HispanicVista Columnists

Is Politics Keeping Belling on The Air?

By Robert Miranda
"Taking Sides"
Milwaukee Spanish Journal
February 10, 2005

Mark Belling has been back on the airwaves since his suspension [vacation] for a couple of months. In that time period Belling uttered the term "gook" over the airwaves and declared that neither he nor his program has changed.  Clearly, his "sincere" apology is worthless.

Clear Channel Radio CEO, John Hogan recently met with this writer and several members of the Coordinating Committee Against Hate Speech (CCAHS).  Whatever Hogan feels personally about this situation in Milwaukee, one thing is certain-Clear Channel Radio is going to keep Mark Belling on the air at WISN-Radio.

This is unfortunate.  This decision leaves this community no alternative but to organize local and national support networks in order to leverage Clear Channel Radio into doing what they have done in other markets where bigots and sex perverts offended the listening audience-that is, to remove the "divisive and dangerous" Mark Belling.

But before we engage is this action, we must first understand the political support Clear Channel Radio has. Clear Channel Radio is making a stand in support of this ultra-conservative radical.

Rush Limbaugh, is the voice of radical conservatism in the United States and a major Republican Party political hack. Belling sits in on his show from time to time, whenever Limbaugh leaves the air for a period of time-drug rehab, vacation etc.  This national exposure has given Belling a national support network tied into neo-conservative political circles within this nation.

Aside from Belling being a favorite son of the neo-conservatives and Republican Party, it must be pointed out that Clear Channel Radio is also closely tied into the Republican Party, especially closely linked to the "LEADER" of the neo-conservative movement, President George W. Bush.

Belling's voice on WISN- radio is the voice of the Republican Party and the neo-conservative movement in Wisconsin. Lowry Mays, Clear Channel Radio's Chairman of the Board, is a one-time business associate of George Bush Sr. and a strong Republican.

Because Belling has become a fixture in the radical conservative right's political field, could the reason for his continued presence on the radio be tied to the politics of Clear Channel radio and the Republican Party's political agenda in Wisconsin?

Many key leaders of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin (HCCW) are closely tied to the Republican Party.  In addition, Clear Channel is a corporate partner with the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. So when local Clear Channel representatives decided to work exclusively with the HCCW, to find some sort of "healing process" to end the Belling affair, was it more for political reasons?

The wound caused by Belling to the Mexican community is no different to the wounds caused by recent radio and television personalities fired for saying similar racist things. But rather than fire Belling, an effort to protect the radical neo-conservative was initiated by seeking out the only identifiable Republican Party friendly group-the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin.

It appears that the action of the local Clear Channel representatives, working in partnership with the leadership of the HCCW, was designed to block Latino political backlash from growing. This backlash would have jeopardized the right-wings political efforts to entrench their political agenda within the Latino community had the effort to oust Belling continued to grow.

The links between this corporation and the Republican Party are strong.  Both are trying desperately to win over Hispanics in the market and in the political arena.  Belling's racist comment and subsequent actions of disrespect placed their political agenda in jeopardy. Could the meddling of the HCCW be simply a matter of protecting the political and economic agenda of the Republican Party and this corporation? Did politics and narrow economic motives drive the so-called "healing process" at the expense of the Latino community?

Does Clear Channel believe that the Hispanic market will still welcome them because of their ties to Hispanic organizations like the HCCW?

The links are tale telling.