The Real Victim Of This Whole Crisis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Praetorian Guards Gonna Guard Praetorially

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

But – does anhone see any problems with this poll?

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

…Wait for it…

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

So of course it oversamples Democrats and women.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But something seems to have snapped in the intervening time:

We’re not done yet:

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

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

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

But Bob?

Oy.

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

Blue Fragility, Part V

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

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

As predicted.

The New Stasi, Part II

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

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

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

Read the whole thing. 

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

I said “hope”. 

Blue Fragility, Part II

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

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

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

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

For Services Rendered

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

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

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

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

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

Democracy Dies In Conspiracy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The “neutral voice”, isn’t.

“Oh, Mitch – you and your hyperbole”.

No. Not at all.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Serious Question

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twin Cities Media, Then And Now

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

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

Sandman’s Counterattack

Fresh from victory against CNN, Nick Sandman’s attorneys are widening their scope:

Lawyers for Covington Catholic High School senior Nick Sandmann reportedly will file lawsuits against five additional media companies this week for smearing Sandmann last year.

Sandmann’s lawyers submitted a status report with the U.S. District Court in Covington last week that showed that “they intend to file complaints against Gannett, ABC, CBS, The New York Times and Rolling Stone before March 9,” Fox 19

Functional representative government requires institutions that people can actually trust.

And thinking of all the institutions in our society that we just can’t trust…:

  • Federal law enforcement
  • the educational/Industrial complex
  • Academia
  • The intelligence community – both politically and in terms of high level analysis

…and, of course, our news media, is one of the more sobering exercises when one wonders what the future of our republic is going to be.

Limbaugh

I got caught up in one of KSTP-AM’s constant rounds of staff reductions on April 4, 1987. I was 24, and very much in love with the idea of finding a career in a medium I’d discovered less than two years before, talk radio. Especially the conservative wing of it – as a newly-minted Reagan voter as of age 21, I had that newbie zeal that tries so, so very hard to make up for lack of experience and information. Speaking of inexperience and naivete, I was pretty new to and green in the world of big-market radio – especially to the process of trying to find a job in the field, without moving to Saint Cloud to play country western radio.

I thought I had a couple of leads, though; a station in Raleigh was interested in me even as I left the station. Others in Orlando, Waukegan, Fall River Massachusetts, Hammond Indiana, Cleveland and Santa Rosa California would come up in the next few months.

But one by miserable, painful one they all dried up, one after the other. A few changed formats. A few changed management.

But most of them, given a choice between paying a 24 year old kid $20-30K a year to work afternoons or evenings, or getting national-level talent for free via satellite, went with the new, cheap, national offering…

…by a fellow named Rush Limbaugh.

Gradually yet blazingly quickly, Limbaugh’s mid-day show ate up hundreds of jobs that might have gone to a kid like me – and prompted hundreds more struggling AM stations to flip formats, ditching country-western or polka or oldies for the new, newly deregulated field of conservative political talk.

And it brought an audience. And sponsors. And, almost against many stations’ wills, ratings and money.

I remember management at a couple of stations fairly visibly holding their noses and solemnly declaring “Limbaugh doesn’t reprsent this station’s entire point of view” out one side of their mouths, while eagerly cashing the bonus checks that his ratings, and those of his format-mates, brought them.

For twenty years, until the 2007 recession cut the guts out of the radio ad market, it was like a license to print money. I remember meeting an old friend from our time at KDWB who’d landed at KSTP. He was figuring out what he was going to spend a five-digit bonus check, over double what I’d ever earned in a year at that station even after adjusting for inflation, on. Even after the meltdown in rates, Limbaugh’s dominance and prosperity, and that of conservative talk, endured – or at least better than any other segment of entertainment radio other than sports and Spanish.

Rush Limbaugh didn’t dominate an industry. He created it – and saved the AM Radio band while he was at it. Matt Continetti points out that he was the right guy in the right place at the right technological, ideological and regulatory time:

It’s one thing to excel in your field. It’s another to create the field in which you excel. Conservative talk radio was local and niche before Limbaugh. He was the first to capitalize on regulatory and technological changes that allowed for national scale. The repeal of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987 freed affiliates to air controversial political opinions without inviting government scrutiny. As music programming migrated to the FM spectrum, AM bandwidth welcomed talk. Listener participation was also critical. “It was not until 1982,” writes Nicole Hemmer in Messengers of the Right, “that AT&T introduced the modern direct-dial toll-free calling system that national call-in shows use.”

Limbaugh made the most of these opportunities. And he contributed stylistic innovations of his own. He treated politics not only as a competition of ideas but also as a contest between liberal elites and the American public. He also added the irreverent and sometimes scandalous humor and cultural commentary of the great DJs. He introduced catchphrases still in circulation: “dittohead,” “Drive-By media,” “feminazi,” “talent on loan from God.”
The template he created has been so successful that the list of his imitators on both the left and right is endless. Even Al Franken wanted in on the act. Dostoyevsky is attributed with the saying that the great Russian writers “all came out of Gogol’s ‘Overcoat.’” Political talk show hosts came out of Limbaugh’s microphone.

And for those who weren’t around back then, he was, and remains, a connection to an era where real, Buckley-style conservatism changed the world – with the hope it could change it again:

[Limbaugh] took from Reagan the sense that America’s future is bright, that America isn’t broken, just its liberal political, media, and cultural elites. “He rejected Washington elitism and connected directly with the American people who adored him,” Limbaugh said after Reagan’s death. “He didn’t need the press. He didn’t need the press to spin what he was or what he said. He had the ability to connect individually with each American who saw him.” The two men never met.

Limbaugh assumed Reagan’s position as leader of the conservative movement. In a letter sent to Limbaugh after the 1992 election, Reagan wrote, “Now that I’ve retired from active politics, I don’t mind that you have become the Number One voice for conservatism in our Country. I know the liberals call you the most dangerous man in America, but don’t worry about it, they used to say the same thing about me. Keep up the good work. America needs to hear ‘the way things ought to be.’”

Limbaugh gave a voice to a half of the country that’d always been expect to shut up and listen.

And for me? He supplied my life a major, inconvenient, and ultimately life-changing detour – and built an industry for me to come home to when the time was right.

All the best, Rush. I’m rooting for you.

This Should Bring Out The Left’s Psycho Ghouls

Rush Limbaugh confirms he’s been diagnosed with lung cancer:

“Ladies and gentleman, this day has been one of the most difficult days in recent memory for me because I’ve known this moment was coming in the program today,” Limbaugh began. “I’m sure you all know by now, I really don’t like talking about myself, and I don’t like making things about me other than in the usual satirical, joking way.”
“So, I have to tell you something today that I wish I didn’t have to tell you,” he continued. “And it’s, it’s a struggle for me because I, I had to inform my staff earlier today. … I have been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer.”
He signed off by revealing that he hopes to be back on Thursday and said, “Every day I’m not here, I’ll be missing you and thinking about you.”

I can’t help but remember the way the soulless ghouls of the fever swamp cackled and chortled over Tony Snow’s untimely demise, long ago.

Thoughts and prayers for the man who’s done more than any other to keep radio – not just talk – alive for almost three decades.

Minnesota Department Of Predictive “Journalism”

An MPR News tweet.

From 9:30.

AM.

Nearly 12 hours before the State of the Union address.

So – “fact-checking” the putative reputation of the speaker, long before the speech actually happens?

That’s not “fact-checking”. That’s not even “journalism”.

That’s public relations for the Democratic Party.

Why Trump Just Might Win Again

If you haven’t seen this, I’m going to jump on the bandwagon.

This is what “GOP” “Strategist” Rick Wilson and the NYTimes Wajahat Ali think of their opponents when they think they’re on friendly turf:

Don Lemon “apologized” by saying he “didn’t catch” all of what his guests were saying.

Of course he didn’t. He was too busy laughing at the smugging.

I don’t care for Trump – but if the GOP had beaten Hillary with Scott Walker or Mitt Romney or a new genetic clone made from Ronald Reagan or Dwight Eisenhower’s DNA, they’d be saying the same exact thing.

We know this because during the Reagan and Bush I and II administrations, they said the same thing.

It just didn’t get preserved and distributed.

Speaking of which – preserve and distribute.

Fake Reporting

The success of the Babylon Bee has apparently caused the mainstream media to try to horn in on the “Real-sounding fake news” thing, without quite getting what “satire” is.

CNN “reporter” Joe Lockhart on Twitter yesterday (via Hugh Hewitt, who’s noted the “Retweets” the “Reporter” got.

Moments later:

You just know that TV stations, local NPR affiliates and newspapers around the country are going to run the former and ignore the latter.

Further Proof, If Any Were Needed…

…that only does Democrat messaging make no logical or intellectual sense, but it isn’t intended for consumption by an audience that worries about moral and intellectual sensibility.

The idea – presented here – that forcing Congress to stop abrogating its responsibility to write laws and stop slothfully fobbing the job off on the Executive Branch, should be fairly uncontroversial.

Not – as the piece posits – a threat to the general order.

Inorganic

Hard as this may be to believe, it appears Greta Thunberg = sixteen year old autistic Swedish child and professional climate scold – just may not be the mind behind her presence.

“All it took to exploit the bug was opening a target page and checking the edit history of a post. Facebook mistakenly displayed the account or accounts that made edits to each post, rather than just the edits themselves,” explained Wired… If you’re one of Greta’s 3 million fans, you might be disappointed to hear that she is likely not the author of all of her posts. According to screenshots shared online, posts that are supposed to be written by Greta may actually have been written by her father, Svante Thunberg, and/or Adarsh Prathap, a climate activist and delegate at the UN’s Climate Change organization—who reportedly founded the page in December 2018.

Five’ll get you ten David Hogg’s social media presence is farmed out, too.

Order

David Brooks is one of those people I simultaneously enjoy very much, and dislike myself for liking.

He’s a “conservative” in the northeastern sense of the term – and very, very much of the Northeastern media/political establishment. He’s the “conservative” that NPR will talk with.

And being of the establishment, he shares a perspective on the events of the day with the people he rubs elbows with.

Which, I theorize, led to this tweet last week:

There’s something to that, sort of. Trump isn’t just a symptom of this nation’s tribalism – he’s someone who’s profited politically by exploiting the tribalism.

But if you think the “decline in discourse” started with Trump’s election, I’ve got tickets to the Hillary Clinton inaugural ball to sell you.

Remember the Tea Party? The utterly egalitarian community of small-government activists that sprang up a little over ten years ago?

Back in those days before Orange Man was Literally Hitler (but after the Good Republican, John McCain, served as Literally Hitler for a few months), the establishment of which Brooks is a member acted like the Tea Party was Andrew Jackson’s supporters tracking mud into John Quincy Adams’s White House. Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign was only deked out of being “the most identity-obsessed campaign in history” by Hillary, who will only be eclipsed by (NOTE TO 2020 MITCH – FILL IN THE NAME OF THE DEMOCRAT NOMINEE).

Trump may well be “stupid” – but he didn’t “make” anyone that way. He masterfully exploited the by-products of the “stupidity – tribalism, anger, arrogance, partisanship – that the Democrats have been cultivating for a couple of decades, now.

Things That Make Me Chuckle Like An Eighth Grader Telling A “Fart” Joke

I listen to a fair amount of public radio – largely because, sans antenna, it’s the only non-music radio I can get in my car.

And public radio, especially the news and public affairs departments, take the news media very, very seriously.

And periodically, I’ll hear programs on which I hear a variety of people – pundits, academics, journos, talking heads of all varieties – talking about the imperative for a free press. For the regular hoi-polloi, much less so – but that’s a separate topic.

This is important, say the talking heads, because “journalists” are “trained to ask questions”, and feature an intellect noted for “insatiable curiosity”.

And I usually end up shouting at the radio: “Where? Where are these mythicsl curious journos?”

Because of people like this – about a Babylon Bee satirical piece about Democrats flying their flags at half-mast over the death of General Soleimani:

  • Today’s “elite” “journalists” are some of the least curious, inquisitive people there are.