At 3 p.m. on Sept. 5, Wisconsin conservative talk-radio pioneer Mark Belling (who regularly guest hosts for Rush Limbaugh), of Milwaukee’s Talk/Radio 1030 WISN, was the first to break the news of something apparently never known to have previously occurred in the annals of street racing.
A group of street racers was bodacious enough to privately commandeer an urban interstate highway (by blocking off entrance traffic) to stage a 150-mph drag race — and then they posted the evidence (an elaborately produced video) on YouTube!
Of course, only Wisconsin street racers would be this bodacious (we take our guns, and our beer, and our cars, seriously).
Here’s the group’s Facebook post (Aug. 19, at 4:58 p.m.) announcing the challenge (the link remained live through late at night on Sept. 6, but was hidden or deleted by 10 a.m. Central time on Sept. 7):
And embedded below is a 12-minute clip featuring the most entertaining parts of Belling’s discussion of the race, which apparently occurred late at night on Sat., Aug. 30, on I-43 southwest of Milwaukee (the full audio, available on Belling’s podcast, runs about 40 minutes). (A 22-minute version, with much more context, and which likely will appeal to street-racing enthusiasts, is available here.) You’ll notice Belling does not do much to conceal his admiration for what these street racers managed to pull off.
As usual, the clip is combined with entertaining and sometimes informative video and photos (none of which Belling had anything to do with). Don’t miss the scrolling of the comments that were made under the now-deleted Facebook post announcing the challenge (starting at 5:44). Enjoy!
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UPDATE [3 p.m., Sept. 7]:
NEW ADDITIONS TO THE WISCONSIN JOURNALISM HALL OF SHAME
Mark Belling broke this story on Milwaukee’s News/Talk 1030 WISN, at 3 p.m. on Sept. 5. As he explained, not even law enforcement officials were aware of this spectacular urban interstate drag race before he contacted them about it. Yet two hours later, the Milwaukee CBS affiliate (WDJT, CBS-58) went on the air pretending that it was the first media outlet to break the story, in its 5 p.m. newscast.
The full CBS-58 report — which incorporates parts of the now-deleted YouTube video of the street race — is embedded below. The report (at 0:20) mentions how the story “has the community talking” (and at 0:38, “many people talking”), implying that CBS picked up the story from contacts in the community when, in fact, the “talking” began when Belling broke the story.
CBS simply plagiarized Belling, without crediting him for uncovering the previously concealed video at the heart of the story.
Neither in the video segment nor on its online report does CBS credit Belling in any way for anything related to the story.
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UPDATE [Sept. 8, 11:30 p.m.]. UNBELIEVABLE! This evening, three days after Belling broke news of the I-43 drag race, Milwaukee’s ABC affiliate, WISN-12 (no corporate connection to Belling’s WISN radio station) broadcast its own report about people drag racing on I-43, with more excerpts from the now-deleted YouTube video (or possibly from video of another drag race, earlier in August), without crediting Belling in any way for breaking the story about I-43 drag racing!
And it posted its video report with this headline: “WISN 12 News uncovers street racing on I-43.” (Related story here.) WISN’s website does not feature embedding. So that readers can easily view the WISN report and readily appreciate the apparent plagiarizing of Belling, it is embedded below.
[Now back to the original, Sept. 7 update]
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Belling is a real journalist (he was educated and trained in journalism, and was a newspaper reporter early in his career) who is always careful to credit others for breaking stories on which he follows up. It’s revealing that members of the mainstream media, who are generally dismissive of talk radio as a news source, are unable to match Belling’s high standards for journalism ethics.
For any readers who might wish to express to CBS, generally, their views about Belling not being credited for breaking this sensational story, here is some potentially helpful general contact info:
Newsroom phone number (found here): (414) 607-8140
Employee roster: http://www.cbs58.com/our-team
CBS-58 is part of Weigel Broadcasting Co., run out of Chicago. Its phone number is (312) 705-2600. Apparently its CEO is Norman H. Shapiro.
Shaprio’s right-hand man is Neal Sabin, who apparently can be reached via e-mail at NSabin&WCIU.com or NSabin@WCZU.com.
Here’s a photo of Sabin, perhaps smugly reflecting on his TV station’s policy of refusing to credit conservative talk-radio hosts on stories they break:
And here is information on the four individuals most responsible for CBS-58’s failure to credit Belling — the three “journalists” who appear in the segment, and their Milwaukee-based general manager, Mark Strachota.
Strachota only recently took over as general manager (puff piece from OnMilwaukee.com here) so presumably he’d love to hear feedback on how he’s doing with regard to enforcing accepted standards of journalism ethics. His LinkedIn entry is here. A likely e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org; otherwise, email@example.com. Again, the general phone number is (414) 607-8140.
Paul Piaskoski is the veteran anchor (18 years) for CBS-58 whose best quality is that he looks good in a tux. He obtained a degree from Marquette University, which has an excellent journalism program, but if the degree was in journalism, he (like Denise Konkol) apparently missed the classes covering “the ethical dimensions of what to report and how to report it.” Piaskoski’s e-mail address (listed here) is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michelle McCormack, co-anchor of the evening news on week days, would appear be capable of understanding and adhering to basic principles of journalism ethics. Her LinkedIn page indicates she obtained a B.A. in Broadcasting from Pepperdine University (which focuses on producing “ethically trained” journalists), after rigorous preparation at the elite Carmel Catholic High School for Girls in Mundelein, Illinois. Yet she, too, failed to mention that the sensational story she was covering had been broken by Mark Belling — even while, on her Google Plus page, she brags about how she is “known for breaking news”! Her e-mail address (listed here) is email@example.com.
Nor does Priscilla Luong, the lead reporter on the piece, seem to be up to snuff in terms of conveying full and accurate information to the public. In the six months since she started work at CBS-58, she hasn’t taken five minutes to update her LinkedIn page (which still lists her at her last job, in Oklahoma City). Like McCormack, on her resume she brags about how she is known for breaking news (“beat local papers in breaking news”; “Helped break double-murder/suicide story that made world headlines”), but she declined to credit Belling for beating CBS-58 in breaking news of the I-43 drag race. Her e-mail address (listed here) is firstname.lastname@example.org. She is also on Twitter, at @priscillaluong. It will be a “Luong time” before fans of Mark Belling forgive her for failing to give Belling credit on this story.
If you had to sum up in just five words the crassness of general manager Mark Strachota and his on-camera hacks, Paul Piaskoski, Michelle McCormack, and Priscilla Luong, running an evening news report pretending to break sensational news of a spectacular urban interstate drag race, but omitting to mention that Mark Belling had broken the story two hours earlier, it would be difficult to top this line from “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
UPDATE [Sept. 8, 11 p.m.]: Some discussion of the race, and Belling’s coverage, on a car discussion forum here.