Just The News!

The “MN Reformer” is yet another effort to start a news organization by progressive plutocrats with deep pockets – because after the Minnesota Monitor, the Minnesota Independent and MNPost, certainly the fourth time’s the charm.

They’ve actually done some decent reporting over the last year.

Emphasis on “in the last year” – when there wasn’t an election on the way.

But there is.

The Reformer ran an op-ed by Dr. Hannah Lichtsinn calling for the state medical authorities to revoke Dr. Scott Jensen’s medical license. Jensen is, by the way, the GOP candidate for Governor. He’s also been an out-front skeptic of our state’s hamfisted, tyrannical public health response.

Neither the op-ed, the Reformer’s bio-blurb about Dr. Lichtsinn, nor any of the Reformer’s social media traffic makes any mention of any political bent that she might have.

Anecdotally – and I’m the one with the anecdote, here – Dr. Lichtsinn has been pretty much the polar opposite of Jensen; on social media, she was a positively strident proponent of lockdowns, mandates of every kind, and draconian enforcement.

And the reason for that is, she’s every bit as much a Democrat activist with portfolio as she is a doctor:

It’d be fair to say that, when not playing nice and empirical in op-eds intended to be marketed to the unconvinced center, she’s a “groaningly strident” progressive

Apparently the Reformer didn’t think the reader needed to know that.

Which is why the Reformer – unlike the MN Monitor and the MN Independent before it – bothered with all that “decent reporting” last year; to put up a veneer of legitimacy around what was intended to be yet another DFL PR operation during the 2022 campaign season.

WaPo: “Poor, Poor, Pitiful We”

The problem with “mass shootings” is there are just too many of the to cover ZOMG!

“Agonizing decisions”.

We’ll come back to that.

Until then, let’s define our terms.

A “Mass Shooting” is any shooting with 3+ victims, whatever the motive. It might be a school rampage, true – but it also covers botched robberies, sicarios executing suspect mules, a drive-by shooting indiscriminately into a crowd sending 3-5 people to the hospital, a murder/suicide – even self-defense.

A “Spree Killing” or “Rampage Killing”‘s only motive is killing for its own sake, and no other motive – not even terrorism. It includes episodes like Uvalde, Sandy Hook ,the Buffalo grocery store, and of course one that were ended by good guys with guns before they turned into “mass shootings” (thus ensuring no media interest).

There may well have been 320 “mass shootings” – many or most of them in places like Chicago, Baltimore, Saint Louis and Newark, with a few very notable spree killings distributed among the list.

And for some reason, the “agonized decisions” seem to involve ignoring “mass shootings” where the victims don’t look like the relatives of network executives.

We Three Things

Medieval Europe saw the world as divided into three orders. Those who pray, those who fight, and those who work.

The first, those who pray, consisted of the clergy. The second, those who fight, consisted of the nobility. The third, those who work, consisted of the serfs, peasants and others who worked the land.

The orders were complementary, and each contributed to society as a whole. The workers were the economic engine and put food on the table. The Church certainly played a role in civic life, but faith was also an integral part of life and seeking God’s favor was both a Christian’s duty and desire. The nobility and the knights that came from it fought to preserve it all.

In France, these orders became known as Estates, and these Estates made up the Ancien Régime which lasted until the French Revolution.

In the 18th century, following from these institions, the Press became known as the Fourth Estate.

The appellation may have started as a witticism, but journalists, convinced of their own priesthood, eventually took it seriously.

While our national media at one time may have functioned as a watchdog, speaking truth to power, comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable, our Fourth Estate has become PR flacks and gatekeepers for the side they have chosen.

Rather than complementing other sectors of society, and contributing to the whole, our Fourth Estate works against those it disagrees with, and that is not a recipe for a healthy society.

Drew Lee

In the radio industry I grew up in – especially the one I came of age in, in my later twenties, at places like KDWB – competition in radio was a constant, ugly thing. Especially in big-market music radio, getting ratings was mortal combat, a bloodsport where morality and ethics (and, often as not, sobrieity) got chucked before the first break of the morning weather. Pirates looked at major market radio executives and thought “arrrrr, cut off the cutthrrroat stuff, matey”.

Some of that faded after the 2008 recession, when most of the money left music radio. And talk radio has usually been, if not genteel, at least a little more civilized.

Among talk radio people in the Twin Cities, the comity was almost unsettling. While AM1290 and AM1130 competed for the same audience, the wrenching animus just wasn’t there.

For years, now, the personalities at the various stations [1] – Bob Davis, Sue Jeffers, Ben Kruse, Jon Justice and Walter Hudson from the 1130, all us NARN guys from the 1280 (and Jack Tomczak, who’s been at both), and even to a lesser extent the likes of Blois Olson and Jason DeRusha from ‘CCO – have gotten along very amiably, socially. It’s disconcertingly far from the cage match I grew up in.

And so it’s with more than collegial wishes and sympathies that I note that Andrew “Drew” Lee, long-time morning guy at the 1130, has passed away:

I won’t say I knew Drew well – but we met many times. He sat in on bass with my band a few years ago, and at various points made overtures about trying to get all of us local talk show hosts together under the 1130 banner (for which I thanked him, but genuinely like working for Salem, and they’ve treated us all way too well for any of us to walk away lightly – which Lee, as a radio lifer, understood).

He was a big-hearted guy, a devoted family man, and the kind of radio road warrior you just don’t find anymore. .

Prayers and condolences to his real and radio families.

[1] Heck, even the MPR folks let their sense of monastic above-it-all-ness drop for a couple years, there. Management put an end to that nonsense a few years back, unfortunately. It’s been their loss.

Cherry-Picked

Not to sound cynical about big media – good heavens no, not me – but when I see the New York Times reporting on active shooters, I pretty much expect their “reporting” to either lie, or to hide the accurate conclusion in plain sight.

And they’ve done that.

They include a snazzy, Edward Tufte-style graphic to explicate their case – and they reached this conclusion:

“It’s direct, indisputable, empirical evidence that this kind of common claim that ‘the only thing that stops a bad guy with the gun is a good guy with the gun’ is wrong,” said Adam Lankford, a professor at the University of Alabama, who has studied mass shootings for more than a decade. “It’s demonstrably false, because often they are stopping themselves.”

So let’s look at the graphic:

So let’s take a look at the numbers.Out of nearly 250 mass shootings that ended before the police arrived, nearly 10% ended with the assailant being shot by a “bystander“ – A “good guy with a gun“. That’s nearly 10% of spree shootings, ended before the cops arrive

(That is, of course, presuming the media actually recognizes the episode. For example, they studiously ignored this recent incident .

Even so, that is actually a tad higher than I’d have figured; given that spree killers tend to pick targets where nobody is likely to be able to resist them, and nowhere near 10% of the population at large generally carries a firearm, that’s actually a better result than one might rationally expect.

But now, let’s look at the other resolutions.

Of the 249 mass shootings that ended before the cops arrived, nearly 80% end with the killer either leaving the scene or committing suicide.

And the devil with these shootings is in the details. Some of the spree killers do leave the scenes of their crimes on their own two feet. But others “leave” because a citizen threatened them with immediate death – as in this case four years ago, where two good guys with guns changed a would-be racist spree killer’s plans, one with the threat of death, one with gunfire, causing him to run away. He was apprehended later.

One that killed himself, did it after killing two people – before a good guy pointed a gun at his head. He ran into a nearby store, and killed himself.

Or this case, where a church “security guard” (a volunteer with a carry permit) shot a spree killer who’d murdered four people already. He killed himself, it’s true – after his plan had been fatally derailed by a good gal with a gun.

So what’s my conclusion?

You can tell Big Media is lying about guns when their lips are moving, or their fingers are touching keyboards.

Same as it ever was.

Unseemly

So have you noticed how many “journalists “in the Twin Cities are doing the DFL‘s job for it?

For example, here’s WCCO TV is Esme Murphy:

What is the difference between actively propagandizing for the DFL, and referring to a cash giveaway as “Walz Checks“?

Call them a propaganda wing of the DFL. Call them the DFL‘s branding or public relations service.

Just don’t call it reporting.

Dysfunctional

One of the more controversial stances I’ve taken on this blog is “MInnesota Public Radio News sucks less than most local news organizations”.

It’s not an unblemished statement, of course. With some of their staffers, their eliminationist leftism slips out (or comes gushing out in a tsunami of foul, scabrous rotting bile). And you don’t have to scratch the surface too hard to find MPR doing its best to uphold Big Left’s narrative.

So yes – they suck less. It’s a low bar, and they barely get over it, but there you have it.

But the product has been slipping in recent years. MPR’s newsroom has been shrinking – by a little over half in the past 5-6 years. Their on-air programming has gotten more and more perfunctory; ; less local production, (except for their local talk shows, which don’t take nearly as much overhead and effort as doing news – especially given how over-staffed as MPR historically has tended to be).

All is not well.

Jay Boller at Racket has a long, well-reported and, I need to add, utterly stereotype-affirming report on the recent decline of MPR News.

Long story short: As executive salaries soar, less and less of that taxpayer and donor money is going to news and programming.

But naturally, to those remaining, the problem is, notwithstanding the fact that the organization has unionized and pushed itself to the bleeding edge of the social justice fashion curve, MPR News just isn’t progressive enough:

The employee-led Transform group re-stated its lists of demands around anti-racism and gender equality last fall after Taylor assumed her role, concluding, “We remain tired, perhaps more tired than ever before. But we will not stop trying to force this company to change. It is simply too important.” 

This comes at a time when some – few, but some – in the “progressive” non-profit industrial complex are starting to ask some of the same questions about their business and political models (about which more, likely, next week), after noticing that all that money seems to be buying less results and more internal, woker-than-thou discord. The parallels are worth discussing.

I’d love to ask someone from MPR to come on the show to discuss this – but they’ve long since circled up their wagons and stopped talking with anyone outside the Circle of Trust.

Rationalization Du Jour

So the economy’s in the crapper and you’re a worried Democrat? CNN has found the silver lining:

All of this could pose problems for Biden and Democrats in the upcoming midterm elections.
But if there is any consolation for Biden, the market implosion during the early stages of his presidency is not as bad as those experienced by some of his predecessors, according to data from CFRA Research chief investment strategist Sam Stovall.
The market plunged 16.5% in the first 510 days of Ronald Reagan’s presidency, which was also a period of historically high inflation. Stocks were down 25% in the early part of George W. Bush’s presidency, as the market was in the midst of the dot-com meltdown and struggled to recover in the aftermath of 9/11. But both Reagan and George W. Bush wound up being re-elected.
Meanwhile, stocks soared more than 20% early in both George H.W. Bush’s and Donald Trump’s tenures in the Oval Office. Neither was elected to a second term.

Reagan had principles, a plan, and crucially Paul Volcker working with him. W, for what it’s worth, had a war and craven opposition. Biden has nothing except long knives sharpening in the background. 

 

The Home Team

TikTok recently knocked Buzzfeed off my list of tech entities I hate the most. It’s a long list, but the top of the field is still pretty rarified territory.

I’ve vented my disdain for Buzzfeed – the news outlet almost too stupid for Aaron Rupar to work for it – since Molly Priesmeyer declared it the future of news, fifteen years ago.

They haven’t improved much:

I should do the same thing with the Strib’s selection of op-ed writers…

Our Idiot Elite, Part MMMLCCXVII

In twenty years of first blogging and then social media, you’d think the semi-literate popsies that populate the ranks of “new big media” would have learned by now: trying to make people you disagree with sound dumb, about things you’re not especially smart about yourself, is going to backfire.

Molly Jong-Fast – a gift that keeps on giving, in the mold of Robin Marty or Jeff Fecke, but with a six-figure income – was exhibit 50,234,632,421 yesterday, in re Ted Cruz’s commentary on how schools should be designed:

I get it. Molly Jong Fast, being on the (pardon the expression) academic fast track (I kid you not – she attended “New York University, Barnard College, and Wesleyan University and completed a Master of Fine Arts degree in English at Bennington College”, which qualifies her as Central Casting Overpromoted Progressive Dimwit in one of my little satirical dramatizations, has likely never spent much time observing the mechanical and logistical details of the physical world around her.

Not just tactical security issues, like Cruz is discussing.

No, I’m talking about this little number here:

Locked from the outside under normal circumstances, easily opened from the inside under the extraordinary ones – say, the ones that would require a fire alarm anyway, like a fire.

Ring a bell?

I’m gonna go out on a short, sturdy limb and guess Jong-Fast thinks knowing about things like this is a job for a Honduran immigrant.

Intellectual DNA Testing

I occasionally listen to public radio – not “in spite of” the fact that they have turned into the public relations arm, not just of “today’s left”, but of the “progressive” upper middle class. It reflects their angsts; I imagine a drinking game involving taking a shot whenever there’s a mention of Covid, January 6, climate change and white supremacy being very short and very chemically lethal.

It reflects their conceits; the traditional “NPR Voice”, the ofay upper-middle-class accent of the Oberlin poli-sci graduate, is being supplanted by very audibly African-American and, how shall we say this, accents of males with alternate lifestyles – the sort of stuff things that upper-middle-class white progressives demand from their entertainment.

And it reflects their ignorance, over and over, in so many ways.

One that I caught yesterday while driving across the Northern Plains, on the syndicated “New Yorker Radio Hour” – an episode which has not yet gotten onto the website – involved a woman, a reporter if memory serves, saying with what sounded like a straight face:

China has changed so much in recent years – economically, and socially.

And yet, the political system just doesn’t seem to change

Huh.

You’re saying a communist kleptocracy, which knows fiull well that the only alternative to being in power in a Communist dictatorship is a bullet in the back of the head, a system that is more similar to the Mafia than anything else we know of, doesn’t “change with the times?”

I often – very, very often – say that Democrats can say pretty much anything they want to their audience, since they – whether they dropped out of high school, or have a PhD in Women’s Studies – are so universally gullible and ignorant.

Sometimes I feel like I’m speaking too broadly.

Then, I hear things like this, and I get back on track.

How Can You Tell The Strib Is Lying About Republicans?

The Star Tribune continues to earn its keep as the DFL‘s “unpaid “ PR machine:

For those of you who weren’t paying attention to the GOP convention last weekend – it hardly needs to be said, but nothing of the sort of happened.

A move to disaffiliate with the “Log Cabin Republicans” (to be fair, led by someone who has never been a fan of the notion of LGBTQ Republicans) wrapped up in a procedural motion to vote on the affiliation of each and every affiliate with the party (there are quite a few) led to the clock literally running out on the State Central Committee meeting on Thursday. For the evening, it left the affiliates unattached, and their delegates not credentialed to be seated in the convention.

The body of the convention itself reversed that action on Friday.

This squabble – largely led by a representative from the first congressional district – mirrors in large part a similar fracas a few years ago, when a group of Central committee representatives and convention delegates tried to introduce rules that would bar Muslims from holding Republican Party positions.representatives and convention delegates tried to introduce rules that would bar Muslims from holding Republican Party positions.

It’s the position of this blog that, whatever your personal beliefs about homosexuality and/or Islam, that there is very little that is more aggressively American than “coming out“ as a Republican. Not even buying a house in Burnsville, with a literal freaking picket fence surrounding your front yard.

Indeed, in many of the communities served by these affiliates – Somali, Latino‘s, African-Americans, mong and LGBTQ Dash “coming out“ as a Republican carries an affirmative social risk these are not people to be pushed away; they are frequently the toughest, most resilient Republicans there are.

People may disagree. Let’s disagree.

But let’s also focus on the things we do agree on; for example, the Star Tribune are a bunch of partisan hacks..

Sacked

I try – pinky swear – to see people as people, and not to be constantly petty and venal. We as people aren’d defined by our externalities – our jobs, politics, whatever – any more than we are by our social, ethnic or class identity.

Even less, in the great scheme of things, are they defined by the ways in which I, Mitch Berg, disagree with them.

With that out of the way?

Steve Sack is retiring from the Star Tribune.

I’m not going to say Sack is the worst editorial cartoonist in the business. It’s entirely possible there’s someone more facile, less informed, more generally blinkered by their agenda.

But among the ones I’m familiar with? I’ve almost never been a fan.

I’ll be honest – I came not to praise him, but to bury him.

Clearly, Sack’s “view of the world” is the one most DFLers are issued at graduation, and Sack’s work was more “birdcage” than fridge material. Truth be told, I often considered buying a bird specifically for Sack’s work.

And mine wasn’t the only opinion; I’m told Sack won a Pulitzer or two, which at one point not too long ago wasn’t purely self-parodic.

Anyway, Mr. Sack; all the best in your future endeavors – something I say knowing that anyone the Strib hires these days is going to make us miss your “glory days” in comparison.

Is There Anything Kristi Noem Can’t Do?

Name something a Republican governor – especially a conservative woman, given how Berg’s 16th Law works – can do that a Democratic governor can’t?

Easy – get “journalists” to report on government!

In this case, the relentlessly Democrat Sioux Falls Argus Leader:

If a Republican beats Tim Walz this fall, I suspect the Strib will develop a similar interest.

For The Record

Matt McNeil is a talk show host, of sorts, on AM950, the Twin Cities putative “progressive” talk station. [1]

Now, McNeil has a habit of blocking everyone on social media that can beat him in an open debate on logic, reasoning and facts – which is, to be fair, pretty much everyone.

He was, in fact, one of the people (in a large field, to be honest) who gave me the original impetus to the formulation of Berg’s Sixteenth Law. (“The percentage of “progressives” outside of academia who can make it to the second round of a debate without running out of “facts” and having to switch to deflection, ad hominem and straw man arguments is within the statistical margin of error”).

Anyway – in a move that isn’t a sign of insecurity, no way, no how, McNeil tweeted this the other day:

Image

Not sure if this qualifies as “gaslighting”, or is a strawman, or if McNeil doth protest too much, but I’m pretty sure nobody who matters has ever said McNeil is “terrified” of “rightos” [2] like me.

To be clear, all I say is that McNeil does not pack the gear, either intellectually or as a talk host, to do much of anything but chant into an echo chamber over which he has complete control, and that if I were as bad at forming a coherent argument as he is, I would block all dissent as well.

I’m not – perhaps I am a legend in my own mind and should but, but I’m not – so I don’t. I block almost nobody. When I do, it’s not because they’re too good at debate, but are in fact so subject to Berg’s 16h Law as to deserve life in my rhetorical SuperMax.

[1] I’m as surprsied as you are that AM950 still exists. I check in every couple years or so to see if there’s still a signal there, much

[2] What he lacks in fact and intellectual rigor, he also seems to lack in the key talk radio skill of coming up with breezy terms to describe complex groups. But “bloom where you are planted”, I always say…

Kangaroos Everywhere

SCENE: The studio at the National Public Radio Twin Cities bureau. Mitch BERG is sitting, in headphones, in front of a microphone. Around the corner of the table is Cat SCAT, designated “fact checker” at the (possibly fictional) progressive blog “”MinnesotaLiberalAlliance.Blogspot.com“, she is the office manager at a small phrenology practice. Through the glass, an engineer, an assistant engineer, an editor, an editorial assistant, two associate producers, a producer, a digital producer and an executive producer sit, listening intently. Across the table from SCAT and BERG sits MyLyssa SILBERMAN, reporter for National Public Radio’s Saint Paul bureau, covering the “Fake News” and “Diversity” beats.

ASSOCIATE PRODUCER 1: “Aaand we’re rolling”.

SILBERMAN: (Reading from a script). Thanks, Kathy. That dress is adorable, by the way. Now, we look at America’s large and growing political divide. With us today are Cat Scat, Executive Fact-Checker at the journalism site “”MinnesotaLiberalAlliance.Blogspot.com”, a source of journalism and news for Minnesotans since 2008.

SCAT: Hello. Is this thing on?

SILBERMAN: And Mitch Berg, blogger and talk radio host.

BERG: Uh…yeah, hi.

SILBERMAN (Still reading from script) Since 2016, concerns about the rise of authoritarianism have swept the nation…

BERG: Er, MylLyssa? That’s not true – on either side. People on the left were concerned about a rise in populism in Europe in the early 20`0s, when, rightly or wrongly, they fretted about the rise of the Volkspartei in Germany, and Victor Orban’s Fideš party in Hungary, as well as some pretty potent Polish nationalism. In the meantime, conservatives in the US have been concerned about the politicization of the state bureaucracy, with Barack Obama weaponizing some of the tools of excessive power that George W Bush instituted during his administration’s control over the War on Terror…

(BERG stops, noticing that SILBERMAN and SCAT are glaring at him).

ASSOCIATE ENGINEER: Take two?

SILBERMAN: Yep

LEAD ENGINEER: Rolling.

SILBERMAN (Still reading from script) Since 2016, concerns about the rise of authoritarianism have swept the nation. As right-wing anti-science theocrats took charge, fomenting boog bang… (stops). we’ll cut that in the edit. (deep breath) book bans, restrictions on saying “gay”, bans on reproductive rights, and a rise in hate from the right…

PRODUCER: (breaking in on the talkback): MyLyssa – read that as “skyrocketing racial hatred from red America directed at people of color and LGBTQ+ Americans.

EDITOR: …and “women and their children”.

PRODUCER: Love it. Got that, MyLyssa?

SILBERMAN: (scribbline on script) Got it.

ASSOCIATE EDITOR: Take it from “As right wing…” (SILBERMAN nods)

ASSOCIATE ENGINEER: Three, two, one…

SILBERMAN: As right-wing anti-science theocrats took charge, fomenting book bans, restridctions on saying “gay”, and skyrocketing racial hatred from red America directed at people of color, LGBTQ+ Americans and women and their children, we want to get the views of our guests – Cat Scat, progressive journalist and activist, and Mitch Berg, right wing hatemonger.

BERG: Uhhhhh

SILBERMAN: Ms. Scat, what’s your take?

SCAT: The problem entirely started in 2016, when hatemongers took over the White House, ushering in an era of hatred for people of color, for LGBTQ+, for women’s reproductive choice, for transgender and queer folk, for demoracy itself, and replacing it with a paranoid neo-nazi ammosexual delusions of a bunch of red-state trailer-park dwelling cousin-f**king high school dropouts, which studies show the majority of red America are…

BERG: I’m gonna break in, here. Your statement is the kind of lie that gets legs of its own if you let it fester. It’s a preposterous slander of tens of millions of millions of Americans; we almost invariably are motivated not by hate, but by concern over the trashing of the parts of Western Civilization that have made us not only the free-est and most prosperous society in history – one where for the firs time ever, obesity is a bigger problem than starving to death – but more humane, especially for gays, people of color, LGBTQ+ and whomever you’re concerned about, and don’t support authoritarians, ever, in any way.

PRODUCER: What can we do with that last bit.

ENGINEER: Wait one…

(freantic computer editing)

ENGINEER: OK, here’s what we got:

(BERG’s voice, edited, in the playback): “I’m gonna break…Your…legs …we… hate… the trash…of Western Civilization…obesi…gays, people of color, LGBTQ+ and whomever you’re concerned about and…support authoritarians…in any way.

SILBERMAN: So you hate people of weight as well as POC, LGBTQ+ and Latinx people…

SCAT: You’ve been fact-cjhecked!

BERG: I did in fact record the original unedited exchange on my phone and this digital recorder.

SILBERMAN: Unfair!

PRODUCER: Chilling effect on journalism!

EDITOR: Why do you hate the free press?

And SCENE

Based, loosely but not nearly loosely enough, on an MPR piece I caught last week.

Rules Of The Game

Most readers of this feature knew the truth in 2020 — Hunter Biden, the uber-prodigal son of the now Leader of the Free World, abandoned a laptop computer at a repair shop in Delaware. The laptop was filled to the brim with embarrassing and yes, incriminating evidence of financial malfeasance and videotaped debauchery. It was real and yes, it was spectacular. And the New York Post was on the case.

But you weren’t allowed to know any of it, and if you tried to tell anyone what you weren’t allowed to know, you were in for a banning:

Twitter went so far as to lock users out of their accounts if they shared this piece of journalism that was clearly in the public interest. It locked the Twitter accounts of the actual White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, and the New York Post itself. Here we had the spokesperson for the democratically elected president of the United States and the oldest continuously published daily newspaper in America being cast out of social media for the crime of sharing a story that was true. This was surely the most egregious, arrogant interference in democratic politics and press freedom carried out by corporate elites in recent times.

Recent times? I think the term we’re looking for here is ever. And as Brendan O’Neill discusses in the piece linked above, the implications are chilling:

This was a truly extraordinary moment in the political life of the United States of America. A free-thinking daily newspaper published a fascinating report on the emails and behaviour of the then vice-president’s son and it found itself shamed, blocked and defamed for doing so. Californian oligarchs, former members of the American deep state and virtually the entire opinion-forming set of the East Coast clubbed together to denounce the Post, ban it from Twitter, and rubbish its reporting as the handiwork of evil Ruskies. Yet some of them now admit the story was actually true, a fact that has been clear since at least December 2020, when federal authorities started investigating Hunter. What took place following the Post’s breaking of the laptop story was a terrifying assault on media freedom, the right to dissent and truth itself.

We are free, theoretically, to express our views. From the founding of the republic, we have been able to drag a soapbox to the public square and hold forth. Twitter isn’t the only public square available; in form and in fact, it’s an upholstered cesspool. But it is the realm where our betters and minders, coextensive as they are, disgorge the received wisdom of our age. And it’s where the game is played. And the game is rigged. Back to O’Neill:

But it was the elites’ brutal stomping on this story that should worry us more. It confirmed that the new woke elites will do whatever it takes to crush inconvenient facts, to bury stories and ideas and beliefs that pose a threat to their power or their interests. And it confirmed that Big Tech billionaires will happily engage in explicit political censorship to protect their allies and sponsors from scrutiny. If an established newspaper like the New York Post can be forcefully locked out of the 21st-century public square, just imagine what could be done to you or me if we ever happened upon some facts the elites would prefer to keep hidden.

There’s a chilling line in the 1939 French film La règle du jeu (The Rules of the Game). The character Octave (played by Jean Renoir, the film’s director) says:

You see, in this world, there is one awful thing, and that is that everyone has his reasons.

Those who control the game and the general discourse in the country have their reasons as well. The reason is power, nothing more and nothing less. If we are to play the game, we’d better understand that.

The Real Election Fraud

One out of six Biden voters would have changed their votes, had they known about the Hunter Biden laptop story. That would’ve been more than enough to turn a close election into a landslide for Donald Trump.

It’s being noted that, two years later, the New York Times is finally covering the story.

But it was never “disinformation”, nosirreebob.

The idea that this is not the plan, to say nothing of “non-accidental,“ is impossible to the point of being a media unicorn descending from heaven.

We know this, because three weeks after the election, representatives from the New York Times and Washington Post news rooms (speaking in the open, on a national public radio program), declared their mission to be to go to change the walls” of the media, from “passing on the facts and telling the story“ to “denormalizing Donald Trump“.

Do people think there is no connection?

Modern Journalism: Not Just Dead, But Rotting So Hard It’s Bubbling

The KARE Bears are “fact checking” people over, apparently, a run on iodine pills.

No, iodine pills won’t protect you from most radiation effects in a nuclear attack

Which is true as far as it goes…

..but they’re not intended to protect you from “most radiation”.

They’re intended to protect you from one particular kind of radiation – radioactive isotopes of Iodine, which are incredibly prone to getting absorbed into the body and and infiltrating the thyroid – one of the body’s most delicate and temperamental organs – and causing thyroid cancer very quickliy.

It doesn’t, and isn’t intended to, prevent the side effects of other elements of a nuclear detonation – Cesium, Strontium 90 – but then those elements are generally responsible for much longer-term effects (strontium is liked with all kinds of bone cancers)…

…and it’s irrelevant, because the article isn’t about nuclear attacks. It’s about fears in Europe over nuclear plants in Ukraine melting down while under Russian attack.

Modern “fact checkers”; they aren’t “fake news”, per se. But they are fake journalism.

More, Faster

Ron DeSantis crushes a reporter for…

…,well, doing what reporters do these days; omitting the parts of the story that need to be omitted to serve the progressives narrative about conservatives.

In this case, saying that a proposed Florida bill forbade “teaching sex Ed to Florida schoolchildren“ – when it forbids it from ages pre-K through grade 3.

Imitation

In so many areas, the Twin Cites political class loves to affect an appreciation of Scandinavian governance.

They love the interventionist social democracy, the often successful tinkering with utopian ideas (dependent, of course, on a small, wealthy society with social cohesion that doesn’t exist in American cities over 5,000), the communitarian ethos (see previous parenthetical), while ignoring the less convenient parts, the ethnic homogeneity, the history of fighting against tyrants…

…and, I suspect, this bit here:

Yep. Critical thought, on the part of the news media:

The article charges that politicians and authorities have “lied” about various aspects of the pandemic, prompting these establishments to lose the public trust, noting that the efficacy of vaccines to end the pandemic was also vastly overstated by health authorities…Ekstra Bladet’s public apology is part of a growing trend in the European media that has begun to question the narrative and the governments’ responses to it. For example, one of Germany’s top newspapers, Bild, issued an apology last August for fearmongering over COVID, specifically about claims that children were “going to murder their grandma.” 

Who knows? Maybe if they see the Danes are OK with it, the Strib – “the newspaper of the Twin Cities of, by and for Big Karen” – will find the guts to think.a little.

Mene Mene Tekel Polling-in

While it’s always worth casting a cold eye on polling numbers, it’s striking how poorly the Leader of the Free World is doing these days across the board. Real Clear Politics has the numbers and they aren’t pretty:

RCP Average                            12/17 – 1/11 —           41.9               53.1               -11.2
Quinnipiac                                 1/7 – 1/10 1178 RV    35                  54                  -19
Politico/Morning Consult           1/8 – 1/9 2000 RV      44                  53                  -9
Rasmussen Reports                 1/9 – 1/11 1500 LV     40                  58                  -18
Economist/YouGov                   1/8 – 1/11 1258 RV     45                 51                   -6
IBD/TIPP                                   1/5 – 1/8 1308 A         44                 45                   -1
Reuters/Ipsos                            1/5 – 1/6 1000 A         45                 51                   -6
Economist/YouGov                    1/2 – 1/4 1201 RV      43                 51                   -8

It’s one thing if Rasmussen, a pollster generally favorable to the GOP, posts ugly numbers for Joe Biden. What’s truly eye-opening are the results from Quinnipiac, a poll historically gentle with the portsiders. If their numbers are accurate, Biden’s disapproval rating is a whopping -19, and that’s from a poll conducted after the recent Pelosi-produced passion play of 1/6.

So what are the larger implications? A few thoughts:

  • If you’re Joe Manchin or Kyrsten Sinema, do you fear the political wrath of the leader of your party? Apostasy has rarely been safer.
  • If you’re Xi or Putin, do you concern yourself with anything Joe Biden says? Or, for that matter, with anything he does? I doubt the citizenry of Ukraine or Taiwan is particularly sanguine at the moment.
  • If you’re Mitch McConnell, do you sleep well? Never better, I would guess, and certainly better than your average Ukranian.
  • If you’re Stacey Abrams, do you see any value in hanging with Grandpa Joe?

While there’s certainly entertainment value in watching Uncle Joe moving kinda slow, we’re not headed for Petticoat Junction at the moment.