Hackery Most Foul

John Hinderaker asks a question many of us have been mulling for nearly two decades: why does 60 Minutes still exist?

It’s a holdover from a time when American media held some general (and often ill-deserved) respect for fairness and, if not “objectivity” (that’s a myth) at least detachment.

But between Rathergate, 17 years ago, and last week’s revelations that the show presented an “expose” of Ron DeSantis edited so far out of context as to be an absolute lie, it bids the critical thinker to ask: why is the show still on the air at all, if not to serve as a Democrat PR production?

Hinderaker has the original, and edtied-out, text. It is beyond damning. You be the judge.

My only regret is, having not watched the show in nearly 20 years, I have nothing to boycott.

Lies

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

I’m told sex trafficking is a huge problem, particularly during sporting events.  The Star Tribune says pipeline workers in Duluth engage in sex trafficking, which is grounds to shut down the pipeline that the Indians don’t like. And now we have a conviction for sex trafficking a minor during the NCAA Final Four, State v. Abdulazeez, see attached.

Except . . . there was no sex, no minor child, nobody trafficked, in either incident.  They’re both undercover police sting operations aimed at ordinary prostitution Johns.  The cops neither liberated a trafficked person nor jailed a trafficker. Which tells me that sex trafficking MAY be a problem, but the official statistics cannot be used to support that claim. They are as unreliable as Covid statistics and good only for one thing: demanding more funding.

It’s like the guy in the Target parking lot who wants to panhandle five bucks because he’s out of gas and his girlfriend is pregnant and they’re trying to get home to St. Louis to see his ailing mother before she dies of cancer and . . . lies, they’re all lies to get money out of me.  However many cops are involved in fighting imaginary crime in chat rooms – go ahead, defund them all.  Won’t stop a single crime in the real world and it will free up resources to man the barricades when People Whose Lives Matter show up with bricks and Molotov cocktails.

Worse, the media missed the most obvious conclusion of all.  If sports events create sex predators then sporting events are bad so why are we not only condoning them, but actively subsidizing them?  Subsidized stadia = subsidized sports events = trafficked children for sexual predators.    Why does the State of Minnesota and the City of Murderapolis promote trafficking children for sex?  Why do they hate children and want them to die?

Joe Doakes

If the people of Minnesota ever start thinking about what their media and government do, it’ll get ugly.

A Few Issues

Like a decent but shrinking share of National Public Radio (NPR) programming, “The Hidden Brain” has some redeeming value – in this case, some fascinating looks into the frontiers of cognitive psychology, at least among the episodes I’ve heard. A repurposed podcast, like an awful lot of NPR programming, it is one of the shows that’s filling the spot “Prairie Home Companion” and “Live from Here” used to fill – and is actually pretty interesting, even with the occasional challenge it provides.

But it’s NPR – National “Progressive” Radio. The network exists largely to affirm the left’s prejudices about itself and society. An NPR bumper sticker or tote bag was an Urban Progressive Privilege virtue-signal long before those became a cultural obsession.

And so when fact peters out, narrative sets in. And there is just no way that narrative gets challenged by anyone on the program. It might be off-topic – you’d be surprised how easy it is to fill an hour of radio – but it seems more and more obvious that NPR isn’t in the “challeninging Big Left’s tropes” business.

And so with last weekend’s episode, on “Honor Societies” – which, the hypothesis goes, include much of the American South and West.

You can argue the premise. You can argue the findings. And by all means, do.

But around forty minutes in, the host and guest swerved into a deeply counterfactual “discussion of ‘Stand your Ground’ laws”. I put it in scare quotes because it was no such thing; it was an unchallenged recitation of Big Left’s narrative about self-defense reform.

I wrote then an email, attached below.

I’m Mitch Berg, from Saint Paul, MN. My day job involves a lot of applied cognitive psychology, so I’ve become a bit of a fan of HIdden Brain [1]. I listen most Saturdays on KNOW in Saint Paul.

And I very much enjoyed your 3/29 episode, about “Honor Societies” – until about 40 minutes into it, where it swerved, hard, into misinformation.

Your host and guest spent a few moments discussing so-called “Stand your Ground” laws. Whether through ignorance or intent, that part of the show was highly legally erroneous at best, and misinformation at worst.

I’ll explain briefly [2]:

  1. Self-defense laws vary by state – but in every case I’m aware of require that one meet the following criteria:
    One must reasonably fear being killed, violently, then and there (where “reasonable” means “would convince a jury”).
  2. You can only use the force needed to end the threat in #1 above. When an attacker turns to run away, or falls over too injured to hurt you, the threat is over – you can’t hunt them down and finish them off.
  3. One must not be the aggressor; one can’t start a bar-room brawl (or an “honor” incident, for that matter) and pull a gun when someone breaks a beer bottle.
  4. One must make a reasonable effort to retreat (same definition of “reasonable” as above). In a “Castle Doctrine” state, this doesn’t apply in the home and, in some states, one’s business. In a so-called “Stand your Ground” state, it doesn’t apply outside the home, anyplace one has a legal right to be, while doing anything one has the legal right to do, provided you meet the three criteria above.

Your guest repeated the “misconception” – in many cases, it’s a propagandistic chanting point, but I’ll presume good motive, here – that “Stand your Ground” means, closely paraphrasing your guest, that “thinking you’re in danger gives you the right to kill someone, and call it self-defense”. In fact, even in situations where “Castle” or “Stand your Ground” laws apply, one must meet the other three criteria, subject to the details of state statute, to the satisfaction of the investigators, the prosecutors, and if worse comes to worst a jury.”Stand your ground” is not a legal grounds to claim the dog ate one’s moral homework to get away with murder.Beyond that? Your guest noted that “Stand your Ground” laws are most common in “Honor States” – implying “Honor”-based attitudes drive “Stand your Ground” laws.

But facts show that the correlation is far from accurate. 29 states, as diverse as Florida, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, have “stand your ground” statutes, and eight more – including Washington State, Oregon and Illinois – have it in case law. (And New York, Maine, Massachusetts and Minnesota are all “Castle” states, via statute or case law). So, rather than “Honor Society”, the valid correlation appears to be states with meaningfully strong and effective libertarian/conservative legislative majorities or minorities have such laws.

Fascinating as much of the episode was (I wound up driving around the city for an extra 40 minutes to hear the whole thing), this part of the episode veered sharply from fact into legal misinformation. And given this is a public radio production, even one I generally enjoy a lot, I’m given to suspect at least a tinge of classist narrative. The show was much the worse off for it.


While I realize the odds of this email being acknowledged, much less broadcast, are about as likely as my getting a hot third date with Anna Kendrick, I grant permission to use this response on the air, and will edit and put it in audio form if you prefer.

I’ll also point out that as part of my “side hustle” (see [1], below), I’ll be discussing this episode, and my attempt to contact your program about it, on my show, podcast and blog, in the coming week or two, including reaching out (likely pro forms and in the interest of fairness and clarity) to your show’s guest.

Mitch Berg
651 xxx xxxx

[1] I mentioned my “day job” – now I should tell you about my side hustle. I’m a talk show host and podcaster at a Twin Cities radio station, as well as a modestly prominent regional blogger. That follows a career in radio and journalism, including at least some time doing news at a publicly-supported station.

[2] My bona fides: For over two decades, I’ve been an activist and volunteer for the groups that wrote much of MInnesota’s current body of firearms law, which have passed with strong bipartisan majorities and been signed by governors of both parties. I produce the podcast for this group. As a MInnesota carry permit holder, I have had to repeatedly demonstrate knowledge of the law as part of statutory permit training. I’m not a lawyer, but I get most of my information from lawyers who specialize in this area, both in criminal defense and legislative terms. You want cites, I got cites. If there is a person anywhere in American alternative media who’s paid more dues on this issue, I say with all due humility I have yet to be introduced to them.

Public radio – NPR, as always, and increasingly MPR – rarely deigns to acknowledge the proles. Suffice to say, this post (and my next NARN show) will likely be this topic’s only sojourn outside the memory hole.

As Long As We’re Challenging People

The Strib tweeted this over the weekend:

I mean, I’ve done it before. I used to give up cursing for Lent. It was a fascinating exercise, even though I’ve never been among the more foul-mouthed people I know.

But I’ve got a better idea:

Let’s do a “Detached Journalism Challenge”. Let’s try to not be stenographers for Big Left for a whole month.

I think I got this

How about you, Star/Tribune?

None Dare Call It Slander

I mean, when even Bill Maher gets uncomfortable…

Former North Dakota Senator and current useless mouth Heidi Heitkamp calls Gina Carano a “Nazi”. Plain and simple, full stop.

I’ll chalk this up to the (utterly true) idea that any Democrat can parrot any narrative twaddle, no matter how moronic, without fear, knowing that their audience hasn’t the critical thinking skills to call them on it. Or anything.

But I won’t get mad. I’ll just get on the air. I sent this to her Facebook page.

Senator,

I’m Mitch Berg. I grew up in Jamestown. My mother, Jan Berg/Brooks, was a volunteer for any number of your campaigns at the state and federal level.

I fell a bit farther from the tree, politically, of course.

I’d like to make a media request – I’d love to interview y ou on my show (WWTC AM1280) in the Twin Cities regarding your assertion that Gina Carano is a “Nazi”.

I can either do it live on Saturday at 2PM, or record an interview at any time convenient to you.

Hope we can discuss this.

Thanks.

Why, sure – I expect a response! Why wouldn’t I?

Impunity

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

I’ve been thinking about impunity.  It’s why:

-Black Lives Matter and Antifa can burn down cities;

-Keith Ellison can orchestrate a lynching;

-Tim Walz can imprison the whole state for an entire year;

-someone in the Biden Administration can send troops to kick down doors
in Syria;

-China can humiliate our diplomats in Alaska;

-sex fiends and pedophiles can prey on victims for years;

-illegal immigrants can swarm our border.

When people know they can get away with bad behavior, they engage in
more of it.  Swift punishment deters bad behavior.  How can we restore
the deterrent necessary to end bad behavior?

Joe Doakes

A city without any political opposition, and a political system without any major media scrutiny, all lead to people acting with impunity.

Hometown Boy Makes Good Idiot Of Self

The good news: After hearing Ben Shapiro roasting Rupar last week on his radio show, I have to say it’s been amazing seeing that more people nationwide are learning what we in the Twin Cities have known for most of a decade: that City Pages alum and Vox “writer” Aaron Rupar is a really terrible “journalist” and not an especially bright man (read the whole thread):

The bad news: these days, competence and discernment are less important than ideological purity and loyalty.

And, Rupar being simultaneously a definer and beneficiary of Urban Progressive Privilege, he’ll never be held to account for it any more than Jim Acosta or Esme Murphy.

Walter Duranty Calls Down From The Great Beyond, Says “Whoah, Dial Back The Sycophancy!”

This WaPo tweet reads precisely like something you’d have read in the USSR in the ’30s, or in North Korea today:

Poverty “was”, past tense, “cut sharply”?

By $1,400 checks that haven’t been delivered yet?

Kim Jong Un doesn’t think he’s that badass.

Meet The New Law – Not Remotely The Same As The Old Law

Back before longtime comment-section regular “Dog Gone” got irrevocably banned for life, she evinced a rhetorical pattern that, in recent years, has shown itself to be a bit of a pattern on the left, especially among left wing media, most particularly among the “Fact Check” set.

We saw this behavior in many instances – but the most comical was in 2012-2013, when I wrote my “Bruce Springsteen is America’s Best Conservative Songwriter” series, in which I built an airtight case that, notwithstanding Springsteen’s personal left-of-center politics, his music (at its best – fro 1975-1987, with a brief counter-relapse in 2002) resonates with many conservatives because it constantly iterated themes near and dear to the conservative heart and mind.

For the first dozen or so parts of the series, Ms. Gone’s response, over and over and over and over and over and over and (you get the idea) was “No he’s not!”

And then – as suddenly as a spring shower of logorrheic illogic – in the comment section of the final post, the tune (as it were) changed – to, more or less, exactly the point I’d been making for the previous dozen episodes.

Which is, in and of itself, of no great consequence.

But it does exhibit much of the behavior of the ongoing scam that is BIg Media’s “fact checking” side hustle.

Whose process I’ve broken down as follows:

Something falseSomething true
If a conservative says:The “Fact checkers” will call it false. The fact checkers will call it “Mostly False” or “Partly true” or say it “depends on context” – and leave it there until a progressive or “liberal” says it. See below.
If a “progressive” / liberal says:Depending on the importance of the narrative, the “fact checkers” will call it either “partly true”, or say it “depends on context”. The “Fact Check” machine will call it “true – even / especially if they previously referred to it as false (see the cell above).

The most egregious example, of course, was the reporting on Fredo Cuomo’s horrific, politicized, corrupt and incompetent response to Covid. When conservative alt-media reported, utterly accurately, about this last spring and summer, the “fact check” machine sandbagged the conclusion…

…until this past week, when the case suddenly served Big Left’s purposes in getting Cuomo out of the way, when suddenly “depends on context” turned into “this is the living truth”.

Verdict Rendered: And so it’s with great pride I introduce Berg’s 22nd Law of Mandatory Congruency – to wit:

The American media “fact check” industry exists to deflect the narrative caused by accurate reporting to benefit the Left.

As it is written, so shall it be done.

Correlation Does Not Equal Causation, But It Does Equal Correlation

Stipulated: The Star Tribune is a de facto DFL PR firm. That its editorial slant is to the left is no surprise or problem.

Their “journalistic” slant, on the other hand? Democracy can not survive without institutions holding government accountable – and in Minnesota the ones ones you have are…

…(looks around)…

…PowerLine, AlphaNews, Tom Hauser on a good day, and the NARN.

Case in point: in a couple decades of reporting on sex trafficking cases, I do not recall the Star Tribune mentioning the occupations of the accused. Certainly not in the lede.

But now:

Talk about not so much burying the lede as inverting the story.

Is the Strib trying to tie Enbridge 3 – one of the DFL’s betes noire – to sex trafficking?

Given that the pipeline workers’ day jobs are paragraph 10 importance to the story, not headlines, waht do you think?

Walking Back…Most Of Their Assertions, To Be Honest

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

I recently suggested a new on-going feature, walking back the lies.  I have another item for the column.

The Best and Brightest people who sneered at Conservatives as ignorant, hateful racists for suggesting the debunked idea that a lab in Wuhan was the source of the virus and the Chinese were covering it up – are walking back the lie.  It seems  the virus may indeed have originated in Wuhan and the Chinese may indeed have covered it up. 

No apology of course.  No admission that Conservatives were right all along.  We don’t insist on that, don’t expect it, and would be astonished if it were forthcoming.

But somebody should remember and therefore the purpose of this ongoing feature.  We were right.  And they knew it. 

Joe Doakes

Series? Not a bad idea at all.

It’s verging on a Berg’s Law of “Fact-Checking” – something to the effect of “to the ‘fact-check’ caste, truth is directly correlated to “did a progressive say it”.

Thinking.

Facts: Growing In Office

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

I feel so stupid.  I completely fell for the tinfoil-hat conspiracy theory that the election was stolen.  But as this article makes clear, the election actually was SAVED

All those unsubstantiated Republican claims that an informal alliance of left-wing activists and business titans got states to change voting systems and laws and helped secure hundreds of millions in public and private funding; fended off voter-suppression lawsuits; recruited armies of poll workers; successfully pressured social media companies to take a harder line; helped Americans understand how the vote count would unfold over days or weeks; and after Election Day, monitored every pressure point to ensure that Trump could not challenge the result including pressuring state legislators to certify dubious election results – they’re all true.  They did all those things and more.  But that’s a Good Thing.  Because they saved the election from Trump winning.

I wish I’d understood this last Fall.  I wasted so much time fretting over laws of statistics and suitcases of ballot and cardboarded-over windows but none of it mattered.  Things went exactly as planned. 

So I’m embarrassed at my credulity but one good thing came of it – I won’t have stand in line to cast my vote ever again, not when the big-shots have decided what the outcome should be and taken steps to ensure it.  So that’s nice.

Joe Doakes

Last week on his podcast, Ben Shapiro noted something I’d picked up when late, long-banned, forever-exiled commenter Dog Gone was trying to act as this blog’s “fact checker” – the difference between “true” and “false” usually boils down to whether a conservative or a progressive said it, regardless of the veracity of the fact itself.

The Strib: Preparing The Narrative Battlefield

As we noted last week, “Stand your Ground” and ‘Constitutional Carry” bills have been introduced in the Legislature.

And they have a shot, potentially – there are enough red-district DFLers with legitimate fears of being retired in 2022 to maybe soften the DFL’s stance, and Governor Klink might need to weigh his fealty to the Progressives against gun control’s dismal record outside 494 and 694. A veto will be held against him, and every outstate DFLer, in 2022. Smart DFLers (like Bakk and Tomassoni) remember 2002, when every single outstate DFLer who opposed “Shall Issue” was defeated in the ’02 mid-terms.

Remember – it took seven years to get Shall Issue reform passed, culminating in the ’02 pro-gun election sweep.

Gun rights are a long game.

This, against a backdrop of 40% of gun buyers in 2020 being new purchasers, and 40% of them being women and, at least anecdotally, a substantial number of them being formerly ambivalent about firearms.

The left gets this. And so we get articles like this in the Strib – all but portraying Constitutional Carry as a tool of the Klan.

My suspicion? Big Left realizes they are losing the gun battle, and has to gaslight the minority who still opposes them into becoming more die-hard, to avoid losing more ground outside the Blue coasts and Chicago.

Just So We’re Clear On This…

President Biden, we’re told, is a devout Catholic, which is a good thing…

…as opposed to Amy Coney Barrett, for whom it was a bad thing.

Also – “Ascendant liberal Christianity is an eternal hope on Big Left. Sort of like Blue Texas. There’s anways been a “blue” church: mainline Presbyterians, white Methodists and Episcopoals, ELCA Lutherans, and an awful lot of mainstream Catholics, who have made their peace with abortion in exchange for programs just as easily as “Feminists” made theirs with Bill Clinton.

The “blue” church is “ascendant” because one of its own is in power. These also happen to be the denominations that are in demogrpaphic free-fall.

But there is no narrative but the narrative.

The Usual Suspects

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Trump supporters on the Mall

“Trump Supporters” who stormed the Capitol.

We’ve seen the horned-hat guy before:

Wasn’t there a famous incident a centuray ago, a fire blamed on innocent people which gave a certain politician the excuse to seize power?
Are we absolutely certain the troublmakers were ordinary Trump supporters, same as the rest of the crowd outside, and not infiltrators hoping to cause a backlash against President Trump and his supporters protesting the stolen election

Joe Doakes

Whether the riot was launched by provocateurs or not, plenty of Trump supporters did participate with great glee. There’s a dilemma, of course – if there’s one thing we learned during the Tea Party, at gun rights and pro life and tax-protest rallies, it’s that conservatives need to behave impeccably, because the media and the Dems oppo research staff (pardon the redundancy) will pick over every utterance, visual and thought for wrongthink).

(If there’s another thing we learned it’s that the left’s slander machine and control of the administrative state makes perfect behavior irrelevant. Lefty social media today is awash in claims that the Tea Party was racist, violent, and a tool of the Koch Brothers, who (we’re told) bought all of American politics for a few years).

But whoever turned the demonstration into a riot, and whatever the reasons, the left is responding to last week’s events with a technique they’ve mastered; not wasting a crisis. Whoever did what, it will be spun relentlessly to their advantage.

If We Start Giving “Walter Duranty” Awards…

…I hereby nominate Twitter:

Bonus question – which late-night host or CNN “personality” will be the first to parrot this?

Somewhere In The Afterlife, Walter Duranty Is Chuckling Like A Teenager Telling A Fart Joke

Times change.

Politics swing from left to right and back and forth again.

Perceptions go from one extreme to the other.

Fashions and social mores skitter back and forth and up and down over time.

So what on this earth can we always count on?

If there’s a totalitarian, somewhere, anywhere, the New York Times will shill for them:

I mean, when they’re not shilling for totalitarians like Fredo Cuomo and Squiggy DiBlasio.

You Ain’t A Human Being

Dennis Prager has a great line – “Relationships can survive a lot, but no relationship can survive contempt”

When parties can’t see one another as human, forget about reaching common ground on differing ideas and ideals, can there be any point to trying to live together? I wouldn’t work for couples – why would it work for a nation?

It dawned on the world too late that when the Nazis actively portrayed the Jews as not very human…

…they meant it.

If there’s one thing more useful than one eliminationist Nazi cartoon, its’ two. Here goes:

Wait.

That wasn’t even in German.

That was the Washington Post.

On Christmas Eve.

This is up there with “bitter, gun-clinging Jeebus freaks” and “Deplorables” and the rest of the litany of conceits Blue America holds on Red America.

But most importantly? It’s about contempt.

I’ve been pointing out examples of Blue America’s contempt for the rest of us in this space since the beginning, really. And if the Trump era has done anything, it’s helped parts of the right come out of their shells (yes, some, like our friend Pete Strunk, haven’t been in their shells fir a very long time, but its fair to say Pete’s always been an outlier)

Profiles In Courage

As clubby, self-referential and solipsistic as the modern “elite” (and even not-so-elite) media is, I should have probably predicted we’d see scenes like this whenever Trump was on the brink of leaving office.

Never mind that “the Lightworker” Obama was did a whole lot more actual oppressing of “journos” than Trump.


Links

No. To these coddled hamsters…:

…covering Trump was up there with going ashore with the first wave on Omaha Beach, or like riding in a B24 with Charles Collingwood.

Which is a little ironic, given that The LIghtworker was, in fact, the most press-hostile President since Woodrow Wilson – and given the deep-state leaks with which the executive branch was riven, it would have been pointless for The Donald to even try to match Obama’s record.

National Slander

I’m particularly proud of the interview I had last weekend with Peter Wood, author of 1620 – A Criticial Review of the 1629 Project. Wood and his book take a hammer to the historical fraud that the NYTimes sicced on the nation…

…and, worse, the miseducation of an entire generation about the history of our country.

It starts at 33 minutes into the hour:

Prager U has a similar message:

What A Difference Four Years Makes

The New York Times, 2020: “Our elections are unimpeachably honest and fair and not problematic at all”.

New York Times, 2016: “Not only did the Russians install Donald Trump, but we’ll show you how they probably did it by doing it ourselves:

I could keep saying “Democrats and the NYTimes (ptr) can reverse themselves all they want, because their target audience is unthinking lemmings”…

…but I’m starting to feel like I’m repeating myself.