Incomplete

The press “reports” on Maxine Waters’ weekend trip to Brooklyn Center:

Did they cover everything?

Miss anything?

Like…the incitement to violence?

From the party (and media) that seems to think that there was no political violence in this country before (or apparently after) January 6?

UPDATE/BUMP: Oh, yeah – like Lisa Bender and Philippe Cunningham, Waters wanted special treatment while she incite her violence.

This Is What Screwed Looks Like

Governor Walz yesterday morning, as he got ready to head into the studio for his ritual toenail-painting with Esme Murphy:

Ever notice how the press never cares about civil rights being trashed until its their civil rights being trashed?

He’s wrong, of course. A press that holds power accountable is “foundational to democracy”. So we’re screwed.

By the way – not holding “emergency power” long after the emergency has passed is also “foundational to democracy”.

Hackery Most Foul

John Hinderaker asks a question many of us have been mulling for nearly two decades: why does 60 Minutes still exist?

It’s a holdover from a time when American media held some general (and often ill-deserved) respect for fairness and, if not “objectivity” (that’s a myth) at least detachment.

But between Rathergate, 17 years ago, and last week’s revelations that the show presented an “expose” of Ron DeSantis edited so far out of context as to be an absolute lie, it bids the critical thinker to ask: why is the show still on the air at all, if not to serve as a Democrat PR production?

Hinderaker has the original, and edtied-out, text. It is beyond damning. You be the judge.

My only regret is, having not watched the show in nearly 20 years, I have nothing to boycott.

Lies

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

I visited a woman in the hospital this weekend.  She had a heart attack and was unresponsive on arrival.  The doctors didn’t know if she would make it.  Here’s a note from her husband (I did their estate plan, back when I was in private practice):

“When you are laying in bed at 2:00 a.m and your mind is running the gerbil wheel of ‘what if she doesn’t wake up,  would she want burial or cremation and what do I do with the ashes, keep them or scatter them, and what funeral home should I hire, and who is going to scan photos for the video but would she even want a memorial, and what are her friends’ phone numbers or maybe invite only family, and can we even have a memorial, what are the Covid rules and oh God, what if she doesn’t wake up?’ . . . it’s not as much fun as you might think.  Spend some time talking to your family so they know the plan.”

Joe Doakes

What Joe said. 

I’m told sex trafficking is a huge problem, particularly during sporting events.  The Star Tribune says pipeline workers in Duluth engage in sex trafficking, which is grounds to shut down the pipeline that the Indians don’t like. And now we have a conviction for sex trafficking a minor during the NCAA Final Four, State v. Abdulazeez, see attached.

Except . . . there was no sex, no minor child, nobody trafficked, in either incident.  They’re both undercover police sting operations aimed at ordinary prostitution Johns.  The cops neither liberated a trafficked person nor jailed a trafficker. Which tells me that sex trafficking MAY be a problem, but the official statistics cannot be used to support that claim. They are as unreliable as Covid statistics and good only for one thing: demanding more funding.

It’s like the guy in the Target parking lot who wants to panhandle five bucks because he’s out of gas and his girlfriend is pregnant and they’re trying to get home to St. Louis to see his ailing mother before she dies of cancer and . . . lies, they’re all lies to get money out of me.  However many cops are involved in fighting imaginary crime in chat rooms – go ahead, defund them all.  Won’t stop a single crime in the real world and it will free up resources to man the barricades when People Whose Lives Matter show up with bricks and Molotov cocktails.

Worse, the media missed the most obvious conclusion of all.  If sports events create sex predators then sporting events are bad so why are we not only condoning them, but actively subsidizing them?  Subsidized stadia = subsidized sports events = trafficked children for sexual predators.    Why does the State of Minnesota and the City of Murderapolis promote trafficking children for sex?  Why do they hate children and want them to die?

Joe Doakes

If the people of Minnesota ever start thinking about what their media and government do, it’ll get ugly.

A Few Issues

Like a decent but shrinking share of National Public Radio (NPR) programming, “The Hidden Brain” has some redeeming value – in this case, some fascinating looks into the frontiers of cognitive psychology, at least among the episodes I’ve heard. A repurposed podcast, like an awful lot of NPR programming, it is one of the shows that’s filling the spot “Prairie Home Companion” and “Live from Here” used to fill – and is actually pretty interesting, even with the occasional challenge it provides.

But it’s NPR – National “Progressive” Radio. The network exists largely to affirm the left’s prejudices about itself and society. An NPR bumper sticker or tote bag was an Urban Progressive Privilege virtue-signal long before those became a cultural obsession.

And so when fact peters out, narrative sets in. And there is just no way that narrative gets challenged by anyone on the program. It might be off-topic – you’d be surprised how easy it is to fill an hour of radio – but it seems more and more obvious that NPR isn’t in the “challeninging Big Left’s tropes” business.

And so with last weekend’s episode, on “Honor Societies” – which, the hypothesis goes, include much of the American South and West.

You can argue the premise. You can argue the findings. And by all means, do.

But around forty minutes in, the host and guest swerved into a deeply counterfactual “discussion of ‘Stand your Ground’ laws”. I put it in scare quotes because it was no such thing; it was an unchallenged recitation of Big Left’s narrative about self-defense reform.

I wrote then an email, attached below.

I’m Mitch Berg, from Saint Paul, MN. My day job involves a lot of applied cognitive psychology, so I’ve become a bit of a fan of HIdden Brain [1]. I listen most Saturdays on KNOW in Saint Paul.

And I very much enjoyed your 3/29 episode, about “Honor Societies” – until about 40 minutes into it, where it swerved, hard, into misinformation.

Your host and guest spent a few moments discussing so-called “Stand your Ground” laws. Whether through ignorance or intent, that part of the show was highly legally erroneous at best, and misinformation at worst.

I’ll explain briefly [2]:

  1. Self-defense laws vary by state – but in every case I’m aware of require that one meet the following criteria:
    One must reasonably fear being killed, violently, then and there (where “reasonable” means “would convince a jury”).
  2. You can only use the force needed to end the threat in #1 above. When an attacker turns to run away, or falls over too injured to hurt you, the threat is over – you can’t hunt them down and finish them off.
  3. One must not be the aggressor; one can’t start a bar-room brawl (or an “honor” incident, for that matter) and pull a gun when someone breaks a beer bottle.
  4. One must make a reasonable effort to retreat (same definition of “reasonable” as above). In a “Castle Doctrine” state, this doesn’t apply in the home and, in some states, one’s business. In a so-called “Stand your Ground” state, it doesn’t apply outside the home, anyplace one has a legal right to be, while doing anything one has the legal right to do, provided you meet the three criteria above.

Your guest repeated the “misconception” – in many cases, it’s a propagandistic chanting point, but I’ll presume good motive, here – that “Stand your Ground” means, closely paraphrasing your guest, that “thinking you’re in danger gives you the right to kill someone, and call it self-defense”. In fact, even in situations where “Castle” or “Stand your Ground” laws apply, one must meet the other three criteria, subject to the details of state statute, to the satisfaction of the investigators, the prosecutors, and if worse comes to worst a jury.”Stand your ground” is not a legal grounds to claim the dog ate one’s moral homework to get away with murder.Beyond that? Your guest noted that “Stand your Ground” laws are most common in “Honor States” – implying “Honor”-based attitudes drive “Stand your Ground” laws.

But facts show that the correlation is far from accurate. 29 states, as diverse as Florida, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, have “stand your ground” statutes, and eight more – including Washington State, Oregon and Illinois – have it in case law. (And New York, Maine, Massachusetts and Minnesota are all “Castle” states, via statute or case law). So, rather than “Honor Society”, the valid correlation appears to be states with meaningfully strong and effective libertarian/conservative legislative majorities or minorities have such laws.

Fascinating as much of the episode was (I wound up driving around the city for an extra 40 minutes to hear the whole thing), this part of the episode veered sharply from fact into legal misinformation. And given this is a public radio production, even one I generally enjoy a lot, I’m given to suspect at least a tinge of classist narrative. The show was much the worse off for it.


While I realize the odds of this email being acknowledged, much less broadcast, are about as likely as my getting a hot third date with Anna Kendrick, I grant permission to use this response on the air, and will edit and put it in audio form if you prefer.

I’ll also point out that as part of my “side hustle” (see [1], below), I’ll be discussing this episode, and my attempt to contact your program about it, on my show, podcast and blog, in the coming week or two, including reaching out (likely pro forms and in the interest of fairness and clarity) to your show’s guest.

Mitch Berg
651 xxx xxxx

[1] I mentioned my “day job” – now I should tell you about my side hustle. I’m a talk show host and podcaster at a Twin Cities radio station, as well as a modestly prominent regional blogger. That follows a career in radio and journalism, including at least some time doing news at a publicly-supported station.

[2] My bona fides: For over two decades, I’ve been an activist and volunteer for the groups that wrote much of MInnesota’s current body of firearms law, which have passed with strong bipartisan majorities and been signed by governors of both parties. I produce the podcast for this group. As a MInnesota carry permit holder, I have had to repeatedly demonstrate knowledge of the law as part of statutory permit training. I’m not a lawyer, but I get most of my information from lawyers who specialize in this area, both in criminal defense and legislative terms. You want cites, I got cites. If there is a person anywhere in American alternative media who’s paid more dues on this issue, I say with all due humility I have yet to be introduced to them.

Public radio – NPR, as always, and increasingly MPR – rarely deigns to acknowledge the proles. Suffice to say, this post (and my next NARN show) will likely be this topic’s only sojourn outside the memory hole.

As Long As We’re Challenging People

The Strib tweeted this over the weekend:

I mean, I’ve done it before. I used to give up cursing for Lent. It was a fascinating exercise, even though I’ve never been among the more foul-mouthed people I know.

But I’ve got a better idea:

Let’s do a “Detached Journalism Challenge”. Let’s try to not be stenographers for Big Left for a whole month.

I think I got this

How about you, Star/Tribune?

Our Ad

Ads don’t appear by accident.

Least of all television ads, with their high production costs and long lead-times. If you see something in a television ad, especially an “agency” spot (produced by an ad agency, as opposed to something shot at a store or TV station for a local merchant, you may be assured someone thought about the message it was portraying.

A lot.

As we’ve discussed recently, the high numbers of African-Americans in TV commercials challenge the idea that Americans are innately racist. If an add offends someone on some visceral level, it’s just not going to work.

With that in mind, I direct your attention to the latest round of commercials for “Hy Vee”, the national grocery chain, and what HyVee thinks it says about their customers. Both spots are done to the tune of the ’80s song Our House, by the British ska group “Madness”.

Here’s the first one, which came out over the winter:

Note the imagery (amid all the HyVee products):

  • Mom is the executive rushing off to the high-power job.
  • Dad is not only getting the kids ready for school. Not only is he kind of a bumbler, like most TV ad dads, but he looks like a buffoon.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with dads taking care of kids. I spent 20 years doing it, 11 of ’em mostly by myself, several more covering the day shift and working nights to save daycare. Fathers pulling their weight is nothing new.

But it’s not an unreasonable assumption that, in the typical family – whether two-parent or not – a woman is still making a lot of the shopping decisions. And HyVee, one of the major retailers, believes that not only is the image of the woman being the high-speed executive bread-winner one that appeals to those consumers, but showing hubby as a hapless buffoon who’d be lost without her appeals as well.

It’s hardly a novel observation.

HyVee has a new “Our House” spot out – it’s not out on Youtube just yet, so I can’t post it here just yet. And when I first saw it – with its improbably pretty mom cleaning the house to a fine sheen with her array of HyVee products, and a pronounced “Father Knows Best” vibe, I briefly thought “Ooofda – how did this get greenlit? The feministasi are going to have a cow.”.

Then I mentally caught myself. “There’s going to be a whammy”.

And sure enough – Dad finally came home. And he reminded me of Rip Taylor, if Rip Taylor were playing a Gestapo agent (sans long black trench coat – this agent was dressed like, well, Rip Taylor in a HyVee commercial) – simultaneously petulant and way below Mom’s league.

So apparently HyVee’s marketing department believes that an ad Dad who is a mass of caricatures, coming across as a spoiled, petulant martinet to his improbably gorgeous, clearly put-upon spouse, is not only not going to turn their audience off, but will in fact bring them out to the stores?

What does this say about…

…well, not “society”, per se, but the advertising industry’s view of society?

From The Archives

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

I visited a woman in the hospital this weekend.  She had a heart attack and was unresponsive on arrival.  The doctors didn’t know if she would make it.  Here’s a note from her husband (I did their estate plan, back when I was in private practice):

“When you are laying in bed at 2:00 a.m and your mind is running the gerbil wheel of ‘what if she doesn’t wake up,  would she want burial or cremation and what do I do with the ashes, keep them or scatter them, and what funeral home should I hire, and who is going to scan photos for the video but would she even want a memorial, and what are her friends’ phone numbers or maybe invite only family, and can we even have a memorial, what are the Covid rules and oh God, what if she doesn’t wake up?’ . . . it’s not as much fun as you might think.  Spend some time talking to your family so they know the plan.”

Joe Doakes

What Joe said. 

Seems like forever ago that Michael Mann published his hockey-stick
graph, Mary Steyn made fun of it in a column for National Review, and
Mann sued for defamation.  The case has lingered for eight years in the
courts, only now entering the ‘discovery’ phase after National Review
was dismissed as a defendant.

Mark Steyn was deposed by Michael Mann’s lawyer.  Steyn uploaded the
transcript here: https://www.steynonline.com/documents/11106.pdf

I suppose reading deposition transcripts isn’t everyone’s cup of tea,
but I found it entertaining.  Your mileage may vary.

Joe Doakes

I can’t imagine those lawyers knew what hit them.

None Dare Call It Slander

I mean, when even Bill Maher gets uncomfortable…

Former North Dakota Senator and current useless mouth Heidi Heitkamp calls Gina Carano a “Nazi”. Plain and simple, full stop.

I’ll chalk this up to the (utterly true) idea that any Democrat can parrot any narrative twaddle, no matter how moronic, without fear, knowing that their audience hasn’t the critical thinking skills to call them on it. Or anything.

But I won’t get mad. I’ll just get on the air. I sent this to her Facebook page.

Senator,

I’m Mitch Berg. I grew up in Jamestown. My mother, Jan Berg/Brooks, was a volunteer for any number of your campaigns at the state and federal level.

I fell a bit farther from the tree, politically, of course.

I’d like to make a media request – I’d love to interview y ou on my show (WWTC AM1280) in the Twin Cities regarding your assertion that Gina Carano is a “Nazi”.

I can either do it live on Saturday at 2PM, or record an interview at any time convenient to you.

Hope we can discuss this.

Thanks.

Why, sure – I expect a response! Why wouldn’t I?

Impunity

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

I visited a woman in the hospital this weekend.  She had a heart attack and was unresponsive on arrival.  The doctors didn’t know if she would make it.  Here’s a note from her husband (I did their estate plan, back when I was in private practice):

“When you are laying in bed at 2:00 a.m and your mind is running the gerbil wheel of ‘what if she doesn’t wake up,  would she want burial or cremation and what do I do with the ashes, keep them or scatter them, and what funeral home should I hire, and who is going to scan photos for the video but would she even want a memorial, and what are her friends’ phone numbers or maybe invite only family, and can we even have a memorial, what are the Covid rules and oh God, what if she doesn’t wake up?’ . . . it’s not as much fun as you might think.  Spend some time talking to your family so they know the plan.”

Joe Doakes

What Joe said. 

I’ve been thinking about impunity.  It’s why:

-Black Lives Matter and Antifa can burn down cities;

-Keith Ellison can orchestrate a lynching;

-Tim Walz can imprison the whole state for an entire year;

-someone in the Biden Administration can send troops to kick down doors
in Syria;

-China can humiliate our diplomats in Alaska;

-sex fiends and pedophiles can prey on victims for years;

-illegal immigrants can swarm our border.

When people know they can get away with bad behavior, they engage in
more of it.  Swift punishment deters bad behavior.  How can we restore
the deterrent necessary to end bad behavior?

Joe Doakes

A city without any political opposition, and a political system without any major media scrutiny, all lead to people acting with impunity.

Hometown Boy Makes Good Idiot Of Self

The good news: After hearing Ben Shapiro roasting Rupar last week on his radio show, I have to say it’s been amazing seeing that more people nationwide are learning what we in the Twin Cities have known for most of a decade: that City Pages alum and Vox “writer” Aaron Rupar is a really terrible “journalist” and not an especially bright man (read the whole thread):

The bad news: these days, competence and discernment are less important than ideological purity and loyalty.

And, Rupar being simultaneously a definer and beneficiary of Urban Progressive Privilege, he’ll never be held to account for it any more than Jim Acosta or Esme Murphy.

To Coin A Phrase – It Was Twenty Years Ago Today

It was 20 years ago today that AM1280 The Patriot – the station that I’ve been on for the last 17 years – changed to its current, conservative talk format.

For starters, if you’ve followed the history of AM radio in the Twin Cities (as one does), that’s a pretty amazing number. The 1280 kHz frequency was one of the first ever assigned in the Twin Cities – but in the decade and a half between my moving to the Twin Cities and March 19, 2001, probably changed formats, and often owners, at least annually. Business (several times), R&B (a couple), Classic Rock, Oldies (at least one), and even Dance music (in the early ’90s, almost as a “pirate” operation – the 1280 frequency seemed to be a metaphor for the ongoing collapse of the AM radio band

Then Salem – which had been running Christian-format radio for some time – bought the 1280 (and its sister station, AM980, which went through almost as many gyrations as the 1280 over the previous couple of decades), and converted it over to what was a new format for them, conservative talk.

And two weeks shy of three years later, they took perhaps an even bigger flyer – putting a bunch of local bloggers, only one of whom had ever done commercial radio (and one other, student radio) on the air to do a weekly weekend show. That’s where I come in.

So it’s an unbelievable story nested inside another unbelievable story – a bunch of guys doing a grass-roots talk show on a station that managed to stake out a piece of wan, forgotten turf in a crowded radio landscape, with both managing to hack out an enduring piece of Twin Cities media mindshare.

To celebrate, we’ll be doing a special (deep breath) four hour NARN tomorrow, featuing just about everyone that’s ever been on the show: John Hinderaker, Scott Johnson, King Banaian, Ed Morrissey, King Banaian, Briand “Saint Paul” Ward, “Chad the Elder” and Brad Carlson, along with a few of our former producers (Tommy Huynh, Jon Osburne and The Consigliere).

Hope you can tune in! It’s going to be just as mad and chaotic as those first couple years of shows were!

See you then, 1-5PM tomorrow!

Walter Duranty Calls Down From The Great Beyond, Says “Whoah, Dial Back The Sycophancy!”

This WaPo tweet reads precisely like something you’d have read in the USSR in the ’30s, or in North Korea today:

Poverty “was”, past tense, “cut sharply”?

By $1,400 checks that haven’t been delivered yet?

Kim Jong Un doesn’t think he’s that badass.

Meet The New Law – Not Remotely The Same As The Old Law

Back before longtime comment-section regular “Dog Gone” got irrevocably banned for life, she evinced a rhetorical pattern that, in recent years, has shown itself to be a bit of a pattern on the left, especially among left wing media, most particularly among the “Fact Check” set.

We saw this behavior in many instances – but the most comical was in 2012-2013, when I wrote my “Bruce Springsteen is America’s Best Conservative Songwriter” series, in which I built an airtight case that, notwithstanding Springsteen’s personal left-of-center politics, his music (at its best – fro 1975-1987, with a brief counter-relapse in 2002) resonates with many conservatives because it constantly iterated themes near and dear to the conservative heart and mind.

For the first dozen or so parts of the series, Ms. Gone’s response, over and over and over and over and over and over and (you get the idea) was “No he’s not!”

And then – as suddenly as a spring shower of logorrheic illogic – in the comment section of the final post, the tune (as it were) changed – to, more or less, exactly the point I’d been making for the previous dozen episodes.

Which is, in and of itself, of no great consequence.

But it does exhibit much of the behavior of the ongoing scam that is BIg Media’s “fact checking” side hustle.

Whose process I’ve broken down as follows:

Something falseSomething true
If a conservative says:The “Fact checkers” will call it false. The fact checkers will call it “Mostly False” or “Partly true” or say it “depends on context” – and leave it there until a progressive or “liberal” says it. See below.
If a “progressive” / liberal says:Depending on the importance of the narrative, the “fact checkers” will call it either “partly true”, or say it “depends on context”. The “Fact Check” machine will call it “true – even / especially if they previously referred to it as false (see the cell above).

The most egregious example, of course, was the reporting on Fredo Cuomo’s horrific, politicized, corrupt and incompetent response to Covid. When conservative alt-media reported, utterly accurately, about this last spring and summer, the “fact check” machine sandbagged the conclusion…

…until this past week, when the case suddenly served Big Left’s purposes in getting Cuomo out of the way, when suddenly “depends on context” turned into “this is the living truth”.

Verdict Rendered: And so it’s with great pride I introduce Berg’s 22nd Law of Mandatory Congruency – to wit:

The American media “fact check” industry exists to deflect the narrative caused by accurate reporting to benefit the Left.

As it is written, so shall it be done.

Correlation Does Not Equal Causation, But It Does Equal Correlation

Stipulated: The Star Tribune is a de facto DFL PR firm. That its editorial slant is to the left is no surprise or problem.

Their “journalistic” slant, on the other hand? Democracy can not survive without institutions holding government accountable – and in Minnesota the ones ones you have are…

…(looks around)…

…PowerLine, AlphaNews, Tom Hauser on a good day, and the NARN.

Case in point: in a couple decades of reporting on sex trafficking cases, I do not recall the Star Tribune mentioning the occupations of the accused. Certainly not in the lede.

But now:

Talk about not so much burying the lede as inverting the story.

Is the Strib trying to tie Enbridge 3 – one of the DFL’s betes noire – to sex trafficking?

Given that the pipeline workers’ day jobs are paragraph 10 importance to the story, not headlines, waht do you think?

Talent, Being Paid Back With Interest To God

Word’s out that Rush Limbaugh has died of lung cancer. He was 70.

I never met Rush, but I certainly ran into a key part of his legacy, up front. I was 25, and had gotten riffed from my first talk radio gig, at KSTP-AM. I was down – but not out. I had what Don Vogel called the talk radio virus – once you start doing it, it’s so very, very hard to withdraw.

And so I went out on the talk radio job market. And I had some interest – stations in Raleigh, Cleveland, Orlando, New Bedford, the Bay Area, Fall River, Baton Rouge, suburban Chicago, and even New York City had some interest.

Then came Limbaugh.

And over the course of about a year, nearly every small-to-mid-sized talk station in the country that used to hire obstreporous 25 year olds to host graveyard, evening and afternoon talk shows…stopped. Why pay some kid 22-28K, when you could have Limbaugh for the price of eight ad slots an hour, AND record and repeat him in the evening, and maybe on graveyard as well?

So the market for what I wanted to do more than anything in the world pretty much disappeared.

Which isn’t to say that the talk radio market disappeared. From 1988 into the nineties, talk radio, mostly conservative talk, surged. The format went from something like 200 stations in the US in the mid-eighties to at one point close to 1000 on Limbaugh’s network alone, as ailing AM stations from coast to coast switched from country or oldies or polka to talk and started reeling in the profits. There was money in conservative talk! Today, while the shift from broadcast to digital has cut receipts all across the industry, conservative talk, along with some niches like sports, Spanish and of course Public radio are the only ones that have any financial upside at all.

It came as a shock to the media establishment – but even some of the people involved (or claiming to have been involved) in his success didn’t understand what made Rush blow up. In 1991, I interviewed for the program director job at KSTP. I got to the final round – me and one other guy. And one of the interviewers was a consultant, one of hundreds who claimed to have had some role in Rush’s ascendance. He asked me why I thought Rush had caught on so big. “He provided a voice to a lot of people who’d never had one in the media”, I responded. “No”, he said in that “you didn’t get the job” kind of tone, “it’s because he’s irreverant. Nobody cares about politics”. I didn’t get the gig – although the consultant later admitted he was completely wrong. I’ll take a partial win every time.

Because politics – especially giving voice to a vast, silent majority – was the first golden age of conservative talk, culminating with Rush playing a pivotal role in the 1994 Republican Revolution.

I spent those years listening to Rush from the outside, slowly putting that dream from my twenties in mothballs – but listening, carefully, to what made Rush, Rush.

It’s a cliche to say that Limbaugh invented conservative talk. He didn’t – Bob Grant, Joe Pyne and Morton Downey Junior were doing it as far back as the ’70s. But Limbaugh defined its new generation – brash, irreverant, fun, but combining keen knowledge with an unmatched ear for tone and nuance. Rush was a keen-eared entertainer – the entertainment always came with a dose of paleocon wisdom that stuck to your ribs. It’s a cliche to say he had many imitators but no equal – but it’s the truth.

I spent 12 years “in the cold”, in radio terms – I didn’t set foot in a studio during Rush’s glory days. But I listened. And to the extent I learned anything listening to Rush, banked away against the day I could get on the radio again (something I’d completely given up on by about 1995), it was this: have fun. To paraphrase Andrew Breitbart, political motivation is downstream of enjoying yourself – and people who enjoy what they’re doing, as they do great things they believe in, are unbeatable.

Of course, Limbaugh was a two-edged sword. He ushered in a business model that has centralized the money, and the talent – or, often, “talent”, in talk radio. After thirty years of Rush, Beck, Levin, Hannity, Dennis Prager, Laura Ingraham and other talk superstars eating up all the airtime, talk radio’s grapefruit-league and triple-A benches are sparse to none. The only “young” talkers who’ve been working their way up the system have been the ones that mined veins of material that the bigs didn’t cover (Phil Hendrie, TD Mischke), built local niches around the fringe of Rush’s empire (Bob Davis, Justice and Drew), stretched the format (a zillion Christian talkers) to…

…well, King, Brad and Me, who do it for the pure love of the game and a little extra change.

So I owe Rush a lot – for pushing me against my will to develop a different, broader, deeper, better life than I was aiming for as a 25 year old radio (I use this term advisedly and in its literal context) addict, and showing us all how it’s done.

Talent on loan from God, indeed.

Bad News / Good News

The bad news: As I observed with Ann Bauer while filling in for Brad Carlson last week, lockdowns are killing kids – especially kids who are, like so many these days, predisposed to mental illness:

Millions of American kids are struggling, and their chances for long-term improved mental health is predicated on the notion that we will now prioritize their emotional well-being, which our society has tragically shown it has no intention of doing.

Our hope for raising an emotionally healthy and mentally stable generation is dissipating with every day kids are kept locked in their bedrooms and out of schools. Skyrocketing rates of depression and anxiety are in no small part due to the fact that children feel neglected and forgotten, and they are not wrong to feel that way.

Our society has abandoned them and treated them as disposable. The damage caused by this abandonment is incalculable, and compounding every day we allow inertia, irrationality and the craven priorities of teachers unions to rule our decision-making.

The good news?

What, are you new around here? This is progressivism at work, operating through its wholly owned subsidiaries “Big Education” and “Big Karen”. Short of turning our culture around, there is none.

Walking Back…Most Of Their Assertions, To Be Honest

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

I visited a woman in the hospital this weekend.  She had a heart attack and was unresponsive on arrival.  The doctors didn’t know if she would make it.  Here’s a note from her husband (I did their estate plan, back when I was in private practice):

“When you are laying in bed at 2:00 a.m and your mind is running the gerbil wheel of ‘what if she doesn’t wake up,  would she want burial or cremation and what do I do with the ashes, keep them or scatter them, and what funeral home should I hire, and who is going to scan photos for the video but would she even want a memorial, and what are her friends’ phone numbers or maybe invite only family, and can we even have a memorial, what are the Covid rules and oh God, what if she doesn’t wake up?’ . . . it’s not as much fun as you might think.  Spend some time talking to your family so they know the plan.”

Joe Doakes

What Joe said. 

I recently suggested a new on-going feature, walking back the lies.  I have another item for the column.

The Best and Brightest people who sneered at Conservatives as ignorant, hateful racists for suggesting the debunked idea that a lab in Wuhan was the source of the virus and the Chinese were covering it up – are walking back the lie.  It seems  the virus may indeed have originated in Wuhan and the Chinese may indeed have covered it up. 

No apology of course.  No admission that Conservatives were right all along.  We don’t insist on that, don’t expect it, and would be astonished if it were forthcoming.

But somebody should remember and therefore the purpose of this ongoing feature.  We were right.  And they knew it. 

Joe Doakes

Series? Not a bad idea at all.

It’s verging on a Berg’s Law of “Fact-Checking” – something to the effect of “to the ‘fact-check’ caste, truth is directly correlated to “did a progressive say it”.

Thinking.

Dumb And Dumber And Dumber And Dumber…

Policy is downstream of politics.

Politics is downstream from culture.

Culture is shaped, to a disturbing extent, by people who want to try to influence it.

And it’s been a cultural cliché for generation that television in its many forms has an overwhelming influence on society.

And as someone who spent way more time in Ramsey County family court, and dealing with culture’s assumptions about fathers and children, the subject of how media treats fatherhood has been of far more than casual interest to me for a long time.

I’ve observed since the early days of this blog that much of modern culture’s perception of fathers seems to be derived from Fred Flintstone (if you’re lucky – the cartoon rendering of Jackie Gleason was much preferable to the neutered George Jetson, albeit similar in every other way).

The good news – sociological reasarch [1] shows I’m right.

The bad news – Flintstone is a throwback to the “good old days”. Modern media, more and more, is treating fathers like incompetent, mock-worthy, if in the end lovable buffoons:

…we studied how often sitcom dads were shown together with their kids within these scenes in three key parenting interactions: giving advice, setting rules or positively or negatively reinforcing their kids’ behavior. We wanted to see whether the interaction made the father look “humorously foolish” – showing poor judgment, being incompetent or acting childishly.

Interestingly, fathers were shown in fewer parenting situations in more recent sitcoms. And when fathers were parenting, it was depicted as humorously foolish in just over 50% of the relevant scenes in the 2000s and 2010s, compared with 18% in the 1980s and 31% in the 1990s sitcoms.

At least within scenes featuring disparagement humor, sitcom audiences, more often than not, are still being encouraged to laugh at dads’ parenting missteps and mistakes.

Thing is, as more children are raised in single-parent housholds (a majority, in many communities), and given that the vast majority of those households are female-led, popular entertainment is going to have a disproportional role in shaping how children feel about what fathers are supposed to be.

I don’t watch a lot of current network TV, so it’s fairly academic to me at the moment.

But I’ve also noticed, again for over the past twenty-plus years, that the way fathers are portrayed in commercial is equally condescending [2] – but that there’s a pattern to this.

Remember – nothing in major media advertising, least of all on network or cable TV, is accidental. Every ad, down to the lowliest 10-second sweeper spot, is focus-grouped to a fine sheen before it goes near a broadcaster. The subtext of every ad is as carefully tuned as the messages themselves.

And I’ve noticed [3] that there’s a pattern:

  • Spots aimed at products most commonly aimed at guys (the social group, as opposed to “men”, the sex), products like beer and athletic gear, tools, blue-collar workers’ tools, vehicles bought for work (as opposed to lifestyle accessories), tend to portray women (if at all) as improbably attractive, but not as the focus of the spot/s.
  • Products aimed at women (by inference, women who lead or co-lead households, especially with children) are the ones that tend to show husbands as bumbling, dubiously competent, and very frequently not in their wives leagues, if you catch my drift.

Remembering that nothing in big-dollar advertising is accidental, what other conclusion is there than “Evidence tells advertisers that men see their women as ideal and attractive [which is sort of an evolutionary tautology], and women who spend money want to think that men – in general, and maybe their own – are hapless buffoons who’d be lying in their parents basements in a puddle of their own waste without them.”

Not sure that’s a great message for the young women or the young men of tomorrow.

[1] And yes, I now – sociology, like all soft sciences, is not a science. Soft science produces soft data, at best. And soft data is good enough for the point I’m making.

[2] Although somewhat less so if the fathers in the ads are black or Latino. And it seems that the fathers in mixed-race couples, who seem to make up a disproportionate number of couples in TV advertising these days, get portrayed pretty neutrally-to-favorably, although both of those observation are just that – impressions from a guy who doesn’t watch a whole lot of TV. Now, that would be an interesting study. And one ad that stuck out at me – the morning-TV spot for Hi-Vee supermarkets featuring the 1983 song “Our House” – indicates, albeit with a sample size of one, that even being a stay-at-home caretaker while the improbably gorgeous mom runs off to her office job doesn’t protect dad from that same level of condescension.

[3] Yep, anecdotally, not a controlled experiment bla bla bla.

Facts: Growing In Office

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

I visited a woman in the hospital this weekend.  She had a heart attack and was unresponsive on arrival.  The doctors didn’t know if she would make it.  Here’s a note from her husband (I did their estate plan, back when I was in private practice):

“When you are laying in bed at 2:00 a.m and your mind is running the gerbil wheel of ‘what if she doesn’t wake up,  would she want burial or cremation and what do I do with the ashes, keep them or scatter them, and what funeral home should I hire, and who is going to scan photos for the video but would she even want a memorial, and what are her friends’ phone numbers or maybe invite only family, and can we even have a memorial, what are the Covid rules and oh God, what if she doesn’t wake up?’ . . . it’s not as much fun as you might think.  Spend some time talking to your family so they know the plan.”

Joe Doakes

What Joe said. 

I feel so stupid.  I completely fell for the tinfoil-hat conspiracy theory that the election was stolen.  But as this article makes clear, the election actually was SAVED

All those unsubstantiated Republican claims that an informal alliance of left-wing activists and business titans got states to change voting systems and laws and helped secure hundreds of millions in public and private funding; fended off voter-suppression lawsuits; recruited armies of poll workers; successfully pressured social media companies to take a harder line; helped Americans understand how the vote count would unfold over days or weeks; and after Election Day, monitored every pressure point to ensure that Trump could not challenge the result including pressuring state legislators to certify dubious election results – they’re all true.  They did all those things and more.  But that’s a Good Thing.  Because they saved the election from Trump winning.

I wish I’d understood this last Fall.  I wasted so much time fretting over laws of statistics and suitcases of ballot and cardboarded-over windows but none of it mattered.  Things went exactly as planned. 

So I’m embarrassed at my credulity but one good thing came of it – I won’t have stand in line to cast my vote ever again, not when the big-shots have decided what the outcome should be and taken steps to ensure it.  So that’s nice.

Joe Doakes

Last week on his podcast, Ben Shapiro noted something I’d picked up when late, long-banned, forever-exiled commenter Dog Gone was trying to act as this blog’s “fact checker” – the difference between “true” and “false” usually boils down to whether a conservative or a progressive said it, regardless of the veracity of the fact itself.

The Strib: Preparing The Narrative Battlefield

As we noted last week, “Stand your Ground” and ‘Constitutional Carry” bills have been introduced in the Legislature.

And they have a shot, potentially – there are enough red-district DFLers with legitimate fears of being retired in 2022 to maybe soften the DFL’s stance, and Governor Klink might need to weigh his fealty to the Progressives against gun control’s dismal record outside 494 and 694. A veto will be held against him, and every outstate DFLer, in 2022. Smart DFLers (like Bakk and Tomassoni) remember 2002, when every single outstate DFLer who opposed “Shall Issue” was defeated in the ’02 mid-terms.

Remember – it took seven years to get Shall Issue reform passed, culminating in the ’02 pro-gun election sweep.

Gun rights are a long game.

This, against a backdrop of 40% of gun buyers in 2020 being new purchasers, and 40% of them being women and, at least anecdotally, a substantial number of them being formerly ambivalent about firearms.

The left gets this. And so we get articles like this in the Strib – all but portraying Constitutional Carry as a tool of the Klan.

My suspicion? Big Left realizes they are losing the gun battle, and has to gaslight the minority who still opposes them into becoming more die-hard, to avoid losing more ground outside the Blue coasts and Chicago.

Just So We’re Clear On This…

President Biden, we’re told, is a devout Catholic, which is a good thing…

…as opposed to Amy Coney Barrett, for whom it was a bad thing.

Also – “Ascendant liberal Christianity is an eternal hope on Big Left. Sort of like Blue Texas. There’s anways been a “blue” church: mainline Presbyterians, white Methodists and Episcopoals, ELCA Lutherans, and an awful lot of mainstream Catholics, who have made their peace with abortion in exchange for programs just as easily as “Feminists” made theirs with Bill Clinton.

The “blue” church is “ascendant” because one of its own is in power. These also happen to be the denominations that are in demogrpaphic free-fall.

But there is no narrative but the narrative.

The Old School

Two bands I’ve never much cared for are Pink Floyd and the Grateful Dead. Part of it was punky contrarianism; they were both very popular when I was in high school. Naturally, I had to zag away from the zigging crowd.

And yet if I had to pick three guitarists whose style mine most resembles, they’d be David Gilmour and Jerry Garcia (along with Mike Campbell).

I’d never have called myself a huge fan. And yet here I am – someone who wound up learning the guitar from their examples.

We’ll come back to that.

———-

Talk radio and cable TV legend Larry King died over the weekend. He was 87.

“For 63 years and across the platforms of radio, television and digital media, Larry’s many thousands of interviews, awards, and global acclaim stand as a testament to his unique and lasting talent as a broadcaster,” read the statement [from his production company]

“Larry always viewed his interview subjects as the true stars of his programs, and himself as merely an unbiased conduit between the guest and audience,” it continued. “Whether he was interviewing a U.S. president, foreign leader, celebrity, scandal-ridden personage, or an everyman, Larry liked to ask short, direct, and uncomplicated questions. He believed concise questions usually provided the best answers, and he was not wrong in that belief.”

King predated “talk radio” as we have known it since the repeal of the “Fairness Doctrine” by a solid decade and change. He was one of a generation of talkers – Joe Pyne, Tom Leykis, Morton Downey Jr., Bob Grant, and for that matter Don Vogel and Geoff Charles – who definitely had political views, but had to wrap them in enough information and entertainment to not get their stations, and eventually affiliates, licenses challenged with the FCC.

———-

We didn’t have a lot of talk radio in North Dakota when I was growing up.

There was the occasional “talk show”, of course. The boss at my first station did a half-hour interview with some local figure or another, every afternoon during the station’s evening news block. WDAY in Fargo had a morning talk show – “Live Line”, or some such innocuity – that was more or less the same, on weekday mornings. Mostly, they were done to fulfill a station’s “Public Service” requirement – the vague rule that they had to do something to “serve the public” with their federal broadcast license.

I was coming back from a Who concert in Minneapolis in 1982, ridingi shotgun through the night back to Fargo with a friend and fellow Who fan and much better night driver than I, when I first heard Larry King, and a whole different way of doing radio – talking about whatever grabbed the host’s fancy and making it…

…well, “interesting”, yes – but more importantly, injecting his personality into the subject. It was a conversation, more or less – but it was Larry King’s conversation.

I wasn’t bowled over.

Three years later – almost to the day, in fact – I moved to Minneapolis. And via an improbable series of events, I encountered modern talk radio, accidentally getting a job at KSTP-AM when “talk radio” still called itself “News/Talk” in an attempt to try to mix journalistic legitimacy with the chatter.

The station carried King – but I had other things going on in the evening. I didn’t listen much.

Along the way, as I was doing the ongoing pitch for my own talk show, I read one of King’s columns in USA Today. And it had some advice for would-be interviewers that’s stuck with me for the past 34 years.

Never prep for interviews.

It sounds lazy – and I’d be lying if I haven’t used it to rationalize a little endemic laziness. And it’s not right for every interview; if you’re talking with someone about a particularly fraught issue – something where defamation charges could be on the line, for example – then getting the key facts, and your approach to presenting them, straight is very much in order.

But for most interviews? Knowing nothing about the subject or the content, King said, forced you to approach the subject in exactly the same depth as most of your audience has to – from the absolute ground level up.

Of course, the craft comes from moving from that elementary level to one where you can have a meaningful, interesting conversation, quickly enough to make for good radio.

It didn’t always work – over 63 years, what does? But the example he provided – starting an interview small and working up to something you could (often as not) sink your teeth into – was pretty earthshaking for someone who aspired to try to do the same.

So, utterly counterintuitively, while I would never have called myself a huge Larry King fan, he (along with Don Vogel) probably influenced me more than anyone else in the business.