Wednesday, August 07, 2002

The Truly Execrable Mike Fleming

WREC's Mike Fleming is a strange and baffling broadcaster. He manages to fit most of the bad stereotypes of the "shock jock"--daily outrage, emotionalism, shallowness, etc. But he also likes to fold in a bit of the reporter image, as he once was a reporter for the Commercial Appeal.

He's famous for anonymously quoting "people" who have "just given him" some information. He will happily tell his reader of things he knows, without saying how he knows them, because, I think, it's one way for him to make himself feel better than he is. "I know something you don't know--nyah, nyah, nyah."

Today, he once again lit into Rick Rout, son of Shelby County's outgoing Mayor and President of the Young Republicans. Rout sent out an email just before the election that blithely conceded the election to Wharton, the Democrat. Rout also made a joke of not supporting Flinn, his party's candidate. Fleming seems to be really incensed by this, so much that it's been a topic every day since he first brought it up. Fleming keeps referring to the "Rout political DEATH... watch."

But Fleming added fuel to the fire. He mentioned last week a suit and counter-suit against the younger Rout, claiming that the CA's Susan Adler Thorp "knew" of this suit but refused to write about it, even though the CA copiously covered the story of Flinn's suit-and-countersuit. Today, Fleming recited from the charges and countercharges in the Rout suit, including some remarks by Alan Crone, the Shelby County Republican Party head and Rout's attorney! What a small political world we have here, eh?

Fleming quickly and rotely read the charges, which I'll not repeat here. He did not reread them again. But he noted that there was to be a YR meeting and SCRP Board meeting on Thursday. It can only appear that Fleming sought to "poison the well" against Rout, who would have likely been forced out anyway. But by going public with this mess, Fleming assured that there was no way Rout could stand a chance.

What subterranean maneuvering was going on that Fleming would publicly go after Rout in this manner? Whose agenda was being served? Certainly not Fleming's, so whose scut work was he doing? And why?

It was despicable and scurrilous behavior. I would say that it should be beneath Fleming, but I suspect that very little is beneath him now.

Until next time, that is all.
Your Working Boy

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