Let Me Get This Straight

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?

The House Isn’t Burning; The Residents Are

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…

Because Racism

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”.

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Rant And Slant

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?

Anyone?

Guardians Of The Narrative

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

but it’s completely wrong

So apparently the “top flight journalists” at National Public Radio are reporting lefty twitter-cant as fact, now.

He’ll Never Do Lunch In This Town Again

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. 

And Hersh isn’t that impressed by his fanboys in the media, either:

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…

..Seymour Hersh

Just a hunch.

 

 

Distrust But Verify

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”.

I wasn’t the only one:

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.

I’d love to ask a mainstream media figure – is your industry’s adherence to Democrat narratives (and in some cases money) worth the damage your credibility is taking among people who pay attention?

An Open Letter To MPR News

To:  MPR News
From:  Mitch Berg,Uppity Peasant
Re:  Re-Joyce And Be Glad

MPR,

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“. 

Now – in 2011, MPR accepted a grant from the Joyce Foundation supporting the production of a series, “Following the Firearm“.   As Joyce notes…:

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)…

and the MinnPost, whose own “journalism” on the subject has been increasingly suspect for the past year or so; the MinnPost would seem to have turned into a PR firm for the “Gun Safety” movement.   

But enough about them; let’s talk about MPR.

The SPJ Code of Ethics’ “Accountability” section says that the journalist should…:

  • Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.  So how does reporting news on a controversial subject that is directly sponsored by a group that is a generous advocate for one side of the story not a real conflict of interest?
  • Remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility.  I’d say getting sponsored by a key pressure group – including having, according to Joyce, a parade of Joyce-approved “experts” paraded before your reporters – qualifies. 
  • Refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment, and shun secondary employment, political involvement, public office and service in community organizations if they compromise journalistic integrity.  Seems pretty self-explanatory.
  • Disclose unavoidable conflicts.  Was there disclosure?  Yep, there was, to a point; Joyce’s involvement was noted, although Joyce’s stake in the issue - its funding of gun control groups to the tune of tens of millions of dollars – was, near as I can tell, not. Strikes me as avoidable. 
  • Deny favored treatment to advertisers and special interests and resist their pressure to influence news coverage.  How does MPR News’ acceptance of sponsorship from a special interest group not qualify?

 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.

Sincerely,

Mitch Berg
Uppity Peasant

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Somewhere In The Moral Swamps Of Jersey

(SCENE:  A darkened alley in Newark, New Jersey, on a dark, drizzly April evening.  A broken down school bus full of inner city middle-schoolers returning from a trip to the ballet in New York sits by the side of a dismal road, steam rising from its up-tilted hood, in front of a deserted chemical plant.  The driver, a cute, plucky Puerto Rican single mother of three named Maria LOPEZ, looks under the hood along with passerby Tobias “Wang Dang Doodle” JACKSON, a grizzled 60-something black man in a porkpie hat and a worn black suit.  Mitch BERG pulls up, driving a rented Ford Focus, and climbs out to try to render assistance, carrying a cell phone and a nearly empty bottle of lemon-lime Powerade).

BERG:  Can I help?  Has anyone called a tow or anything yet?

LOPEZ:  I called the police, the district and a wrecker, but there won’t be any help coming for at least an hour.

JACKSON:  Those infernal garages aren’t what they used to be. 

BERG:  OK.  Well, maybe we can figure out what’s wrong here…

(A black BMW sedan pulls up beside the bus.  Out pops a dapper African-American man, who walks briskly to the bus).

MAN:  Hi.  I’m Corey Booker, and I’m the mayor of Newark. 

LOPEZ:  Hello, Mister Mayor!

BOOKER:  Hi.  We don’t have much time.  The CIA just called me.  A band of Serbian narcotraficantes are apparently en route from the docks in Elizabeth to pick up several drums of methamphetamine stored in that disused chemical factory, and they’re not above killing everyone that gets in their way.

BERG:  Isn’t this a job for the police?

BOOKER:  They’re all busy.  It’s up to us. 

BERG:  I hate it when that happens.

JACKSON:  Newark police are, let us say, sub-optimal. 

BOOKER:  Be that as it may, we’re going to have to get these children out of the way before the Serbian narcotraficantes get here and kill everyone in their path.  You, maam, and you, sir (points to LOPEZ and JACKSON), start walking those kids to safety in that community center on the other side of that culvert.  You, sir (points to BERG) and I need to divert them to provide cover. 

BERG:  Er…OK. 

(LOPEZ and JACKSON start to herd the kids out of the bus and into the ditch).

LOPEZ:  Hurry, kids!

JACKSON: Remember, gentlemen – fire and movement!

(In the distance, a pair of panel vans stop and disgorge 20 Serbian narcotraficantes,all carrying AK47 assault rifles.  They form a skirmish line and start charging toward the bus.  Scattered shots ring out as the line moves forward.  LOPEZ and JACKSON start the children running in single file down the ditch by the side of the road as a few sparks fly from the bus’ chassis).

BOOKER:  You flank them to the right.  I’ll draw their fire. 

BERG:  Flank them with what?  Your state’s idiotic gun laws bar me from bringing my legal handgun, much less something I can use against…

BOOKER:  GO!

(BOOKER springs to the left, waving his arms wildly.  BERG, nonplussed, crawls to the right and crosses the road.  The Serbian narcotraficantes fire picks up and their charge gathers speed, as they yell “get the meth!  get the meth!” in Serbian)

(BOOKER dodges incoming bullets in a complex, acrobatic display that makes The Matrix look like that old SNL “Bears Fans” sketch.  An RPG fires, the rocket tracing an angry red slash across the field.  BOOKER catches the rocket by the tail and throws it back at the Serbian narcotraficantes; it explodes, sending several Serbs diving for cover as others blaze away at the Mayor).

(Berg, in the meantime, as closed the gap with the Serbs, who are focused on blazing away at Mayor BOOKER.  Having no weapon, he looks around, and sees a puddle of New Jersey rainwater.  He ducks down and starts filling the Powerade bottle).

(Two more RPG rounds rocket toward the Mayor.  He catches them, cross-handed, just before they’d have impacted his chest, and in a grandiose double-pirouette, throws both rounds back at the Serbs.  One splashes into the mud at the feet of Branko SLRBÇ, the leader of the Serb narcotraficantes.

SLRBÇ (yelling in Serb with subtitles):  Is this even plausible?

(The round explodes, and SLRBÇ vanishes in a gout of gore and flame). 

(The second round slams into the grill of the first of the narcotraficantes’ vans, exploding it in a gout of flame.  The rest of the Serbs go to ground, panicked and pinned down).

(BERG caps the bottle of New Jersey rainwater, and with a mighty heave, throws it at the second van, which explodes into brilliant blue and green flames).

(The surviving Serbs get up and run back up the road toward their rally point, a giant Exxon sign which, unfortunately for them, gives the local cops plenty of light by which to apprehend them).

BERG (soaking wet, walks back to Booker, who is somehow still dry):  Wow.  How did you do that?

BOOKER (As police cars pull up all around them)  It’s all in a days work for the Mayor of Newark

(BOOKER tips his hat and climbs into his car, and – notwithstanding that a dark cloudy night fell over two hours earlier – drives into the sunset as LOPEZ, soaking wet, walks back up the freeway.  She and BERG look at each other, drenched, before embracing in a passionate kiss as the camera pulls back to a wide shot of the full post-battle vista).

(And SCENE)

2004: Rant. 2013: Slant?

I was listening to MPR News the other day.

I heard a “Jennifer Vogel” on the air.  She’s working for MPR’s “Ground Level” project.  Her mission – and that of the “Ground Level Project” – “focuses on complex issues playing out in Minnesota’s cities and towns”

Check out the page above.  Ms. Vogel is spending all sorts of time in Greater Minnesota.

She sounded familiar.

So I checked the archives.  Yep – it’s the same Jennifer Vogel who wrote the seminan patricial classist rant, ”F**k The Suburbs“, for a Seattle version of a City Pages-style Village Voice knockoff – an article which provided us all sorts of fun in this space back in 2004.

It started:

Minneapolis and St. Paul sit on either side of the upper Mississippi River, in what amounts to the middle of nowhere. For three hundred miles in any direction, there are no cities of size, only prairie, gas stations, and big open sky. We may be on the Mississippi but no one comes here by boat. There are no containers from Japan piling up on the dock. People arrive by bus and car, dusty and road-worn, mostly from the small towns of Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and the Dakotas–places where ambitious and misunderstood kids grow up despising their parents’ lives.

OK, a lot of us who move from what Vogel calls “The Big Nowhere” think those sorts of things – at one point or another.

But Vogel – like most writers for freebie lifestyle ‘zines, and by “most” I mean “every one I’ve ever met“, who are by the way white and upper-middle-class to a geometric fault – saw racists behind the hedges:

As the city changed, the “family values” folks moved away. However, they didn’t move all the way away. Oh, no. They moved to the suburbs. Tract housing began to sprawl in all directions as many wild-eyed whities climbed over each other to get the hell out of town. And good riddance, I say. Except that these defenders of all that’s wholesome have formed a band around the city, a ring of red that’s threatening to strangle the very idea of beneficent government.  

You get the idea.

Read the whole, depressing thing.   Or don’t.  You really do get the idea; Vogel hates conservatives, and seems to loathe the sort of people…

…that MPR has her reporting on today.

Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t begrudge that she got a job.  They’re hard to get in that racket these days.  A lefty “Journo”‘s gotta wait until a generation of former Strib and WCCO reporters dies off before they can hope for a gig at a non-profit or in the DFL Comms Office.  These are tough times.

And who knows?  Maybe Vogel has grown up in the past nine years.  Maybe she has learned to see people as more than collections of stereotypes classified by exterior decorating choices, zipcodes, ethnic food preferences and skin tones.  Maybe she’ll approach the people she’s reporting in Greater Minnesota with less of the seething, patrician, classist contempt she showed nine years ago.

I do like to believe the best in people.

Yeah.  Maybe that’s it.

(PS:  Here’s a story idea for Ms. Vogel:  More immigrants are moving to the suburbs than the city these days. Sounds like an idea for an article! You’re welcome).

Open Letter To The MinnPost Editorial Team

To:  Joel Kramer (CEO/Editor), Roger Buoen and Susan Albright (Co-Managing Editors) Don Effenberger (News Editor)
From:  Mitch Berg, Uppity Peasant
Re:  They Get What They Pay For

Esteemed Editors:

I was never much of a reporter.  I could always do the “who, what, when, where, why and how” of a story just fine, and earned a living at it, off and on.  But it was never really my thing.

But I do remember, when I worked in the business, that the fastest way to get a reporter, producer or editor up on their back legs was to suggest that journalism partner with business or government to do the job.  They would say – with righteousness rivaling any Baptist minister or Trappist monk – that Journalism’s mission was to be a check and balance on government, business, anyone with power.    To comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.   Any whiff of filthy lucre was to be kept on the other side of the thick wall and locked door that separated the Sales department from the newsroom. 

Media analysts – I’m thinking Garfield and Gladstone’s “On The Media” on NPR, and the whole Romanesko borg – go through gyrations worthy of a Talmud symposium sifting through the ethics of mixing journalism and money. 

Now, theMinnPosttalks a big game about journalism.  And you’ve certainly staffed your site with a lot of people with long pedigrees in the regional news business.  And Brian Lambert. 

But I’ve noticed on one issue that your site gets a fair chunk of money from from the Joyce Foundation.  The Joyce Foundation also bankrolls most of the major gun control organizations in the United States, including Mayor Bloomberg’s efforts and “Protect Minnesota“. 

And along with this financial link, the MinnPost’s coverage of Second Amendment issues has gotten more and more slanted, and not a little bit risible in the bargain:

  • Doug Grow has positively fawned over Heather Martens and Jane Kay (of “Moms Want Action”, another astroturf anti-gun group that gets money from the same pool of liberals with deep pockets that bankrolls Protect MN and, I suspect, the MinnPost); his coverage has been less “journalism” and more “holding a rhetorical slumber party”.  His piece on Rep. Hillstrom’s counter to the Paymar/Hausman gun grab bills - one of which Martens, a lobbyist, read into the record, a bizarre flouting of House rules – was so devoid of fact I concluded it could only have been written in advance. 
  • I’ve got nothing but respect for Eric Black as a journalist – but his coverage of Second Amendment issues and their Constitutional history this past year has been a fount of inspiration for us on this blog

The MinnPost gets big bucks from Joyce, and starts a wave of anti-Second-Amendment (I’ll be charitable) cheerleading.  Coincidence?

Which leads us to this week, and Susan Perry’s piece on an academic “study” on gun violence.  It was a puff piece about a junk study

…and it was sponsored – as noted in the story’s headline – by UCare.  An arm of the government of the State of Minnesota.  Now, leave aside that that government is currently controlled by the extreme metrocrat wing of the DFL party.  Here’s the question:  if journalism is supposed to hold government accountable, should be finacially beholden to government?

Or does that only count when it’s not a DFL sacred cow being promoted?

Because when your “journalism” is being done at the behest of issue-oriented non-profits and the government you’re theoritically supposed to hold accountable, isn’t it really just public relations?  Or campaign media?

Thanks,

Mitch Berg
Uppity Peasant

Junk Science, Junk Journalism, Platinum Funding

 The MinnPost – a non-profit-run institutional blog established the the intention to get a jump on the next wave of institutional journalism – gets a whole bunch of money from the Joyce Foundation.  Joyce also bankrolls Minnesota’s “largest” gun grabber group, “Protect Minnesota”, and Michael Bloomberg’s “Mayors Against Illegal Guns”, as well as paying academics to deliver the conclusions they want

Is that financial relationship related to the fact that the MinnPost has, whenever the subject of guns and the Second Amendment is at hand, turned itself into a risible propaganda organ for the gun-grabbing extreme left?

From Eric Black’s recycling long-obscure legal theories about the origins of the Second Amendment to Doug Grow’s naked puff-piecemongering in support of Heather Martens’ checkbook advocacy group, the MinnPost would seem to be working hard to earn the $50K or so they got from Joyce. 

The latest?  Susan Perry, a “Health” reporter who has pulled her weight in the past on theMinnPost’santi-gun beat. 

Confederate soldiers! With guns! Defending slavery! This is what the MinnPost think you, the law-abiding gun owner, genuflect to.

Yesterday came this piece, entitled…

Well, no.  We’ll get to the title in a bit.  But I’m going to pull a quote from the end of the story first.  I’ll add emphasis for weasel words and a particularly dim strawman:

“Although correlation is not synonymous with causation,” write Bangalore and Messerli, “it seems conceivable that abundant gun availability facilitates firearm-related deaths. Conversely, high crime rates may instigate widespread anxiety and fear, thereby motivating people to arm themselves and give rise to increased gun ownership, which, in turn, increases availability. The resulting vicious cycle could, bit-by-bit, lead to the polarized status that is now the case with the US.”

“Regardless of exact cause and effect, however,” they add, “the current study debunks the widely quoted hypothesis purporting to show that countries with the higher gun ownership are safer than those with low gun ownership.”

So – seventeen paragraphs into a nineteen paragraph article, we hear that the reasearchers aren’t actually drawing conclusions (in attacking a “widely quoted hypothesis” that nobody quotes at all). 

Which is a bit of a letdown for a story whose headline…:

“Idea that ‘guns make a nation safer’ is debunked in study”

…fairly screams “We’ve got a big big big conclusion here!”

 The Rhetorical Slalom Between The Strawmen: I’ll throw this out to the shooters in the audience.  Was this premise…:

The idea that “guns make a nation safer”

…as new to you as it was to me?

Anyway – the “premise”…

…is not true, according to a study published today in The American Journal of Medicine.

In fact, the study found just the opposite: Countries with a low rate of gun ownership have significantly fewer gun-related deaths than those with a high rate.

Right.  In the same way that areas where couples marry have higher divorce rates than areas where they just shack up. 

The study – and Perry’s piece – are honest, in a very dishonest sense; they scrupulously point out that gun death rates are, mirabile dictu, lower in places fewer guns.  But the “study” is equally scrupulous in avoiding apples to apples comparisons, or correlating their conclusions to any data that doesn’t fit inside their razor-thin premise…

…which is to attack a case (“Nations with few guns have higher gun crime rates!”) that, for the life of me, I’ve never heard a single credible person make – about nations, anyway. 

Cherry-Picked:  Perry notes that…

The U.S. leads in gun ownership — and gun deaths

The analysis found that the United States has far and away the highest rate of gun ownership, with 88.8 privately owned guns for every 100 people (“almost as many guns as it has people,” Bangalore and Messerli note)…The United States also has the highest firearm-related death rate: 10.2 deaths per 100,000 residents…At the other end of the spectrum are Japan and the Netherlands. Japan has a gun-ownership rate of 0.6 guns per 100 people, while the Netherlands’ rate is 3.9.

Those two countries also had two of the lowest death-by-gun rates: 0.06/100,000 for Japan and 0.46/100,000 for the Netherlands.

But neither Japan nor the Netherlands is fighting a “Drug War”; neither nation has policies that have turned their inner cities into shooting galleries, controlled by people who have nothing to lose by resorting to violence to protect their markets, using entry-level employees who grow up in a culture that glorifies violence and ignores consequences. 

Neither Japan nor the Netherlands has a major geographical region dominated by a culture that was practicing duelling and honor-killing and treating violence as a way of life long before there was a United States – a culture whose crime rates are, at worst, on par with the worst of the inner cities

Indeed, both Japan and the Netherlands are extremely homogenous countries; homogenous societies tend to be pretty placid – until they have to flirt with heterodoxy (ask the Koreans and the Ainu in Japan, or the Indonesians in the Netherlands).

Indeed, Perry’s article points – unwittingly – at the truth:

The only country that was a bit of an outlier was South Africa. It had a relatively low gun ownership rate of 12.5/100, but a high (the second-highest, just below the U.S.) gun-related death rate of 9.41/100,000.

And of the countries on the list, South Africa is the only one with a significantly – indeed, pivotally – heterodox society.  One with massive urban dysfunction, to boot. 

Which might lead the rational observer to conclude – or see a correlation, anyway – that guns don’t kill people; societal dysfunction does.

Math Is Hard, And Psychiatry Is Harder:  But let’s look at the “gun death” numbers Perry actually does deign to report – the relative gun murder rates in the US, the Netherlands, Japan and…:

[...the] United Kingdom also ranked low on both lists. It has a gun-ownership rate of 6.2 per 100 people and a gun-death rate of 0.25 per 100,000.

But fully half of the US “gun death rate” is suicides.  And the suicide rate in the US (12/100,000) is half of Japans (21.7/100,000), and equal to the UK’s (11.8), and both the US and UK are 50% higher  than the Dutch, at 8.8/100,000. 

We’re not sure if the “study” concluded that guns and depressed, mentally-ill or chemically-addled people don’t mix, or not.  Perhaps the Joyce Foundation will write a grant to study that?

No?

Is This A Strawman, Or A Begged Question?: Perry’s piece continues:

Their conclusion: “There was no significant correlation between guns per capita per country and crime rate, arguing against the notion of more guns translating into less crime.”

This is the third time in Perry’s piece the “notion” that anyone is comparing national gun rates to crime – at least in nations with working legal and law-enforcement systems, which is what the “study” is limited to. 

And for the record, I’m at a complete loss as to a single credible pro-gun advocate who’s made that claim – between nations.  The variables – societal heterodoxy, cultural conditions, criminal justice issues, different judicial systems – are far too complex to make such a case in an intelligent way. 

But when you start eliminating variables?   By just considering different firearms ownership rates in the US?  It’s not rocket surgery – even I can do it, even though I don’t have to because John Lott et al already did.  At worst, in the United States, places with higher legal gun ownership are very generally safer. 

And that’s just a correlation.  I’m not ascribing causation.

And unlike Susan Perry, I’ll admit that without any obfuscation.

So Let’s Summarize:  Susan Perry’s article reports on a non-comprehensive study whose own authors admit it’s a non-”debunk”-ment, that reached no meaningful conclusion about a premise that nobody advanced. 

Follow The Money:  We mentioned the Joyce Foundation – which bankrolls both the MinnPost and the state’s “largest” gun control group. 

One might ask – is it possible to expect honest “journalism” from a publication that has a financial interest in reporting an organization’s slant on the news? 

I’ll ask – because as Perry’s article notes in its heading, in addition to the Joycers…

This content is made possible by the generous sponsorship support of UCare.

So not only is the MinnPost an organ of an anti-gun extremist group, it’s also on the payroll of…

…the State of Minnesota.

Edward R. Murrow would vomit.

Low-Information Reporters

Whenever there’s a big story involving firearms, you can be sure the media will be ready to provide comic relief.

Like Piers Morgan’s reference to Aaron Alexis and his “legally purchased AR15 shotgun“. 

Or the NY Daily News (“Like MSNBC, Only In Print!”) front page story about the AR15 Alexis owned…

…even though it appears that not only didn’t he have one, but didn’t – as was reported yesterday - steal one from one of the base police he murdered after all. 

The Media.  On Second Amendment issues, they are the real low-information voters.

Hypothetical Question

What do you think the Twin CIties media would say, and do, and write, if they found out that…:

  • Power Line, the Twin Cities’ premier political blog (yeah, Hot Air is huge, but it’s not really based here.  Sorry, Ed), and…
  • A hypothetical conservative “mainstream” news outlet – say, the Pioneer Press after a buyout – and…
  • The National Rifle Association, the Gun Owners of America, and the Minnesota Gun Owners CIvil Rights Alliance…

…all got funding from, say, the Koch Brothers?

Take your shot at writing the headlines you’d see in the Strib, on WCCO and KARE, and on MPR (to say nothing of NPR), in the comment section.

Oh, wait – it’s not remotely hypothetical. 

More next week.

Journalism Safely Tucked Out Of The Way

Bill Glahn – who has become one of the essential bloggers in Minnesota – notes something I picked up on in the 2010 race; all “reporting” that might discomfit Democrats takes place at times in the cycle when even wonks are hard-pressed to pay attention, much less Joe and Jane Casual Voter. 

I noted it in 2010, when the Twin Cities media issued one – precisely one – “report” on Mark Dayton’s mental health and alcoholism during the campaign cycle.  Eleven months before the 2010 election.   When nobody, but nobody, cared.   The Strib could tell people honestly that they had covered the issue; it was just at a time when nobody in the world was paying attention.  They buried the story just as effectively as if they’d put it on page E-18. 

As Glahn notes, they’re at it again:

Some 8 months after the data became available, the Minneapolis Star Tribune finally gets around to an analysis of campaign spending in the 2012 election.

The article (headlined “Spending on Minnesota legislative races has doubled in 10 years”) describes how much more money has poured into races for the state legislature in recent years.

Not surprisingly, they bury the lede.  Yes, lots more money is coming into these races, but in recent years, it’s almost all on the Democrat/liberal/progressive side of the ledger.

Of course they do. 

Read the whole thing.

And chalk it up to the pattern; too little, too late, too early. 

Just like the DFL needs it.

The Strib: Keeping The Boogeyman Alive

The Strib ran an editorial from the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch over the weekend, entitled “A senator, scrutinizing ALEC? How dare he.”.

The headline sounds like it was written by Eric Pusey.  The rest of the editorial isn’t much better.  And the fact that the Strib runs it – ergo folds it under their own editorial umbrella – is something we need to highlight. 

The “Senator” involved is Dick Durbin – the guy who wants to bring back the “Fairness Doctrine”, among his many other atrocities. 

And it shows the Democrats, and the Strib’s, hypocrisy on many levels.  Pardon, as always, the redundancy.

Selective Indignation – Yet Again.  The “scrutiny of ALEC”, as we’ve noted in the past, is itself intensely hypocritical – but we’ll come back to that.

On Aug. 6, Durbin sent a letter to about 300 current or former corporate members of ALEC to ask a couple of simple questions. The assistant minority leader wanted to know whether the organization or corporation was still a supporter of ALEC and whether they backed “stand your ground” laws (“For Minnesota think tank, ALEC haters’ witch hunt hits home,” Aug. 14).

Now, just think for a moment what’d happen if, say, Mitch McConnell sent letters to companies asking if they supported Planned Parenthood? 

Think about it for a minute. 

The Strib editorial board would lose bowel control from the sheer anger.  Keri Miller would devote a week of her “Daily Buzz” or whatever they’re calling “Mid-Morning” these days.  It’d be one of those “Chilling Effects on Democracy” that seems to accompany any conservative activity in the minds of the media, only worse. 

Dance, Boogeyman!  Dance! – And why is Durbin so concerned about ALEC? 

In September, Durbin plans to convene a subcommittee hearing to study ["Stand Your Ground"] laws in light of the Florida verdict acquitting George Zimmerman in the killing of Trayvon Martin. Inasmuch as ALEC’s support was critical to Florida’s 2005 decision to pass the nation’s first stand-your-ground law, it seems reasonable to ask ALEC’s members and funders whether the Trayvon Martin case changed their minds.

The bad publicity ALEC received after an unarmed Martin was shot dead by Zimmerman led many corporations to withdraw their support for ALEC.

I’m not sure – and I can’t find the data at the moment – but I’m going to say this is likely BS; I doubt they lost any significant revenue, at least not for long  Maybe I’ll find out more soon. 

But what Durbin is doing is trying to is…:

ALEC and the groups are right to tell Durbin to stick his request from whence he got his “Fairness Doctrine” proposal. 

Proof That the Strib knows DFL Voters are Incurious Lemmings Who Are Content To Let Others Do Their Thinking For them – The Pospatch, via the Strib, does the “Wizard of Oz” schtik for the low-information NPR-listening voter:

The group creates cookie-cutter legislation with the primary goal of enriching the corporate bottom line.

As opposed to the National Education Association, or the Teamsters or SEIU or AFSCME, which create cookie-cutter legislation to enrich their leadership.  Or the “Violence Policy Center”, which creates cookie-cutter gun grab legisaltion for state legislators – like the bills Representatives Paymar, Martens and Hausman wasted four months introducing in this past session, all of which were to one degree or another copied and pasted from laws in New York and California.  Or the Joyce Foundation, which not only supports gun control groups like the VPC and “Protect Minnesota” (which provide cookie-cutter legislation on Second Amendment issues to ignorami like the Metrocrat Caucus) but also partisan media outlets masquerading as “objective” media, like the MinnPost, to carry Joyce’s proxies’ water in the public information sphere. 

“They May Be An Untransparent Hack Pressure Group, But They’re Our Untransparent  Hack Pressure Group!”   – This next part is comedy gold, provided you have the capacity to laugh at the bald-faced  disingenuity of the media.  I’ll be adding emphasis:   

This is what makes this war of words so interesting. The real purpose of ALEC is to allow corporations and wealthy benefactors to avoid state ethics disclosure laws. As the nonprofit group Common Cause has meticulously noted in its complaint to the Internal Revenue Service, ALEC pretends it’s a nonprofit charity when really it’s a highly sophisticated lobbying organization that allows corporations to launder their donations without showing taxpayers which lawmakers they are buying and selling.

As opposed to “Common Cause”, which – in deep contrast – pretends it’s a nonprofit charity when in fact it is a highly sophisticated lobbying organization that allows liberal plutocrats and “progressive” advocates and groups to launder their donations without showing taxpayers which lawmakers they are buying and selling. 

That’s how the corporations want it, and that has nothing to do with freedom of speech or other constitutional protections. It’s deceit, plain and simple, and it has a negative effect on the legislative process.

Catch that?  The media – it’s the Pospatch, officially, but this editorial is no less cookie-cutter than a Lori Sturdevant article or an AFSCME-sponsored bill, let alone the ALEC bills it yaps about – is leaning on the purported “deceit” of “ALEC”, which acts, in every way, exactly like every group like it anywhere in American politics, but has been selected as the boogeyman by the Big Left, to draw media attention away from groups like…

…Common Cause, for one, which actually is everything that this editorial claims ALEC is, with comprehensive dishonesty about its own motivations thrown in for good meaure.     

“Corporate America has the right to express its opinion,” Durbin said in an interview. “The difference here is this is a secret operation and they’ve become a major political force.”

Unlike those plucky outsiders at Media Matters.  Or the Joyce Foundation.  Or AFSCME.

Or the “Alliance for a “Better” Minnesota”. 

The sooner the Strib goes out of business, the sooner Minnesota has a chance – slight though it may be – of learning the truth about what’s going on around them.

For the real story, go here and read this.

Triumph Of The Will And Grace

Say what you will about same-sex marriage. I’ve supported civil unions for most of a decade – but events in Minnesota passed that by.

So lets turn away from the overkill coverage of all those gay weddings amd play a little art appreciation, shall we?

Pick apart the symbolism of this photo, from the MinnPost.

20130801-072331.jpg

What thousand words is this photo telling us?

The Minnesota Left’s War Against Women Who Think For Themselves

I noticed this late last week; Buzzfeed noting that the GOP is working on a national level to turn the Democrats’ “War on Women” rhetoric back in their faces:

After enduring an election year in which the Obama campaign advanced a largely successful narrative that the GOP’s platform was anti-woman, the Republican National Committee has spent much of the past month gleefully highlighting the indiscretions and sexual harassment charges of male Democratic politicians.

With a flurry of public memos, tweets, and op-eds, the RNC is working to make the Democratic Party take ownership of Eliot Spitzer, who resigned the New York governorship after a prostitution scandal and is now running for city comptroller; San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, now facing allegations of sexual harassment; and Weiner, whose online sexual dalliances have driven the political news cycle all week, and given RNC communications director Sean Spicer some irresistible ammunition.

I’m inclined to call Reince Preibus and tell him to send his counter-message SWAT team here to Minnesota.

We’ve got a doozy for him.

———-

I had a conversation with a modestly prominent MNGOP source last week. Yet again, the source noted, the DFL-leaning media was trying, in their words, to “shame” a female conservative.

I’m not going to identify the former political figure involved; they’ve asked for people to keep their noses out of their private lives, and I’m going to do exactly that, and urge you to do the same.

But the source referred me to the Twitter feed of Shawn Towle, of “Checks and Balances”, a regional political publication.

Last week Towle tweeted with the breathless glee of a seventh-grader who’s just disovered his older brother’s stash of Playboys:

@ChecksnBalances: @ChecksnBalances: Breaking: alla #weiner style @UMNnews confirmed via source this pic [whose link I'm going to redact] is [the female conservative] 

Towle tries, in successive tweets and with his oddly stunted written delivery (I think “alla” means “a la”), to equate the “incident” – a photo of a female conservative in her underwear – to the Anthony Weiner controversy. 

I’m going to redact the photo; it’s on a “Tumblr” blog with one post – a photo – and no comments. 

And if you have read Shawn Towle, it doesn’t seem a big stretch to think that he does think there’s an equivalence between…:

  • …a sitting congressman sending raunchy photos to women who hadn’t actually solicited them, and…
  • …someone who is not an elected official and whose mildly racy photos – from an episode amid some extreme marital difficulty – were distributed and published very much against her will.

Or, for that matter, that Aaron Rupar of the City Pages – who writes about this “issue” like he’s covering the fall of the Twin Towers, only with that little tinge of smug, self-righteous prurience he seems to bring to ”reporting” on conservative women with marital difficulties or boyfriend trouble – thinks this is a story.

How bad was Towle and Rupar’s “reporting?”  Even Nick Coleman – who rarely has a kind or constructive word to say to anyone to the right of his little brother Chris, the Mayor of Saint Paul – twote:

@NickColeman: City Pages published a pic of [the subject of the story] in underwear? Why on earth? Have they been to the beach? Maybe CP should get out more.

Or stock up on toilet paper.

And Dave Mindeman at mnpAct tweeted:

@newtbuster: [the subject] Story – Embarrassment for Her..Unnecessary For Public http://t.co/DPE18sgV0V

Yep.  This “story” serves no purpose, other than to try to stick it to someone that Rupar and Towle disagree with, in the most personal, ugly way possible.  (And no, none of the links you see in my story lead to the actual “story”)

But the real story here isn’t the fact that a couple of wanna-be liberal journos have gotten themselves a week’s worth of whacking material.

No, there are three real stories here:

Stalking- I’ll take the subject of this story at her word that the photo in question was obtained and distributed illegally.  The woman who is the subject of this story has been cyber-stalked – with the complete, onanistic approval of at least two Twin Cities “media” outlets (and the tacit approval, I maintain, of most of the rest of the media). 

While a civil suit seems a long shot, I do sincerely hope the FBI does in fact find someone to charge in this gross invasion of privacy – and that there are consequences for Towle, Rupar, Checks and Balances and the City Pages.  In a just world, there’d be some way to sue them back to the stone age. 

The Scarlet “C” – It’s that this is the kind of thing that every female conservative in Minnesota faces if they give the Big Left’s smear machine even the slightest whiff of imperfection.  As I said on Friday, there’s a yawning double standard; Bill Clinton’s serial philandering was “Just Sex”; Elliot Spitzer and Anthony Weiner and Jesse Jackson’s sexual (and pseudo-sexual) peccadillos are accepted as the sort of thing that goes along with being great and powerful.  But if a conservative woman for any reason colors outside the social lines that the left abandoned for themselves in the 1970s – gets divorced, has a social life that doesn’t pass their all-critical muster?  They get turned into Hester Prynne with a healthy dollop of puritan-via-Beavis-And-Butthead “shaming” thrown in on top.

Women, to Democrats, are supposed to be barefoot, Democrat, and marching to the voting booth to thank the nice Democrat for their abortion and contraceptives.  Thinking for themselves is the real crime.

 Er, “Blind” Hate – Beyond sheer illogic and “shaming”, though, there’s a whole ‘nother layer of depravity at work here.  What Towle and Rupar have done is isn’t just an Alinsky-ite smear job using the tactics of the internet stalker – which would be bad enough. 

To dig into the personal details of a wretchedly difficult part of a couple’s personal life – a couple that is not currently involved in politics, no less – and pruriently splash it all over the public square?  That’s beyond politics, beyond spite.  That’s the kind of ritual misogyny you see in mobs of inbred cretins stoning a woman for infidelity in some Godforsaken third world backwater. 

If you’re a female conservative, really, that’s what the Democrats – and their junior-league PR interns at the City Pages - are these days; rural Iran with better coffee.

———-

Questioned about this, liberals say “serves them right, belonging to a moralistic party” – which would be illogical even if their own party was itself morally consistent (which it’s not; the self-appointed party of the poor and the working class has left us with a terrible economy for workers.  The self-professed party of minorities has made the economy worse for minorities, and has increased racial strife in this country, all the while mining minority communities for votes.  The putative party of women has made “womanhood” all about the disposition of a uterus).  It’s the ad hominem tu quoque, arguing that personal inconsistency invalidates an argument.  This line of illogic would have you believe that stumping for a moral case is invalidated by not living up to it in every facet of one’s life; it’s actually quite the opposite. 

No.  The only reason this sort of non-story “story” gets covered by lefty “journalists” – and “covered” to the point they risk going blind – is that, true to Alinsky, it makes an example of any woman that leaves the liberal plantation.  It’s done to warn other women – and blacks, latinos, Asians and gays – not to make waves.  To sit down on the left side of the bus, and shut up, or the personal cost to you and your family will be just too high.

The only reason it hasn’t worked so far is that so many of Minnesota’s conservative women have enough guts to make Red Adair look like Woody Allen.

They Have Feelings, Too

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Compare the headline in the paper where the incident actually happened with the headline in the local paper.

In this one, the guy shot himself by accident:

In this one, the gun “went off” and shot him:

The subtle difference is the PiPress article makes it sound as if the firearm can spontaneously discharge at any time; the implication is it’s too dangerous to have one around so we should ban them all, for the children.

What media bias?

Joe Doakes

There may be no subject on which the media is both less balanced and less competent than firearms.

For exampe, the media meme that George Zimmerman “had a round in his chamber, his hammer cocked and his safety off” when the confrontation with Trayvon Martin started.  He was carrying a Kel-Tec 9mm.  It’s a double-action only pistol, a type I hypothetically might have a lot of experience with.  You can’t cock the hammer, and there is no safety.  And of course he had a round in the chamber; that’s where they belong – provided you don’t have a cocked hammer.

Amateur Lawyers Writing Scathing Briefs In Their Scathing Briefs

If you’re a conservative who’s spent the past decade or two assailing theStar Tribune’srigorous editorial pro-DFL, pro-”progressive”, pro-leftist bias, there’s some good news.  

Sorta.

But we’ll get back to that later.   

Jay Larson of Saint Bonifacius t is apparently upset about the Zimmerman verdict, and has apparently seen enough episodes of Law and Order that he feels himself quite the Monday Morning county attorney, in an op-ed that the Strib opted to run in preference to goodness knows how many intelligent pieces they could have run:

In response to the July 15 editorial “Due process plays out in Zimmerman case”: Really?

It is a given that the state of Florida was dragged into the Zimmerman case kicking and screaming because of public pressure from the black community.

Now, I’m sure to Mr. Larson that means something different than it does to people who actually care about justice.

For most of us, the fact that the State of Florida – which is never shy about prosecuting people they believe to have committed crimes, and carrying out sentences with frothy abandon (from a large, full prison system to a legendarily-busy electric chair) didn’t opt to press charges was pretty clear evidence that there was no there there; that the homicide, tragic as it is, was justified on its face under the laws on the books in the sovereign state of Florida. 

To Jay Larson – who apparently believes Sam Waterson was a real lawyer – it means the “justice” system does, and should, respond to whomever cheers or jeers the loudest.   

Due process? What due process? I was appalled at the lack of zeal with which the prosecution tried this case. It allowed the key witness, a young uneducated black girl, to testify without being properly prepared — a girl for whom English was her third language and who was quite evidently intimidated.

“English was her third language?”

Does that sound racist to anyone but me?

And to paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld, you go to trial with the witnesses you have, not the witnesses you want.  While Mr. Larson would apparently have preferred the prosectors hire Halle Berry to play the role of Ms. Jeantel, it would seem to be an irreducible fact that the “uneducated” Ms. Jeantel was the best the prosecution could find on one years’ notice. 

Next, the prosecution brought the lead detective, who was supposedly there to bolster the prosecution’s case. He testified that he was certain that George Zimmerman was telling the truth. Why did he say that as a prosecution witness?

Offhand, I’d say “that he felt committing perjury would be a bad career move?”

I’ll give Mr. Larson of Saint Freaking Bonnie this much; he apparently watches a broad range of TV.  In addition to the diet of Law and Order that apparently qualifies him to back-seat-drive the prosecutors’ office, he also apparently watches enough CSI or NCIS to fancy himself quite the investigator:  

There were so many inconsistencies in George Zimmerman’s story of the events that night it was absurd to think that he was telling the truth. For instance, Zimmerman said that Trayvon Martin punched him 25 times and slammed his head against the sidewalk an additional 25 times.

If someone has been hit in the face 25 times, that person is going to exhibit a lot of bruising and swelling around the lips and eyes. Zimmerman had none. If his head had been slammed against the sidewalk 25 times, where is the concussion, where is the blood, where is the swelling?

Well, he doesn’t look quite curb-ready in these crime-time photos:

I’m neither a doctor nor Jay Larson, but this looks painful.

And I suspect when you’re getting your head slammed against a cement sidewalk ones count might not be utterly accurate.  Adrenaline makes detailed actions like “keeping running totals of how many times you’ve been punched and slammed to the pavement” difficult; also.  And I know this not just because the slamming illogic and assumption of Mr. Larson’s piece is making it difficult to think – it is, but it’s not from adrenaline, trust me – but because it’s one of those things they teach you in carry permit training, if nowhere else.   

How could Zimmerman have been constantly screaming if his mouth was covered by Trayvon’s hand and blood was running down his throat from his broken nose?

Question.  Perhaps because his mouth wasn’t constantly covered, perhaps?

 Where was the blood that should have been on Martin’s hands?

If he was slamming the head on the ground rather than punching it – as, by the way, the prosecution said he did?  There’d be no blood. 

How exactly did Zimmerman pull out his gun from his interior holster if he was laying on it? (Additionally, it would have been covered by Martin’s legs if Zimmerman was truly on the bottom as he claimed.)

Good point.  Clearly Zimmerman had his gun drawn as he walked onto the scene, pointing it where he was looking like a wanna-be cop, and waited until he’d been pummeled into near-submission before shooting. 

Alternately; the holster was accessible enough – which isn’t that hard to believe if Mr. Martin had normal legs, or was sitting facing Martin rather than away from himn, pinning the gun to Zimmerman’s stomach with his butt.

As to this next bit (in which I’ll add emphasis)…:

There was no due process in that courtroom. The only process exhibited there was the Jim Crow process of the old South. Granted, this wasn’t the lynching of a black man after a quicky trial. Rather it was the unlynching of a white man who murdered a black child.

I’m wondering if Mr. Larson is even a capable enough writer to know that he’s tacitly admitting that the malicious prosecution and mob-rule attack on Zimmerman was a “lynching”. 

Oh, yeah – the “good news” I talked about at the top?  Here it is:

For years, I’ve believed that the Strib editorial board would cherry-pick the letters and op-eds they’d print.  Now, that’s their right – but I’ve believed (not without justification) that they did it to slant the perception of their reading public by printing letters and op-eds from well-spoken, thoughtful (if usually wrong) liberals, along with a distortedly-pejorative sample of conservatives that sounded like cranks, crackpots and stereotypes.

And the “good” news would seem to be that the Strib, by printing the likes of Mr. Larson, is now giving the left at least a little of the same short, dismal shrift. 

It’s fairer, I suppose.  But is it really progress?

Strib: Aiding And Abetting Racism?

Two weeks ago, when Representative Ryan Winkler shocked the parts of the world that can still be shocked by referring to SCOTUS Justice Clarence Thomas as an “Uncle Tom” – something even junior-high kids in North Dakota thirty-something years ago knew was a racist slap – the Twin Cities media did what it always does.

Cover for the Democrat. 

(And the Twin Cities leftyblogosphere?  To them, Clarence Thomas, a phenomenally accomplished man, is no different than Michelle Malkin or Star Parker or Alan West; a target for endemic bigotry first, human last, maybe.  When will Eric Pusey condem the racism on his “blog?”). 

Speaking of accomplished people, Chris Fields – a very talented politician who gave Keith Ellison as good a run as any Democrat’s had in the 5th CD lately, and is now the Secretary of the Republican Party of Minnesota and who is a businessman, a retired US Marine and, as it happens, black – wrote an editorial about how very, very objectionable the Winkler flap was.

Now, it’s the mushy institutional left, people like the Star/Tribune editorial board, that constantly remind us we need a “dialogue about race”.  Of course, when they say “dialogue”, they really mean “monologue, with our side doing all the talking and your icky conservatives doing the listening

But in re the Winkler incident, it’s seem the Strib wants no monologue, much less “dialogue”.  Chris FIelds wrote an excellent op-ed about the subject of Winkler and his ignorant racist jape.  It was picked up by other papers – the Pioneer Press and the Mankato Times both ran it (it’s below the fold here). 

But the Strib?  Not so much as an impolite “F Off”. 

Winkler, who represents the lily-white, mushy-left heard of the Strib’s prime demographic, has gotten an unqualified pass from the entire Twin Cities media, which focused on his instant contrition in a way that’d would have seemed less jarring if it were something the Strib, the City Pages or MPR ever did for, say, Todd Akin’s verbal japes or Tom Hackbarth’s post-divorce wrong-place-at-the-wrong-time awkwardness or anything Ann Coulter has ever said, in or out of context. 

But it wasn’t. 

So why didn’t the Strib run Fields’ op-ed?  Is Fields not a compelling commentator on the issue?  Is his perspective not important?  Was his op-ed not well-written and excellent food for thought?  Yes, yes and yes.

Does it afflict someone the Strib’s editorial board and their friends very much want to see remain politically comfortable?  A thousand times yes. 

And so down the memory hole it, and the entire incident, will be shoved. They have their priorities.

Fields op-ed is below the jump.

Continue reading

Orc See, Orc Do

Whatever you thought about the Martin/Zimmerman case, the big loser was the American media. They – and their leftyblog camp followers – did, almost to a fault, an unforgiveably bad job of covering the case – from NBC’s editing Zimmerman’s 911 call to try to make him sound racist to their seeming unwillingness to get even the most basic facts straigth. (Classic example: how many of you read media accounts that said Zimmerman has “a round in the chamber, his hammer cocked and his safety off?” For starters, virtually every person who carries a firearm for self-defense, including every cop you see on the street, has a “round in the chamber”. Beyond that, Zimmerman’s pistol was a KelTec 9mm, a type I’m intimately familiar with; it’s what’s called a “double action only” pistol; there is no safety, and you can’t “cock” the hammer except by squeezing the trigger.

I know. Technicalities. But it’s not just the gun-geek stuff that the media bobbles.

In the wake of the Zimmerman verdict over the weekend, an insufficiently bright liberal on Twitter issued a tweet that included a link to this deeply ignorant hit piece from CBS last year.

It’s just as wrong this year as it was last; I’ll emphasize the :

(CBSMiami.com) – As some state lawmakers are calling for a re-thinking of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, which allows people to defend themselves from danger without the need to first try to get away, an analysis of state data shows deaths due to self defense are up over 200 percent since the law took effect.

“Up over 200 percent”. 

That sounds like a big number.  Especially as against the fact that murder in general, nationwide, is down nearly half in the past 20 years. 

Seems like a…disconnect?

We’ll come back to that.

The shooting death of Trayvon Martin by an armed, self-appointed Central Florida crime watch volunteer who claimed he shot in self defense has sparked a national debate about Florida’s law, technically known as the Castle doctrine.

No.  No, it is not “technically known” as “Castle Doctrine”, which relates to removing the “duty to retreat”while you’re in your home.  Which was the law in Minnesota until the mid-2000s, by the way, but no longer. 

Until 2005, it was generally considered self defense if someone tried to get into your home or invade your property, so long as you could show deadly force was the last resort. In 2005, the “Stand your Ground” law removed the need to retreat before using force, even in public.

And there you go.  One of the reasons people on the left are so ignorant about Second Amendment issues is that the people they get their information from are, in fact, crushingly ignorant on the subject. 

“Castle” referred to  in your home.  “Stand your Ground” was elsewhere. 

According to state crime stats, Florida averaged 12 “justifiable homicide” deaths a year from 2000-2004. After “Stand your Ground” was passed in 2005, the number of “justifiable” deaths has almost tripled to an average of 35 a year, an increase of 283% from 2005-2010.

So what? 

If all of those shootings – 12 or 35 – were people shooting because they were in legitimate fear of death or great bodily harm, and where lethal force was appropriate, and the intended victim wasn’t a willing participant, then that means there are 35 rapists, stalkers, robbers and thugs off the street.

Each death is a tragedy, sure.  But so would be the deaths of those shooting in self-defense – and in every case, as a matter of law , that was the alternative with all 35 of those shootings; death, mutilation, kidnapping, rape. 

Don’t they matter?

Minnesota needs a Stand your Ground law.

Rise Up, Peasants, And Defend The Plutocrats!

I got this letter from “Protect Minnesota” recently.  “Protect Minnesota” was what Rep. Heather Martens (DFLiar – HD66A) had to rename “Citizens for a “Safer” Supine Minnesota” when it turned out her constant lying had damaged whatever credibility the old brand had.

For those who’ve missed earlier installments of my coverage of Ms. Martens, here’s what you need to know; every single substantive thing she had said about gun issues, ever, throughout her career, has been a lie.  Every.  Last.  Word. 

Here’s her letter:

Dear Heinrich ,

It’s been several weeks since the Minnesota legislature went home. Despite passing one bill to fund improvements in Federal gun background check data, the legislature left gaping loopholes in the law that still allow people who shouldn’t have guns to get them easily.

Well, no.  A bipartisan majority of the legislature realized that Martens’ various bills – copied and pasted as they were from New York and California – wouldn’t change criminals’ ability to find guns; they’d just register the guns of the law-abiding, for further targeting by law-enforcement when and if the political winds swing that way. 

We’d never tolerate that sort of treatment of the First Amendment.  Why the Second?

Martens:

We can’t afford to wait for another mass shooting, so we are not letting up in the push for change. We need your help to have one-to-one conversations with voters about what is at stake, and how they can push common sense state and Federal laws. Can you join a phone bank tomorrow? Click here to help phone on Wednesday, July 10, at TakeAction in St. Paul. (Pizza and air conditioning provided!)

Not that there was any doubt that “Protect MN” was part of the ultra-left hive, but the fact that TakeAction – which, like “Protect MN” is an astroturf group funded by unions and liberal plutocrats – just happened to lend “Protect” a phone bank should tell you something.

With more than 75 percent of Minnesotans supporting universal background checks for gun sales,

…according to a push poll whose results have been reported with flagrant disregard for the context of the original survey question; tomayto tomahto, I know…

we had great success engaging voters all over the state, generating thousands of phone calls and emails to legislators.

Martens has been showing an interesting pattern since her bills got tubed by solid bipartisan majorities (which included a bipartisan majority of all House members signing on to co-author a bill that was a direct repudiation of Martens’ bills (channeled via the likes of Michael Paymar and Alice “The Phantom” Hausman); she’s been reduced to trying to turn defeats into victories, at least in the minds of her utterly uninformed followers.

“Thousands” of calls?  By all accounts, calls ran 50:1 against Martens’ bills.  Even the MinnPost’s Doug Grow, who gets at least part of his paycheck from the same place Martens does (the anti-gun Joyce Foundation contributes at least five figures to both “Protect” MN and the MinnPost, which I suspect is in major part behind the MinnPost’s atrociously ignorant and ludicrously slanted coverage of Second Amendment issues this past year), said it was more like a thousand, as if that was a major accomplishment.

In 2013, we didn’t have time to build the power it takes to reverse the long-term effects of gun-rights extremist propaganda. But we have the public on our side, and we can make the change we need, as long as we keep at it!
Click here to join us and our friends at Mayors Against Illegal Guns for the first in a series of summer phone banks!

And there you go.  Two astroturf groups sponsored by liberal plutocrats and government unions (fluffed by a “news” outlet sponsored by those same plutocrats and their plutocrat-supported foundation) are joining with a group of liberal politicians in another astroturf group funded by another liberal plutocrat to try to keep all us unruly peasants in line.

I’ve said it for twenty years, now; the extreme left has always led with the class-warfare rhetoric – and yet on this, the most populist issue of them all, it’s the left who are the patricians, and the gun rights movement in all its bipartisan and non-partisan millions who are the uppity peasants demanding real freedom. 

I might just have to sign up for that phone bank.