To: The Entire American Media

To:  The Media
From:  Mitch Berg, Peasant
Re:  Journalistic “Standards”

Dear Media

Katie Couric lied to the viewing public by maliciously editing her piece on “Gun Violence” to show a group of human rights activists as speechless when asked a fairly elementary question about gun control (when, in fact, they had several minutes of on-point, articulate response).

Kevin Williamson – a long-time newspaperman (who presumably knows the secret handshake you journalists have that determines whether you’ll take their criticism seriously or not) notes that…:

This kind of thing is the stock-in-trade of faux journalists such as Jon Stewart and crude propagandists such as Michael Moore, but Katie Couric is, in theory, something else: an actual journalist. There are things we permit among comedians that we do not permit among journalists: I doubt very much that every anecdote Richard Pryor ever shared actually happened.

I believe I’ve heard a journo or two whimpering about “Censorship”.  (“On The Media”, NPR’s media criticism program Media Über Alles-fest, hasn’t yet, but I’m sure they will – if they deign to address the story at all)

The usual idiots are rallying to Couric’s defense for the usual reason, which has absolutely nothing to do with principle and everything to do with a deep disinclination to allow anything to happen that might be considered a victory for conservative critics of the mainstream media. This is not a First Amendment question: No one is arguing that this film should be censored, the way films critical of Hillary Rodham Clinton were subject to government censorship before Citizens United; rather, this is a straightforward question about journalistic standards and Yahoo’s adherence to or wanton abandonment of them. Journalists are not supposed to tell lies to their audiences.

Fearless prediction:  “Serious” journalists will throw their hands up in the air, declare “it’s the new media, what are you gonna do?” and let it aaaaaaaall slide.

Unplanned Obsolescence

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Star Tribune playing the race card for Somali terrorists.  The reporter asks why there are no Blacks on the jury.  The reporter is stuck in a mental rut, asking the wrong question. 

 Americans are entitled to a trial by a jury of their peers, but what does that mean?  “Black” in the context of American racial relations means “descendant of African slaves.”  Those Blacks are supposedly entitled to special privileges as compensation for centuries of slavery and Jim Crow which included all-white juries convicting Blacks solely on the basis of race.  The courts have elaborate procedures to protect Black defendants’ right to a fair trial.

 “Black” in this context does not mean “anybody whose skin color is darker than mine.” Somali immigrants were never slaves in America, they never suffered under Jim Crow, they’re not entitled to special privileges as redress.  American Blacks might look upon Somali refugees as brothers-in-arms because they’re all struggling against The White Man; I sincerely doubt that Somali refugees look upon American Blacks as their peers.

 This trial is not about race, it’s about religion.  It’s not about Black, it’s about Islam.  Scott Johnson nails it.  But the Star Tribune reporter – terrified of mentioning Islam in an unfavorable light and stuck with Approved Victim categories established in the 1960’s – misses the point.

 Joe Doakes

The Strib editorial board cut its teeth in the sixties and seventies.

The world needs some eighties people running things.

Because I don’t think the 2000s and 2010s people are going to be much of an improvement.

The DFL’s Praetorian Guard: Still Praetorian. Still Guarding.

What do the headlines say about the legislative session?

The Strib: the session “imploded“.

The PiPress:  It “collapsed“.

MPR:  It “melted down“.

All fairly passive verbs; imploding, collapsing and melting down are all actions without authors.

It’d be much more accurate to say the session was killed.  By the DFL.  For political reasons.

Choo Choo Trains Are The New “Shutdown”:  As of yesterday, the Legislature had reached an agreement on a Bonding Bill.   The bill had been through conference committee.  The DFL Senate and GOP House had agreed to a bill without funding the Southwest Light Rail Transit line – a big GOP promise.  The bill – as bills coming out of Conference Committee are supposed to be – was ready for the governor’s signature.  It was ready to be passed with no further fanfare, assuming both sides went at it in good faith, of course).

As always, the DFL did not.

Two Minute Drill:   With five, count ’em, five, count ’em again, five minutes left in the session, the DFL introduced an amendment reintroducing Southwest Light Rail into the Bonding Bill.

Could this be because the DFL really likes their trains, and really really wants to see the choo choo built to Eden Prairie?

Could be.

More likely?  As DFL legislative candidates are starting to fan out across the state, trying to woo voters in a year when they have a Presidential option not much more inspiring than Ole Savior, the DFL wanted to induce a crisis – the death of the Bonding Bill, funding one of this state’s precious few legitimate jobs – and turn around and blame it on the GOP.

So the Transportation Bill didn’t “implode”, “melt down” or “collapse”.   It was given a poison pill.  It was blown up.  It was shot in the face.

Preparing The Battlefield:  But by taking a murder and calling it an accident, the media gives the DFL, and their propaganda arm Alliance for a Better Minnesota, a wide-open playing field on which to romp and play with public perception of the issue.

Mission accomplished!

Tricia Bishop: Let The Courage Of Your Convictions Guide You

Baltimore Sun “reporter” Tricia Bishop, on her way to admitting she worries less about criminals than law-abiding gun owners (in Baltimore.  I’ll let that bit of knot-headedness sink in), says:

And so, as President Barack Obama announced plans this week to tighten background checks for gun buyers and increase gun tracking and research, I thought, that’s all well and good, but how about adding something immediately useful: a gun owner registry available to the public online — something like those for sex offenders. I’m not equating gun owners with predatory perverts, but the model is helpful here; I want a searchable database I can consult to find out whether my kid can have a play date at your house.

Ms. Bishop:  First, how about we have a database of people who don’t like guns.  I mean, you’re the ones trying to shave away at the edges of a constitutional right – isn’t the burden of, well, being burdened, on you?

Why not let’s try this:  we put in in a public database that says:

I, TRICIA BISHOP, AM UNARMED AS A MATTER OF PRINCIPLE!

And maybe post one of these in your yard:

You do that for a couple years, we can talk.

 

Open Letter To Minnesota Public Radio News

To: Minnesota Public Radio News
From:  Mitch Berg, Uppity Peasant
Re:  Food For Thought

MPR,

Isn’t it annoying – to say the least – to have to subject your constitutional freedoms to theatrical, unproductive and degrading scrutiny by bureaucrats, to no useful end?

A few minutes after 8 o’clock Monday morning, [MPR Reporter] Mukhtar Ibrahim started filing through the security line at the federal courthouse in Minneapolis.
It was a big day for Ibrahim, and figured to be a long one: Day one of a high-profile trial for three local men accused of plotting to join ISIS fighters in Syria.

Ibrahim and a reporter for the Star Tribune approached the security screening and offered their bags for clearance by a security officer. The other reporter, who is white, passed right through and headed for the elevator. Ibrahim was stopped, and told he couldn’t go in yet. He would have to wait for the time when the court opened to the public.

If it saves even one life…!

Ibrahim protested, pulling out a press badge showing he works for Minnesota Public Radio. Not good enough, the officer said. Go wait with the rest of the public.

Ibrahim didn’t argue and instead just collected his wallet, keys, and bag, and went to wait with public spectators. The way Ibrahim figures, he shouldn’t have even needed to flash the badge. He’s been covering cases there for a year and a half: These guys should recognize him by now.

People with a long, proven record of not abusing free speech are almost never a danger!

On Monday, once Ibrahim and the rest of the non-journalists observers there for the trial were let in, he simply walked across the courtroom to the area sectioned-off for members of the media and sat down. But the episode continued to eat at him.

“It messed up my mood the whole day,” Ibrahim said. “I was just really frustrated. I didn’t expect this.”

It is frustrating, isn’t it?  Trying to go about your business, doing something you have a Constitutional right to do, and getting badgered by petty bureaucrats?

“I like to stick to the facts,” Ibrahim said, “so I’ll let people make their own conclusions of this.”

The obvious answer; force all reporters to take a background check.

That’ll fix it.

That is all.

Freedom For We But Not For Thee

The press isn’t so crazy about background checks – when it’s their freedom this being walked all over:

For the first time this year, the Secret Service has a hand in credentialing the media; during previous conventions only the Congressional press galleries were in charge of credentialing the media…[Buzzfeed “editor” John Stanton] Stanton cited concerns about the background checks, the lack of a clear appeals process, and the involvement of a third-party subcontractor, urging his fellow journalists to express their concern over the process.“It seems like an unnecessary step and it gives them in my mind a new and troubling precedence to try and exert authority over the press corps,” Stanton said in an interview. “It creates a logistical burden, a troubling precedent for their ability to have almost a de facto say in who is qualified to be a reporter at these events. What if they use this as precedent to extend to other campaign events or any government events?”

Right – but if it saves just one life…

Zuckerberged

Sources tell Gizmodo that Facebook routinely gundecked “conservative” news – spiking it from the “trending” news section, even if it was legitimately, y’know, trending (and buffing up stories that management wanted pushed):

These new allegations emerged after Gizmodo last week revealed details about the inner workings of Facebook’s trending news team—a small group of young journalists, primarily educated at Ivy League or private East Coast universities, who curate the “trending” module on the upper-right-hand corner of the site.

Tangential note:  you’re a young “journalist” with an Ivy-League degree.  You’re working as a “curator” for Facebook.

Contact me.  I’ll refer you to a good suicide hotline.  You’re gonna need it sooner than later.

I digress:

“Depending on who was on shift, things would be blacklisted or trending,” said the former curator. This individual asked to remain anonymous, citing fear of retribution from the company. The former curator is politically conservative, one of a very small handful of curators with such views on the trending team. “I’d come on shift and I’d discover that CPAC or Mitt Romney or Glenn Beck or popular conservative topics wouldn’t be trending because either the curator didn’t recognize the news topic or it was like they had a bias against Ted Cruz.”

It’s really no different than any newspaper.  Just big and financially successful.

The former curator was so troubled by the omissions that they kept a running log of them at the time; this individual provided the notes to Gizmodo. Among the deep-sixed or suppressed topics on the list: former IRS official Lois Lerner, who was accused by Republicans of inappropriately scrutinizing conservative groups; Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker; popular conservative news aggregator the Drudge Report; Chris Kyle, the former Navy SEAL who was murdered in 2013; and former Fox News contributor Steven Crowder. “I believe it had a chilling effect on conservative news,” the former curator said.

It does bespeak a certain insecurity, doesn’t it?

(It also introduces a conundrum:  which do more hope to see crash and burn?  Facebook or Twitter?)

When You’ve Lost “City Pages”…

City Pages turns on Alondra Cano.

Which is not unusual – the City Pages, as always,  loves throwing dirt around.

Perhaps more telling? Other members of Minneapolis is DFL-strangled city Council are turning on Cano:

“She’s always late to meetings. Sometimes she doesn’t show up at all,” says a council member, who spoke to City Pages on the condition of anonymity to maintain their working relationship. “When she does, she hasn’t done her homework and has to wing it. That’s what she was trying to do here. The problem is this is stuff she’s supposed to know. It’s city council 101.”

Cano also didn’t have a printed version of her amendment. For 13 minutes, Cano grasped as she tried to figure out how to add her amendment. In other words, what should have been as simple as adding a couple words became a Laurel and Hardy skit.

“Why don’t you try to walk us through what you would like to do,” suggested colleague Elizabeth Glidden.

“I guess should I just read it?” asked Cano.

” — if you’d like me to assist you a little bit,” Glidden offered.

The problem with Cano isn’t so much that she’s absentminded, or apparently thinks that staying in a Holiday Inn Express actually does make you an expert.

No.  It’s the fact that while she bills herself as a “Third World Feminist”, she tends to act more like a “Third World Banana-Republic Tyrant” in real life.

The City Pages has decayed into “bad high school newspaper” territory in recent years.  The only real interesting question in this fracas is “which Minneapolis DFL ward heeler is using the ‘Pages to undercut Cano, and why?

My guess:  whichever councilor besides Cano that files for Mayor in the next city election.  `

Progress

Only 6% of Americans still trust the media.

It’s 6% too many.   Who are these people, and what rocks do they live under?

Anyway – we’ve made a lot of progress in the past ten years – but there’s so far yet to go.

My personal goal?  To plant a copy of the movie “Truth” on the rubble of the final Strib building (which I fully expect will be a rent-a-suite in Golden Valley).

Congratulations Are In Order!

To:  Mike Mullen, City Pages
From:  Mitch Berg, Uppity Peasant
Re:  Best Wishes

Mr. Mullen,

As we’re coming up on high school graduation, I can only wish you the best in your future endeavors.  Hopefully your college studies will lead you to an adult life that you find fulfilling and exciting.

Reach for the stars.

Mitch Berg
Uppity Peasant

PS:  I’m assuming you’re a high school kid who’s interning at the CP based on the tone, style and quality of “journalism” in this piece, which reads like something from a click-bait site.  If I’m mistaken, and you’re an actual “reporter” and “writer”, I apologize.  I mean, basically. 

That is all.  

Open Letter To Samantha Bee

To:  Samantha Bee, Overpromoted Woman With LibFluff Show
From:  Mitch Berg, Uppity Peasant
Re:  Inequity

Ms. Bee,

It is easier to buy either a gun or get an abortion or register to vote or buy methamphetamine than it is to put a show on cable entitled, say, “Full Frontal With Mitch Bee”.  Because you own that trademark.  It’s  your, um, “intellectual” property.

Kind of like the NRA Eagle.

The liberal “alt”-media; actually as dumb as the left thinks talk radio is.

That is all.

(Well, not quite all.  Remember when everyone was saying John Oliver was the greatest thing since Michael Moore?    Brilliant, incisive, yadda yadda?  I watched his famous “expose” on Donald Trump.  And the big, marquee point that was the conclusion to the whooooooole buildup?   The most damning thing they had on Trump, one of the most damnable people in modern American life?  His family’s original name was “Drumpf”.  That’s it.  I want that 25 minutes of my life back).

I Hate Photomemes

The “photomeme” – the bits of graphic overlaid with a simple, usually simplistic, message – may be, along with Twitter,  the greatest step toward Orwell’s “duckspeak” that Western communications have ever taken.

But that doesn’t mean they’re not occasionally brilliant:

12963577_936285993159353_1286409048676422616_n

But it’s rare. Oh, so rare.

The Stench Of Death

You walked in off of First Avenue in Jamestown, the sky still dark at 5AM, turned your key and tugged on an aluminum door frame that fit a little tight in its jamb, and stepped into a building that dated back to before 1900; on the main floor was White Drug – the first Whites in what is still today a major regional chain.

You walked up eighteen stone stairs to a small landing, turned left, and walked up six more, to a terrazzo-floored hallway.  To your left was an insurance office, dark and quiet  As you turned right, to your right was a law office of some kind.  But you walked straight ahead, toward the rear of the building.

On the right, after the men’s room, was a soundproof aluminum door that led into a room not much bigger than a walk-in closet.  We’ll come back to that.

Next to it?  Through a couple of large glass windows, a room, jammed with antique electrical and electronic equipment; closest to the window, a large, battleship-gray control console, looking a little like the front of a 1940 Buick; a control panel built literally before World War II, all Bakelite knobs and control keys, a couple of exquisitely-balanced VU meters bouncing their stately way back and forth – very unlike the meters that accompanied the age of cheap stereo gear, all herky-jerky and frenetic.  The meters seemed, themselves, to the throwbacks to a slower, more deliberate time.

To the right of the chair were two ancient turntables; to the left, a couple of bins of records.  Behind it?  Stacks of transmitter controls and reel-to-reel and cassette tape decks, and a couple of  “plectrons” – basically 1960’s versions of what we’d call “pagers” in the 1980’s, before even the pager became passe; about the size of a late ’90’s IBM PC, they carried fire calls, for the city and rural fire departments.  Each of the town’s volunteer firemen had one at home; the radio stations had ’em too.

Behind the stacks of gear?  Stacks of albums.  Thousands of them, tucked into wall shelves; stuff that’d be treasures today, sought after by rock and roll vinyl collectors (first-edition Beatles and Stones albums from the sixties), or retro collectors (obscure albums by Dean Martin, Perry Como, and even Lorne Greene); genres that haven’t shared shelf space in decades; modern jazz, forties pop, even copies of Devo and Ramones albums that snuck in there some how.  There was no rhyme or reason.  It was a huge jumble.

A door at the back led into the “closet” a few paragraphs back – the “newsroom”.  A single steel desk and a couple of file cabinets and, to your left, chattering away 24/7, an AP teletype, sitting in a closet, churning through boxes of yellow-y fanfold paper a week; an endless rotation of international headlines, national news, North Dakota and Tri-State news, National and North Dakota/Tri-state scores, and of course weather.  Forecasts updated hourly; extended forecasts and 24-hour temperature summaries; occasionally when things were slow, “lites” – funny stories – and, once a day around midnights, “pronouncers”, lists of phonetic pronunciations of names in the news (which were pretty vital, in 1980, as American newsmen learned how to convey news about Sadegh Ghotzbzadeh to the public).

Going to work on a Saturday morning at 5AM, the first job was to turn on the power to the transmitter and its remote controls; the transmitter was a mile and a half away, next to where the James River passed under I94, by the road to the State Hospital.  You turned on the big box full of vaccuum tubes – the station was years away from going solid-state – and watched the needles climb into their nominal operating range, noting the readings on the transmitter log.

Then, you went into the newsroom, and gathered up the 100 feet of fanfold copy that had streamed out overnight.  You rolled it up, hauled it through the studio, and into a room on the other side, with a table that seated eight people, and a small remote control board with a “1931” date stamp on the back, all brownish-red burled metal and impeccably-balanced bakelite knobs, nursed along year to year by a patient engineering staff and a famously penurious boss.   Although you didn’t know what “talk radio” was yet, and neither did anyone else, it was where the station’s owner and the news director hosted a one-hour daily talk show, five days a week, with guests from around town.

You sat down at the table, and started ripping and sorting the wire copy.  National news, regional, local, sports and weather – you’d wind up reading a little of each several times over the next ten hours.  With a little practice, you could flense 100 feet of wire copy down into neat stacks in a half hour, stack them into newscasts – you’d have full-hour news, weather and sportscasts at 6AM, 7AM and noon – buy a coke from the vending machine next to the boss’ office (across and down the hall), and wait for 5:50AM.

Then, it was time to flip the “Plates” control to “on”; this sent power to the transmitter’s final output stage.  It was accompanied by a buzzing, and smell of ozone, as vacuum tubes engaged and power and signal started moving through the wires.  You took readings voltage and wattage readings from the output stage and antenna, wrote them on the transmitter log, “signed on” the station with your signature on the log…

…and pulled out tape the tape cartridge that would accompany your signon.

The clock ticked to straight-up 5:55AM.  You flipped the key on the main board mike to “on”, and read – or, after a few Saturdays, recited – the sign-on script that had ushered the station on the air seven days a week since 1949.

At this time, radio station KEYJ in Jamestown, North Dakota, begins the broadcast day.  KEYJ operates at a frequency of fourteen-hundred kilocycles at one thousand watts daytime and 250 watts at night, by authority of the Federal Communications Commission, and is owned and operated by KEYJ Incorporated of Jamestown, North Dakota.

We invite you to stay tuned to KEYJ for the latest in news, weather, sports, and information.  Good morning!

You then punched the “start” button to your tape cartridge machine – a “Cart”, which looked and functioned just like an eight-track tape – which launched the National Anthem.  At the end of which, you read the day’s forecast and long-range forecast, which took you to the 6AM newscast from Associated Press Radio.

And your day began.

That was how I spent my Saturday mornings in high school – at a little 1000 watt AM radio station; on the air from 5:55AM to 3PM; hours of news and info at 7, 8 and noon; “Trading Post” (a half-hour swap and shop show) at 10, and usually a taped Class B high school game of some sort or another after 1PM.

KEYJ launched a lot of careers; many of the biggest names in North Dakota radio started at KEYJ.  Not just North Dakota, either – Terry Ingstad, known to a couple generations of LA listeners as “Shadoe Stevens”, started there in the sixties; his youngest brother, Dick, a year a head of me in high school and a good friend, showed me the ropes when the boss and longtime owner, Bob Richardson, finally hired me in August of ’79.

KEYJ was sold to a group of slickee boys who tried to run it like a major-market station – including firing all the locals, including me, and changing the call letters to the charmless “KQDJ” – and failed in about a year.  More management teams came and went; the station changed hands many times, became a satellite oldies station, moved out of the old office above White Drug to a soulless little shack on the south hill, and finally became an “ESPN Sports” affiliate – like many small stations today, it has no local staff; it’s basically a computer in a closet, like Hillary’s email server, pumping digitally-sequence product and commercials to the transmitter (which is still in the same place, at least).

Like so much of the radio industry, it’s dead to me today.

Claudia Lamb writes about the implosion at once-great KGO in San Francisco – once the WCCO of the West Coast.   It illustrates a lot of what has ailed, and ultimately destroyed, most of the radio industry in the past 20 years, taking it from a thriving industry to a drain-circling corpse (outside of certain niche markets, like Spanish, Sports and conservative talk).

Worth a read.

Fingers Crossed

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

A buddy had an insight why Hillary won’t be indicted, won’t even be seriously questioned, about her ever-shifting lies:
The standard has shifted. Washington’s “I cannot tell a lie” was replaced by Hitler’s The Big Lie which was replaced by Bill Clinton’s The Great Lie.
The Great Lie does not mean the person is a convincing liar. That went out the window with Slick Willie. We all knew he was lying, but the media decided that as long as his lies were told in furtherance of the Progressive Agenda, the media would let them ride. This is the mindset of reporters like Nina Burleigh, who graphically described how she would reward President Clinton for keeping abortion legal. That attitude brought us the era of The Great Lie, the lie that is, in modern parlance, “too big to fail.”
The frustration of Democrats and their wholly-owned subsidiary, the mainstream media, is the GOP hasn’t accepted the new standard. The GOP still thinks it’s fair to indict Hillary for lying about her crimes. Hillary’s lies are, of course, brazen and transparent. But the objective that the lies are protecting – electing her President – is too important for the media to call out the lies, as that might jeopardize attainment of the objective.
The stakes are too high to hold Hillary to the truth because the truth would derail the process of crowning her to lead us into the abyss.
The Great Lie has become the accepted method for every Progressive issue. Universal free medicine is too important to allow truth to interfere with the dream, so The Great Lie that Obama-care is working must be accepted without question. Climate change is too important to be clouded with truth so The Great Lie must prevail even if we have to silence scientists and distort the data to fit the theory. Gun control, Muslim terror, campus rape, the methodology is always the same.
There is an added incentive for the mainstream media to endear themselves of The Great Lie: it frees them from the shackles of ethics, truth, due diligence, etc. If the issue is sufficiently important in the Progressive Agenda, then no outdated journalistic ethos need slow down the machinery of printing garbage for the masses. It’s a much more efficient than the old methods of sourcing facts, confirming identities and access of the informants or suppliers of facts, editorial oversight to check for balance and fairness. The only people who suffer are those who care about the truth.

Joe Doakes

The idea of “journalistic ethos” is to news consumers (and journo students) what Santa Claus is for children.

Ready For The Party

Jurors comment on their verdict in the Gawker-Hulk Hogan trial, which awarded a nine-figure settlement to Hogan that, if upheld, should purge the foetid abcess that is Gawker from existence, blessedly, forever.

The Gawker tried to argue they have a First Amendment right to trash peoples’ rights to privacy – using the cunning legal theory that “we’re entitled to”.

Well, close enough:

The jurors had strong words for Gawker founder Nick Denton and the website’s former editor-in-chief, A.J. Daulerio, who was ordered in the verdict to pay Hogan $100,000 in punitive damages.

“I mean there was a quote in there that it was fair game for a celebrity that’s over five to be exposed, and we’re like, ‘What?,’ and this was a quote from A.J.,” O’Neil said. “You could tell he didn’t want to be there. He was very arrogant, very pompous in his response and he made that statement at the end.”

“I think it made everybody, it made me pause, and I was just like, ‘You did not say that,'” he said. “That means you really do think you’re above the law and it was that philosophy, we’re Gawker. We can get away with anything.”

“He treated the deposition the way he treats journalism,” Young said, while Eastman called Daulerio, “very flippant.”

Stevens said she was looking at Denton in court while the verdict was being read because she wanted to see whether he would show any signs of remorse. She didn’t believe he displayed any remorse during his testimony.

Rot in hell, Gawker.  And get your hands off the First Amendment.

Everything You Need To Know About Heather Martens, “Everytown” And Moms Want Action

To:  The Twin Cities Media
From:  Mitch Berg, Uppity Peasant
Re:  A Guide To Gun-Grabber Rhetoric

Dear Media,

When the topic turns to guns, the Second Amendment and gun control, there is so much that so many of you are groaningly misinformed about.

Now, many of you are actually doing what, 20 years ago, would have been unthinkable; going to people on the gun-rights side who know something about the issue, like Andrew Rothman and Bryan Strawser – as you write your stories.  Not all of you, but enough so that one can be satisfied the facts can be found – which is a good start.

But I think many of you are unclear on a basic, unalterable fact about the gun issue that needs to be reinforced.  I’ll emphasize it here.   Remember it in your dealings on this issue, and you will have a good head start.  I’ll give it some emphasis, so it sticks out:

The Minnesota “gun safety” movement – Heather Martens, Jane Kay, Kim Norton, Joan Peterson, singularly or as a group – has never made a statement about guns, gun rights or “gun safety” that is simultaneously original, substantial and true.  

What does that mean?

I’ve provided this little truth table to help you figure it out:

They may have said something that was: For Example: But:
True “The Colt M1911 is a good choice for self-defense” (Heather Martens, House Public Safety committee testimony for magazine limits) It’s neither original (Jeff Cooper started saying it in the seventies) nor especially substantial (it’s a matter of opinion, and it added nothing to the “debate”, such as it was.
Original It’s easier to get a gun than a book in Minneapolis It’s original-ish, but it’s not true (for the law-abiding citizen).  You could argue it’s insubstantial – I’d stay “trite and manipulative” – as well.
Substantial “Gun Violence is on the rise” Its not true – it’s down over half in the past 20 years . It’s not original, but that’s the least of the problems.
Original and (in a sense) true-ish “A majority of Minnesotans favor universal background checks” There might be a survey that shows a majority of Minnesotans, not selected for knowing and caring about the issue, might have answered “yes” to the question.  It’s insubstantial, of course; most of those polled have no idea about the substance or ramifications of the proposal; when they do, the numbers changed
Sort of original and vaguely substantial-sounding “Background checks have lowered crime; eliminating them raises crime” Nope.  You’ll find that the “drops in crime” tracked with similar drops in nearby areas that didn’t institute background checks.  The crime hikes?  They tracked with crime increases in urban areas where criminals just don’t get background checks.  False!

Apply this test to everything Heather Martens, Joan Peterson, Jane Kay, Nick Coleman, “Everytown” and “Moms Want Action” say; is it original, AND substantial, AND true?  Ask someone who knows the facts about the issue – Rothman, Gross, Doar, Strawser, or even lil’ ol’ me.

And you will – inevitably and without meaningful exception – find it to be an absolute truth; the “Gun Safety” lobby in this state has never, not once, said something that was true, original and substantial.

Never.

(Want to challenge me on that, gun-grabbers?   Let’s do it. In public.  Neutral turf, neutral moderator, debate rules.  I will win, you will slink from the room at best, slink from the room behind a screen of ad-homina at worst.  I’m up to the challenge.  Let’s pretend that you are, and go for it).

Human Progress

While sometimes it seems society is sliding backwards into oblivion, there are occasional bits of encouragement to be found.

The biggest one of recent years?  The Hulk Hogan lawsuit may finally kill Gawker Media.

Last week’s jury verdict awarding Hulk Hogan $115 million had onlookers predicting the death of Gawker Media, a collection of gossip and news web sites that was found to have invaded the privacy of the 80’s wrestling star by posting snippets of him in a sex tape online

It’s not a done deal – appeals, and possible requests to lower the awards, could save the most loathsome brand in American media.

But until then, the policy of this blog is to support killing the Gawker with fire.

The day Gawker finally shuts its pustulent doors, I shall throw a party.

Lie First, Lie Always: The Strib Marinades In The Bloomberg Kool-Aid

The Star/Tribune’s editorial board is a group of people, apparently in their sixties and seventies, who seem to spend their days pining away for a time when the media could say anything they want without fear of being caught out in public by people who know better.

DFLMinistryofTruthLARGE

Those days are long gone.  Only the editorial board doesn’t seem to know it, or recognize it, as shown in last week’s editorial calling for, at the least, hearings on a “universal background check” bill.

And like everyone on the institutional left, they participate – with all the grace of a German jazz band – in the left’s only real tactic on the issue of gun control; Lie First, Lie Always.

Why, it’s almost as if Heather Martens, in addition to being a State Representative, is a Strib editor…

Continue reading

In-Kind Contribution

SCENE:  At the offices of Kornbluth Chadwick Communications – a big Democrat-leaning PR firm in Boston.   A tastefully spare room furnished in the Danish style, with a full-height window overlooking downtown Boston, includes a number of people in just-ahead-of-the-fashion-curve PR-wear.  

Hanna EPSTEIN-FAEGER, director of the firm’s political communications practice, sits at the head of a glass table and calls the meeting to order. 

EPSTEIN-FAEGER:  We’re here to find out what went wrong with the independent expenditure ad we did against Ted Cruz.  Ruth?

Ruth LOWENSTEIN-NEDZVINSKI, an assistant project manager, picks up a sleek, buttonless remote, and presses “play”

EPSTEIN-FAEGER: I think we can all agree it was brilliant.  Joshua?

Joshua-Micah KORN-FLEEBER, the ad’s producer – a slight man in a lumberjack beard wearing a “Feel The Bern” t-shirt under his hemp sports jacket, speaks up.

KORN-FLEEBER:  That’s correct, Hanna.  The ad includes all the things that we believe that the vast majority of voters respond to:  belief in the need to reinterpret the Constitution, the throbbing desire throughout the country to repeal the Second Amendment and the traditional view of marriage and remove all reference to faith from public life – and, of course, Robert Reich himself.

LOWENSTEIN-NEDSVINSKI:  Americans  love Robert Reich!\

(Entire table nods assent)

EPSTEIN-FAEGER:  And yet the focus groups, one after the other, showed that representative voters from west of the Hudson River and east of the Sierra Madre unanimously thought it was an ad for Ted Cruz?

KORN-FLEEBER:  I’m sorry.  I just don’t get it.

LOWESNSTEIN-NEDSVINSKI:  One quote from one focus group said “this is a fiendish parody of the east-coast liberal echo chamber”.

EPSTEIN-FAEGER:  The what?

LOWENSTEIN-NEDSVINSKI:  No idea.

(Muted chuckling)

EPSTAIN-FAEGER:  So – middle-Americans unanimously thought it was a pro-Cruz ad, and some thought it was a parody of how the left thinks?

(General nodding)

EPSTEIN-FAEGER:  I say it’s a blip in the data.  Let’s run it!

(Everyone nods and gathers their notebooks, phones and tablets and moves to their next meeting)

And SCENE

Come Back, Aaron Rupar: All Is Forgiven

To:  The City Pages
From:  Mitch Berg, Uppity Peasant
Re:  You Suck

Dear “City Pages”,

While you’ve always been a freebie hipster lifestyle ‘zine, you used to have some great writing.  Thirty years ago, you were the home of Lileks and Jim DeRogatis.

Twenty years ago, led by Steve Perry,  you had some great journalism – as in, some of the best reporting in the Twin Cities.  And as smugly left-of-center as you’ve always been, you surprised us; under Perry’s watch, you were the first newspaper in town to fairly and accurately cover the Concealed Carry debate.  I said so at the time, and I say it now – kudos.

Twenty years ago.

Today, though?

Just saying – this kind of fratboy drunk-Facebooking pablum would have been laughed out of my high school newspaper.  And this piece here might legitimately make someone wonder if the City Pages is getting money, directly or indirectly, from Bloomberg (more tomorrow).

Speaking of which – is City Pages getting money from Bloomberg?

It’s almost, but not quite, a Berg’s Law; whenever you think the City Pages can’t get any dumber, it will get dumber.

That is all.

Product Placement

A story from Kentucky is the usual kind of dog bites man piece that keeps internet news services in the chips; a couple was busted for getting their freak on in clear view of a Hardee’s drive-in in the town of Harlan.

But the wording of the story has me scratching my head (emphasis added):

The couple’s vehicle, a police citation notes, was parked next to the drive-thru lane, in full view of customers waiting to order Hardee’s favorites like the loaded breakfast burrito or the smoked sausage biscuit.

Fanciful/sloppy story editing?  Or product placement run amok?

Radio Daze

It occurs to me – even though we’ve got all the internet we want these days, I’ve never gone out and looked up a lot of the people I used to know in the radio business.

Of course, from my first, probably most “famous” gig in Twin Cities radio – KSTP, thirty years ago – some of them are all too easy.  Don Vogel died over twenty years ago; John MacDougal, not long after that.  Cathy Wurzer has been part of the furniture at MPR for almost as long.  Mark Boyle has been the voice of the Indiana Pacers for a quarter century now; his sports sidedkick Bruce Gordon is a communications guy with the State of Minnesota.

But of the people who were on the air, the one I get asked about the most is Geoff Charles.  The self-styled former-marine / former hippie and the only person in American media who’s farther out than Art Bell, who was just as mercurial and enigmatic in person as he was on the air (and one of the genuinely nicest people I’ve ever met in the racket, once I started working for him) is…

…utterly, counterintuitively, a long-time fixture in radio in Providence, Rhode Island.

And the idea of G Charles staying anywhere that long is a psychic acid trip in its own right.

Democrat Party Exploits Vote Fraud To Pay For Planned Parenthood


Note to “The Other McCain” readers:  Welcome!

Note that the title of this post is misleading; I have no (new) evidence of voter fraud or payoffs to Planned Parenthood.

The title was bait for a regular comment section, er, “visitor”.  

Inside jokes are the best, aren’t they  

Hope you enjoy the stay here!


To:  Semi-regular commenter who makes big claims but never, ever responds when the claims are debunked
From:  Mitch Berg, blog owner
Re:  Questions

Dear regular commenter,

I thought that title would get your attention.  Great.  I have asked you a few questions in recent months.  I figured I’d direct your attention back to them.

  1.  A while ago, you said that gender-reassignment surgery would result in the subject having different DNA.  Please elaborate.
  2. Last week, you said that  you “observed” that Heather Martens – president and one of vanishingly few members of “ProtectMN” – had accomplished a lot during her decade-plus at the helm of the group.  I’d very much like to hear specifically what you think she’s accomplished, politically, in policy terms, or or socially.   Please be specific.

It’s one of dozens of questions you’ve left unanswered over the years, but why quibble over a few hundred issues, right?

Those two will be a great start.

Thanks!