Kim Wade | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Kim Wade

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Kim Wade, a boisterous conservative, reclines in the cramped studio of WJNT. The witty and outspoken Wade is probably best known in the Jackson area for his weekday talk show, "WJNT in the Afternoon," broadcast from 5-6 p.m., Monday-Friday, on WJNT1180 AM.

Wade dons his earphones and scans a couple of newspapers to prepare for his show. He has a knack for picking out critical subjects of interest to Jacksonians and beating them to death in his rapid-fire monologues. Everyone from the governor to the Supreme Court is held accountable.

When asked to opine about Frank Melton's tenure as mayor, Wade says, "The jury is still out." He believes Melton has good ideas, but that his personality and tactics overshadow them. "The city of Jackson is at a crossroads. It can either become another Gary, Ind., or another Atlanta, Ga. We need forward-thinking leadership."

Wade attributes his turn to conservative politics to the strength and leadership of President Ronald Reagan. "Reagan was right on a lot of things," Wade says. "He provided opportunity to those who were willing to come and take advantage of it."

"It's nice to be compassionate, but we're all responsible for ourselves," Wade says sternly. "Nobody is going to guarantee you anything. You have to work for it. There is plenty of opportunity out there as well as plenty of obstacles. You can't get mired down with the obstacles." Wade says he inherited a personality of discipline and hard work from his parents, and he understands the value of free enterprise.

Wade says that business developments in Jackson are good for the city, but there are projects that need to be reevaluated with a critical eye. "We need to quit pouring money down rat holes," he says unapologetically. "We should take from existing prosperity and grow from there." When asked about the King Edward Hotel, he doesn't miss a beat. "Bomb it," he says.

"Fighting attitudes is more important than fighting crime," Wade says, as he addresses another problem in the capital city. "We accept too much crime in the minority communities."

Many people ask Wade what he does to give back to his community. "I quit joining organizations a long time ago." He is a mentor, not an activist, he says. "I mentor one hour a day, five days a week." His "mentoring" program seeks to promote and provide Jackson with Wade's vision, no matter how unorthodox that vision may be.

Previous Comments

ID
82424
Comment

I listened to Mr. Wade today for the first time in months. He sure hasn't let up on Mr. Melton. He's VERY angry about this Vidal Sullivan stunt. It does amaze me the things he is willing to say on air, though. Whoa.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-03-08T22:02:23-06:00
ID
82425
Comment

I listen to Wade 2 to 3 times a week on my drive home. I stopped listening to him altogether during the election when he tried dredging up the old youth detention center scandal involving the two Franks (Melton and Bluntson), which smacked of a desperate attempt to sway the election only days before the primary by a bitter man with a personal beef with FM related to the demise of his nightclub. After the election, Wade actually started to back away from his daily verbal assaults on the Mayor and moved on to other topics, promising that he wouldn't be proven wrong about his misgivings about Melton. He's even supported Frank's stances on imploding the King Ed and the truancy roundups. But this latest mind boggling stunt with Vidal Sullivan is so blatant that its hard for him to resist railing on Melton with an "I told ya so" smugness.

Author
Jeff Lucas
Date
2006-03-08T23:17:35-06:00
ID
82426
Comment

which smacked of a desperate attempt to sway the election only days before the primary by a bitter man with a personal beef with FM related to the demise of his nightclub. I can't speak to Mr. Wade's motives, ejeff, but we also included that episode in the profile of Mr. Melton we (I) did right before the primary. Our motives weren't to "dredge up" anything--which is a rather odd phrase to me--but to try to explore Mr. Melton's complete history in Jackson as fully as possible. I was actually surprised to hear that Mr. Mulvaney (the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who wrote the big story back then) was going to be on Mr. Wade's show when I called Mr. Mulvaney to find out if there had been developments in the story over the years to his knowledge. I assumed Mr. Wade also had access to the Nexis database. I'll be honest with you: I think it was remarkable that more was not discussed about that case -- perhaps more even about Mr. Bluntson than Mr. Melton -- during the campaign. It was as if there were a media blackout on it; down the memory hole, as it were. And that's a funny thing, considering that there were police reports, investigations, etc., not to mention plenty in news archives to consider.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-03-08T23:47:19-06:00
ID
82427
Comment

MORE The irony, to me, was that Mr. Melton himself is the one who pointed me toward this story after I heard him respond to questions by North Jackson Republican women at Bravo! about the "rumors" about his past. He said to the ladies then and told me very directly afterward that the "rumors" were "started by the police" and challenged me to go figure out what he meant. That's when I did a Nexis search, found the Mulvaney story and started going through archives. Another irony is that, if the Johnson campaign did have materials on this case, they did not give them or offer them to me. I found background materials on my own. I ran my story right before the primary because it was a profile about Mr. Melton, and at the end of your reporting about a campaign is when you tend to run profiles based on all of your reporting. I also tried many times to talk to him more about the story, but he rescinded offers for me to sit down with him and visit his home and with his boys after I reported on everything he said at Bravo (at the time, I think he was the most upset because I reported that he said he wasn't a Democrat and was only running as one because he couldn't win in majority-black Jackson if he didn't run as a Democrat. And I think he probably had figured out that I wasn't going to settle for sound-bite answers). Again, I can't speak to Mr. Wade's motives and have never asked him about it. I've only been in the same room once with the man, and have rejected many offers to go on his show. Over all, I'm not a fan of his show, although I appreciate that he seems willing to think independently about Mr. Melton. The truth is, he may have personal problems with Mr. Melton and still be correct to question his ability to lead the city and such. And I sure don't understand the things he says openly on talk radio under the guise of "opinion." Wouldn't happen here.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-03-08T23:47:50-06:00
ID
82428
Comment

MORE But the truth is, he interviewed Mr. Mulvaney, who is a very credible reporter and did more reporting a decade ago about an important development in our city than any reporter in the state did. And, frankly, if no media here was going to talk about a very serious episode then, then someone needed to, even if was a hoity-toity reporter from out of state. Sometimes that's the only way to break through local walls of silence. After my story appeared, I got very angry at the irresponsible Clarion-Ledger because they quoted Mr. Melton in their pre-primary puff piece saying that the only reason local media (could only have been Wade or me, being that no one else would report about this) reported about that period was because the Mayor Johnson campaign fed it to us -- without offering me a chance to refute that lie. That was downright libelous, at least toward my end. And it's patently absurd to assume that every journalist in the city is too dense to do a Nexis search on a candidate running for mayor! The Ledge really treat people in Mississippi like they're stupid -- and I guess they assume that other media are as bad (and lazy) as they are. I called The Clarion-Ledger and asked for a clarifiation of that quote (being that it disparaged me professionally), but they wouldn't agree to it. But they did run a letter to the editor I wrote correcting their unfactual quote. It is also worth considering that had that episode and archival history been against, say, Mr. Johnson or another real Democrat, the media and angry conservatives would have been all over it. There's a serious double standard at play here.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-03-08T23:48:13-06:00
ID
82429
Comment

BTW, I noticed that a woman called into Wade's show and blamed the fact that Melton was a Democrat for what's going on. I suspect that will happen more and more as Republicans decide to distance themselves from him -- and is perhaps what the local Dems get for not having the courage to reject him from their ticket, especially after learning that he likely was not a true resident of Jackson and had lied about his homestead exemption. We've also heard that a prominent national conservative pundit (whom I won't name just yet) is planning to go after Mr. Melton -- and the fact that he's a Democrat. Amazing, but predictable. Sow, reap.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-03-08T23:54:29-06:00
ID
82430
Comment

I like the fact that Melton is getting criticized now for being a Democrat. That's what should happen with stealth candidates who misrepresent themselves as old Democrats to Democrats and as neo-Republicans to Republicans, depending on who they happen to be talking to at the time--let them get it from both sides. They have it coming. But I will say that I did not like the way Kim Wade covered the Mulvaney business or the business with the clubs. I had no objection to the way you did it because you handled it like a journalist, but Wade said an awful lot of stuff he was in no position to back up. He presented rumor as fact. Doesn't change the fact that more serious journalism about Melton's background was warranted, but I emphasize the word journalism. What Wade did was not journalism. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-03-09T00:00:21-06:00
ID
82431
Comment

I agree with you, Tom, if that wasn't clear from my post. I don't like the way Mr. Wade did it, either -- but I don't like the way most any talk radio does "journalism." I can't tell you how many lies, for instance, that several local conservative shows (and blogs, for that matter) allowed to be spread about me and the JFP due to our critical (and fact-based) coverage of Mr. Melton. One of his henchman regularly went on those shows and said outright that I was on Johnson's payroll. I don't have time to sue, but it sure does rankle to be treated that way by other "journalism" outlets just because we bother to do a more thorough job than they do. But, yes, we reported the facts in that case. That is our priority, regardless of where the chips then fall.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-03-09T00:05:58-06:00
ID
82432
Comment

And: Truth be told, I think Wade's comments were so vitriolic that they probably did more harm than good in terms of getting the information to the public. If the Free Press said something and other local media outlets picked it up, that would have been one thing. But when Wade went way out there, I think a lot of people (including me) got turned off, thought "Oh, this has to be dirty politics," and lost interest. And that's unfortunate, because there was a very real history there that needed to be explored by the media. To hear Bo Brown complain about how he couldn't even talk about this stuff on the news was damned depressing. Media bias is a serious problem down here, a more serious problem, I suspect, than it is in most of the rest of the country. I still remember Bert Case saying, the night before the Barbour-Musgrove election, that black turnout would not affect the race's outcome. I still remember a member of a local TV news panel (also WLBT's, I think) saying, the night after the 2003 election, that the defeat of Blackmon and Anderson meant that no black candidate could win statewide office in Mississippi--validating George Dale's comments of yesteryear, and the overall Great White Hope strategy that Wayne Dowdy and company seem to be following. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-03-09T00:07:56-06:00
ID
82433
Comment

Truth be told, I think Wade's comments were so vitriolic that they probably did more harm than good in terms of getting the information to the public. You're probably right. I remember cringing when I heard that he was interviewing Mulvaney as our story came out. That whole episode -- as fascinating as it was to listen to -- very likely dragged our story into the mud with it. Contrast that to our coverage of the Meridian lawsuit that led the local media. Of course, WAPT gets props for helping make that happen. They picked up the story, after we broke it, and helped force it into the media here. That is starting to happen more and more. There are still some vestiges of the blackout (which I suspect has much to do with certain people at certain media outlets with their own conflicts of interest), but it is being lifted little by little. Of course, the mayor is the one who gets full credit for that. I hear you on media bias. I've never quite seen it so bad. I think that grows out of institutional racism -- and then the superficial Band-aid efforts to do something about it, which in turn leads to irrational trust of certain people and turning of the head away from people who use the right sound bites. That is, the pendulum has swung wildly, and neither extreme makes sense for the community. Suffice is to say, the media have been a co-conspirator in the mess we're now facing. People need information to make intelligent decisions, and that's the role of the media. Instead, I've sat next to two different Clarion-Ledger editors who have excused their abysmal coverage of Mr. Melton by saying that people didn't want to know more information, that their minds were made up. This is just wrong. I truly believe that the only way the Ledge, for instance, could start to rebuild credibility in this city is to publish a complete mea culpa and apologize for what they have not told their readers about. They won't, of course, because they are mired in defensiveness and mediocrity. But, man, they should, and then start the process of rebuilding public trust from there.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-03-09T00:16:44-06:00
ID
82434
Comment

Agreed on certain other right-wing talk radio hosts and bloggers. As someone who is regularly called a "nihilist" and "liar" by those clowns, and will no doubt be in their crosshairs even more in the coming months, I'm beginning to appreciate some of what you have to deal with. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-03-09T00:18:27-06:00
ID
82435
Comment

I'm beginning to appreciate some of what you have to deal with. Well, I consider it part of the job. And, truly, the more obsessed extremists are with what you are doing, the more you know that you're doing a good job. I simply can't tell you the benefit I and my paper have received from wingnut publicity since we've been in business. That said, the outright lies do sting, but they also toughen you up for the good fight, or the "worthy scrap" as my good friend Dick calls it. There is one "man" in town who has told so many lies about me, and people associated with me, that he has singlehandedly made himself into a joke around town. And he used to be fairly respected, from what I hear. So, you just have to take it -- and save your battles for lies that have the ability to harm you and your loved ones. Those battles I will fight.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-03-09T00:23:21-06:00
ID
82436
Comment

Donna writes: I've sat next to two different Clarion-Ledger editors who have excused their abysmal coverage of Mr. Melton by saying that people didn't want to know more information, that their minds were made up. Gee, and I'm sure they had absolutely no idea how that might have happened. I'm with you, Donna, and I agree that institutional racism seems to be at the heart of all this. And don't you just love it when an African-American man (always a man) in a position of power essentially says "I'll spend my entire career putting the white supremacist agenda into action--because I'm a black man, and doggonit, I can get away with it!" It reminds me very much of that independent film The Believer, about the young Jewish man who joins a neo-Nazi group. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-03-09T00:23:21-06:00
ID
82437
Comment

Well, making deals with the devil has long been a mighty temptation for too many people -- if they think they can personally benefit from it.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-03-09T00:25:06-06:00
ID
82438
Comment

Donna writes: There is one "man" in town who has told so many lies about me, and people associated with me, that he has singlehandedly made himself into a joke around town. And he used to be fairly respected, from what I hear. Well, he's always been a little eccentric, people used to think he was nice, and that's probably the difference. And he is friendly and charming and does some good volunteer work from time to time. But as soon as you realize someone is capable of using violent rhetoric and veiled threats against people without batting an eye, taking active measures to try and destroy other people's lives, reputations, and careers, it makes the cocktail party conversation a little more awkward. Donna writes: So, you just have to take it -- and save your battles for lies that have the ability to harm you and your loved ones. Those battles I will fight. Agreed. I've never sued anyone for defamation or invasion of privacy before, but I can think of instances where I would. If anyone ever crosses that line on the assumption that I'm too scared to take them to court, they will find it to be a very expensive mistake. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-03-09T00:31:36-06:00
ID
82439
Comment

Of course, the real irony to me about the Ledger is that, in some ways, they are doing the same things they did as a segregationist newspaper that ran 12-page sections for the White Citizens Council. They are afraid to rock the boat, to offend certain readers and advertisers and -- frankly -- to possibly stand up for the powerless who may be further hurt (or certainly not helped) by their lack of coverage. Institutionally, it's not feeling that different to me, even if individual people make good efforts (although those are getting harder to see. I mean, what is Jerry Mitchell doing these days? He's done great work in far past years, but aren't there investigative stories out the wazoo right here in Jackson right now that matter to living, breathing human beings?) Of course, this culture is in place from the top down -- which now means watered-down corporate B.S., and editors that won't rock the boat. In many ways, they were a dream newspaper to help Mr. Melton get where he is now. They want sound bites and sensationalism, and don't want to offend their friends and those they believe are powerful. They like to scream about crime (and now seem adrift because screaming about crime means criticizing the man who isn't lowereing it, or even giving them crime stats). Of course, a lot of the "powerful" aren't so happy with the mayor these days, either, but the Ledge isn't exactly far-sighted, so they couldn't see that problem coming like an out-of-control freight train. I dunno. I do know that we need a better daily newspaper that gives a damn about Jackson.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-03-09T00:32:40-06:00
ID
82440
Comment

We may be talking about a different man, Tom. The one I suspect you refer to has been awfully quiet of late, and I'm not sure was ever particularly respected, at least in city-type circles. There is another, real dumbass who is making the most noise. But now we're playing insider baseball -- and about some real pathetic losers who don't deserve my bandwidth. ;-) Yeah, I could be forced to sue, too, probably -- although I sure hate the idea of it. But I do find that the people most intent on spreading lies seem to be getting theirs in karmic paybacks closer to home, but enough said about that. Back to Wade ... I don't know how he gets away with saying some of the thigns he does. He seems to think that if he says something is "opinion," that it's acceptable. That's a real big misconception around Jackson. Imagine: "You are a murderer. Of course, that is just my opinion."

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-03-09T00:41:21-06:00
ID
82441
Comment

Isn't that how talk radio in general gets away with some of the more outrageous comments about public figures? I listen to national conservatives like Ingraham, Hannity and Savage, and I'm always amazed at how much innuendo and slander these folks get away with all by virtue of reminding their audiences that these are jokes or opinions. It's the way that they keep themselves out of court on slander charges, as well as the fact that elected officials have to tolerate a certain amount of public scrutiny, criticism and attacks by virtue of their position. But no one should have to tolerate being lied about constantly w/o being able to strike back legally.

Author
Jeff Lucas
Date
2006-03-09T09:43:01-06:00
ID
82442
Comment

Well, "opinion" does not exempt purposeful factual misstatements from libel laws. I think they get away with it because people don't sue them often enough to make them think twice ... and because it's not in print, so it's harder to come back on them.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-03-09T19:26:17-06:00
ID
82443
Comment

I think they get away with it because people don't sue them often enough to make them think twice ... and because it's not in print, so it's harder to come back on them. True, but I also think that they are quite skilled at making broad, sweeping generalizations that are difficult to make a legal case against. For example, say that conservative host "X" makes a statement to caller liberal "Y" that "in my opinion, 'libs' are all a bunch of dope smoking godless baby killers". The caller is so shocked and offended that at such an over the top generalization that its difficult to defend against w/o getting emotional and angry, and thats how these hosts make their kill stroke on liberal callers. And such a statement, while offensive, is so non-specific that I think it would be difficult to make a legal case against it, especially when the "free speech" defense is invoked. And lets face it, most liberals have become so afraid from being demonized by the Right that there aren't too many of them who would be willing to claim themselves as liberal.

Author
Jeff Lucas
Date
2006-03-10T14:29:41-06:00
ID
82444
Comment

You're right, ejeff. This is the over-reaching strategy. However, I have tapes, PDFs and transcripts of many direct lies told about me, for instance, designed to hurt my professional reputation (and try to deflect attention away from information that wasn't so becoming). For instance, a paid Melton operative saying on talk radio, "Donna Ladd is on the payroll of the Johnson campaign." It's amazing what they think falls under "opinion."

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-03-10T15:22:39-06:00
ID
82445
Comment

I remember hearing that, Donna, and I understand your anger and frustration at such charges. I'm amazed at how much the "other" local political blogsite (starts with 'M') wastes bandwidth making assine, juvenile attacks on you and this site. I'm not familiar with the history there, but it definitely strikes me as a prime example of how low political discourse has sunk when you have to resort to meanspirited personal attacks on how someone looks in order to score points, even if only in your own mind. Attack me in the "arena of ideas" and let's have a real debate w/o the personal stuff.

Author
Jeff Lucas
Date
2006-03-10T17:20:51-06:00
ID
82446
Comment

There is no real history. One of them got offended because I wouldn't let him troll on this site and run people off, another one of them got pissed because we didn't endorse him for public office, and the third one was embarrassed because I pointed out on this site when he tried to attack our credibility on crime issues that he had allowed a blatantly racist statement about crime on one of his Web sites for months (it's probably still there). As far as I know, few people other those three weak-minded fellas post there under various aliases. Their obsession with me makes them look like morons. They have lied, libeled, whined about me (and my body and my family and the street I live on and my friends and my employees and my lack of children and, and ...), and have threatened boycotts for about three years now. I feel sorry for them more than anything else.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-03-10T18:02:55-06:00
ID
82447
Comment

Oh, and they are big Melton fans, and can't stand one second of criticism of their mayor of choice.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-03-10T18:05:29-06:00
ID
82448
Comment

I just surfed over to their site and see that they describe me as your "lapdog." Personally, I find that kind of flattering. At least they recognize, now, that I have your back--they spent the longest time trying to get me to join their little Internet picket parade. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-03-10T20:26:45-06:00
ID
82449
Comment

Tom, I'll happily be your lapdog, too. Woof.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-03-10T23:16:00-06:00
ID
82450
Comment

LOL

Author
Izzy
Date
2006-03-11T18:02:01-06:00
ID
82451
Comment

How's "Tom Head and the Lapdogs" sound as a new group name? ;-) (And, Tom, I think that would be the shortest picket parade in history.) Giggle.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-03-11T19:56:11-06:00
ID
82452
Comment

:o) I just went over and marked their fire hydrant for a second, so maybe that will calm things down for a while. Always feel kind of funny when I do that because I'm concerned they might not know where I stand. So just to be abundantly clear: Woof, woof. I'd much rather be your lapdog than a Big, Macho, "Credible Straight-Shooter" any day of the week. And they can quote me on that. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-03-11T20:49:58-06:00
ID
82453
Comment

You bad dawg, you. Ick. Must stink over there like the NYC subway in August, if you know what I mean. With all the markings and all. And I bet they don't believe in pooper-scoopers. ;-) Woof!

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-03-11T21:00:46-06:00
ID
82454
Comment

Interesting. Looking for other stuff, I bumped into this old article by Adam when he was still at the link about problems on the airwaves: Charles Evers, chairman of the board and program director at Jackson's WMPR FM since 1987, admits that the responsibility of guiding the airwaves should fall on individuals like himself. "You should never take advantage of your position as a radio personality over those who can't defend themselves and destroy them, tear down their character. That's overstepping your bounds and we don't do that here," said Evers, who oversees local talk shows featuring such personalities as Jackson Advocate Publisher Charles Tisdale, a vociferous mouth in the community prone to fits of name-calling. The word "Uncle Tom" is liberally dished out to targets on most any given show. Following the format of many national right-wing radio talk shows that dominate the AM airwaves, such as Michael Savage's "Savage Nation," Tisdale frequently criticizes callers and has been known to disconnect them during some of his more passionate moments. Tisdale also follows the trend of local FM shows, such as the "JT and Dave Show," of routinely targeting a familiar list of political figures for criticism. Evers said he discouraged "unnecessary insults" and "shooting from the hip" during airtime. "It's no good to be hurling unnecessary insults and making statements about people that you just can't prove, just to shoot from the hip and make a statement, knowing they can't challenge it," Evers said, and called upon an earlier radio personality as an illustration. "A good example was current Jackson mayoral candidate Frank Melton, when he was on 'The Bottom Line.' He would just destroy people and not even give them a chance to answer. No one ever did anything about it, but I'd always thought somebody should have," Evers said. Evers said he sometimes feared that Tisdale would eventually say something and get the station in trouble. "I fear that all the time, but we always have that disclaimer both at the front of the show and at the end. It protects us, because if we say we're not responsible for something you say on the station then it's strictly up to the sponsor or the person doing the interview. Now they could still sue us, or whatever, but we'd at least have a leg to stand on," said Evers, who added that he has, so far, avoided being on the wrong side of a lawsuit.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-03-12T00:20:28-06:00

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