(An ongoing Afternoon Journal series of weekly “rebuttals” or direct responses to public utterances by pundits and politicians)
Stopping just short of an even 30, AM radio conservative Charlie Sykes has made 27 predictions for 2014. I read the first six because the other 21 are hidden behind the RightWisconsin subscription wall, which no one in his or her right mind (un-right mind?) should pay to see. Like most partisan political guesswork, Sykes’ predictions can be put in the category of “wishful thinking.”
Addressing the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Politifact fact-checking, Sykes wittily prognosticates that Politifact will give itself a “pants on fire” rating this year. The newspaper has awarded Sykes one “false” and two “pants on fire” ratings over the last few years, and Sykes regularly lambasts the column. Actually, the Journal Sentinel shows remarkable restraint regarding its sister radio station WTMJ and the affiliated RightWisconsin website, all owned by Journal Communications, Inc. ; one or two JS journalists could, if allowed, spend entire careers fact-checking the opinion emanating from our local conservative mainstream media version of Fox News.
We all make mistakes, including pundits and politicians, as a quick check of the JS Politifact website proves. (Sykes, by the way, does not appear on the JS Politifact website list of “Wisconsin People and Groups”. One must go to the national site to find him.) And, of course, the journalists of Politifact are human, too, susceptible to irrational biases and errors as we all are. But some of us are more prone to slipshod, hyper-partisan opinionating and error than others, which is what democratic debate, honest scholarship and responsible journalism are meant to sort out.
The only prediction I feel at all confident in making for 2014 is that much human error and tragedy will occur along with at least a little political and personal wisdom and courage.