Debateable Impressions: Howling Into The Void

Up next:  Rand Paul

What the conservative pundocracy says:  He’s a dead issue, and should start focusing on holding his Senate seat forthwith.

What I say:   I’ve been a Rand Paul fan for a long time now.   But I sensed that his support was similar to his father’s in Minnesota during the last convention season; a mile deep and twenty feet wide.   Not to say he’s done poorly in any debate – he’s stated his case just fine.  But at no point has he gotten anyone to say “he’s the man” who wasn’t saying it two years ago.

Verdict:  I think the party needs Rand Paul in the race for the same reasons it needs Christie.  I’m just not sure how much longer he can justify it.

Debateable Impressions: Smooth As His Combover

Next on the agenda:  Donald Trump.

What the conservative pundocracy says:  He did well, repairing some previous gaffes and not harming himself – at a time when some polls show him slipping and needing to not screw up.

What I say:  Major points for fixing his Mexican gaffe from the Reagan Center debate by noting that the President of Mexico was a smarter, better executive than Barack Obama -which would seem to be the truth.  I think he made fewer mistakes than in the second debate.

Verdict: He didn’t hurt himself, and left himself in a good position to try to duke it out for Carson and Rubio for the lead.

Debateable Impressions: You Talkin’ To Me?

Up next:  Chris Christie.

What the conservative pundocracy says:  Solid performance – but not enough to vault him onto the short list.

What I say:  By all rights, Christie shouldn’t have gotten this far.  He’s not the darling of the establishment, and conservatives fear him because he’s a “northeast” conservative; strong on business and security, adequate on entitlement and fiscal policy (and hampered by both a Democrat power stranglehold and a fairly inept New Jersey GOP), weak on civil liberties.   Heck – go back and forth on Christie.

Verdict:  I think the party needs him on the short list, just to keep the short-listers on their toes.

Debateable Impressions: The Lady’s Not For Turning Away

Up next:  Carly Fiorina.

What the conservative pundocracy says:   She does well in debates, but is having a hard time keeping excitement going – and last night’s performance was good enough for no more than holding steady.

What I say: Every time I see Carly Fiorina talk, I get more impressed.  Trump and Carson are sucking all of the “anti-establishment” air out of the room – and it’s a shame, because I think Fiorina has the best potential as a chief executive among the three “antis” on the list (along with Trump and Carson).

Verdict:   The debate didn’t give her a huge boost, but in a just world she’ll remain a contender.

Debateable Impressions: Cruz Missile

As i noted earlier, I only watched perhaps 90 minutes of last night’s cage match.

I’m going to give my impressions anyway  – one candidate at a time.  I’m going to start with Ted Cruz.


What the conservative pundocracy says:  It was the performance he needed to stay on the short list.

What I say:  And how.  His jeremiad against the media was a watershed, both within the debate and (I can dream), within the party; it’s restarted the discussion about getting the GOP out of the major-media “debate” / reality show racket.  If he serves no other purposes in this campaign, last night’s contribution could turn out to be a fantastic thing.

Verdict:  Excellent.

 

How Bad Were The Moderators…

…of last night’s CNBC GOP debate?

Even Brian Williams is saying he wasn’t there”
— Mark Okern (from Facebook)

I watched the first half of yesterday’s GOP debate, before I had to go do some family stuff.

There had been some hope that CNBC – an ostensible financial network – would ask some substantial questions about financial policy.  And there were a few, sort of, in a way.

But “are you an evil comic book villain?”

John Harwood came across as a Liberal snidely whiplash. Becky Quick…wasn’t very.   Carl Quintanilla sounded like he was hosting a cable access production of Jimmy’s First Debate.  And Jim Cramer?  I don’t know if he was on cold medicine or had taken a couple of shots to the head before he went on the air, but good lord, that performance will be taught in broadcast schools for decades to come as an example of how not to sound when reading off a teleprompter.

It’s entirely possible (except for Harwood) that they were just trying to come across as tough, hard-nosed “journalists” – an effect that lasts precisely until the phrase “evil comic book villain” came up.

But the hour I spent was worth it, if only for this; Ted Cruz’ jeremiad against the media was one for the ages:

Glorious.

“But he should have answered Quintanilla’s substantive question!” Er, did you catch the question? “Does your opposition to a “moderate” budget deal mean you’re unqualified?”

UPDATE:  As I put this morning’s piece together in my head last night, I thought – as I often do when matters of discerning bias in others come up – “Am I right, or is this just confirmation bias?”

Well, it’s not just me; Roger Simon torched the moderators pretty ruthlessly:

The big story — the A-story — on Wednesday night — the actual full blown case of seppuku — was CNBC.  The network will never seem the same.  Their moderators — Becky Quick, John Harwood, and Carl Quintanilla — were so obviously biased you would have thought it was a parody, if you hadn’t known it was real, a kind of black comic nightmare out of a leftwing theatre of the absurd.

I thought that very thing as I was sitting at O’Gara’s watching the show last night; “this is like an SNL sketch”.

And there was this bit, that I didn’t catch last night; as part of the moderators’ attempt to gut-shoot Rubio, the non-Trump front-runner, John Harwood doubled down on a lie he’d already apologized for:

But more than that, the debate revealed something I had thought about before, but never seen so clearly — how bias can affect the brain, almost make it dysfunctional.  I assume John Howard is an intelligent man.  He writes for the New York Times. (Make of that what you will, but I did write for that newspaper myself once upon a time, so mind your manners.)  Nevertheless, Harwood did something extraordinary.  He lied about Rubio’s tax plan in the exact same way not once but twice — once at the debate and once about two weeks before the debate.  What made it extraordinary was that Harwood had apologized for that same lie the first time on Twitter on October 14 and then lied again Wednesday night as if he didn’t remember his own apology and correction.   (The Federalist has the full story  with the tweet – Surprise! John Harwood Lied About Rubio’s Tax Plan…)

Simon continues – pervasive bias acts as a form of cognitive disorder, blotting out right and wrong in extreme cases.

It’ll never get in the DSMVI, but we all know it’s there.

Nope. No Suffocating Narrative Here.

There was a mass killing over the weekend in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

This was the headline in the Traverse City Record Eagle, one of the local papers – a Michigan paper:

12189236_10206745880756905_7626994373700420109_o

It’s a tragedy indeed, and a crime.

But there was no gun involved.   The four people were killed by an alleged drunk driver.

Remember: layers and layers of gatekeepers are what separate the credible mainstream media from mere bloggers.

UPDATE:  As God is my witness, I thought there was a Traverse City, Oklahoma.

But it’s Michigan.

Tomayto, Tomahto.

Nope. No Media Bias Here.

Last week, we noted that Heather Martens – leader of “Gun Safety” group “Protect” MN, and serial liar – demanded $1,500 to discuss “gun safety” on my show, with me, someone with at least some track record of knowing the issue in some detail.

DFLMinistryofTruthLARGE

We also noted that she did appear on KARE11 to debate “gun safety” with Andy Parrish, a GOP strategist, who is not noted as a Second Amendment activist or someone with an especial command of the facts of the issue (which is not to disparage him; I don’t know any of his areas of expertise, either).

Today comes confirmation that Martens did not ask, or recieve, $1,500 from KARE11.

Why, it’s almost as if Martens knows that certain Twin Cities media outlets will paint her toenails on the air, and she’s avoiding having to deal with anyone who can point out her chronic, vocational mendacity.

I said “almost”.

I have no idea why.

Heads? Disaster. Tails? Catastrophe

As we noted earlier in the week, the left is just dying to get the NRA out of its way.

And they have been since I started following this issue – in probably 1980.

It seems that lately, the left has taken to a three-tiered strategy for fighting the Second Amendment Human Rights movement:

  1. Lie About Everything.  Everyone from the President to the hapless Heather Martens, and the entire media class in between, has spent the past couple of years relentlessly churning out easily-debunked lies; no, Mr. President, we’re not the most violent nation in the world, and states with tight gun laws aren’t safer.  And it seems to be working – while violent crime in general and gun crime in particular has plummeted over the past 20 years, most people don’t know it.
  2. Refuse To Engage the Second Amendment Human Rights Movement Directly:  They always lose in open, head-to-head debates based on facts.  Always.  There has never in history been an exception, and there never will be.
  3. Appeal to Magic:  The NRA is going to go away!   Someday!  You just gotta believe!

This blog has spent nearly a decade and a half engaging points 1 and 2.  Today, it’s all about the 3.

The National Boogeyman Association:  As I pointed out earlier in the week, the NRA is both vital and irrelevant; while it’s a juggernaut at federal lobbying, it’s mostly a bystanding helper at the state level, where most of the actual legislation happens.   But the left – being a fear-based institution – needs a big, centralized boogeyman.  And for this, the NRA serves their purposes.

And let’s be frank; organizations come and go (although the NRA is, and remains at, a peak of numbers and power).

 Adam Winkler – a UCLA law prof who’s popped up on this blog before, and not as an idiot – wrote an op-ed in the WaPo (reprinted earlier this week in the Strib, Read It And Weep:  The NRA Will Fall.

Before I respond, let me establish something.

Baselines:  When I first started covering the battle for Second Amendment human rights, about 30 years ago, the gun grabber movement used to wave around a Gallup poll showing that 85% of the American people favored gun control.  While that number dropped sharply as the poll got into specifics (even then, near the nadir of the Second Amendment’s fortunes), it showed where The People were at regarding our right to self-defense.

But thirty years later, things have changed; a distinct majority support the right to keep and bear arms.

All by way of saying – peoples’ attitudes change over time.

Changes:  I won’t quote extensively from Winkler’s piece – which is based on the idea that the NRA, and the Second Amendment movement, are doomed by demographics; that Latinos, African-Americans, urbanites and women are much less supportive of the Second Amendment and the NRA than rural white males.

On the one hand?  That may be true – today.  Just as it was true of 85% of the people – thirty years ago.  Attitudes change.  Are they changing for or against the NRA and the Second Amendment?  All evidence is anecdotal; the fact that Minnesota has well over twice as many carry permittees today as were ever forecast before the passage of “Shall Issue” reform might be a hint that the swing might actually be in the NRA’s favor.

Are Latinos more favorable to gun control?  Perhaps.  But Latinos aren’t a monolithic bloc; while Latinos in general vote Democrat, those who’ve been in the US longer than 2-3 generations are much more likely to vote GOP.

Asians, Winkler notes, support gun control – but again, they’re hardly monolithic; Koreans and H’mong are actually fairly likely to be shooters (if not “NRA supporters”).

Women tend to be pro-gun-control. They are also the fastest-growing group of shooters in America today.

How will these changes shake out over two decades?  Will policy be dragged to the left, reflecting these minorities’ left-leaning politics?  Or will they, too, evolve?

I know what I’m working toward.

(Let’s also not forget that most of the anti-gun minorities live in states like California, New York and Illinois, that are already relatively hostile to gun ownership).

Omens:  But let’s say Winkler is right; that minorities, new Americans, women and urbanites’ current attitudes will stay static over time.   It is a fact – noted by the estimable Kevin Williamson – that many of our minorities have vastly different perspectives on the concept of risk and freedom than white, middle class Americans do.

So if New Americans and minorities-who-will-one-day-be-the-majority don’t support the Second Amendment, is that going to be a problem for the NRA?

Who the hell cares?  It’s going to be a problem for the whole idea of “America” as a place built on the ideal of freedom.  And by “freedom”, we mean the traditional American founding interpretation – life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, protection of private property, freedom of speech, conscience, religion, press, assembly, keeping and bearing arms, security in your home, trial by jury with representation, equality before the law, the whole shebang – as opposed to the “freedoms” the Democrat party is pushing these days; the “freedom” from consequences, the “freedom” to force other people to make you free of want, the “freedom” to have government force others to give you stuff at gunpoint and enforce an arbitrary, politically-motivated concept of “fairness”; the freedom to abort your fetus and wave your privates around in public.

If the Second Amendment collapses because a majority of “Americans” don’t understand what it is to be “American” or what “America”, indeed, is, then the demise of the NRA will be the least of our problems, because there will be nothing to prevent the rest of the Constitution, and the freedoms it ostensibly guarantees, from being shredded much, much more comprehensively than it already is.

My Letter To The Strib

After reading Heather Martens’ challenge in the Strib yesterday, I wrote this letter to the Editor.

DFLMinistryofTruthLARGE

And since there’s not a chance in hell the Strib will ever print it, I’ll run it here, too:


In her October 19 reply to DJ Tice’s October 11 editorial, Heather Martens says that the Star/Tribune should “do their homework, force the gun lobby and its friends to defend their indefensible opposition to important new policies”

On behalf of my many friends and colleagues in the Second Amendment human rights movement, I accept the challenge! I urge the Star/Tribune to set up a debate between Ms. Martens and her colleagues and members of the “gun lobby”, on neutral ground, on camera and on the record, with mutually-agreed-upon rules.

As Ms. Martens notes, it would be an essential act of journalism, and it’d part of that “conversation about guns” that everyone is always asking for.

If not us (and Ms. Martens), who? If not now, when?

I welcome this paper’s initiative in helping get this vital debate organized.

Please contact me; I’ll be happy to help set things up.

Mitch Berg
Saint Paul


What the heck – it was worth a try, for laughs.

Challenge Accepted!

This morning, I did something that has become almost as rote and perfunctory as showing that Nick Coleman is wrong about…well, anything; I fisked a Heather Martens op-ed.   It’s one of many, many such efforts, and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

But buried at the very, very bottom of the op-ed was something…different.

And Finally, Something Remotely True, And Historic!  We may have witnessed some history, here – Heather Martens closes out with something that is both substantial and true.

Although not in the way she might think:

Journalists ought to do their homework,

Yes.  If they did, they’d cut Heather Martens off from any further attention.   I’ve built a long history on this blog, over more than a decade, now, of showing you something that’s almost up to the level of a Berg’s Law; that Martens has never, not once, said a substantial, true, original thing about Gun Rights or gun issues.

But she’s finally said something that I agree with wholeheartedly.  And so should every shooter:  she wants the media to…

…force the gun lobby and its friends to defend their indefensible opposition to important new policies, and stop misdirecting the conversation by setting up straw men to destroy.

I agree!  It’s time for Heather Martens and the Strib to get to the facts [1]!

So on behalf of my friends in Minnesota’s gun rights movement, I accept Heather’s challenge; to set up a debate between Heather Martens and any gun-grabber activists or lobbyists she wants to bring along, and a couple of us from the Gun Lobby:  perhaps Joe Olson, Andrew Rothman, Bryan Strawser and/or myself.

There, the journalists and activists can force us to defend the policies we support, live on camera!  Allow both sides to question, and cross-question, each other, live and without a net!

Heather Martens; for all of the flak I’ve given you over the past decade and change, this is your brilliant, shining moment.

This is too important to skip!

Heather Martens:  Challenge Accepted!

PS:  Naturally, we’ll charge admission, and donate the proceeds to a mutually agreed-upon charity.

Continue reading

No Cigar

Political movements rise and fall.  It’s part of political life in a democracy with a free market of ideas.

Of course, there’s nothing that the purveyors of central intellectual planning would like more than for the National Rifle Association to fade into obscurity. In this CNN article, the writer quite tangibly palpitates at the idea.

Could the National Rifle Association ever face a similar fate? Most Americans probably don’t think so. When a gunman murdered nine people at a community college in Oregon earlier this month, the President seemed to express what many Americans were thinking when he said, “Somehow this has become routine. … We have become numb to this.”

There’s a pervasive belief that any attempt to tighten gun laws would be futile because too many politicians are afraid to defy the NRA. But there are at least four examples from American history — including two snatched from recent headlines — where ordinary people and unforeseen events defeated a seemingly invincible lobbying group, and hardly anyone saw it coming.

Could the NRA vanish from political prominence? Of course.

But the article is wrong on three points:

Apples And Axles:   The author – John Blake – picked four groups as examples of “popular” opposition overturning “powerful lobbying groups”:  The “Anti Saloon League”, the “Tobacco Lobby”, the “Cuba Lobby” and AIPAC.

They’re all lousy comparisons:

  • The “Cuba Lobby” became less relevant with the end of the Cold War.  Not to say they’re not right.
  • The big defeats of the Cuba Lobby and AIPAC that Blake cites were the establishment of relations with Cuba, and the jamdown of the Iran treaty executive agreement.  Both were single-issue decisions by an ideological executive – in the case of the Iran “agreement”, very possibly a violation of the law.
  • The “defeat” of the tobacco lobby was a result of decades of public health propaganda (which happened to be largely correct, outside the canard of “second hand smoke”) that didn’t need to be politicized to be effective (although it often was anyway), and cost billions and billions of dollars.
  • The Anti Saloon League was opposed by an equally-large mass of countervailing opinion; this opinion took 15 years to get organized (Prohibition was nearly 100 years in the making); The ASL was, in fact, more analogous the gun control mement, and its opposition was more similar to the Second Amendment Rights movement between 1985 and 2000.

Which brings us to the second point:

NRA is the Vox Populi:  I’ve non-joke joked for nearly three decades now; the left has been jabbering about class warfare for a couple centuries.  And they finally got one; the battle over guns.  But they’re the patricians, and the Second Amendment movement are the uppity peasants.

As Jeffrey Snyder pointed out in his seminal essay A Nation of Cowards, that’s the reason the left has spent the last fifty years so knotted up about guns; not because they care about anyone’s lives, or “gun violence”; but because it’s the vox populi giving them a big bad veto, saying “the nannystate has its limits”.

In the early nineties, at the start of the Clinton Administration’s gun control efforts, the NRA reached a then-record membership of 4 million – people who paid a minumum of $35 a year for their memberships, frequenlty more.  At the time, the various gun grabber groups reached a peak strength of around 150,000 – at a time when “membership” meant, in most cases, saying “I’m a member!”.  The “Million Mom March” may have peaked out around 10,000 members, at a time when all a Mom had to do was…march.  Or indicate an interest in marching.

And focusing on the NRA is misleading in and of itself – because…:

The NRA Is Just A Part Of The Movement:  The NRA deploys some serious muscle at the federal level.  But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

The Second Amendment human rights movement is a mosaic of dozens, maybe hundreds, of smaller groups that do most of the heavy lifting in the states, where most gun legislation takes place.  In Minnesota, the bulk of the actual work is done by GOCRA and MNGOPAC, with several other groups helping out in the various trenches as well.  The NRA has always been a utility player in Minnesota; they had almost nothing to do with Shall-Issue; they helped with the lobbying in 2012 through this past session, but they are part of a cast of groups, not the big gorilla.

Here’s the real measure of support; when GOCRA says “turn out to the capitol” to show legislators where the real political brawn is, hundreds of people from all over Minnesota turn out in a sea of maroon shirts; the Bloombergs might be able to get a couple of dozen wan-looking Highland Park “progressives” accompanying their half-dozen paid, mercenary lobbyists.   It has more in common with the people who rejected Prohibition than the people who enacted it.

And this process has only accelerated as the distribution of information has become more decentralized.  In 1993, the Gun Owners Action League (the predecessor of GOCRA) had to print and mails its newsletters at great expense, to a database maintained on heaven only knows what.  Today, grassroots gun rights groups can, and do, form around facebook pages and online discussion forums, and with a little work and diligence and messaging can actually go on to persuade the unpersuaded.

The same dynamic holds for the anti-gun side – but at the end of the day, all they seem to draw is liberal plutocrats with deep pockets, and people who look like they got lost on their way to a live presentation of “This American Life”.

Backwards:  So in its lust to silence the peasants, CNN has gotten things more or less inverted:  the NRA is not only utterly unlike the four “unbeatable lobbying groups” that they cite, but they aren’t even the real issue.

The real issue is this:  the part of America east of the Hudson and west of the Sierra Madre thinks the Second Amendment is at least a weird throwback, and at most a threat to their version of civilization.  Real Americans treasure the Second Amendment as all other civil liberties, and will fight for it as they have for the past forty years – without regard to the group that carries the flag.

You Asked For It, John Oliver

To: John Oliver, this month’s Rachel Maddow
From:  Mitch Berg, ND Native
Re:  Anger

Mr. Oliver,

The other night, during your largely erroneous segment on oil in North Dakota, you patronizingly told North Dakotans that they should “get angry”.

I was born there, and I’ve spent years watching our self-appointed  “elites” – from Minnesota Public Radio to the documentary film industry to, now, you –  go from calling for the entire Great Plains to be ceded back to nature, to sniffing down their aquiline noses at the notion of all those red-state rubes getting all that unseemly, unregulated, private-market prosperity.  So while I’m not from there anymore, I spent 22 years there – so I’ll speak on its behalf if I want to.

I’m all about the help.

“Get mad!”, you say.

OK, John Oliver. I’m mad.  Your segment, as Rob Port showed, was crap, and you are beggaring the notion of “journalism” in your snooty, condescending attack on my homeland.

So go f**k yourself.

There.  I feel better.

That is all.

 

All The News That’s Fit To Gin Up From Pretty Much Nothing

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Star Tribune breathlessly reports that “questions” have been raised, front page, above the fold.  Why did 98% of the new state subsidies for rural bus routes go to Mn/DOT Commissioner Zelle’s former employer?  Conflict of interest?  Shenanigans?  What’s going on here?

“Jefferson Lines and Land to Air Express were two of three firms who applied for the state funding that year. The third, Rainbow Rider Transit, received less than $8,000 in state subsidies.”

Three firms applied.  Rainbow Rider is the short bus for handicapped people in a few counties in Western Minnesota, counties you never heard of, like Grant and Pope.  They got a few bucks.  The other companies provide bus service and airport shuttle.  They got the rest because Nobody Else Applied.  Which isn’t surprising – how many bus companies can you name besides Greyhound and they run long-haul between cities, not back lanes to Clodhopper, Minnesota.  There’s no conflict, there isn’t even a question, it’s perfectly clear and obviously the whole thing is completely above-board.

So why the headline?  The headline leads low-information voters to think the Commissioner’s a crook when the story itself completely exonerates him.  What a pathetic excuse for a newspaper.

Joe Doakes

They’re just asking questions:

“But why don’t you subscribe to the Strib, Mitch?”

Death Spiral

Pacifica Radio – the nation’s “oldest leftwing radio network” – has entered a death spiral:

Founded in 1946 by conscientious objectors from the second world war, the network was an influential outlet for Beat poets, Bob Dylan and Vietnam war protesters but has in recent times suffered from dwindling ratings, in-fighting and financial hemorrhage.

The network’s biggest star – Amy Goodman, host of the independently produced Democracy Now! – is also its biggest creditor. She is owed an estimated $2.1m in unpaid broadcast fees.

Observers trace the travails to 2001 when a group of rebellious listeners and broadcasters took control and instituted an elaborate governance structure of multiple boards, sub-committees and painstaking elections.

The result, according to Matthew Lasar, author of the 2005 book Uneasy Listening: Pacifica Radio’s Civil War, was continuous feuding between rival factions. In a Nation article earlier this year, he compared the network to the “late Ottoman Empire of public broadcasting” and urged progressive outsiders to step in and save it before it was too late.

Of course, it’s not just Pacifica; all of the institutional broadcasting industry as we’ve known it since the 1930’s is undergoing a radical realignment in how it does business.  The broadcast industry one step behind newspapers; its audience gutted by the internet’s explosion of free material and advertisters’ splitting their money in many different directions (what’s left of it, anyway, in the Obama economy), even the better commercial broadcast operations are having to become very lean, and very creative when it comes to sales.

And Pacifica?  Not only is it entirely dependent on handouts from non-profits and governments, but it is “creative” in all the wrong ways:

Ian Masters and Sonali Kolhatkar, hosts of the Los Angeles-based KPFK, said its parent network Pacifica Radio, the country’s oldest public radio network, was putting pressure on staff to reduce their hours and pay, leave or work for free, alienating listeners and approaching a point of no return.

“This is the end. They’re running out of road,” Masters told the Guardian. He accused managers and board members of promoting conspiracy theories – including those related to the “truth” about 9/11 and claims about cancer and HIV. “They’ve run this place into the ground.”

Today it’s Pacifica.

Of course, it’s been happening in commercial radio for a long time; commercial radio stations have been slashing costs for a solid decade now (most music radio is “voice-tracked”; the “disc jockey” actually bangs out all the spoken elements for a show in one sitting, and the computers that run the shows slip the spoken bits in to the right spots, usually), finding creative ways to make money (or not so creative ways; 40% of the revenue at many talk stations comes from weekend infomercials) or avoid it (the NARN was a decade ahead of the trend of people doing talk radio as a hobby, barring the occasional talent fee).

So how long can public radio – especially Minnesota Public Radio, with its union-level pay scales and lavish facilities and gargantuan, padded staffs – survive?

To Be Fair, Most Of Us Had Forgotten Brian Lambert Was Still Being Published, Too

Someone pointed it out in the comment section; Brian Lambert interviewed Jason Lewis in the MinnPost earlier today:

DFLMinistryofTruthLARGE

MP:​ But even The Patriot [AM 1280] is now all syndication. They used to have local bloggers with shows ripping the feckless liberals and all the usual stuff. Now, it’s all mailed in.

JL:​ ​It’s the only thing they can afford. They don’t have the budget for anything else. The economics of the industry requires a massive paradigm shift. And, as I say, it’s due to mismanagement, technology and debt, the over­buying of radio stations.

 

Lambert exhibits the attention to detail he always showed when he was the Pioneer Press’ “broadcasting reporter”.

AM1280 was always syndicated.  The Northern Alliance started three years after the station went on the air – almost two years before AM1130 went all talk, before Jason Lewis left the Twin Cities for Charlotte much less before he came back and bumped Lambert’s show from the 1130’s lineup.

And unlike both of them, we’re still here.  Different group of us, to be sure – but we’re still alive and kicking.

And I’d love to invite Lambert on the show to prove it.  But I have no idea where to find him, or for that matter, whether he still really exists or not.

If you know where he’s at, please forward my invite.

Another Fearless Prediction

Lars Walker, author and longtime friend of this blog, has a prediction (from Facebook):

Here is my prediction. Within a day or two, we will begin to see character attacks in the media against the 3 American service men who prevented the terrorist murders in France. Our culture cannot bear the sight of heroes.

I wouldn’t take that bet at 10:1.  The mainstream media, dedicated as it is to the narrative that America is a corrupt, awful place that is the source of this world’s problems, will have these guys on Joe the Plumber watch before you can say “sacre bleu”.  

Sustainability

Minnesota Public Radio announced what amounts to a fairly sweeping set of layoffs in the newsroom yesterday:

The identities of the laid off staff members have not been confirmed, but a series of tweets by MPR Newscut blogger Bob Collins Thursday night suggest that they are:

Newscaster Beth Kidd; higher ed reporter Alex Friedrich; politics reporter Catharine Richert; arts reporter Chris Roberts; producer Emily Kaiser; photographers Jeffrey Thompson and Jennifer Simonson; reporter/producer Nikki Tundel; and editor/reporter David Cazares. (List compiled by the Business Journal).

Waxing purely editorially here – it appears that the House that Keillor Built is running into the same buzz saw  the rest of the radio industry ran into 6–7 years ago, and that the old Big Three broadcast operations have been wrestling with for a decade; the fact that the audience is splintering, drawn to other media spawned by new technology.

The amazing factoid? I’ve always known that Minnesota Public Radio news was a massive operation, certainly in scale with the rest of the be behemoth that is MPR, filling out the huge building on 7th and Cedar in downtown St. Paul like it does. Even I had had no idea how huge the newsroom was; the nine layoffs amounted to 13% of the newsroom; that meant MPR’s newsroom alone was somewhere north of 70 people.

It’s disappointing – and a telling – to see among the nine above a number of a good, solid journalists losing their jobs, while Keri Miller just keeps prattling away.

PS: On the other hand, assuming “producer Emily Kaiser” is the same one who used to “write” at the City Pages

…well, it’s bad karma to kibitz about people who just got whacked.  I’ve been there way too many times myself.

Best of luck, everyone.