rebuild the infrastructure of our country, the roads and the railroads and the bridges...all badly needed improvements to once again make our infrastructure the finest in the world, as we used to be...and which will also create badly needed jobs. He talked about all he’d tried to accomplish since taking office and about the roadblocks and obstruction that the other side keeps piling in the road. He mentioned how their answer to literally EVERYTHING he says is “No”.

He gave a wonderful analogy (this is paraphrased, if you want to see the exact quote you can view the video at the link listed below, the story begins at around 34 minutes in) about how the republicans even admit that what they want to do if they get back in control is to do EXACTLY what they did before that drove us into the ditch in the first place. He talked about how after they drove us into the ditch they simply stood there criticizing while the Democrats rolled up their sleeves and got down in the ditch and worked to push the car back out…all the while the Republicans stood watching, shaking their heads, sipping cold drinks and saying things like “Can’t you go any faster?” One we get the car back on the road, a little damaged from the experience and covered in mud…sure a bit of work to do, but it’s out and operable…all the Republicans do is just point to the dent and mud screaming, “LOOK what THEY did to your car!!” and then they have the nerve to ask for the keys again! I’m with President Obama, “NO! They can’t drive!!”

The President had just finished that analogy, which I thought was terrific, when the two talking head chicks from the “news” staff interrupted him in mid-sentence, speaking OVER the President (while I was screaming at them to shut up, of course they couldn’t hear me) and proceeded to give the “republican response” to the President’s new plan before he’d even finished SPEAKING! Then they informed me that if I wanted to hear the rest of what the President of the United States was saying on a visit to our local city, I had to go to their WEB SITE to see/hear the live “streaming feed” (I guess people who don’t have internet and/or computers capable of viewing live video feeds don’t NEED to see the president) and “we now return you to regular programming”.



They cut off the PRESIDENT of the UNITED STATES to show RERUNS of a SOAP OPERA???

I was stunned…I was staggered. I was FURIOUS!! I quickly tried to pull up the web site to see the live feed, but by the time I found it and it loaded, I could tell that he was getting ready to wrap it up, so I missed a good chunk of the speech and only got to see the closing. (Luckily, I did eventually get to see it all, uncut and uninterrupted at: Thank you to them for posting it!)

I was so incredibly angry that a Milwaukee “news” channel did not consider it relevant to cover the entirety of a Presidential speech announcing a major policy initiative right here in our own city. I couldn’t believe that they couldn’t at least show the respect to the office of the Presidency to cover his remarks in their entirety. All things considered it was a relatively short speech, being made right HERE, in their very own city. How could they even consider cutting it off to show reruns of old soap opera broadcasts???

I was so incredibly angry that I called the television station. When a girl answered the newsroom line, I explained my utter fury that they cut off a presidential speech being made in Milwaukee in order to show two squawking head women talking OVER the President of the United States and discussing the “response” that the “party of No” had put together to the President’s job creation plan (what a surprise, their answer is “no”)!

The woman on the phone then chose to simply enrage me further by trying to tell me that “we carried the whole speech in its entirety.” Um NO!!! YOU DIDN’T!! And lying to me and telling me that I should believe what you’re telling me rather than my own lying EYES and EARS is certainly not the way to calm me down and keep me as a viewer of your station. It made me so much angrier that she was trying to tell me something that I knew to be completely false. This made me so much angrier, but also suddenly felt somehow “off”. I told her that it seemed to me that by cutting off a live local statement by the President and giving coverage to a simply quoted printed STATEMENT from the GOP instead; WISN was attempting to influence the news, more than simply reporting it.

I explained that, as I saw it, the way it could have been FAIRLY handled would have been to continue to cover the President’s speech, and THEN in the inevitable wrap-up, report the GOP response. In this way, they would be giving both sides the full benefit of coverage (especially since the GOP chose to simply release a printed statement rather than a video statement), and giving the people the FULL news story (rather than just ignoring the needs of those without computers/internet who might want to see what their President has to say). I also told her that considering that the only programming being pre-empted was just reruns due to the holiday, it was even the smarter programming choice.

That’s when I told her that it seemed to me that WISN was attempting to influence the election by not giving the viewers the full story and that I have now decided that WISN is nothing but a propaganda channel along the lines of Faux News.

I explained to her what a loyal viewer of her channel I had been. I also explained that since I am centrally located between two cities that both have major network affiliates, I can (and do) CHOSE to watch WISN, unlike other people who are simply stuck with whatever channel is local to them…that I could certainly get my regular ABC viewing from the Green Bay affiliate just as easily. I said I wanted to know how they could possibly justify this decision

All she said in response was, “I’ll pass on your comments.” I decided to pass them on myself…using this page.

Later on in the 6:00 News broadcast, they did seem to be a tad more respectful and slightly less biased, so I’m not AS angry as I was, and am therefore not QUITE ready to give up on WISN just yet, but I know that in the future I’ll be VERY aware of watching for further similar incidents in the future, hopefully it won't happen again.

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