We’re having an editorial staff debate at SBT about whether radio talk show host Mark Belling is just a loose cannon who shoots off his mouth about things he knows little about or he is simply a pathological liar.
On Wednesday, we were alerted that Belling was calling me nasty names again and was saying that Small Business Times was trying to "censor" the local business community.
There’s only one problem with that assertion. Belling accused SBT of "censoring" information that we had already reported.
Keep in mind, I have never met this man. But I’m starting to think he might have some sort of man crush or obsession with me.
For background purposes, Belling was reading highlights from a new report that compared the relative perceptions about the business climates in four markets: Milwaukee; Denver; Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill (RDCH); and Green Bay.
Belling claimed Small Business Times "tried to censor anything negative" from its readers and said SBT was not allowing the business community to speak its collective minds about the local business climate.
Of course, Belling was lying. He did not say, perhaps because he did not know, that a summary of the new report on the business climate was THE lead story Wednesday in SBT’s BizTimes Daily e-mail bulletin – hours before he started his rant. The BizTimes Daily is sent out to thousands of southeastern Wisconsin business people every day. And as Belling likes to say, "furthermore," SBT provided a link to the entire business climate report in the BizTimes Daily story.
Of course, Belling was lying. He did not say, because he did not know, that I personally had requested that the authors of the report write a follow-up Milwaukee Biz Blog entry about their study. Their blog is posted for our readers today.
Of course, Belling was lying. Small Business Times and its web site, www.biztimes.com, are frequent and ongoing podiums for the southeastern Wisconsin business community to sound off about the local business climate – good, bad or indifferent.
- For instance, local business owner Chris Carter of CCI wrote a Milwaukee Biz Blog for SBT about Milwaukee’s woeful business climate.
- For instance, retired Briggs & Stratton Corp. executive Ted Hutton wrote a Milwaukee Biz Blog about how Milwaukee needs to shake itself out of its "fog,"
- For instance, executive consultant Susan Marshall wrote a Milwaukee Biz Blog about a call to benchmark what works in this state and share those best practices to move Wisconsin forward.
- For instance, Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC) president Tim Sheehy wrote a Milwaukee Biz Blog about the need for the Wisconsin business community to step up and give renewed support for the school choice movement.
And that’s just within the last week! Earlier this month, business owner Dennis Ellmauer wrote Milwaukee Biz Blogs denouncing Wisconsin’s tax climate and a proposed state hospital assessment.
These are bright people sounding the alarms about the issues our region faces and offering their suggestions for progress. And SBT was happy, proud and able to serve as the conduit of their thoughts.
Most people have no recourse when Belling lies about them. Fortunately, we do, and we choose to respond by telling the truth. And as he might say, we will do it "again and again and again." I feel sorry for the countless other good people who have no forum in which to respond to his rants. Please consider yourself to be in good company.
As for Belling, I am compelled here to quote the great Mark Twain: "It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt."
Remember, it was just a couple of weeks ago that Belling criticized Joe Zilber for being naïve enough to think that his generous donation of $50 million could actually help Milwaukee’s Black community. Belling wrote, "How is Joe Zilber’s $50 million going to be spent? On more basketball courts? Social workers? Condom giveaways?"
I know Joe Zilber. And I will be proud to stand next to him as he does his level best to make Milwaukee a better place.
For the record, here’s the link to that full business climate study: http://lakeland.edu/cee.
Furthermore. Again and again.
Steve Jagler is executive editor of Small Business Times.