After 23 years of blowing dog whistles, smearing liberals and bullying Republicans that don't toe the line, Charlie Sykes, the Milwaukee-based radio squawker, is finally hanging up his headphones and turning off his microphone. Monday was Sykes' last day on WTMJ-AM.
Ever since then, the right wingers have been gushing about Sykes, ranging from the maudlin to the nauseous. Even the lunatic fringe had to say something nice about him, even though many of them are still pissed because of his #NeverTrump theatrics. Things went so far as having Scott Walker declare Tuesday to have been Charlie Sykes Day in Wisconsin.
As much as Sykes would surely like not to remember these things, the following are the five things that Sykes would rather not have people focus on as that they encapsulate who Sykes really is.
5) Charlie Sykes meets John Doe
Sykes was neck deep in the illegal politicking that Walker used to propel himself into the governor's seat and then onto the national scene as a presidential wannabe. The emails released from the investigation show Sykes receiving numerous emails from Walker's staff - both his campaign staff and his government staff - feeding him the talking points that they wanted Sykes to run with.
Things go the point where Sykes was about to be subpoenaed to testify about his level involvement in the corruption that has taken over the state.
4) Sykes in bed with dark money groups
For now, let's ignore the fact that Sykes' third wife (more on that later) is the director of communications for the extreme right wing Bradley Foundation and he has had a long and incestuous relationship with them. After all, this is not even his most egregious example of being in bed with the dark money groups.
More outrageous is the menage a trois between Sykes, the Wisconsin Club for Growth and his former employer, Journal Broadcasting to give birth to White Wisconsin, er, Right Wisconsin, their deformed and depraved love child:
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But in all the reporting so far, what has not been touched are the 800 pound squawking gorillas in the room - Journal Communications, Charlie Sykes and White Right Wisconsin.
White Wisconsin is the result of the unchecked collaboration and collusion between the dark money groups, the corporate media and WISGOP. It is a website that is hosted by Journal Broadcast Group and sponsored by the Wisconsin Club for Growth and "powered" by Charlie Sykes. It offers a free platform for politicians, political operatives and propagandists to spew their vitriol in an effort to sway low information voters into voting against their own best interest.
To add to it, Journal Broadcast Group also allows Sykes to use the airwaves of WTMJ-AM to continue to spew their propaganda, continue the lies and most significantly, give politicians like Scott Walker free air time to do their campaigning.
Let me re-emphasize this.
White Wisconsin is an aggregate website paid for by Wisconsin Club for Growth, a Koch Brothers front group. The website is hosted by Journal Broadcast Group, which includes WTMJ-AM, the home of Charlie Sykes, who is the "power" behind the website. The goal of the website is to promote the Teapublican agenda. And the most ironic part is that the sheeple that actually believe their noise has to pay for it. Presumably, the bulk of this money is going right back to the Koch group to continue their illegal collaborations with political campaigns.
3) Liz Woodhouse
About ten years ago, Sykes introduced a new guest to his show, a woman named "Liz Woodhouse." Sykes said that she wasn't a political operative or anything like that. He described as just a very intelligent and insightful woman who has important things to say.
Later, it was revealed that Liz Woodhouse was a pseudonym for Janet Riorden, who he described as a local chanteuse. He said that he didn't want to reveal her real name out of fear that it would affect her professional life, which in hindsight is highly ironic.
It turns out that Riorden is really the director of communications for the Bradley Foundation. But Sykes and Riorden have an even closer relationship than that. Sykes cheated on his second wife, Justice Diane Sykes, with Riorden. This all came to light when he and Riorden got busted shooting off fireworks in a park after closing time.
After Riorden broke up his happy family, she and Sykes got married.
2) Sykes vs Miranda's rights
More than ten years ago, Sykes penned a column that ran in the Spanish Journal in which he claimed that Robert Miranda had been "one of the organizers of what became a violent shout-down, during which coins, hard candy and ice cubes were thrown at [conservative radio host Mark Belling] during a Pro-America rally at [the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee]."
Sykes' source for this claim was an email he got from "a listener." Sykes claims that when he found out the allegations were utterly false, he scrubbed the post. However, Miranda sued Sykes and his former employer for libel. Just before the hearing was about to start, Journal Broadcasting settled out of court, agreeing to pay a $5,000 scholarship to a student in Milwaukee's South Division High School who wanted to study who wanted to study journalism.
Sadly, instead of apologizing, Sykes tried to play the victim card, claiming it was all an eeeeeeeevvvvvvvvvviiiiiiiiil liberal scheme to stifle conservative voices.
Ironically, Sykes also doesn't like to admit that he almost lost his job. The only reason he was allowed to stay on the air was because of the Sykes' union. I still don't understand why Sykes has spent so much time to help in the Republicans' efforts to bust the unions despite one saving his worthless hide.
1) "My evidence...absolutely none."
Like most right wing squawking heads, Sykes is more than willing and able to twist, screw, distort and spin any story to fit their agenda. If that can't be done, he'll gladly conflate it and/or confabulate it. And if that still doesn't work, he'll be more than happy to just make shit up.
In 2010, Sykes accused then Governor Jim Doyle of corruption, claiming that Doyle was using a trip to watch the Badgers play in the Rose Bowl for his political friends and campaign donors. PoliticFact decided to check out the claim and found Sykes' pants to be on fire.
Sykes' response to the reporter who had asked what he based his allegations on was absolutely breathtaking in its arrogance and revealed Sykes' true character:
And Sykes, like his counterpart Mark Belling did awhile back, cheerfully admits he made it up, as though that is perfectly OK:
"My ‘evidence’? Absolutely none."
Sykes went on to label his remark "an off-hand wisecrack" -- "You know, humor, hyperbole, joke."
Many on the left are celebrating that Sykes is now off the air. I am not.
Sykes was able to leave on his own terms instead of being forced out or shamed into it. Furthermore, he's not done polluting the airwaves with his crap. He has a paid gig as a returning guest at MSNBC.
Lastly, there has been rumors that Sykes is planning on running for public office, including possibly a federal seat. The potential of this alone is cause enough not to celebrate, not quite yet anyway.