Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Talk Radio Misinforms, Misleads

There they go again.

This time it's AM620 WTMJ's afternoon conservative Republican talk show host Jeff Wagner, who was ripping MATC today in the wake of a report about its salaries and finances that was put out by the Public Policy Forum.

"If this doesn't get your blood boiling, I don't know what will," said Jeff, as the 1:00 p.m. hour approached. (I was taking notes in the car, and I think I have this right, but if I need to be corrected, please let me know.)

Now I understand that talk radio's role is to get the audience riled up, but could we at least stick to facts?

Describing the MATC Board, Wagner piled on by saying:

"The Mayor pretty much controls it."

That didn't sound right to me.

I took Wagner's jab to mean the Mayor of Milwaukee - - whom Wagner often disses while praising Scott Walker, the Republican candidate for Governor - - but, in fact, the MATC board is not chosen by Mayor Tom Barrett, or any Mayor - - and the board selection process is well-known.

All Wagner had to do was to read to page 14 (follow the footnote #3 to the bottom of the page) in the Public Policy Forum report (and in other references through the Google) and the essential and simple facts about board selection are provided:

"A committee of members of K-12 school boards within the [technical college] district boundaries makes the appointments."

A conservative publication last year included a longer description of the state-mandated board selection process - - here - - and I would have thought that Wagner would have remembered the facts as they were laid out in a publication with which he's in sync.

Here's how Mike Nichols, that story's author, had put it:

"The MATC board is appointed by a committee of 21 representatives of local school districts who, based on state law, must select two “employers,” two “employees,” a school district administrator and an elected official.There are also vague geographic requirements and—in a twist that is unique—at least three of the nine MATC board members must be minorities. At least three must be female and at least three male."
I think that Wagner knew he was on thin ice when he threw a gratuitous slap at the Mayor, and tried to clean it up a little by saying the city has four appointments, but the appointment rules designate board member categories categories by geography, race, gender, and employer/employee status - - but give none to Milwaukee's Mayor.

We'll see if Wagner fixes this tomorrow - - but like so much misinformation thrown out on talk radio - - there it was, and there it goes into the ether, and who knows how many heard it, their blood boiling - - mission accomplished - - but in part over something false.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

To what extent did Wagner mistakenly say "the mayor" controls the MATC board?

Was it once, twice, or did he go on and on with his mis-statement?

And as everyone knows the problem with MATC is you have an non-elected taxing authority that answers to no one.

It's why despite unceasing increases in tax levies, MATC is still in a fiscal mess.