Heads I Win, Tails You Lose

In the wake of the session, the Pioneer Press ran a letter to the editor – “Democrats offered plenty of compromises on gun bills” – from one Jo Haugen.   I wrote a response.  It never got printed.

Shocking, right?

Well, that’s one of the reasons I started this blog, now, isn’t it?

My response to the PiPress:

——————–

In her May 22 letter to the editor (“Democrats offered plenty of compromise on gun bills”), Jo Haugen criticized Senate Majority Leader Gazelka for kililing the DFL’s gun control bills, because “a vast majority of Minnesotans as well as law enforcement support these bills”

If “mandate” were real, then Speaker Hortmann and Majority Leader Winkler should have had no trouble passing the measures – “Red Flag” confiscation and “Universal” registration bills – as standalone measures, confident that that massive support would be greeted with hosannas at election time.

Curiously, they could not.  Winkler didn’t have the votes to do that, and snuck them into the omnibus Public Safety bills against bipartisan opposition.

Either the House DFL leadership are cowards for ignoring Ms. Haugen’s supposed mandate, or the “vast majority” of Minnesotans support nothing of the sort, and the polling to which Ms. Haugen refers was a bogus piece of propaganda.

Minnesota’s gun control movement:  The few, trying to control the many with the acquiescence of the gullible.

Mitch Berg
Saint Paul

BoCo

I was remiss (overwhelmed with life, really) in not noting last week the big local media news – Bob Collins of MPR has retired after 27 years at the Taj Ma Klling and 45 in radio all together.

Bob worked at MPR, so it’s an absolute given we’d disagree on…well, most things. We sparred a time or two over at the “NewsCut” blog he ran for many years over at MPR. Which says something – Bob would spar. Most MPR figures hid behind the organization’s magisterial facade and didn’t bother engaging the peasantry.

Not Bob. He was the only MPR staffer – and one of very few mainstream media figures – to ever appear at a MOB party, back in blogging’s heyday. The image of Collins talking, I think, sports with Gary Miller was one of the highlights of that whole time of my history doing this blog thing.

And I would be lying if I didn’t admit that he wrote two of the things that I’ve been proudest of in all my years of doing this.

In 2007, I wrote a piece o the death of Bo Diddley, about which Bob wrote:

Mitch Berg, author of the Shot in the Dark blog, pens a tribute (by the way, to see why Berg is, perhaps, the best blog writer in Minnesota when it comes to music, see his post on Bruce Springsteen.), invoking some long-forgotten images of when rock married politics, as in the 1989 George Bush inaugural

I’ve gotten a lot of compliments writing this blog – notably, the fact that so many of you spend time reading it every day – but yeah, that one coming out of the blue stuck with me.

And the next year, during the run-up to the Republican National Convention in Saint Paul, I walked from my job at the time over to a news conference held by a group of groups that were planning the demonstrations at the convention. Collins took up the scene:

What about what most people think when they hear a term like militant, violence, for example?
“The violence that I’m worried about is the violence that’s being carried out in Iraq right now,” she answered, which isn’t really an answer.
“You’re not answering my question,” a blogger said, uttering the five words that mark a great political journalist.
“I know,” she said, adding that she doesn’t consider the blockades being planned — allegedly — by other groups “violence.”
“That’s not what we’re planning,” she said.

I was the blogger, natch. And while I’ve never been a “political journalist” – I’ve always preferred “irascible peasant” – I always took that as a great compliment.

Anyway, good luck out there, Bob.

Almost

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Last Summer, the Associated Press reported 40% of families struggled to meet at least one of their basic needs.  The story was based on a press release by the Urban Institute. And what was the biggest problem for struggling families?  Cost of medical care.  Why?  Because Obama-care destroyed health insurance. This week, CBS recycled that storywithout bothering to mention the story was six months old and based on data that’s 18 months old, and also without mentioning the latest employment numbers.  I’m all for recycling, but it’s almost as if the media aren’t really interested in the truth, only in bashing a Republican administration. 
Joe Doakes

And if you’ve ever been around reporters at a bar, you know they’re not carbon-neutral, shall we say.

It almost seems that Big Media is working hand in glove with Big Left to pass a narrative to low-information but high-emotion voters.

That’s just crazy talk.

Right?

This Is What A Nobel-Prize-Winning Member Of The “Elite” Media Thinks Like

Paul Krugman – who worshipped Barack Obama like a ’90s high school girl worshipped the Back Street Boys – twote:

Andrew Stiles notes Barack Obama’s list of PMoF’s:

  • Michael Jordan
  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
  • Meryl Streep
  • Steven Spielberg
  • Robert Redford
  • Robert De Niro
  • Tom Hanks
  • Yo-Yo Ma
  • Bob Dylan
  • Stevie Wonder
  • Gloria Estefan
  • Barbara Streisand
  • James Taylor
  • Diana Ross
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • Warren Buffett
  • Tom Brokaw
  • Lorne Michaels
  • Joe Biden

To which a committed Dem might point out “Hey, no golfers!”.

And to which someone with honesty and integrity would add “And Paul Krugman is a travesty”.

What’s Spanish For “Hack”?

I love languages. I speak three of ’em passably enough not to get made as a Yank, and can order a drink, pay a tab or find a bathroom in a bunch more. If I could learn more full-time, I would. I’m a linguistics geek.

I’m probably an outlier among Americans at large – we’re a big mostly monolingual country, so most Americans don’t need to learn another language.

But the word “hatchet job” means the same thing in an amazing number of languages. That occurred to me while reading this, well, hatchet job from the WaPo, claiming that about half of Republicans get annoyed hearing other languages. According to Pew:

47 percent of such Republicans say it would bother them “some” or “a lot” to “hear people speak a language other than English in a public place.” Eighteen percent of white Democrats said they would be similarly bothered.
Aside from politics, age and education are the major predictors of linguistic discomfort. Eighteen percent of whites younger than 30 said they would be bothered by a foreign language being spoken, compared with 43 percent in the 50-to-64 age group, and 45 percent among those 65 and older.
Among all racial groups, whites (34 percent) are most likely to be bothered hearing foreign languages, followed by blacks (25 percent), Asians (24 percent) and Hispanics (13 percent). Among Americans overall, 70 percent put their level of unease at “not much” or “not at all.”

And this article is kinda hatchet-y. 

For starters, it doesn’t say *why* “half of white Republicans” have that reaction. Oh, the WaPo knows what it *wants* people to think – that’s why they included the utterly unrelated “High profile confrontations”. Racists!

And yet of those Republicans, the vast majority reported being “bothered” only a little bit – which doesn’t seem like it’d be a byproduct of hatred. It doesn’t go into motivations. 

I’m to postulate the vast majority of that isn’t racism, but people in a largely monolingual culture reacting to being excluded. Remember the question – they’re reacting to hearing people “speak a language other than English in a public place.” Language is an excluder; it’s a private club. It’s why my grandma never spoke her native Norwegian unless she was among fellow native speakers; it’s why I don’t talk in German or Norwegian in meetings with mostly Anglo co-workers. It’s kind of rude. 

The reaction is hardly limited to Americans, much less “white Republicans”. Check out how the French react to groups of Americans talking English sometime. 

I’m gonna strongly suspect most of the result comes from social annoyance rather than bigotry or provincialism. 

Men hva vet jeg?

Stupid Myopic Panic-Stricken Millennials

I almost thought this tweet, apparently by a 20 year old Grievance Studies major from Oberlin College, to be the sort of thing that only Snopes would think wasn’t parody:

Of course, “Edelweiss” was written by Rogers and Hammerstein, in the late fifties. For a movie about some escaping from Naziism.

Here it is, in all its storm-trooper-y goodness:

Silly millennials

UPDATE: I’m told that Ms. Haberman is not actually a grievance studies major from Oberlin, but in fact NBC’s White House correspondent and one of the “elite” “gatekeepers” that are supposed to keep the public’s news safe and hygienic.

My mistake.

Trying To Tell The Difference…

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

People are objecting to Russian television using a mindless robot news reader because they’re afraid it will spread propaganda.
What, unlike the mindless news readers presently spreading propaganda on CNN, MSNBC, etc.?  Are you kidding me?
Since they’re all just reading the news that someone off-camera gave them, personally, I preferred Ananova. She was a computer simulation of a human rather than an android simulation or Democrat simulation, but she was hot. If I’m going to be lied to anyway, might as well be someone pretty.
Joe Doakes

I can not watch the Russian newsbot just as efficiently as I don’t watch the American news bots…

Land Of 10,000 Insecurities

My NARN colleague Brad Carlson pointed this out to me on social media this morning: Minnesota media, poring over the Mueller report, found…

…a mention of Minnesota.

Something about one of the personalities involved in the case?

Perhaps one of the alleged meetings took place at Madden’s?

Maybe one of Maria Butina’s assignations happened at the Radisson Blu at the MOA?

No.

And when I say “no”, I mean “no, and I’m slinking away in shame about living in a state with media this insecure and pathetic“:

Among the topics they discussed: the electoral battleground states of Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Minnesota.

I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that this didn’t make the news in Detroit, Milwaukee or Philly.

The Gatekeepers

As I try, in my peasant-y way, to navigate the reefs and shoals of all the “fake news” the world throws before us, I’m thankful we’ve got gatekeepers like “Snopes.com” to do our thinking for us.

That’s the American “Fact-Check” industry – guarding the ramparts of American intellectual integrity.

A Nation Of Logrolled Sheep

Gun violence is schools is a quarter what it was 25 years ago, even with the tragic mass shootings in recent years thrown in.

But Big Left and Big Media have succeeded in convincing a fair number of people that 2+2=5:

Twenty years after the Columbine High School shooting made practicing for armed intruders as routine as fire drills, many parents have only tepid confidence in the ability of schools to stop a gunman, according to a new poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
And while most Americans consider schools less safe than they were 20 years ago, the poll finds a majority say schools aren’t at fault for shootings. Bullying, the availability of guns, the internet and video games share more of the blame.

If you tell people the sky is falling often and consistently enough, people will start carrying umbrellas.

Scandal-“Free”

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

next time a SITD critic claims the Obama administration was extraordinarily clean, not a single conviction, remind them of this:
joe doakes

Percpetion is reality.

If Obama’s cronies in the media and Democrat party messaging (ptr) say his time in office was “scandal free” enough times, people will perceive it that way.

Put another way – if Trump worked to defame Latinos the way Obama did to defame law-abiding gun owners, the Southern Poverty Law Center would have issued a fatwa.

Afflicting The Afflicted

Sharyl Atkisson has a list of 78 “mistakes” the media has made in covering Trump so far.

Yes, I put mistakes in scare quotes.

In late November of 2016, on NPR’s “On The Media” show – as reliable a measure of the daily ebb and flow of the “Elite” media’s inner id as any artifact you’ll find – representatives from the Washington Post and New York Times newsrooms spoke at length with host Bob Garfield about the need to change the rules. Instead of just “telling the story” – the who, what, when, where, why and how of the news – and presuming the consumer an figure things out for themselves, the mission was going to turn to “de-normalizing Trump”.

The “mistakes” – not just in re Trump, but Nick Sandman, “Russiagate” and on, and on, and on – may not all be symptoms of an “elite” media whose mission has changed from informing to driving an agenda. Perhaps.

But if they had changed their mission, I’m at a loss for how they’d be doing anything differently.

Cultural Nausea

I want to make a video, fisking John Oliver’s moronic piece claiming Australia’s gun laws “debunk” the “American gun ownership myth”. Spoiler: the only parts that are wrong are the parts where Oliver is moving his lips.

The problem is, watching John Oliver gives me a very unpleasant physical reaction. Watching him literally makes me ill.

It’s not just how he smugly mangles context and cherry picks factoids, and mugs for the trained seals in his audience; that was Jon Stewart’s schtick, too. But I can watch (and heckle and fisk) Stewart and enjoy doing it.

John Oliver could read a phone book, or “Goodnight Moon”, or even quotes from Margaret Thatcher and William F. Buckley, and I’d still feel my skin crawing, and start wanting to throw up.

I don’t even react like this to the useless Steven Colbert.

I literally get ill watching Oliver.

The only other thing like it? I get a headache watching Tim Burton movies. No kidding – I even got a headache watching one Burton movie even before I learned what it was and who directed it. It can be a Burton movie I love (“Nightmare before Christmas”) or hate (“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”), but it’s the same headache. Something about his style. I don’t know.

But even that reaction is nothing like the one I get from John Oliver.

No, I’m not exaggerating.

Does this happen to anyone else?

Unthinkable

SCENE:  A busy office at a major news network.   Ira KATZ and Melyssa HOOPERMAN-BELL, two senior network executives, are discussing an upcoming newscast.

KATZ:   OK.  So we’ve got this piece on the revolving door between Fox News and the Trump White House.

HOOPERMAN-BELL:   Excellent.  I hate Trump.

KATZ:  Everyone hates Trump.

HOOPERMAN-BELL:  And this connection between them and Fox News is a threat to democracy.

KATZ:  Unprecedented.

HOOPERMAN-BELL:  Who should do it?

KATZ:  Stephanopoulos.

HOOPERMAN-BELL:  Definitely Stephanopoulos.

And SCENE.  Always, forever SCENE

Not To Say The Media Is Pushing A Narrative Or Anything

Earlier this week, hundreds of students “spontaneously” walked out of Minneapolis’ Patrick Henry High School to demand legislators take away Second Amendment rights currently deemed unfashionable by Big Left.

The Media was waiting, cameras all a-whirl.

OK, I lied.  It was ten kids.

OK.  I only half lied.   The Strib was waiting anyway , there to give the “spontaneous” anti-freedom demonstration all the attention it wanted.

So when President Trump calls the media “the enemy of the people”, let’s just say my condemnation is muted to the point of nonexistence.

Almost Too Meta

So if wrote a piece about a fact-checking site “checking facts” on a satirical story, you’d either think that the “Fact Check” site was the one being satirical, or that the satire site had gone just a tad over the top.

Neither is apparently the case in this story, in which Snopes “fact checks” Babylon Bee – which, in its own way may be America’s finest news source today, if you think about it – and a “story” it did about Jussie Smollett getting a job at CNN. Babylon Bee was (so far) being satirical, and Snopes was not.

Oh, yeah – did I say the Bee was likely America’s most reliable source of news? I’m being a little less satirical than they are:

They may do news better than the Big Three, these days.