Todays’ Business Model, Fifteen Years Ago

Media companies switching to unpaid student labor.

As head editor for the local chapter of an online food-culture publication, Brogan Dearinger spent most mornings last fall coming up with story ideas, editing submissions and checking the performance of articles.

But there was no money in it—at least not for her.

Ms. Dearinger, then a senior at Indiana University Bloomington, was among about 8,000 unpaid college students working for local chapters of Spoon University Inc., a for-profit media company.

“They are always pushing us to publish more,” Ms. Dearinger said. “Since writers don’t get paid for their articles, sometimes it’s hard to motivate them to write more articles.”

That’s one way around those $15/hour minimum wage laws!

This is, of course, the model that Shot In The Dark and the NARN have used from Day 1.

Omission

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

There was a special election in Georgia to fill the seat in Congress left vacant when Rep. Tom Price took the job of Secretary of Health and Human Services in the Trump administration.

News media is reporting it’s the most expensive congressional race ever, which proves we need campaign finance reform to prevent politicians from buying their way into office.

What they fail to mention is that Democrat Jon Ossoff spent five times as much asRepublican Karen Handel.  The Democrat was the one trying to buy the election.  Nobody in the media called on him to stop raising money before the election – they wanted a Democrat to win so they’d be able to claim the country was turning against Trump.  Now that he’s lost after out-spending his opponent 5-to-1, suddenly the media is aghast at how much money is spent on politics.

Money, I might note, that is spent to buy advertising in newspapers and on television, which is the revenue stream that pays journalists’ salaries.  Talk about hypocrites.  No wonder nobody believes anything the media says.

Joe Doakes

Well – the smart people, anyway.

Slain

Yesterday:  “John Ossoff, the Trump Slayer, in the most important Congressional race in history – a race that is a sure-fire referendum on Trump!.”

NPR’s wishful, romanticized coverage, before the news really sank in that the “Trump Slayer” was yet another empty Democrat suit.

Today:  “Just another special election.  Hard red distsrict!   Ossoff never had a chance! Nothing to see here.  Move along, citizen.”

Remember – John “Trump Slayer” Ossoff raised and spent nearly five times as much as Karan Handel, in a district that Trump barely carried six months ago.

And they were so hopeful.  From NPR’s extended tongue-bath of Ossoff:

“Ossoff’s campaign has long held that it has the edge in voter enthusiasm — a more committed base of voters who will flock to the polls regardless to support him. Handel’s supporters points to a core of backers who have followed her through thick-and-thin as well.

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CNN’s panel of hairdos, watching the fat lady go for that high E flat.  Bias?  Perish the thought!

“Still, for Handel’s campaign, this could be a problem. She’s expected to trail Ossoff in the early voting numbers, and hopes for a solid election day turnout to notch a win. But the downpours could dampen voter participation in GOP bastions as well.”

Wasn’t even close.

Fake Minneapolis

Yesterday, we reported on the fishy use of camera angles in presenting Saturday’s Dreamsicle rally in Minneapolis.   While the media narrative was that the events were well-attended, the photographic evidence from the even couldn’t be shot from angles tight enough to show that attendance was sparsse at best…

…and, from the looks of it, mostly not people from North Minneapolis.

We caught the Strib fluffing for Betsy Hodges yesterday.

Today, it’s the Minnpost.  Read their photo caption (before it gets disappeared):

“We’re the MinnPost. We’re funded by the Joyce Foundation, which also funds “Protect” Minnesota, not to mention contributions from Minnesoto’s gun-phobic self-appointed elite. So when we say there were hundreds at a gun grabber rally, but only a couple dozen are ever visible, nearly all of them painfully obviously the saime white, ELCA-hair-coiffed Subaru-driving Whole-Foods-shopping Southside liberals that turn up for every gun-grabber rally, well, who are you going to believe?  Us, or your lying eyes?”

Oh, yeah;  it’s not just photographic history being fluffed:

North Minneapolis resident Nikki McComb said she’d like to see more creative solutions in addressing gun violence. For instance, she said, she helped run a north Minneapolis gun buy-back project last year called Art Is My Weapon, which bought back weapons, no questions asked, and redistributed the disassembled pieces to north side artists for use in their works.

What made the project so effective, McComb said, was that it rid the streets of 250 guns while giving something positive back to the community. “We’re just really trying to use art as a catalyst for change,” she said.

Remember that “Gun Buyback” fiasco?   Read the story.   It got some guns – out of gun owners’ closets and attics, not “the streets”.

Or…workshops:

legal shotgun

Read the writing on the “stock”.

Observers say it was more like single digits; not even a quarter of “250”

The MinnPost:  doing Fake News (at least about guns) before it was called that!

 

Fake Reality

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Hollywood is where they make movies, fictional stories presented for entertainment.  They are carefully scripted, staged and shot to show the best angles and most effective presentation.

Pallywood is the term given to movies made by Palestinians, fictional stories presented to gin up outrage against Israel.  They are carefully scripted, staged and shot to show the best angles and most effective presentation.

And now we have CNN-wood, a fictional story presented by CNN to pretend that ordinary Muslims are against ISIS and Islamic terrorism.  The story was carefully scripted, staged and shot to show the best angles and most effective presentation.

Movies that we know show fake scenes is one thing.  We willingly suspend disbelief to enjoy the story.  Propaganda that we suspect may be fake is something else, but we are suspicious enough not to be taken in.

The news media creating a news story that it knows to be fake, but which it presents as the truth, is a deliberate lie told with intent to deceive.  If we cannot rely on the news to report honestly, how can we distinguish it from propaganda?  And if we can’t distinguish it, why should we give journalists any respect?

(MItch:  we can’t, good question, and as a group we should not; there are honest journos, but the institutions are rotten to the core).

Stories like this validate Trump’s assertion that the major media is fake news.

They make Trump credible.

Joe Doakes

And I think about half of this country knows that.

(And a quarter thinks the media is in the bag for the right.  Yep.  They’re out there somewhere).

Lie First, Lie Always: What Doesn’t Happen At Dreamsicle Day, Stays At Dreamsicle Day

The other, I noted the hilarious-yet-grim irony of Betsy Hodges, mayor (for now) of Minneapolis, whiich is by far the most violent city in Minnesota, lecturing the state on “gun safety” and “violence”.

Betsy Hodges, at Dreamsicle Day last weekend.

In recent years, as crime in the state at large has plummetted (and the number of law-abiding citizens with carry permits has skyrocketed), crime in Minneapolis is getting worse.

Nonetheless, the gun control movement (once thier serial lies are revealed) carries on trying to convince the undecided that

  1. there’s a yuge problem with violence outside the urban core, and
  2. there’s a groundswell of popular support for addressing it by stripping the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens.

We address the former quite frequently on this blog.  The latter point takes a little more patience, but it’s out there.

Last year, I pointed out the laughably sparse turnout at “Protect” MN and Moms Want Action events in Eagan and on the mean streets by the Stone Arch Bridge by the Guthrie.

And this year?

Look at the photo of Mayor Hodges, above, standing in front of the banner wearing a dress made from a tablecloth salvaged from an old “Chi-Chis” restaurant.  Interesting angle, no?

Here’s the view from behind Her Honor, toward the, ahem, crowd.

25 people, not counting the cop.  And four of them are affiliated with “Protect” MN and Moms Want Action.  And the “rally” is in North Minneapolis, sort of – but the crowd, almost to a person, has that “south Minneapolis” look about them; the ELCA hair,

 

Nature Or Nurture?

Is Colleen Campbell – reporter former reporter at Channel 17 in Philly – merely a nasty drunk?

Or a boundlessly-entitled “elite” Millennial?  Or a symptom of the most toxic neo-Victorian strain of feminism (being as obnoxious as any drunk man, but then pleading “you’re arresting a giiiiiirl for no f***ng reason” at 2:29)?

Whatever she is, she’s an ex reporter.

Is she an ex-reporter, because whatever our current media’s many, Many, Many, Many faults, there is at least one standard that most reputable news organizations enforce; you don’t try to invoke your position as a “journalist” in an argument with a business or, worse, the Law.

When I was at Hubbard in the eighties, a Channel 5 guy tried to bullly a restaurant owner with a furtive “I’m with Channel Five; do you know what I can do to you?” to try to impress the girlfriend.  His desk was cleaned out before he got to the station the next day.

So – was she fired because she was a toxic drunk, a horrible entitled person, or someone whose “power” had gone to her head?

Why choose?

I love the smell of career napalm in the morning.

The Religion Of Environmentalism And Health Insurance (UPDATE: Ooops)

The fact that Ben Carson got mocked in the media, while Maxine Waters isn’t considered a national laughinstock, will be prime evidence when we finally have Nuremberg-style tribunals about media bias:

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And yet she’s taken seriously.

UPDATE:  Ooops.  Parody account.

I plead “long day at Grand Old Day”.

To be fair, the measure of great satire is that it could be the real thing…

Narrative Slide

Jeremy Joseph Christian kills two in an anti-Muslim rampage on a train in Portland, Oregon.

Word gets out that Christian was a “white supremacist”.  Media assume that means “Right Wing Pro-Trump Hate Criminal” – and brows are furrowed as our  high priests of knowledge obsess over What It All Means.

Then, it turns out Christian is actually a Sanders guy.

Writing for Willamette Week, Corey Pein said he interviewed Christian during [a “Free Speech” march in Portland], and the alleged killer chanted the n-word and threw Nazi salutes. Pein writes that amid Christian’s rants about Jews on Facebook, he expressed support for Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein for president. The Willamette Week writer describes that as a “distraction” others will seize upon as they contradict the narrative of Christian as a real white supremacist.

Simple fact – and Berg’s 19th Law has controlling legal authority, here – is that Christian was a nihilist, if you want to credit it as an actual train of thought, and apparently deeply mentally ill if you don’t.

Either way?  The mainstream media promptly lost interest.

But Don’t You Dare Say The Media Has A Narrative

Does this look scary?

I’m pretty sure it was supposed to look scary.  It’s from Channel 5, last Friday.

The Associated Press ran pretty much the same headline on their story.  If I’m feeling charitable, I’d assume the web producer at Channel 5 was too busy and under informed to change the AP’s hed.  If I”m not feeling charitable – and let’s be honest, I’m not – we can assume Channel 5’s producer shares the same myopic narrative that the AP’s writer does, and shares the same desire to inflict fear upon the audience at the thought that some Minnesota buyers might be able to buy guns without background checks.

Shiver!

Now For The Truth:  The truth is a little less scary; the BATFE has decided that Minnesota carry permits are sufficient substitute for the NICS background check; when a carry permittee – who, by definition, is over 21, has no criminal record, has passed a background check and a training course on skills and legal knowledge – buys a gun, they don’t need to get the online or phone-in background check in addition to their carry permit check.

That’s carry permittees  – of whom there are a quarter million in this state, and whose rate of criminal offense is nearly two orders of magnitude lower than the general population.

Not quite as scary-sounding when you put it that way, is it?

It Is To Laugh

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

I had forgotten how carefully Liberals at the New York Times scrutinized President Obama’s nominees to the federal bench, to avoid politicizing the judiciary.  I’m sure they did, right?  Because if not, if they’re only worried about it when The Other Side does it, then it’s not a matter of high moral principle, it’s a matter of hypocritical partisanship, and that doesn’t bother me at all.

Joe Doakes

I believe Joe’s got it figured out.

Calling All Davids

Last week, we noted that the Strib had rejected an op-ed by Sarah Cade – a center-left African-American woman who happens to be a competition shooter, a friend of mine, and the owner of one of the most rightous ARs I’ve seen.

By way of trying to outflank the Strib’s abusive monopoly on political opinion publishing, I posted her entire op-ed on this blog last week in its entirety.

Yesterday came news that, with the advance of a “Stand your Ground” bill to hearings in the House Rules Committee this week, the Strib ran a series of fact-free opinion pieces against the legislation – but not a single piece in support.    Against the fact-free – and largely Bloomberg-financed – dreck, not a single word of learned response was allowed to see the light of day in this state’s misbegotten “newspaper of record”.

I”m just a little blog.  I’m David’s left toenail, going up against Goliath.

Well, you and me – we are David’s left toenail.

I’m going to urge you do a couple of things:

  • Pass Sarah’s article around; I’m going to reprint it again below the jump.
  • If you’re on social media, post this on Twitter.  (I’ll also be posting on Twitter, as dirty as that makes me feel).
  • If you’re a Facebook user, share Sarah’s Facebook post, with the facts of the situation and the text of her op-ed.   .

It’s not much.  But it’s the best that we can do.

And every once in a while, David gets in a lucky shot.

More on the “Stand your Ground” hearings later this week.

P.S. to the Strib:  it’s been a while since I publicly said I sincerely hope the free market drives that little DFL PR shop you call a “newspaper” out of business for good.

The more things chance, the less they change.

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Diminshed Expectation

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

I had a day off last week and caught a bit of Rush Limbaugh’s interview with Vice President Pence.

Rush hammered the Vice President from the word go and, I thought, justly so. His tone was respectful but his questioning was direct and gave no ground. It was completely clear Rush thought Republicans got rolled.

Pence did his best to spin the bill as a victory. He said: “Look, the President has made it clear, his number one priority is national defense and national security.”

Yeah? I don’t recall that being the slogan from the campaign. I don’t recall enthusiastic crowd screaming for more military spending. I remember it more like this:

“What are we gonna do?”

“Build the Wall.”

“Who’s gonna pay for it?”

“Mexico!!”

I think Trump ought to tell Congress he’s going to veto the bill and shut down the government unless he gets money to build the wall. It can be any amount, even as little as $1, just so long as he gets to say that he’s keeping his promise. Hell, his salary is $400,000 and he’s agreed to forego it to be a dollar-a-year man; use some of that money to fund the wall. We don’t care where the money comes from, only where it goes to, and that’s got to be funding to build the wall or there’s no deal.

If Congress won’t put $1 into the bill to show its symbolic commitment to enforcing the national borders, then the country isn’t worth saving and we might as well shut the whole thing down now and be done with it.

Joe Doakes

It’s getting harder to disagree.

The Strib: Fake News Opinion

Remember Paul John Scott?

He’s the “writer from Rochester” who wrote the infarmous op-ed in the Strib last year telling fellow (what else?) liberals that it was OK, even necessary, to expunge all Trump voters from  your life and social circle.

Rochester?  You Owe Us An Apology:  Scott has a writing style reminiscent of a junior high girl writing Sylvia Plath fan fiction while listening to Goth-teen music.  And that’s the best thing I can say about him and his writing.

But he’s gotten another op-ed in the Strib, which makes me think that the Strib must be getting paid by some government program to employ otherwise unemployable writers.  Or maybe that Scott saw some senior editor in bed with a live boy or a dead girl.

Now, I’m not writing you to “fisk” Scott’s op-ed – entitled  It’s the guns, stupid. But that doesn’t affect you, right?” in the hyperventilating, “everyone’s a hypocrite!” style that’s become so popular among the snowflakes.  The article – which is little but a bunch of “Everytown” chanting points gurgitated with no more critical analytical thought than my dog puts into fetching my shoes in the morning – isn’t worth my time; I’ve it a million time.  I’ll blow through its most egregious offenses later.  Probably.  It’s almost too stupid to bother with.

But I’m not here to talk about John Paul “I Have Not Yet Begun To Whinge” Scott.  I’m here to talk about the Strib.

Not Even Punching Tickets Anymore:  It’s been a pattern at the Strib for decades, now.   If you’re anti-gun – no matter how dim, fact-free and risible you are (Heather Martens, Nancy Nord Bence and their ilk seem to have an open invitation to write any time they want) or even the dreary Scott – you can pretty much measure the curtains for your byline.

Dissent?  Well, other than a few letters to the editor from “Fudds” seemingly chosen for their half-literate irascibility, the Strib will not publish an op-ed, no matter how good – especially, I suspect, because it’s good.

So who did the Strib pass over for including in the op-ed section?

My friends at the MN Gun Owners Caucus have been diligently trying to place an op ed – any op ed – challenging the flood of anti-gun drivel that romps and plays in the Strib’s op-ed section.

Among them was this piece by Sarah Cade, a shooter and activist.  Also   She wrote a piece in defense of HF238 and HF188 – the “Self-Defense Reform” and “Constitutional Carry” bills that were introduced this session (and, shamefully, died).

I’m going to publish her submission to the Strib in its entirety – because someone has to.  Judge for yourself which is a more worthy effort:


COMMUNITIES OF COLOR NEED STAND YOUR GROUND

Sarah Cade

Minnesota desperately needs common sense gun laws – just not the ones you might think. Bills HF238 and HF188 sought to remedy unreasonable components of the current system, but were not included in the public safety omnibus.  These bills should be included as amendments.

Sarah Cade.   Photo: Oleg Volk. Courtesy Sarah Cade.

HF238 included a provision commonly known as “stand your ground.”  Stand your ground laws serve an important purpose for communities of color: they defend the innocent from overzealous prosecution. Ideally, a self defense claim should center on whether your use of force was reasonable under the circumstances, not on whether you could run faster than your attacker or whether you memorized the blueprints of the building before making the split second decision to defend your life.

Stand your ground removes the requirement to prove you could not retreat in court.  Rather than forcing you to prove a negative, it places the burden of proof where it belongs: on the state. The concept that a person is innocent until proven guilty is a cornerstone of American justice – or at least it’s supposed to be.

In reality, exercising your right to self defense leads to further victimization by the legal system. As a person of color, I know that racial stereotypes make a judge and jury less likely to give me the benefit of the doubt than my white peers. I also know that the legal system will attempt to intimidate me into taking a plea bargain for a crime I didn’t commit. These problems are compounded if I’m poor, don’t know my rights, or can’t obtain competent defense.  Stand your ground laws help protect me from a system that chews up and spits out people who look like me.

Contrary to the misinformation put out by Minnesota’s leading gun control group, stand your ground does NOT allow you to shoot people for wearing a hoodie, it does not allow people to “shoot first,” and it does not allow people to shoot anytime they feel subjectively threatened.  In fact, it’s hard to repeat those statements with a straight face if one has even a passing familiarity with Minnesota’s byzantine web of self defense laws (although they helpfully make the point that our laws need simplification and reform so laypeople can understand them).

Stand your ground would not change the requirement to act reasonably. Just like under current precedent, in order to present a valid claim of self defense, a person must have BOTH an “actual and honest belief that he or she was in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm,” AND “the existence of reasonable grounds for that belief.” (State of Minnesota v. Baker 1968)

“The lack of a duty to retreat does not abrogate the obligation to act reasonably when using force in self defense.   Therefore, in all situations in which a party claims self-defense, even absent a duty to retreat, the key inquiry will still be into the reasonableness of the use of force and the level of force under the specific circumstances of each case.” (State of Minnesota v. Glowacki 2001)

Despite overblown claims of racism, stand your ground is not in itself a racist law — mostly because there’s nothing to enforce. Instead, it is a DEFENSE that is invoked to protect the rights of an individual in court. It helps people of color defend themselves successfully from a predatory legal system that is stacked against them at every level, from arrest to sentencing.

According to data collected by the Tampa Bay Times, stand your ground provisions are more likely to be used to successfully defend black people than white people.  Black people are 16.8% of Florida’s population, but make up 33% of SYG acquittals, while white people are 77.7% of the population, but account for only 56% of acquittals (note that the homicide rates for blacks did not increase, so this discrepancy is NOT due to the myth of suspicious whites shooting first. Instead, it means more blacks are avoiding unjust prosecution).

As a person of color who is also a gun owner, I know that HF238 and HF188 would help me, and people who look like me, to protect ourselves. I know similar provisions are common in other states (the majority of states have some version of stand your ground; over ten have permitless carry), and that the hysteria about these laws is fueled by fear rather than rational analysis.

I also know that our justice system is plagued with racial inequality at every level. Stand your ground doesn’t change that, as it’s outside the scope of one bill to solve such pervasive problems. However, it does help defendants of color avoid unjust persecution, and that’s a step in the right direction.

Sarah Cade is a competitive pistol shooter and a volunteer Team Leader for the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus.  


So let’s get this straight.  The Strib spiked Cade’s well-written, reasoned, impeccably researched article upending the left’s narrative on the gun issue, but published a rank, uninformed recitation of fallacious chanting points by the mopey Plathbot Paul John Scott.

Surprised?  No.

Want better from our media?  Absolutely.

I’ll deal with the few points in Scott’s little outburst that need addressing below.

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No Facts Were Used In Writing This Column: Des Moines Register Edition

Iowa passed a self-defense reform law in its most recent session, mere weeks ago. Commonly called “Stand your Ground”, what it does is removes the “duty to retreat” – which is really a “duty to remember a lot of state statutes about attempting to disengage” – from the affirmative legal defense for self-defense.

Now, if you’ve followed this blog, you know the continuum of events:

  1. “Stand your Ground” law is proposed.
  2. Newspaper columnists write alarmed, “sky is falling”, uninformed stories about the subject.
  3. A bunch of other stuff happens.

The Des Moines Register and Daniel Finney are no exception.

And I’d like to try to do something about that.  Ignorance is a tragedy.  Let’s stop the tragedy.

It Wouldn’t Be An MSM Article about Guns…:   Finney starts off with some history.

In this case, history of newspaper people’s myopia:

 

About 20 years ago, when there was an outbreak of shootings in the metro, The Des Moines Register ran a list of tips suggesting what people should do if they were caught in the crossfire.

This was the photo that the Des Moines Register ran with the online version of this piece. No, no scaremongering here.

One of the tips was duck and find cover.

This list generated a lot of laughter, both in and out of the newsroom, because the advice was seemingly so obvious that it engendered a, “No, duh” response.

But for those who remember Nick Coleman as a columnist, that’s not quite a low enough standard.

But I digress:

These days, though, “duck and cover” is out of fashion.

Earlier this month, Gov. Terry Branstad signed sweeping changes to Iowa gun laws that include expanding the so-called “stand your ground” laws.

That part is true.

I point it out because it’s just about the last part of this column rooted in objective fact.

Out Standing In The Field::  Finney isn’t the only one on the Register’s staff that doesn’t really get the law:

As standout Register Statehouse reporter Brianne Pfannenstiel writes, the new law says you don’t have to duck and cover or run away.

Instead, if a person is “any place where the person is lawfully present,” they may defend themselves with deadly force.

Further, the law says “a person may be wrong in their estimation of danger or about how much force is necessary ‘as long as there is a reasonable basis for the belief … and the person acts reasonably in response to that belief,'” Pfannenstiel reported.

real “standout” reporter would have asked a few more questions, and found out that that’s pretty much how the “Reasonable Person” standard works.    If a complete stranger revs up a chainsaw and charges toward you yelling “I’m going to kill you, you sonafabitch”, and you shoot her, and deep in her heart she actually intended to stop at the last second and tell you it’s an elaborate practical joke?   The law doesn’t expect you to be a mind-reader – and no reasonable person would ever convict you for it.   –

At any rate, when Mr. Finney says…:

I wish Polk County Attorney John Sarcone and his colleagues the best of luck figuring out how to interpret what a “reasonable basis for belief” of someone feeling they’re in danger.

…you can tell he needs to talk with an even stand-outier capitol reporter, because they have to do it with every single self-defense case today.  

Let’s Take A Break From The Column For Some Actual Facts:  Mr. Finney:   there are some subjective but firm factors that everyone has to meet to claim self-defense; I wind up citing them on this blog so often, I made a separate page for them.

  • Don’t be the aggressor
  • A jury would believe you legitimately feared being killed, maimed or raped
  • You use only the force needed to stop the threat
  • A jury would believe you tried hard enough to disengage before resorting to lethal force.  What’s “hard enough?”  In Minnesota, that’s the subject of a dozen pieces of case law; I’d imagine Iowa is – or was – the same.   “Castle Doctrine” laws eliminate this in your home.  “Stand your Ground” eliiminates this, and only this, anyplace else where you have a legal right to be.    And that is all.  You still have to convince the cops, the prosecutor or the jury of the other three criteria!

Situational Awareness:  Back to Mr. Finney:

I’ll use an example from my own life. I used to walk a 3-mile loop in my parents’ east Des Moines neighborhood. Periodically, I crossed paths with a woman who was also out walking.

Every time the woman saw me, she crossed to the other side of the street. I understand that. She didn’t know me.

I’m 6-foot-4. I’m heavy. And, especially in the fall, it was getting dark out.

While most violence, including rape and homicide, is committed between people who already know each other, the woman was being cautious. I was a large man she didn’t know at twilight.

Better safe than sorry.

Well, yeah – that’s common sense.

But common sense doesn’t trump ignorance.  As we’ll see with Mr. Finney’s next bit:

I tried to keep an eye out for people around me, but I was also listening to my workout mix cassette tapes (yeah, I’m that old). On hills, sometimes I put my head down and gritted through the climb.

What if I was walking at a fast clip and happened to come up behind this woman or bump into her?

It seems to me the way that law is written, she could shoot me dead, and the law, as written, would say she was free to go.

This is far-fetched, of course.

No, it’s not far-fetched.

It’s ignorant.

Mr. Finney:  If she shot you, would a jury believe you posed a threat of death, mutilation or rape?  A real jury, not a fantasy nightmare jury?

Not sure how you behave around strange women in the dark, Mr. Finney, but as a 6’5 guy with an air of calculated menace living in a neighborhood full of college-age women, I go out of my way to appear innocuous and unthreatening when out and about after dark.

Of course, Finney is not merely ignorant about Iowa self-defense law; knowingly or not (I tend to think most reporters don’t know better and never get around to asking, because their editors never make them); he’s trafficking a lie about “Stand Your Ground”, one that I see, almost unaltered, from uninformed columnists all over the place; “Stand your Ground means you can shoot people who make you nervous”.

As we’ve pointed out in this space countless times in the past, it’s an ignorant myth.

I’m going to ignore the rest of the article; it’s no better-informed, but it’s off topic.

But Mitch – Why?:  You might be thinking to yourself “Mitch – you’re fisking yet another reporters’s badly-informed column about a law he or she clearly doesn’t understand.   For like the 1,000th time in the past 15 years.  Why?”

Because Don Quixote is my role model?

Well, maybe a little.  But there’s a more important reason.

I sent Mr. Finney an email, gently setting him straight on his many factual errors.

But if you know some 2nd Amendment activists in Des Moines, feel free to have them send Mr. Finney the link to this piece (his email address is at the bottom of the article).     Because newspaper columnists, for all their vaunted contact in the community, tend to live in echo chambers – especially columnists in “blue” cities like Des Moines (to say nothing of Minneapolis and Saiint Paul).

And sometimes, a little dissonance makes the chamber a little less echo-y.

Today’s News, Ten Years Ago

Bill Kling, the godfather of Minnesota Public Radio as we know it today, was a radio visionary or a skilled political operative who was an expert at marshaling political clout to his ends.

Well, forget the “or”.  He was both.

Kling was much of the reason MPR is what it is today – in terms of creative vision and, especially, “business development” via both conventional fundraising and endowment-mongering, and use of the political system to meet his ends.  He built a huge, successful merchandising arm (based on the success of Garrison Keillor and “Prairie Home Companion”, the lighting in a bottle that made MPR not only big, but phenomenally wealthy); he also led the charge against community low-power FM radio stations – which could have cut into Big Public Radio’s funding and audience – until the Internet rendered the battle moot.  And any time any conservative got any ideas about cutting public funding for MPR, Kling called in enough favors on Capitol Hill to make a Chicago ward heeler dizzy with envy.

And to this radio geek, who spent his formative years working at dusty little small-town stations tucked in above drugstores or behind hardware stores, or places like the old KSTP-AM, wedged into an old transmitter shed, a tour through MPR’s studios on 7th and Robert in Saint Paul – even in their “old” facility – made you feel a little like Jethro Clampett walking through that Beverly Hills mansion for the first time (as did hearing what MPR people got paid; people doing the exact same job I did at KSTP-AM made 50% more than I got).  And when they upgraded it in the mid-aughts, with a huge indoor auditorium and capacious new offices and, best of all, state of the state of the art studios?  Not just exactly at the radio high-tech fashion curve – oh no.  That, plus they had not one but two state of the art on-air studios, mirror images of each other, so that the staff (!) of one show didn’t have to rush and trip over each other to get out of the way of the next show coming in; they’d just alternate studios.

The Taj Ma Kling. Or the “Kling Public Media Center”. Tomayto, Tomahto.

So opulent (to my commercial radio tastes) was it, that ten years ago this past Tuesday, I christened their facility the “Taj Ma Kling“.

And ten years and one day after I named the facility, Minnesota Public Radio in effect agreed with me:

Minnesota Public Radio will rename its St. Paul headquarters and broadcast facilities the Kling Public Media Center on April 19. The decision to do so was actually made back in 2011, the year Kling retired from his post as CEO of both MPR and American Public Media, but the actual change was held off until now so that it coincided with MPR’s 50th anniversary.

““Our 50th anniversary is the perfect time to honor what Bill created and built. His entrepreneurial spirit and passion for public service continue to inspire us as we begin our next 50 years,” said Jon McTaggart, the current president and CEO of American Public Media Group. “What Bill has done – not just for Minnesota and MPR, but for public media audiences across the country – is unique and lasting. The creativity and innovation within the walls of the Kling Public Media Center will always be a living testament to what Bill began a half century ago.”

“Taj Ma Kling” / “Kling Public Media Center”.

Different words,  Same idea.

Layers And Layers Of Gatekeepers

Lapse in fact-checking among “legitimate” mainstream media over the weekend caused, by itself, a radical ratcheting up of tensions on the Korean Peninsula:

As expected – and feared – during the annual “Day of the Sun” celebration parade (celebrating the birth of the nation’s founder), Bloomberg blasted a headline that Chinese news agency Xinhua reported that North Korea has fired a projectile.

NORTH KOREA FIRES PROJECTILE, MEDIA SAYS: XINHUA
On its website, Bloomberg immediately picked up the story, and ran with “North Korea Fires Projectile Media, Says Xinhua” (at a url which still reads: “https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-04-15/north-korea-fires-projectile-media-says-xinhua”)

But there was no launch.  Just an appearance at a parade (emphasis added):

However, it appears that the headline scanning [algorithms] made a collosal error, and that Xinhua interpreted events quite incorrectly as it was, as CBC and Reuters reports, the appearance of a new submarine-launched missile at the parade for the first time.

Layers.  And. Layers.  Of.  Gatekeepers.

Just Doing Their Jobs

To:  The Star/Tribune
From:  Mitch Berg, Deplorable Peasant
Re:  You’re Not Even Trying To Deny It Anymore, Are You?

Dear Strib:

I’ll take the headline of this piece as a tacit – and, let’s be honest, redundant – admission that your paper isn’t so much a “journalistic” endeavor as a PR arm for the DFL.     You’re taking run of the mill dissent, and romanticizing it (using a term that should never, ever be “romanticized”).

I could say more – but that’d be pretty much bouncing the rubble, wouldn’t it?

That is all.

Breslin

Jimmy Breslin died over the weekend.  He was 88.

We’ll come back to that.


The media today – or at least, people of a certain age (i.e. older than me) who are still in the media – remind me of circus performers telling inside jokes about what the ringmaster did after that one show in Lincoln, or of mailmen amongst themselves about the worst breeds of dog to encounter, or  city bus drivers reminiscing about the foibles of that old model of bus that got retired a couple of decades ago, unlamented by anyone but, well, them.  They remind me of any group of clubby, beleaguered insiders who turn the foibles, peccadillos and petty miseries of their callings into legends in their own minds.    Not like World War II veterans telling niche anecdotes from a little tiny window of the fight to save freedom.  Just guys who did something most people don’t care about all that much, building it in their minds into something worthy of the life they built around it.

Unlike arthritic old circus hands, mailmen and bus drivers, journalists buy newsprint by the rail car and ink by the barrel – so they can inflict their particular tales, traditions and argot onto the rest us.  And lest anyone accuse me of ridiculing other people, I am one of them, at least as regards the radio industry.

I remember hearing some longtime Twin Cities journalists talk about Nick Coleman leaving the Star/Tribune.  “He was a great, old-time newspaperman”, one of them said.  “One of the best”.

Why, I asked.

What followed was an explanation I can’t possibly reproduce here – but it boiled down to Coleman epitomizing what an old-school “ink-stained wretch” was supposed to look, act and write like.

And I thought “this is the Nick Coleman who made an outsized contribution to the decline and fall of journalism.  If he didn’t like you, he’d just make s**t up; he’d conjure up community groups from his imagination,  or make up facts when he didn’t know enough to dig, ask or wait for the real ones.  And he played a bigger-than-average role in the financial ruination of the field he, and the journos who reminisce about him, try to earn a living in.

But no matter.  Journalists are like those hold each other to a standard that only they understand, and really only makes sense, or matters, really, to them.

And so Nick Coleman is a hero, while journalists who actually do what journalists are supposed to do but don’t know the secret handshake get mocked and derided by the bus drivers.  Er, circus geeks.

Damn.  I mean journos.


Along those lines, Journos like to tells themselves their mission nis to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable”.

It’s pretty inevitably b******t.  Most reporters spend their careers covering city council meetings and one-car crashes and writing obits and, today, probably selling ads to help their outlet get by.   Their biases are irrelevant, because their beats are all about the mundanities of civic and public life that are just too boring for partisanship.

But Jimmy Breslin, like Studs Terkel and Jim Klobuchar and, heaven help us, Nick Coleman, was on a different plane.  A columnist as well as a reporter, or maybe a reporter who got to have opinions, a pioneer in what they used to call “New Journalism” – subjective, advocacy-oriented, opinionated, journalism that put white and black hats on its subjects…

…rather than letting the reader do it for themselves.

To journos – and consumers of a certain outlook – it was brilliant, pioneering stuff.  And it certainly did pioneer the idea of the journalist as the crusader rather than the crier, the seeker of goals rather than the reporter of facts – as the ones who could comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable.  As being able to fight, as one of Breslin’s obituary writers said, for the little guy.

I found out Breslin’s regard for the little guy, straight from the horse’s mouth.  I met Breslin once, back in 1986.  He was doing a book tour, back when book tours meant traveling the country and doing radio live in the studio; I booked him on the Don Vogel show.

This was in the wake of one of Bernard Goetz’s trials.  Vogel asked him a question about Goetz – an electrician who’d been mugged, over and over, and reacted famously by shooting a group of muggers in the subway with an unregistered gun (only celebrities and politicians could get handgun license in New York – and that’s still pretty much true).

Breslin oozed contempt for Goetz.   It was sneering, visceral, hateful – as if the thought that a mere hoi polloi’s life was worth defending itself violated the public order.

But Goetz wasn’t “the little guy” to Breslin or the “journalism” establishment who aped him.  The criminals – with whom the purveyors of the myth of New York in the sixties and seventies had long since made fitful peace – were the little guys; not predators, not even pests; part of a zen-like symbiosis that one had to tolerate to “be a New Yorker”.

To the likes of Breslin and his many many imitators.

He was there for the right little guys.

Like most journos.

But never let it be said I speak ill of the dead.  Breslin did write one thing in his long career that rocked me back on my heels; the piece he wrote about the surgery he underwent a few decades back for an aneurysm.   Positively brilliant.  I can’t find it, but I will keep looking.

NPR On Al Capone’s Vault Trump’s Tax Return

On “Morning Edition”.

NPR Reporter:  “…if it weren’t for the “Alternative Minimum Tax”, Trump would have paid a net tax rate of 3%”.

NPR Anchor:  “Right – but there was an alternative minimum tax, and he paid a net rate of about 25% – considerably higher than Barack Obama and double what Bernie Sanders paid.  So why the pointless “what if?”   You’re “reporting” a complete nothingburger, here.”

(UPDATE:  The anchor never said any of that.  It was just a dream.  The “reporter’s” line is pretty accurate, though).

Tradition!

There’s an ugly, stupid fringe on the edge of all political movements.

Of course, in remembering the deaths of Ronald Reagan, Tony Snow, Gerald Ford, Antonin Scalia and others, it’s seemed like that deranged fringe cuts very close to the center of the Democrat party.

But for one of their own?

Alan Colmes was always the weaker half of the “Hannity and Colmes” line-up.  I suspect that was by design.  Television and radio shows featuring two equals tend to make wonky audiences happy, and bore everyone else silly.    Alan Colmes, I suspect, was supposed to be the New York Generals, to Sean Hannity’s Harlem Globetrotters; the Mister Electricity to Hannity’s Crusher.

Also, and more importantly, he was a human being.

Anyway – that fringe, isolated crank liberal site, Salon, gives Colmes the same treatment Janeane Garofalo and Rosie O’Donnell give departed conservative figures in this incredibly nasty, snarky little obit:

And while one should usually view tributes to the recently departed with a forgiving cynicism[well, no – “one should” ideally not – Ed] in this case they are all too believable: Colmes was the most absurd, useless, and mocked television personality in America for many years, precisely because he was nice. In the context of Fox News, being a nice guy—and a “liberal” nice guy at that—meant being a buffoon, and a patsy. Colmes not only played the part to perfection—he defined it.

Salon “writer” Isaac Chotiner continues the left’s noxious, toxic habit of whizzing on graves.

What a wonderful world.