One way MNSure learned to save money?
Stop paying for feckless PR, and let the Strib do it for them for free.
One way MNSure learned to save money?
Stop paying for feckless PR, and let the Strib do it for them for free.
You know me.
You know I believe that the Strib is – and at the highest level, sees itself – as a PR arm for the DFL.
I don’t think I’ve left a whole lot of you wondering about my beliefs about Minnesota’s Newspaper of Record.
But I never figured the business section’s Neal Saint Anthony would turn into a stenographoer for Alida Messinger, too.
But one of my last little outposts of pollyannaism about theStrib’ssense of detachment has been the business section, especially Neal Saint Anthony.
Nearly half of the tax cuts Gov. Mark Dayton proposed Thursday are for businesses and their owners, a move that may reduce the anti-business criticism that has dogged him.
Dayton proposed — and the House almost immediately passed — eliminating three business-sales taxes that accounted for $232 million in his overall $616 million in tax cuts.
He also asked lawmakers to simplify and raise the estate tax deduction to $2 million from $1 million and to eliminate the gift tax, a 10 percent levy on any personal gift above $1 million. Those moves would cut $43 million in taxes, bringing the combined cut on businesses and the wealthy to $275 million, or 44 percent of the total.
So let’s get this straight:
Why, it’s almost as if a cynic might expect to dig back into the “hypothetical” Minnesota version of Journo-List and find a conversation between key DFL operatives and the major Twin Cities media figures saying “we’ll grab all the taxes we can first; keep mum about it. We’ll give some back next year; make a huge deal about it. And for God’s sake, never talk about MNSure!”.
But that’d be cynical, wouldn’t it?
The other day, a pack of the usual crowd of waxy yellow Leftyblog and Leftytweet buildup teased themselves to ecstasy over this photo:
It’s a group of “Trail Life” boys – from a breakaway sect of Boy Scouts that bars openly gay members – “giving a Nazi salute” as they recited their creed.
Except it wasn’t:
But it turns out that the boys were not saluting Hitler and contrary to the first Associated Press caption, they were not reciting a creed. The boys were singing “Taps,” a longtime Boy Scout tradition that the Texas Trail USA troop had adapted as their own.
The boys had gathered in a circle with their hands raised straight into the air. They gradually lowered their hands as they sang the song. It concludes with their hands flush against their side.
“It really misrepresented what was going on,” [John Stemberger, chairman of the board of Trail Life] told me. “There are children involved and that made it more outrageous. They were exploited and misunderstood.”
The picture accompanied what was actually apparently a relatively fair story.
But when it comes to the un-PC, “fair” isn’t part of the left’s playbook.
If there’s a “broken record” phrase in all of Minnesota conservative alt-media, it’s “the Star Tribune is carrying the water for the DFL”.
It’s like saying “Boy, isn’t Lady Gaga weird”. It’s the baseline. It hardly needs to be said.
As Strib observers and critics go, I’m more jaded and cynical than most, which is another way of saying “almost cynical enough”.
But even I – who doesn’t really doubt that the Strib’s editors, and likely some “journalists”, are on the local version of “Journo-List” with the DFL, Take Action, Alliance for a Better Minnesota and Alida Messinger – wasn’t ready for the avalanche of lies and bald-faced image-shaping in this editorial.
The subtitle says it all: ”Relief not as sizable as hoped, but help goes where it’s most needed.”
There was no relief, and the “help” was taken from most Minnesotans and given to the Minnesotans whose votes the DFL wants to buy!
It only gets worse:
As many previous statehouse politicians learned to their sorrow, local property taxes are hard to control from the Capitol. That reality has hit home to the DFLers in charge of the Legislature and the governor’s office.
They thought they set the table in 2013 for noticeable reductions in property taxes around the state. Instead, they got mixed results and a muddled message. Total K-12 school and local government levies are up $125 million this year, giving Republican politicians the chance to crow that the DFL’s tax-suppression strategy failed.
There was no “DFL Tax-Suppression Strategy, other than repeating “raising Local Government Aid will lower property taxes!” enough times for the incurious to believe it.
But DFLers also engineered an increase in property tax refunds for both homeowners and renters, distributed on an income-based formula to low- and middle-income taxpayers facing high tax bills. Factor in estimated claims for the richer refunds, and net property taxes in 2014 are down slightly from 2013 — by $8 million, or 0.1 percent…But count us too among fans of the $133 million boost this year in refunds to qualifying taxpayers. The income-driven property tax refund and renters’ credit are well-designed programs that this year will reach an estimated 550,000 property owners and renters — up from 140,000 previously eligible.
“Income based formula”.
In other words, the DFL took money from some people, and gave it to others.
That’s not a tax cut. That’s redistribution. That’s the state picking winners and losers.
That leaves plenty of Minnesota’s 2.1 million households staring at higher taxes again this spring. This is the 12th year in a row for increases in total property tax burdens, with yearly increases averaging $332 million.
But the credits are helping to stabilize housing for low-income Minnesotans by sending help to those whose property tax bills are high enough in proportion to their incomes that their ability to remain in their homes could otherwise be in doubt.
That’s not “property tax relief”. That’s a social program, using the state to funnel money to overextended low-income home owners.
The refunds may not stifle political criticism, but they’re sound policy.
No. They are DFL campaign spending.
Fact: after two years of the DFL claiming at every turn that the GOP’s cuts to LGA hiked property taxes, and that their reinstatement would “cut property taxes” – their words, over and over and over again – nearly 80% of Minnesota’s jurisdictions raised property taxes.
The DFL lied to the people.
TheStrib, in this editorial, is covering for the lie, and doing it clumsily.
Well, too clumsily to fool anyone that’s paying attention.
But the Strib’s political coverage isn’t aimed at that audience.
The relationship between the Democrats and the media
occasionally usually seems intimate to the point of unseemly.
But it rarely seems like the media are directly employed by the Democrat party (Keri Miller and Lori Sturdevant notwithstanding).
But that’s changed.
Perhaps you recall; a few years ago, I was part of a small group – along with left-leaning reporter David Brauer and several Senate staffers – that rewrote the Senate’s media credentialing rules. The changes opened up the Senate to all manner of alternative media, including bloggers.
That was a good thing.
But one of the rules read like this: “Organizations owned or controlled by registered lobbyists, political parties or other party organizations (defined as organizations registered with the Campaign Finance Board or the Federal Election Commission) shall not be granted credentials.”
Bill Glahn noticed something:
It turns out that in 2012 and 2013, the senate Democrats paid a total of $30,250 for “research” to a company listed as “Enlighten Enterprise” of 254 Wheeler Street in St. Paul.
Records on file at the Minnesota State Secretary of State’s Office show that a company called “Enlightened Enterprises” was registered at that address on July 25, 2012 by a Shawn Towle. The first payment from senate Democrats to Enlighten Enterprise occurred on July 26, 2012.
As pure coincidence would have it, a Shawn Towle is listed in both the 2012 and 2013 editions of Capitol News Coverage Directory as an accredited member of the senate press corps, representing Checks & Balances. That Shawn Towle is also listed in the current 2014 edition.
Sources in the Senate tell me Towle is at press conferences, pressing Republicans and back-slapping Democrats…
…which is fine, and not much different than the rest of the Capitol press corps.
But none of them are paid by the Senate DFL Caucus.
Is the Senate DFL paying for “media” presence, and violating its own rules in the process?
Someone should ask Tom Bakk…
Morgan’s prime-time show is now mulch.
He was most famous for trying to return America’s gun laws to pre-revolutionary standards.
No, even that noted conservative tool, the NYTimes, caught that:
Mr. Morgan’s approach to gun regulation was more akin to King George III, peering down his nose at the unruly colonies and wondering how to bring the savages to heel. He might have wanted to recall that part of the reason the right to bear arms is codified in the Constitution is that Britain was trying to disarm the citizenry at the time.
I, for one, was looking forward to dumping the unctuous old Pom into Boston Harbor.
But I’ll settle for this, for now.
One of the things you learn by studying “progressivism” (as starkly opposed to classical liberalism) is the contempt its practitioners have for their subjects.
Er, citizens. Sorry. That was a slip.
Micheal Barone reviews a book – ““The Revolt Against the Masses: How Liberalism Has Undermined the Middle Class.” by Fred Siegel – and runs down some history of this contempt, a history lesson you just didn’t get in high school:
Progressivism was repudiated in the landslide election of Warren Harding in 1920, at which point disenchanted [post-Wilsonian] liberal thinkers turned their ire against middle-class Americans who, in the “Roaring ’20s,” were happily buying automobiles, refrigerators, radios, and tickets to the movies.
The novels of Sinclair Lewis, the journalism of H. L. Mencken, and the literary criticism of Van Wyck Brooks heaped scorn on the vast and supposedly mindless Americans who worked hard at their jobs and joined civic groups — Mencken’s “booboisie.”
I’ve always been annoyed by the retroactive regard Mencken gets – but given his resonance with our intellectual “ruling class”, it makes disturbing sense.
These 1920s liberals idealized the “noble aspiration” and “fine aristocratic pride” in an imaginary Europe, and considered Americans, in the words of a Lewis character, “a savorless people, gulping tasteless food,” and “listening to mechanical music, saying mechanical things about the excellence of Ford automobiles, and viewing themselves as the greatest race in the world.”
This contempt for ordinary Americans mostly persisted in changing political environments. During the Great Depression, many liberals became Communists, proclaiming themselves tribunes of a virtuous oppressed proletariat that would have an enlightened rule…The supposedly mindless 1950s, Siegel recalls, were actually a time of elevated culture, with thousands of Great Books discussion groups across the nation and high TV ratings for programs such as Shakespeare’s Richard III, starring Laurence Olivier.
And let’s not forget the left’s tenuous relationship-of-convenience with rationality:
Liberals since the 1920s have claimed to be guided by the laws of science, but often it was crackpot science, like the eugenics movement that sought forced sterilizations.
Other social-science theories proved unreliable in practice. Keynesian economics crashed and burned in the stagflation of the 1970s.
The academy and the media it spawned has spent nearly 100 years trying to give Real America an inferiority complex.
Read the whole thing.
The Strib is discontinuing its “Contributing Columnists” column – or at least the part of it that featured conservatives like Katherine Kersten and Jason Lewis – in favor of installing Doug Tice as the paper’s sole voice of “dissent”.
Now, I’m acquainted with Doug. I’ve interviewed him. He’s a good guy, and a good reporter.
But having him serve as the sole voice of dissent on the Strib’s DFL-blue columnists’ row?
Bill Glahn writes about the changeover:
If such a thing is possible, I participated in a useful discussion on Twitter last night. The principal participants included my internet radio partner—St. Paul attorney John Gilmore—Minneapolis Star Tribune editorial page editor Scott Gillespie, and former editor and current Southwest Journal columnist David Brauer.
Prompting our conversation was the apparent decision by the Star Tribune to discontinue the weekly Sunday Opinion page “Contributing Columnist” feature, in which non-liberal voices rotated through about once a month. The feature included columns from conservative author Katherine Kersten, conservative radio talk show host Jason Lewis, and centrist politicians Tim Penny and Tom Horner.
That space is to be filled by a weekly column from current Star Tribune staffer D.J. Tice. I’ve met Mr. Tice on a number of occasions and have read his work for years. Not to damn him with faint praise, but he strikes me as a reasonable sort, very middle-of-the-road.
And he is. This blog has mixed it up with Tice, and come away better for the discussion.
But here’s the beef:
To my taste, he comes across as more Joe Lieberman than George Bush. Perhaps, though, I will be pleasantly surprised by his work in this new role.
If you go waaaaay back to when Tice was with the Pioneer Press, he was…Republican. Low-key, not especially ideological.
Mr. Brauer was among those cheering the move, telling us that the current conservative lineup was not “worthy” and did not “best showcase” our side of the aisle.
I’ve had that same discussion with Brauer, among others on the left. I asked – in a city full of highly capable conservative writers (John Hinkeraker, Walter Hudson, Ed Morrissey, Bill Glahn himself, Scott Johnson, Erin Haust, and on a good day yours truly), what was the problem? Finding a new conservative to fill the space would be a cakewalk!
And Glahn has the same question I did:
What makes a conservative “worthy”? It is a willingness to support the larger progressive cause? In Part 1 of this series, I quote National Review’s Jonah Goldberg on the liberal view of what the proper role of conservatives should be in the national discourse,
“Good conservatives… should know their place and gladly serve as Sherpas to the great mountaineers of liberalism, pointing out occasional missteps, perhaps suggesting a slight course correction from time to time, but never losing sight of the need for upward ‘progress’ and happily carrying the extra baggage for progressives in their zealous but heroic quest for the summit.”
For another view of a worthy role for conservatives, in Part 2 of this series, I quote the Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto as he reviews a piece by Time magazine’s Joe Klein on the subject of ObamaCare,
What Klein wishes for is a division of labor in which the two parties would cooperate to make government bigger. He’d like the Republicans to reinvent themselves as a non-ideological party devoted to effective management, which would allow the Democrats to focus on expanding government. In such a world, Democrats would face no serious resistance to their legislative efforts, and there would be less risk of ObamaCare-style failures because the elephants’ job would be to clean up after the donkeys.
There’s all that; a decade of reading Lori Sturdevant’ll tell you that the views above are more common than not.
But the other subtext I got from discussing this with Brauer was the idea that their idea of a “worthy” “conservative” is someone who might be incrementally to the right of the rest of columnist’s row – enough to allow plausible deniability of bias without being too threatening – but most importantly, someone who knows the secret journalists’ handshake.
In other words – someone who is a journo first and foremost, and a dissenter from the group orthodoxy…somewhere down the list.
Is it a make-work program in an industry increasingly full of people scrambling for jobs with non-profits or PR firms?
Or is it sometime more?
And are people (like, occasionally, a very frustrated me) being shortsighted for saying “a pox on their house and all like them?”
Glahn says yes:
For the reader, the absence of dissenting views—or when rebuttals are allowed only to hand-picked issues at certain times—reinforces the impression that no credible opposition exists to the progressive worldview or that there exists no viable alternatives to liberal policies. As a result, conservative election triumphs (like Scott Walker’s) or the failure of progressive initiatives (like MNsure) catch the reader by complete surprise: from faithfully reading the Star Tribune, they would not be aware such outcomes were possible.
This, of course, ties into my thesis – that most Minnesota liberals never learn how to debate conservatives, and conservatism, because they never actually encounter it as anything but a punch line, a defamatory stereotype, or a crisis. From our DFL-owned school system, through our university system in which ”questioning authority” means “from the left only”, to the non-profits and academic and government union jobs that absorb so much of the regional left, they never have to confront considered, intelligent dissent – because the institutions that “inform” them carefully filter everything about conservative dissent that can’t be turned into a Sack cartoon from them.
I still believe that even a liberal newspaper and its readers would benefit from a regular conservative presence on its pages. Thoughtful conservative commentary that describes, week-in-and-week-out, a workable alternative set of policies based on a competing worldview would force liberals to sharpen their arguments and readers to expand their horizons.
I believe the mainstream media hit a fork in the road over the past few decades; inform people, or serve a political end. They made their choice, and they’re going to keep running with it.
And while I have the utmost respect for Doug Tice, he’s less a dissent from the Strib’s suffocating groupthink than he is the “good cop” to a room full of rhetorical “bad cops”.
It’s not actually dissent.
There must be a legislative session coming up; the MinnPost – a local group-blog funded by liberals with deep pockets employing a rogue’s gallery of recycled local big-media people – is back on the gun beat.
Last week, Susan Perry – their “consumer health reporter”, whose sloppy reporting on this subject we’ve repeatedly, even routinely, beaten up in this space – wrote a fluff piece about a metastudy (a repackaging of the data in other studies) appearing in the Annals of Internal Medicine that shows that having a gun in the home doubles chance of a murder, and triples the chance of suicide.
And it reminded me of an episode from twenty years ago.
Let’s flash back, shall we?
The Gullible, Biased Hack Beat: Back in the early nineties, the anti-gun media (which was most of them, back then) breathlessly recited a factoid; a study in the New England Journal of Medicine had showed, we were told, that a gun in the home was 43 times as likely to kill the owner, or someone the owner knew, than it was to kill a criminal.
The media reported this uncritically, without question, much less the faintest pretense of analysis of the data that led to that very specific number.
Of course, some Real Americans in the Second Amendment movement did dig into the study, back when “the internet” was still “Usenet” for most people.
They found that the data came from King County, Washington, during a period of several years in the late eighties. And the “43:1″ ratio actually broke out, over the period of time, to nine justifiable deaths of criminals that the shooter didn’t know, against something like 380-odd other firearms deaths.
And of those 380-odd firearm deaths, the vast majority were suicides – enough to account for 36-37 of the “43″. Of the remaining 6 from the “43″ – 50-odd firearms deaths – there were a few accidents; the rest were murders or manslaughters of one kind or another. And note that it only counted the presence of a gun in the home, not whether it was used; if someone broke into your home and shot you as you were peeling potatoes at your kitchen counter, but there was a gun in the house, it went into the “43″.
Suicide is obviously a problem – but it doesn’t depend on firearms. Japan, where guns are unobtainable, has double the US’ suicide rate. But leaving out suicides, the rate dropped to more like six to one.
But there were other clinkers in the way the “43:1″, or even the 6:1, figures were generated, and related to the public by a media that, at best, didn’t know what it was talking about and, at worst, didn’t care.
Walt White Knew Jack Welker!: The phrase “gun owner or someone they know” was the first problem.
Someone who shoots himself, obviously, is “killing themselves or someone they know”. But then so is a drug dealer shooting a rival, or a customer that owes them money, is “killing someone they know”, as is a gang-banger shooting a long-time rival So is a woman shooting an ex-husband that’s been stalking and threatening her. So is someone killing a robber that they had met, even once, ever.
The NEJM study didn’t distinguish between those types of killings. The “1″ in the “43:1″ ratio only included justifiable homicides where the shooter had never met the victim.
Why So Bloodthirsty?: Did you notice that the only “good” results in the New England Journal study – the “1″ in “43:1″ – were the nine justifiable killings of complete strangers?
Leaving aside the likelihood (indeed, fact) that some of the homicides of acquaintances were justifiable – why is a justifiable killing of a complete, malevolent stranger the only legitimate use of a firearm?
The study didn’t account for deterrences of other crimes. A gun used to scare away a burglar or a stalker doesn’t have to kill anyone to have a beneficial effect – deterring a felony without a shot being fired.
The Real Results?: So when you take the numbers from the “43:1″ ratio, and then…:
…then the original New England Journal of Medicine study’s numbers came out more like this:
…among the subjects in the “study”.
Like the reporting on the NEJM study twenty-odd years ago, it considers firearms in a vacuum, without accounting for any of the human factors – criminal activity of the owner, sustance abuse issues, or mental illness.
Neither does it distinguish between justifiable homicide – which accounts for 2-3% of all firearms deaths in America in a given year – and murder, manslaughter or accidental deaths.
It’s junk science…
…well, no. It’s junk social science, which is the worst kind.
Susan Perry is doing junk reporting of junk non-science, to report a meaningless, junk conclusion.
Remember: The MinnPost operates with the assistance of a large annual grant from the Joyce Foundation.
The Joyce Foundation also funds…
All “journalism” about guns – and politics and general – from the MinnPost must be considered with that in mind.
Because, I suggest, it’s what they’re being paid to do.
There was a time when “journalists” would have recoiled at any suggestion that their coverage was bought and paid for to secure some special interest’s narrative.
Those days are long past us – to everyone who pays attention.
Chris Christie – who has stared down mobsters and the New Jersey teachers union, pardon the redundancy, and who issued a denial of knowledge last week of his staff’s alleged shenanigans that is tailor-made to backfire if he does happen to be lying – has come under attack by…
…Gail Collins of the NYTimes.
A woman who recently argued against her colleagues’ sending their good-for-nothing kids who’d been camping in their parents’ basements since graduating from Bard College with degrees in Victimization Studies to North Dakota to earn their keep in the oil fields because of the forty minute lines at McDonalds.
I’m not actually going to ask you to read Gail Collins.
Merely to note that the fact that Gail Collins has written about Chris Christie should be treated as a point for the defense.
Sort of like Nick Coleman. Only at least Nick Coleman isn’t at the Times.
…don’t you dare accuse the media of being the Democrat Party’s Praetorian Guard.
Top priorities for Twin Cities Democrat politicians, staff, and media (pardon the redundancy):
Deal with the suddenly-crucial problem of cell phone theft: ”Kill switch” legislation a priority since the Mark Andrew incident. Because it’s not really an issue until it happens to a DFL politician. Of course, they’re still going to spend the coming session fighting against the citizen’s write to keep and bear “kill switches” to help prevent thugs from hitting your “kill switch” with a club, knife, or gun.
For heaven’s sake, get Al Franken some cover from that “60th Vote on Medicare” thing: There’s an election coming up, for Chrissake. The editors put Kevin Diaz on the “Franken PR Flak” beat this time; his point is, naturally, that there were several “sixtieth votes”, potentially, over time. Unmentioned; without Franken, all the others were irrelevant.
Cardiac screening is job one!: OK, not yet. But I have a hunch with R. T. Rybak’s close call over the weekend, the problem will receive aggressive lip service.
Scott Gillespie of the Strib editorialized about the one-year anniversary of Sandy Hook.
At least he ended the piece constructively:
Those 26 faces will stay frozen, though. The children and their teachers, lost forever except in photos and home video. At least — if you believe it will help — say another prayer for them and their families. If we offer nothing else, at least say a prayer.
Other than that? Gillespie foreshadows what will, I suspect, be the anti-rights movement’s two big hooks in Minnesota this year; guilt, and the vague need to “do something”, even if the “something” is completely useless at preventing actual crime, with both of them always, always, wrapped in the memory of people who would not have been saved by anything that they’re proposing.
But practical responses aren’t the issue, here. This is about emotions:
You see those faces frozen in time on your TV screen now. They are angels, every one of them. You would like to look away, turn the channel and move on. Our Congress did, and most of our state legislatures. One year later, little has changed.
It’s not the Sandy Hook kids’ faults the were all white and upper-middle-class, and that the media focused on them and not the many, many more children slaughtered in ones and twos in Barack Obama’s Chicago – who are almost entirely black. But it is Scott Gillespie’s fault that he ignores, or doesn’t know, that not a single law proposed in any state legislature, or in Congress, would have prevented Sandy Hook – but that the City of Chicago has “done something”, a near complete civilian gun ban, that is closely correlated with a skyrocketing murder rate in Chicago.
But those kids are black, and in a Democrat stronghold. As always, they go unmentioned.
The emotions that Gillespie – and the anti-rights movement whose water he’s carrying – aren’t just about sympathy. No, there’s gotta be ninety seconds of hate:
Wayne LaPierre is on the screen now. You can hear the anger in his voice. If he feels any pain, any regret, he hides it. The perfect man for the job. Raise more money and spread more lies. Intimidate. Bully. Threaten. Win at all costs, from coast to coast. Not undefeated, but close.
Scott Gillespie, I hereby challenge you; where was LaPierre wrong? What are the “lies?” Let’s talk about that. Preferably face to face, but I’ll do email. Let’s hash this out.
No, it’s not that LaPierre lied; he didn’t, and doesn’t have to. He was right. His opponents were wrong. And they – in this case Gillespie, but it could be any lefty columnist – are attacking LaPierre with the dim ad-homina and the scurrilous accusation – the “lies” – because it’s all they have, and a boogeyman, a Goldstein, is what they need.
And then there’s the murderer. We should ignore him and his story, right? Make him as abstract as possible because it’s too hard to answer the why question without that research. There are more like him, but how could we possibly know how to find or stop them? So we move on, trying not to say his name.
Now Gillespie is just making things up. This is where LaPierre – and all of us on the human rights side of this battle – have been focusing; Adam Lanza. The current system worked, in that it denied him a gun. He killed his mother – already illegal in fifty states – to steal her legally-purchased firearms to use in the rampage.
And it’s on the crazies, like him, James Holmes, Harris and Klebold, Seung-Hui Cho and the like, that Wayne LaPierre – and, incidentally, all of the rest of us on the human rights side of the argument – are focused.
And not a one of them would have been affected by any of the laws that were passed in places like Colorado, New York, Pennsylvania or California.
So when Gillespie plaintively asks…:
The anniversary show is over now. Will there be another one next year, or the year after that? Why wallow, right? We are Americans. We press on. We buck up and never look back. Like LaPierre.
…the answer is “maybe, but nothing you’re proposing would change a thing”.
But Gillespie is part of a wave of mainstream media that are working to pave the way for the anti-gun movement’s next big campaign in Minnesota.
More – much more – in coming days and weeks.
Last fall, Bill Glahn pondered the “journalistic ethics” of Minnesota Public Radio News taking underwriting money from one of the government bodies it’s supposed to be scrutinizing – in this case, MNSure’s sponsorship of Keri Miller’s “Daily Current” show:
The host’s interruptions of the token conservative are not just to challenge facts or opinion. On two occasions, MPR’s Miller interrupts Republican Golnik to defend Democrat Governor Dayton—on the Vikings Stadium [30:22] and on MPR News’ sponsor MNsure.
Nobody’s mistaken Keri Miller for a non-biased journalist in 25 years; she’s about as balanced as Bill O’Reilly.
But Glahn notes that, yes, MNSure – an agency of the government of the state of Minnesota – sponsors MPR News.
So now, we get the news that the directors of MNSure and Minnesota’s Medicaid director took a vacation to Costa Rica together (as the MNSure site was debuting to terrible reviews).
Now, is there a conflict of interest, here? Knowing that if MNSure actually does crater, its
victims clients will likely get thrown into Medicaid? I don’t know – yet. But I’ll find out.
If there were a problem (and MPR’s coverage so far seems to tell us ”nothing to see here, move along, people“), would MPR be the one to tell us?
Along with their acceptance of funding from the Joyce Foundation – the major funder of anti-gun-rights organizations in the US – specifically to provide gun-related content (and biased, slanted anti-gun content at that), I have to ask; when do people who care about actual journalism start asking questions about these financial entanglements?
To: Roger Goodell, President, The National Football League
From: Mitch Berg, Uppity Peasant
Re: It’s Apparently Not ThePlayers
You run a tax-exempt “non-profit” that is the biggest license to print money in the United States.
Your organization regularly loots city and state treasuries to build your venues – including mine. You’ve crudely extorted hundreds of millions of dollars from our idiot governor and from a bunch of legislators who should have known better, using tactics that well befit the mobsters that are among the main beneficiaries of your profits.
Your athletes have turned, over the past thirty years, from role models into reprobates.
But you turned down this Super Bowl ad, from Daniel Firearms?
(To whom I’ll be giving free advertising, today and on Super Sunday, and likely more than a time or two in between)
I’m picturing the reasons.
Because you’re worried about violence: So are we. Especially when I go into a bar or restaurant where there might be NFL players present. (Yep, I used to DJ at the old Eddie Websters. To be fair, back then the biggest danger was being on the same stretch of road as a Viking after closing time).
Because you’re worried about the game’s image: Right. Hey, is that Miley Cyrus’ ass at the halftime show?
Because you’re in bed with a bunch of liberal metro-area politicians: Oh. Right.
I think you might just be creating some baseball fans out there.
In past months, I’ve showed you how not only big-media-alum group-blog MinnPost, but “No Rant, No Slant” Minnesota Public Radio are on the take from the Joyce Foundation – which funds “Protect MN”, the anti-rights group run by Rep. Heather Martens. I speculated that it might be the reason that MPR has been so incurious about Martens’ astroturf group, and why the MinnPost - with all its pretenses to legitimate journalism – spent the past year giving Martens a public tongue bath.
I asked – does this involvement go any higher in the Twin Cities’ “progressive” political world?
I asked, and Bill Glahn answered – ten months ago. Joyce is a huge financial backer of “Take Action MN”, a non-profit that verges on being a political party in its own right, a descendent of “Progressive Minnesota”, which had its own unseemly connections with “non-partisan” institutions.
The Joyce Foundation of Chicago, Illinois, was founded by Iowa lumber heiress Beatrice Joyce Kean. This $760 million foundation has been involved with TakeAction since near the beginning of the Minnesota non-profit’s existence. Joyce’s 2006 Annual Report (p. 25) shows a grant of $350,000 to be paid out to TakeAction over two years, “To develop and promote a political reform agenda focused on campaign finance, judicial, and voting rights reforms.”
Joyce’s 2009 IRS Form 990 reveals that the $350,000 grant to the 501(c)(3) TakeAction Minnesota Education Fund was renewed in 2008 for two additional years, “for ongoing efforts to reform and strengthen democracy in Minnesota.”
Joyce’s 2011 IRS Form 990 reveals that, yet again, the $350,000 grant to the TakeAction Education Fund was renewed in 2010 for two additional years, “For advancing a political reform agenda that encompasses election administration, voting rights, campaign finance, redistricting, and judicial independence.”
The Joyce Foundation’s website indicates that the TakeAction Education Fund received an additional $150,000 in 2012 for one year, “For advancing a democracy reform agenda using legislation, community organizing, movement building, coalition work, and unexpected alliances.”
Unexpected alliances? In any event, the seven-year total of grants from the Joyce Foundation to TakeAction equals $1,200,000.
So let’s break this down: The Joyce Foundation heavily sponsors “Progressive” non-profits, including “Take Action MN”, “Protect MN”, and (I strongly suspect) “Common Cause MN”.
And they pour money into at least two “non-profit” Minnesota media outlets that have pretensions to respectability; Minnesota Public Radio and the MinnPost.
I’ve sought comment from both organizations in the past, without success. I’ll try again.
All of this carefully obfuscated money going to support “campaign finance…reforms” is one thing.
Going to buy friendly media coverage?
And finding willing takers, in an industry whose “code of ethics” tells journalists who avoid financial entanglements in their “journalism?”
To: Bob Garfield and Brooke Gladstone, Hosts, NPR’s On The Media
From: Mitch Berg, Uppity Peasant
Re: Your Concern For Journalistic Integrity
Ms. Gladstone / Mr. Garfield
I caught your story in this week’s edition of On The Media criticizing NBC for paying, not only for footage (of this spectacular skydiving accident) but for exclusive access to the principals to the story.
This – paying for access to news – is one of those things that furrow the brows of journo-wonks. And the two of you were audibly furrowed. Gotta hand you that.
So – paying for access to a news story is bad. Gotcha.
So is being paid by a partisan pressure group to run a news story even worse?
Get back to us on this.
That is all.
Minnesota’s media talking head-bots continually bellyache about wanting Minnesota politics to be “more civil” and “more like it was back in the good ol’ days”…
…but they give a continual pass to the antics of “Alliance for a Better Minnesota”, which every single day makes Minnesota a cheaper, dumber, uglier place to do politics?
Jonah Goldberg at NRO writes about a recent Roger Simon jape at conservative legislators – by way of addressing a much larger question; why aren’t the media offended by the left’s assumption that they’re biased?
Simon’s column reminds me of a point I’ve been making for years. Most mainstream journalists roll their eyes at the idea the MSM is biased. It’s a tired argument, I know.
It is. I’m tired of having to make it.
And yet – as Goldberg shows us – it’s not only true, but getting more and moreso:
But it’s simply remarkable that when supposedly objective reporters move on to the opinion column racket they reveal themselves as utterly conventional liberal Democrats. When any longtime New York Times reporter rewarded with a column at the Times or elsewhere — Nick Kristoff, Bill Keller, Maureen Dowd, Anthony Lewis, EJ Dionne et al. — rips off the mask it turns out that they were exactly as liberal as conservatives suspected…Just going by the law of averages, some of these reporters should turn out to be conservative or libertarian or at least ideologically heterodox. But it almost never happens. Indeed, when the Times needs to find a conservative columnist (Bill Safire, David Brooks, Ross Douthat) it always has to hire outside its own shop.
It’s true in the Twin Cities, too; the Strib had to hire think-tanker Katherine Kersten to give its columnist’s row a veneer of balance (as a generation of Strib columnists tut-tutted about What It All Meant). While the non-profit MinnPost originally claimed to want to shoot for multipartisanship, the best they could do was Cyndi Brucato – as a reporter. That, on a site staffed with DFL apparatchik Doug Grow, former Dayton comms guy Brian Lamberg, and a raft of other committed libs.
Jay Carney got his job working for Joe Biden, and later, Barack Obama because his employers knew from the get-go that the Time reporter was ideologically simpatico with the administration. The same goes for Linda Douglas, not to mention Richard Stengel, Shailagh Murray, and many others. I wonder if any of them ever feel insulted when Democratic politicians just assume that supposedly objective reporters would make great partisan hacks?
Locally? Not only are the left’s “alt” media clogged with refugees from the Strib, PiPress and other mainstream outlets, but there’s been a steady parade of regional journos that’ve found post-media homes in the DFL, at left-leaning non-profits like MN2020, and as comms people for liberal pols.
Because it’s a safe assumption, I guess…
Earlier this week, the Joyce Foundation collected another installment on its payment for the MinnPost’s PR services in pursuit of disarming the American people – in this case, a “Community Voices” column by by Rebecca Lowen and Doug Rossinow, who are listed as “history professors at Metro State”.
Those who fail to learn from history, it’s fair to say, teach history at Metro State.
And if this reflects the current state of the victim-disarmament movement, it’d seem their strategy has shifted to “ad homina” and “making things up”.
A few weeks ago, I pointed out that not only does the MinnPost appear to be selling news to the highest bidder (or, more accurately, biggest contributor), but that MPR News appears to have done the same.
The Usual Bona Fides: Let me give you my usual disclaimer; I’ve always – or at least for the last ten years or so – believed that MPR News made a fairly credible effort at appearing, from an institutional level, to be fairly balanced and to keep its individual staffers’ biases firewalled away pretty well. I know some people at MPR News, and I believe they operate with a level of integrity (although some of them also believe they’re above criticism by the hoi polloi; after I asked questions about MPR News’ “Poligraph” segment’s oddly incurious coverage of the Betty McCollum/Tony Hernandez debates, I got an email from a senior MPR News exec to Catherine Richert advising her “not to engage with that guy”. He’d fumble-fingered and sent it to me, too).
All that aside, I’ve always believed MPR News – the news department, as opposed to NPR, or non-news programming, like Garrison Keillor – does an adequate job of compartmentalizing bias.
Or I did, until fairly recently.
The Shakedown We Pay For: As noted above, I wonder why MPR News is covering Second Amendment issues under the direct sponsorship of the Joyce Foundation, the nation’s largest funder of gun-grabber organizations.
Bill Glahn covers some of the same ground in a piece about MPR’s “Daily Current” show, hosted by the bias-sodden Keri Miller. The “Daily Current”, a look at their website notes, is a production of MPR News.
The hour was hosted by MPR’s Kerri Miller. Panelists included Denise Cardinal, the founder of Alliance for a Better Minnesota (ABM), Ben Golnik, a political consultant, and Kathryn Pearson, a professor of political science at the University of Minnesota.
Cardinal is, of course, a major liberal mover and shaker and, as Glahn points out and I reported endlessly in 2010, architect of Alida Messinger’s epic, toxic sleaze campaign in 2010, which bought Mark Dayton barely enough votes to win. Golnik is a fixture in MN GOP politics. Pearson is Larry Jacobs’ understudy and contender for his title of “most over-quoted person in the Twin Cities media”.
Let’s turn to MPR’s Kerri Miller for a moment. As the show’s host and moderator, her chief means of controlling the narrative are by asking questions and controlling the show’s flow…As for flow, by my count, Miller interrupts the Republican Golnik at total of thirteen 13 times. During one 56-second stretch alone [08:26 to 09:22] MPR’s Miller interrupts Golnik seven times to challenge his facts.
Not only do such constant interruptions throw off a guest’s rhythm, they telegraph to the audience that the “neutral” host believes the guest to be untrustworthy or evasive.
On the rare occasions Miller speaks during Cardinal’s or Pearson’s time, she never interrupts and stops the flow. Rather, Miller will say a word or two to clarify or to reinforce a point—never to challenge or dispute—as can be heard at the 17:47 mark with Cardinal and the 25:52 mark with Pearson.
I urge you to try to find the recordings of Miller’s performance in the 2010 Governor’s race. I listened to both interviews, and wrote about ‘em back then. Her interview of Tom Emmer was harsh, acerbic, combative, laced with hostile interruptions.
Which is fine – journalists should ask questions, right?
But in contrast, her conversation with Mark Dayton was chummy, clubby, a rhetorical warm fuzzy blanket with camomile tea. It sounded like they may have been painting each others’ toenails.
Miller hasn’t changed much.
Conflict Of Interest: But here’s the part I wanted to draw your attention to; I’ll add emphasis:
The host’s interruptions of the token conservative are not just to challenge facts or opinion. On two occasions, MPR’s Miller interrupts Republican Golnik to defend Democrat Governor Dayton—on the Vikings Stadium [30:22] and on MPR News’ sponsorMNsure [32:15].
Her defense of the Democrat Dayton during that latter exchange reveals volumes about the host and the outlet. While the disastrous debut of Obamacare was makinginternational news, and the problems with the local MNsure rollout again on the front pages, Miller dismisses the problems with her corporate sponsor as mere “glitches.”
Her defense of our liberal Governor is so over the top that she has to catch herself at one point [32:42 mark] with the walk back “not to speak for the Governor here,” played to laughter from the panelists.
That Miller is a shill for the DFL is not up for question by anyone paying attention.
That MPR News is taking money to produce the news is one thing; all commercial news operations have to work to create the impression there’s a high, thick wall between the money and news sides of their operations.
That MPR News is not only having its news coverage directly sponsored by advocacy groups, but is having its non-news, opinion programming – Miller’s show – sponsored by the government that MPR News is supposed to be covering?
How is this not merely a conflict of interest, but an undercutting of the integrity of a news operation that has always publicly wrapped itself in the flag of journalistic ethics (whatever they are?)
Tom Scheck? Mike Mulcahy? Rupa Chinoy? Bob Collins? Anyone?
NPR News this morning:
The officers who shot the woman at the Capitol are among the hundreds of thousands of government employees not being paid…
Tax money well spent.
UPDATE: This was just flip little thing I’d toss off onto the blog while I was sitting at a stoplight on my way to work.
But the whole “federal cops are unpaid!” bit not only seems to be a coordinated bit of lefty narrative…
So apparently the “top flight journalists” at National Public Radio are reporting lefty twitter-cant as fact, now.
Remember the spring of 2009? Obama and his hope’nchange had just been inaugurated – so everyone was still blaming Bush for everything.
And at the Humphrey Center, a conclave of journalist fanboys attended a shinding with Village Voice journo Seymour Hersh, hosted by Walter Mondale at the Humphrey Center, to pimp Hersh’s upcoming book claiming that Bush and Cheney used Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) as their personal hit squad (while not noting that JSOC was a creation of the Carter Administration in which Mondale served as vice president).
I’m thinking his next shinding in the Twin Cities might be a little sparser in attendance; Hersh is now claiming that Obama used JSOC to falsify the narrative of the Bin Laden raid.
The book will also discuss Hersh’s view that the U.S. media hasn’t committed enough resources to investigative journalism.
Hersh tells The Guardian that the ‘pathetic’ U.S. media ‘is afraid to pick on this guy (President Obama).’
“It’s pathetic, they are more than obsequious,” Hersh said of the American media. “They are afraid to pick on this guy (Obama).”
“It used to be when you were in a situation when something very dramatic happened, the president and the minions around the president had control of the narrative, you would pretty much know they would do the best they could to tell the story straight,” he said.
“Now that doesn’t happen anymore. Now they take advantage of something like that and they work out how to re-elect the president.”
Now, we need to be clear about a few things up front; Sy Hersh is as a rule no more based in reality than Minnesota Progressive Project.
And yet liberal media types revere him, along with Bob Woodward, as the acme of the craft.
I’m guessing that’ll change, and the US media will start devoting resources to investigating…
Just a hunch.
Last week, when the first news of the Washington Navy Yard shooting broke out, I thought to myself “let’s sit out these first reports – because whatever the mainstream media reports for the first 4-6 hours will be not just wrong, but hysterical and the result of templates being filled in from the MSM/Democrat narrative”.
In watching the coverage of the Washington Navy Yard shooting as it unfolded last Monday, I had to remind myself that most of the reports I was hearing would surely turn out to be incorrect, in some cases wildly so. And indeed this turned out to be the case. We were told, for example, that there was more than one gunman, and that one of them was armed with an AR-15 rifle. Even worse, both CBS and NBC identified the wrong man as the shooter before issuing retractions.
The first of these errors is the most understandable. In the rush to beat their competitors, the editing filters ordinarily in place are often put aside in favor of greater speed. Reports from the scene, no matter how unverifiable, are broadcast live so as to be first on the air. Again, understandable and even forgivable in most cases.
Less so is the misidentification of the shooter’s weapon.
I’m going to guess that the writer (PJM’s Jack Dunphy) and I aren’t the only ones.
To: MPR News
From: Mitch Berg,Uppity Peasant
Re: Re-Joyce And Be Glad
Last week, in a similar open letter to the management at the news-blog MinnPost, I asked how they squared the fact that they were accepting sponsorship for their “news” coverage – let alone sponsorship from non-profit issue advocacy groups and the government that journalists are supposed to hold accountable - with professional journalism’s purported ideals and ethics.
These ideals are – we are told – set forth in the “Society of Professional Journalists’ “Code of Ethics“.
The Center selected reporters working in the Great Lakes region and awarded them fellowships to enable them to undertake in-depth investigative reporting projects. The fellows also attended workshops to learn from experts in gun crime and gun policy. MPR News reporter Brandt Williams spent four months researching the story. The four-part series looks at the sources of Minneapolis crime guns, sentencing for gun crimes, the impact of gun violence on the African American community, and the challenges surrounding firearm tracing.
Now, as has been noted in this space, the Joyce Foundation is the primary sponsor of gun control groups in the United States. They donate a lot of money to groups like Michael Bloomberg’s “Mayors Against Illegal Guns“, the Violence Policy Center (whose “research” on Second Amendment issues is notable for its strident inaccuracy)…
But enough about them; let’s talk about MPR.
The SPJ Code of Ethics’ “Accountability” section says that the journalist should…:
Your series aired back in 2011 – and to be fair, it presented factual information without pushing a political point of view especially overtly. But neither did it go out of its way – in my opinion as a news consumer, activist on the subject and one-time reporter – to present much considered dissent from material supporting Joyce’s desired narrative, either.
Which would make for an interesting parlor discussion – not that MPR News is especially interested in parlor discussions with people outside the Journo tribe.
But beyond that? About a month after the Joyce-sponsored series ran on MPR, the MPR News website published a commentary piece by Heather Martens - director and one of very few members of “Protect Minnesota”, a gun-control group. The piece was notable for its complete absence of fact; every single non-numeric assertion made in the “Commentary” was false. Every single one.
And since I can’t imagine MPR News would publish a commentary by, say, a 9/11 Truther, or someone who favors white supremacy on biological grounds at all, much less without some sort of dissenting comment, I thought it was odd that MPR News granted her the bandwidth they did.
“Protect Minnesota” is also sponsored – almost entirely – by the Joyce Foundation, which had underwritten MPR’s series the previous month.
Am I connecting dots that don’t belong connected?
Perhaps. But if MPR had allowed its reporting to be sponsored by the NRA, and then ran an unaccompanied op-ed by Ted Nugent, people would talk, wouldn’t they?
I don’t expect an answer, of course; MPR News doesn’t like engaging people outside the tribe (as I found last year, when one of your executives mis-addressed an email telling an MPR News staffer not to engage with me, to me).
But since MPR News spends such time and effort claiming the moral and ideological journalistic high ground – claims to which I’ve given public credence in the past – it’s worth asking.
Even the SPJ Code of Ethics says so.