PantherU

Lazy, uninformed curmudgeon pens annual drivel

For the third year in a row, resident OnMilwaukee.com curmudgeon Dave Begel has written an article for the site calling for the end of the Milwaukee Panthers athletics program.  In it, he claims that head coach Rob Jeter’s 129-127 record should be cause for our athletic director to be searching for a new leader – many would agree with that statement – and then caroms into the abyss by claiming there are no fans, no one cares, so just cut the whole program.

All right then, guy. Let’s cut the program because it had its first losing season in five years and fire a guy two years removed from a conference championship where the only thing that stood between him and an NCAA Tournament run was the national runner-up.

But let’s not stop there. Why don’t we cut every team who has a losing season? Then, let’s move it into other realms. How about we cut out news organizations that are not in the top 100 of local news media sites for hits. Will OnMilwaukee.com make the cut?!  Of all the news media in the state of Wisconsin, OnMilwaukee.com lags behind in traffic compared to established news organizations such as the Journal Sentinel, Green Bay Press-Gazette and Wisconsin State Journal. Perhaps we should shutter the doors of their office. At the very least, the campus neighborhood may want to reconsider renewing their lease.

Of course we wouldn’t do that. OnMilwaukee is a great media organization that sets the standard in arts and entertainment reporting – they may be a little heavy on rankings lists, but the fact that JSOnline rebranded its arts and entertainment online section to “Tap” should give you an idea that they recognize OnMilwaukee as a strong competitor in the field.

But not in sports. It’s hard for anyone to take the website’s athletics seriously as long as they continue to employ Dave Begel. It’s true in this instance that the weakest link breaks the chain. Strong writing over the past decade on that site from very strong sports journalists like Drew Olson, Andrew Wagner and now Jim Owczarski loses credibility when it shares the same space with “UWM should cut sports blarg” and “Women shouldn’t be allowed to play sports.”

Begel often calls himself a journalist, talking about the “journalism” and how his job is to show the warts and problems of Milwaukee. In a post on September 12th that could only be described as textual fellatio to Jeff Sherman, Begel provides the quintessential Begel line: “I have done lots of journalism in my life.”

No, you haven’t. Not at OnMilwaukee.com, at the very least. Journalists do their research. Begel is a guy who can’t be bothered to stretch his sweaty, meaty palm long enough to click a few times to find the attendance records of MKE basketball. “I could not find the attendance figures on their website, even though they might be there.” It’s more important for Begel to finish the article without fact-checking and get back to his pork rinds than it is for his wild ideas to have any factual basis to support them.

Of course, we know the real reason Dave Begel writes this article now on a yearly basis. And it directly contradicts his reasons for wanting UWM to cut athletics.

Dave Begel is the sports hatchet man for Jeff Sherman and Andy Tarnoff in their quest for hits. Whenever OnMilwaukee.com needs someone to drum up the hits on the website, they call on the duck tail hairdo to save the day.  By bringing up the “cut UWM sports” garbage again, isn’t Begel proving that his most tried-and-true method to drum up hits is to poke at the UWM fan base and community, as a popular topic of discussion?

Begel’s job isn’t as a journalist, it’s as a talk radio jockey in print. He knows that the way to drum up hits for the website (and is to shout the extraordinary dissent from the rooftops. By playing the crazy idea card on a consistent basis, Begel can help the website get some cheap hits. It’s his job to make outlandish remarks because it’s for the greater good of selling more advertising at a higher price. Dave Begel is a shill with a joke of a title.

Don’t believe it? Leave the realm of MKE Athletics and see that he has called for women to stop playing sports, for the head of Daniel Bice and the Journal Sentinel investigative team (the one that’s won three Pulitzers in the past few years), and for the Bucks to leave town. His latest and greatest example of this is the call, last night, for the Packers to engage in a discussion about bringing back Brett Favre. Yeah. That’s not a joke.

What is a joke is OnMilwaukee.com’s sports offering as long as Dave Begel is still a part of the team. Jim Owczarski, an excellent writer and a rising star, is forced to share space with a troll like Begel. This association shouldn’t drag down Owczarski’s reputation, but how strong is “OnMilwaukee.com Sports Editor” on the resume if all someone has to do is look at the section and see he is in the same boat as a guy like Begel?

The thing that makes this so frustrating is that OnMilwaukee.com should be a leader in coverage of programs like UWM. The Journal Sentinel has cast its lot in stone – they cover the Packers, Brewers, Bucks and Badgers football, a bit on Marquette and Badgers basketball, and everything else is tertiary and relegated to the scrap heap.  OnMilwaukee should be the leader everywhere else, because those other teams and sports offerings have dedicated fan bases who in a lot of ways are far more rabid than the variety you’ll see at the top tier.

UFC events pack sports bars around the city every time they’re on pay-per-view, but the Journal Sentinel has mostly ignored it. OnMilwaukee could cast off the chains of the talk radio duck tail “journalist” and become the place to be for a large chunk of Milwaukeeans by putting a higher emphasis on sports that haven’t gotten commitment from the Journal Sentinel – the MKE Panthers, Milwaukee Admirals, Wave, Lakeshore Chinooks, Bavarians FC, and annual events like the Milwaukee Mile races.

Milwaukee needs a news organization that is willing to cover what isn’t already covered, not a website that simply duplicates the works of dozens of news outlets and employs one monkey who throws shit on the walls.

The Packers get hits, we get that. But can’t OnMilwaukee just run AP articles on the Packers and let Owczarski build a big reputation by covering other, lower-tier sports options? They could beat the Journal Sentinel’s Marquette coverage today if Owczarski runs that beat (on that, how in the hell did Milwaukee luck into Todd Rosiak and Marquette has to live with Michael Hunt?).

At the end of the day, OnMilwaukee.com is a fantastic website that is the leader in arts and entertainment coverage in Milwaukee and has a fairly decent news section as well. Its sports offering employs an excellent journalist whose work is dragged down by a buffoon. Here’s to hoping Sherman and Tarnoff realize what they could have with their sports section and get serious about it.

As long as you keep seeing “Dave Begel” on the byline, you’ll know they haven’t gotten the net quite yet.

PantherU.com would like to say ‘you’re welcome’ in advance to OnMilwaukee.com for linking to several posts by the duck tail, in turn driving up hits to the ramblings of their resident text talk radio jockey.

One Comment

  1. Dan

    November 7, 2013 at 1:28 am

    …..and I didn’t think Dave Begel was still alive. Obviously, he’s not.

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