Charlie Sykes took Milwaukee Magazine editor Bruce Murphy to task on his "blog" (if that's what you call an introductory sentence that links to Victor Davis Hanson or Charles Krauthammer) and on the air Monday over the cover of the latest issue of magazine.
The cover image -- a stylized image of a masticated fried fish -- apparently had previously been used on a cover magazine of MKE magazine (the defunct Journal Sentinel tab designed to reach "the kids")
Yes, it's a major journalism scandal.
"This is what happens when you get a little bit sloppy and a little bit lazy, Bruce," Chuck, ever the clever guy in class who covered his nuts in the locker room shower, snipped.
(The Brawler would note that Charlie accusing Bruce of being lazy is being a bit rich, given Charlie's radio show consists of little other than reciting the latest editorial in the Wall Street Journal, the latest Patrick McIlheran column,or just lifting wholesale from right-wing bloggers. But I digress.)
Of course, the context behind Sykes jumping on this utter nothingburger of a story is that Murphy has repeatedly -- deservedly and fairly almost to a fault -- pointed out that Charlie Sykes is full of crappity crap crap. Murphy pointed out Sykes was full of crappity crap crap when he pointed out Sykes' criticisms of the deep tunnel were off base. Then Murphy ran this expose of how Charlie is such a wuss that he wouldn't talk to fellow WTMJ talker about how Sykes is the kind of guy who would ride a Harley in loafers. Then, when Charlie sought to defend himself -- by attacking the messenger -- Murphy absolutely punk'd him.
The humorous thing is that Sykes -- as he noted on air -- was once editor of Milwaukee Magazine. (Sykes failed to mention he was canned, however.) And you know what? Sykes was not a bad editor (as a reporter/writer I would contend his work suffered from being overly pretentious, wordy and thinking buzzwords substituted for thought or clear writing -- "But particularly as power becomes more diffused in the private sector because of changes in the local economy, the burden of responsibility to move the status quo off dead center will shift inexorably to the public sector, for it alone can mobilize the resources and serve as a central focal point for major initiatives on issues ranging from the lakefront to a new arena to a blueprint for economic development." -- March 1985. Somewhere in there it seems Sykes is advocating for government to play a role in economic development.) He commanded a fairly impressive staff. Michael Wilmington was his movie critic. Jim Romenesko was his media critic. And he had this investigative writer named, whatsit, Bruce Murphy?
Ah, yes. From the March 1986 issue. "The story [MSO's financial troubles] marks Bruce's return to the magazine after an absence of more than a year and a half. [He went to the Isthmus)] ... In January, he rejoined Milwaukee Magazine as an associate editor, and his feature, "The Unfinished Symphony," is a forerunner of much more to come . We are delighted to have him back."
Here's the deal: Murphy, while not without flaws (hiring Jessica McBride to write a piece that whitewashes drug trafficker Vang Pao -- after she had defended him on her blog and castigated the feds on her blog for charging some misfits trying to blow up stuff in Laos, f'rinstance), is a first-rate journalist. He puts Charlie Sykes to shame. Charlie has never, in his career, produced anything that rivals the work Murphy did in bringing the pension scandal to light. As he does so often, Sykes is exhibiting inadequacy issues.
And the Brawler suggests Sykes stops reminding people he was once editor of Milwaukee Magazine and a contender for respectability. Instead of a right wing shill and a bum. Which is what he has become.
Meanwhile, the Brawler would note that the photographer who shot the Milwaukee Magazine (and the MKE) cover fessed up in comments on Charlie's blog that the fault lies with him. Presumably Sykes expects Murphy to be familiar with every MKE cover of the past two years -- rich given Sykes often seems ignorant of the topics upon which he's demagoging.