Almost As If By Plan

In the late 1980s, Gallup took a poll about race relations among African-Americans. About a third said racism had an effect on their lives.

Thirty years later – during the regime of the nation’s first African-American president – that percentage had doubled.

The graph over the past 20 years or so looks like this:

Note the beginning of the slide – the middle of an election where the Democrats needed to pull out all the stops to counter the Tea Party and general dissatisfaction with the collapse of the healthcare system.

Unexpected?

Hardly. It was by design.

Graph depicts the prevalence of the terms “Race” and “Racism” in our “elite’ media’s narrative:

Why, it’s almost as if the “elite” media needed to create a crisis for the “elite” political class not to waste.

Remember – “race conflict” is merely a delivery system for “class conflict”.

Blue Fragility: Open Letter To Jonathan Chait

To: Johnathan “Chaitful” Chait
From: Mitch Berg – Red State Sleeper Agent
Re: This Little “Eliminationist Hatred” Problem You Have

Mr. Chait

We go way back, of course – and not in a good way. You have a bit of a history of being a horrible excuse for a human being. But you are a gift that keeps giving, for people like me, so for that I thank you, even if backhandedly.

This past week, you wrote an article in “New York Magazine” claiming that the Republican response to Covid is, in your terms, a “Death Cult”.

I won’t pullquote anything – the article is long, and never really improves over the title.

But I have two questions.

First, some background – here’s the listed Covid fatalities/million as of last Friday:

  • NY (D): 1,684
  • NJ (D): 1,790
  • US average: 474
  • FL (R): 319
  • MN (DFL): 291
  • TX (R): 241
  • ND (R): 135

So I’ve got two questions for you, Mr. Chait:

  1. Did you ever refer to Cuomo (or the governors of NJ/CT/MA) as running a “death cult?” I’ll confess, I’m an infrequent reader of yours. I only read you (or John Fugelsang) when you step on your d**k spectacularly – but I’d hate to be unfair.
  2. I wager you a shiny new quarter that as of November 3, 2020, TX and FL will be below half NY’s fatalities per million. Any action on that bet?

Thanks.

By the way – at the risk of sounding uncharitable, there are times that I think you are God’s karmic gift to me for never teasing the short-bus kids in elementary school. For this, I thank Him, and urge you to keep up the, uh, work, karmically speaking.

That is all.

Side Note: I’m making this the The George W. Bush Corollary To Berg’s Seventh Law – All of a Republican’s sins, imaginary or (for sake of argument) real, will be forgotten once the Republican can no longer hold office. 

The Second Amendment Freedom Activist’s Eternal Lament

As David Harsanyi notes, there is no issue save religion that the mainstream, especially “elite”, media, do a worse job of covering than guns.

At RealClearPolitics, John Lott reports that legacy media outlets often quite literally allow anti–Second Amendment activists to write their news stories on gun policy. Politico hasn’t quite done that today, but . . . well, I’m not sure having reporters dutifully repackaging Everytown USA press releases is any better.

The whole thing is worth a read – not that it tells you anything you don’t know.   Even the best better among Twin Cities newsrooms, NPR, has given anti-gun activists an unfettered, unedited and un-fact-checked voice (although as we noted at that time, the bias’s roots were more likely financial than ideological). 

The media does do a terrible job.  Not for lack of effort on the part of gun-rights activists…

…and not without some good results.   I’ve noticed, at least at the local level, that journos can – or at least could – be taught.  Over the years, there’ve been examples of reporters that actually listened, and learned to write the whole story and tell the truth on the issue…

…before moving on elsewhere and being replaced by a new wave of journos with the same set of superstitions their predecessors had slowly cut loose.   The whole new generation then needs to be slowly, painstakingly taught that “gun owner <> incipient mass murdering white supremacist”.  

It’s a job that, it seems, will never end. 

Of course, any hint of departing from the narrative is weeded out at the local level – there is not a single national “journalist” outside overtly conservative media that can cover this issue fairly, or even accurately.   And Big Left runs a constant effort to groom reports to take Big Gun Control’s “facts” as fact.  

Which, as Harsanyi notes, is all too successful.  

By the way – if you are among the journos who reads this space, I’d be more than happy to take you to the range one of these days.  Have your people call my people.  

Governor Waaaaaaaahlz

Governor Walz, during his presser yesterday:

And yet, somehow, the four states surrounding us, with the same exact federal government, managed to avoid a complete slaughter in their long-term care facilities.

Weird.

Y’know what’d be cool?

If we had some institution that’d probe a little further with the Governor on questions like this.

Perhaps an institution with printing presses and transmitters. Staffed by people who see themselves as a monastic cult of truth-seekers1

Naaah. That’s just crazy talk.

Also – if all the specifics of the state’s Covid response depend on federal action, then there’s really no need for the Governor to maintain emergency powers, is there? Tangent – isn’t that a curious combination? Decisively seizing emergency power, and then whining about how he as no…power?

1 All due respect to Tom Hauser, who seems to be the closest thing the Twin CIties media has to a genuine journalist.

If It’s A Spurious Correlation, It Leads

Correlation doesn’t equal causation.

Every kid with a decent junior high science teacher knew that by, well, the end of junior high.

But Millennials didn’t have good science teachers. Seriously – how did medical schools find students, much less graduate doctors, over this past 15 years?

But I digress.

It also seems to be what passes for “Journalism” lately.

To wit – according to the WaPo, a spike in violent urban crime over the past three months “followed” the greatest wave in history of people…

  1. Standing in line, sometimes for hours
  2. Digging through diminished stock
  3. Taking a federal background check (sometimes, as in Minnesota, twice) and often jumping through other permitting hoops
  4. Buying a gun legally

“led to” a spike in violent crime.

Not dumb enough for you?

“We find that states where individuals are more likely to search for racial epithets experienced larger increases in June firearm sales,” they wrote, “even after adjusting for the personal security concerns that likely generated the March spikes in gun sales.” This is a new development: Running the same analysis on previous spikes in gun-buying yielded no correlation between racial animus and purchasing behavior.

No, it’s not the Babylon Bee. But it’s pretty damn close.

Question for the “reporters” involved: why are we so sure it’s not the other way around – that the crime wave didn’t cause the surge?

The death rate for media credibility is way ahead of the one for Covid.

Divisive!

The Paper of Walter Duranty, the one that published the deeply ahistorical, revisionistic and nothing-but-inflammatory “1629 Project”, the one that published Paul Krugman’s innumerate claims that “blue” America bankrolls “red” America, which has been openly advocating “progressive” ideals in its editorial pages since I was in high school, which has been one of the primary PR agents for the left in America’s cultural cold civil war, the one that has not only been a “progressive” flak for generations but whose young, “woke” red guard faction has moved beyond shaping the informational battlefield to actively purity-testing the left-leaning editorial staff to drive it further to the cultural and political left…

has the victorian vapours about “cultural divisiveness” over Trump’s weekend speech at Mount Rushmore.

Watch for yourself.

The only thing that I could find that was remotely “divisive” was exhortation about three minutes in stating that Mount Rushmore would never be desecrated – which, I imagine, some post-modern academics find profoundly hostile.

Or maybe the bit around 5:10 here he said the rights of man will never be taken away. That has got to make Tim Walz nervous.

Perhaps the part around 6:10, where he points out that Americans aren’t “weak and submissive” in facing the war on American culture, but will in fact prevail. That’s a pretty clear and direct threat to…someone.

Too bad, so sad.

Berg’s Seventh Law is iron-clad and absolute.

Take Your Pick

The left, last week: “People don’t need the police! People can defend their own communities!”

The left, this week after people defended their own community:

“Chilling”. The “protesters” were encroaching on private property after forcibly breaking down a gate. The implied threat could miss nobody who isn’t already insulated by Urban Progressive Privilege.

The only “chilling” part of this episode is the atrocious firearm-safety the couple are exhibiting; fingers on triggers, sweeping each other and people who aren’t immediate threats. Get some training, people.

And it’s instructive to note how “chilling” it wasn’t to the mainstream media last month, when stories about black neighborhoods and business owners strapping up to deter looters met with…uncomfortable acquiescence.

Fact-Checked!

Democrat run cities are crime infested hell holes.

It’s not even a controversial premise.

Which isn’t to say the “fact checked industry – which exist primarily to uphold, or at least try and prevent the destruction of, leftist narratives Dash isn’t going to take a run at it.

From WaPo:

And let’s just say that the “ Independents” aren’t too far to the right to be Republicans, either.

Is there anything about today’s American left that isn’t built on exploitation, violence and lies?

These Are Our “Elites”

NPR’s Mara Liasson, over the weekend, observing the anniversary of D-Day. Or, more accurately, “observing” the anniversary of “D-Day”, really.

When talking with progs about “Anti”-Fa – a group whose origins were as the Communist version of the Nazi “Brownshirts”, and nothing else – I’ve found “progs” (and “elite” media types like Liasson fall out into two camps:

  • They judge the book by its cover and nothing more; “Antifa is anti-fascist! That’s a good thing!”. Comprehending this level of see/hear/speak-no-evil ignorance is like looking at a tornado for the first time; you’ve heard about ’em, you’re read about ’em, but they’re incomprehensible when you see ’em in person.
  • They think the idea of Big Left having an army of thugs is a necessary evil – or a necessary good, depending on the relative level of depravity.

I’m going to guess Liasson, cocooned in the DC area, is the former.

The DFL bobbleheads who run the Twin Cities? Much more mixed.

The Real Victim Of This Whole Crisis

New York City – all five boroughs – have been the hardest hit part of the US, and in some ways possibly the free world, by Covid.

The most densely packed city in the country and among the densest in the world, dependent on mass transit, jammed into tightly packed offices and restaurants and bodegas and bars and stacked atop each other at levels of density that send a tingle up the Met Council’s leg, the city would seem to be clear if anecodotal evidence that this plague’s greatest friend is density.

But in a city with 40% of the nation’s Covid deaths, Yahoo News – which is in constant combat with “Buzzfeed” for “most effortlessly left-biased “news” source” – has found the biggest victim of all:

Today, the youngest woman ever elected to Congress — known simply as AOC — owns another distinction, this one far grimmer: She represents the nation’s most devastated hot zone of the coronavirus outbreak.

New York’s 14th Congressional District, which includes the working-class immigrant clusters of the Bronx and Queens, has had 19,200 coronavirus cases as of April 30, more than all of Manhattan, despite having almost 1 million fewer people. Residents of the neighborhoods of Corona and North Corona in her district — the names are an eerie coincidence — have had more coronavirus cases than any ZIP code in the country.

Ocasio-Cortez, 30, knows many who have died, as well as others who were sickened with the virus, or left hungry or jobless. She sends notes and makes calls to as many surviving family members as she can, serving as a kind of legislative first responder. But it can be hard to keep up.

No – it goes downhill from there. I’d pullquote more, but then I’d have that “vomit” taste in my mouth all day at work.

It’s good to know the media’s got its priorities straight.

Praetorian Guards Gonna Guard Praetorially

Twin Cities media are giving wall-to-wall coverage to a poll showing thunderous agreement with the DFL administration shutting down most commerce in the state, indefinitely, at the whim of any “science” they officially sanction.

But – does anhone see any problems with this poll?

It’s from Public Policy Polling, And it was paid for by…

…Wait for it…

… Our old friends at the Alliance for a Better Minnesota!

So of course it oversamples Democrats and women.

And of course the Twin Cities media runs it like it’s evidence of a mandate.

A Long Time Ago, We Used To Be Friends, But I Haven’t Thought Of You Lately At All.

I’m not going to lie – because I have no reason to. I used to be a bit of a fan of former Minnesota Public radio journalist/personality Bob Collins.

We always got along relatively cordially, back during the glory days of blogging. I invited him to an MLB party, he accepted, and was photographed at least once sitting at a table of style with Republicans, seemingly enjoying himself.

And he’s giving me two of the better compliments I’ve ever been given, ever, during my career as a dealer list pundit – about my music writing and, at least once, about my chops as a political journo. And call me a pollyanna – only God can judge me – but for that I am grateful.

Bob retired last year. In honor of his last day on the job, governor waltz proclaimed an entire state wide day in Collins’ honor.

But all is apparently not well. Maybe retirement doesn’t agree with Bob? I don’t know.

But something seems to have snapped in the intervening time:

We’re not done yet:

This, on top of an ongoing string of fairly vile and tone-deaf tweeting over the past year or so – one of which referring to the “Center of the American Experiment” as the “Klan Robe Crowd”, which I’m sure must have been a surprise to Mitch Perlstein).

I started out by asking two questions. One was pretty concrete – “did MPR know about this sort of bias and bigotry when he was working there?” I’d have to say “of course” – because it’s part of their organization’s track record (and by “organization”, I mean that whole building, not the newsroom). Garrison Keillor’s behavior was the worst-kept secret in Twin Cities radio…in the 1980s. And yet they tolerated it because it didn’t hurt them until #MeToo made complacency too costly among MPR’s key demographic group, virtue-signaling white middle class progressives. I’m going to guess (and feel free to set me straight, if you’re an MPR employee) that his views may have been regarded as aggressive but codgerly by the management, and likely a sizeable and vocal majority of MPR donors.

My other question – “how common are these views in the newsroom?” They’re not. MPR’s newsroom is one of the least objectionably biased in town. They’re not perfect, and that is very much as distinct from the rest of MPR (Keri Miller is as obvious a DFL PR flak as there is in town), and they’ve certainly done less reaching out to conservatives outside elective office in recent years than they were, say, ten years ago. While I have little doubt most MPR reporters are fashionably left of center in their personal lives, most of them do an acceptable job of covering the whole story and sticking to the facts.

But Bob?

Oy.

(Title Reference, just because it’s not universally known…)

Blue Fragility, Part V

In which NPR’s On the Media, the exposed, yapping inner id of the “elite” media, #progsplains us that notwithstanding the very plain facts that about half of all Covid deaths are concentrated in one of America and the world’s most densely-populated metro areas, and that 80% are in states centered around major, densely populated metro areas, and the slowly emerging science that seems to show that Covid’s spread is closely tied to density…

…that rural red states are gonna get it, but good, because racism. Just you watch.

As predicted.

The New Stasi, Part II

Bloomberg News – the news organization owned by the guy who wants you to have the same right to self-defense that the Chinese have – apparently fired a reporter who wrote a piece critical of the Chicoms, and went out of the way to shut up his wife:

Six years ago, Bloomberg News killed an investigation into the wealth of Communist Party elites in China, fearful of repercussions by the Chinese government.The company successfully silenced the reporters involved. And it sought to keep the spouse of one of the reporters quiet, too.

“They assumed that because I was the wife of their employee, I was the wife,” the author and journalist Leta Hong Fincher tells NPR. “I was just an appendage of their employee. I was not a human being.”

Read the whole thing. 

The report comes from NPR.   One would hope that that was due to actual journalists reporting an actual story.  

I said “hope”. 

Blue Fragility, Part II

It’s a steroetype of “blue” America – at least, the “elite” version of it that gets (and makes) the headlines – that liberty, at least the kind that involves something other than waving one’s genitals about and dunking crucifixes in urine – terrifies them.

Stereotypes exist for a reason. Blue Amerca’s official vision is that liberty is a scary thing. Of course, this vision is broadcast by an “elite” that thinks they stand to benefit from living in a society where an elite – including them, natch – makes the trains run on time.

Which is why as calls from the hinterland to open up the economy get louder, you can expect to see a lot more of this sort of thing, equating those calls with scary backwoods guys with un-oiled bears and lots of guns.

Bonus steroetype: why did the New York Times put scare quotes around “liberty” in the headline?

For Services Rendered

Democrat senators – including Amy Klobuchar – push for direct federal subsidies of local newspapers:

The senators wrote that “local journalism has been providing communities answers to critical questions, including information on where to get locally tested, hospital capacity, road closures, essential business hours of operation, and shelter-in-place orders.” Recent media reports indicate that local news organizations, especially newspapers, are “slashing staff and publishing less frequently as the already-battered businesses try to weather the COVID-19 storm.” According to the letter, some “local papers and local broadcasters have lost even more of the advertising revenue they rely on from these businesses” due to the coronavirus pandemic.

So have barber shops, mechanics, tobacco stores, comic book shops and every other small business in every other small non-metro town in the states affected by the draconian shutdowns.

None of them, as an industry, earns their keep by serving as the Democratic Party’s PR firm.

Hence, Public Broadcasting “qualified” for $75 million of the 2.2 trillion in Covid bailout money, while most small businesses are waiting for their allotted handouts; none of them participated in burying a single story about a single Democrat.  What use are they?

Democracy Dies In Conspiracy

Conservatives, especially conservatives who are “out” critics of the mainstream media, get routinely accused of “hating” journalism. The late Nick Coleman was particularly, er, “acerbic” in his criticism of those who had the gall to criticize the news/industrial complex, claiming in one bout of hysteria that bloggers “wanted to kill the Strib”.

While we correctly savaged the Strib, and especially Coleman, on issue after issue, it was still baked wind. Self-government, small-“D” democracy, needs a functional, and above all trustworthy, media (among many other institutions) to survive.

And by “”trustworthy”, we mean “can be trusted to report the news, truthfully, regardless of its own institutional and individual political opinions.

In Europe, the media are pretty honest about their political points of view, on an editorial level; the Times of London and the Frankfurter Allgemeine are center-right; Guardian and Die Zeit and Le Monde are all various degrees of left. You know the slant before you pick up the paper. You can account for it.

American media has built a myth of objectivity, or at least of being a so-called “neutral voice”, around itself; Minnesota Public Radio news even made “No Rant, No Slant” their motto for a while, and it’s not much different than the mythology American media built for itself over the past hundred years or so. In my freshman year journalism class,

And it’s never really been true. Some journos do in fact do their best to separate their personal views, of course – I’ve got nothing but respect for the best of them.

Many journalists also do their best, but inevitably reflect the fact that their entire frame of reference is left-of-center. Their education, their workplace, their social circle, are an ecosystem where some variety of The Left is the old, current and future Normal. When they confront a different point of view, they can seem a little like Jane Goodall venturing out among the gorillas.

And when things are chugging along like normal, who cares, right?

The New Abnormal . But then something pops up that threatens the order, and not in a good way. What then?

The media has been rightly seen as slanted to the left for close to fifty years. With the rise of talk radio and alternative news 30 years ago, you could sense that the “elite” media were starting to give up on the pretense of balance and detachment. The notion of the “neutral voice” has been

But with the election of President Trump, the floodgates got dynamited.

The “neutral voice”, isn’t.

“Oh, Mitch – you and your hyperbole”.

No. Not at all.

The Gatekeepers Speak: “On the Media” is a production of WNYC Radio in New York. It’s a public station, one of the flagship station in the National Public Radio chain. Like a lot of NPR productions, sometimes it’s excellent. Sometimes the smug rolls off it like fog off a loch.

And sometimes, it accomplishes its mission – which in the case of “On the Media”, is to serve as the exposed id of the “elite” media in this country.

With that in mind: this show was broadcast on December 1, 2016 – probably as fast as could be put together on NPR timelines. It had four segments:

  1. The first gazed navel-ly about “how the media should cover President Trump“. Because conveying the facts and letting the audience make up their own mind was presumably not good enough anymore.
  2. How talking about Trump “Normalizes” him – unless the media changes the rules when discussing him. This featured reprentatives, not from The Nation and Slate.com or Buzzfeed or Samantha Bee. No, they were from the NYTimes and Washington Post. That led to another segment…
  3. How the language itself needs to be understood, and harnessed.
  4. And, lest the foregoing was too oblique for the casual listener, a segment linking the (as yet unstarted) Trump administration to Putin’s variety of autocracy, and laying out the imperative for the media to use it’s power to prevent “Normalizing” the president-elect.

And the media’s behavior in the three and a half years since has mapped to that template, as the media has grasped at every possible straw to try to “take down” the President.

We didn’t even need to get this leaked to us, like ‘Journo-list’ – although I suspect I may have been the only conservative listening to that groaningly pompous program, and I suspect that’s WNYC’s assumption as well.

TL:dr – At least some of the people at the apex of the “layers and layers of gatekeepers” have abolished the old rules of journalism, publicly but yet internally, as re Donald Trump.

The “elite” media’s entire coverage of Trump over the past four years, on every issue, has followed the template that’s suggested, sub rosa, in the four On the Media pieces above.

Will the rules change back when Trump leaves office? Of course not – the media had the same general attitude toward Republicans, conservatives and the issues of the right for a generation before 2016.

But the institutional imperative to use the media’s power toward political and social ends? That’s not going to end.

Distrust, but verify. And then, almost inevitably, if some smidgeon of partisan politics is involved, distrust some more.

Serious Question

We’re told as of yesterday that Senator Klobuchar’s husband is in the hospital with National Healthcare VIrus.

In the statement, Klobuchar said [husband John] Bessler had a fever and was coughing up blood. He was checked into a hospital in Virginia and is receiving oxygen but is not on a ventilator.

“I love my husband so very much and not being able to be there at the hospital by his side is one of the hardest things about this disease,” Klobuchar said in a statement.

“While I cannot see him and he is of course cut off from all visitors, our daughter Abigail and I are constantly calling and texting and emailing,” she went on to state. “We love him very much and pray for his recovery. He is exhausted and sick but a very strong and resilient person.”

All these years pf campaign appearances and debates and fairground ops and every other kind of contact with her constituents, and I do not recall seeing any mention of John Bessier. Am I dense, or is the media softplaying his existence?

Or, for that matter their status (she’s in DC, he’s teaching law somewhere in Maryland)?

Speaking of Softpedaling: Ih this piece about John Bessier, the Channel 5 report helpfully finishes with this bit:

Klobuchar said she is working in the Senate to ensure Americans receive the help they need.

Sounds like reporter Rebecca Omastiak is bucking for campaign communications gig.

Twin Cities Media, Then And Now

Twin Cities Media and Left (ptr), 2015: “Black Lives Matter were heroes for shutting down I94 during rush hour! Speak truth to power! Up next – Amanda Shapely at the Boat Show”

Twin Cities Media and the Left (ptr) 2020: “Black Lives Matter are a bunch of hooligans! Why weren’t the police able to keep order at Amy’s…er, Senator Klobuchar’s event?”