Two Rules, One Narrative

If government tells you something, distrust but verify. And then, usually, distrust some more.

If the media tells you something – at least, anything about an event that is especially socially fractious – distrust, and verify even harder. And, as always, usually wind up distrusting even more.

If any of Big Left’s social hangers on declares some thing with immense servitude? Distrust, verify, and, well, you know the drill.

Last week was the fifth anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting.

“Perish the thought, it couldn’t possibly have been a deranged man tied to and eliminationist sect of Islamism“, Big Media media assured us. “It was an anti-LGBTQ hate crime, nothing more, nothing less“.

Which is how the media and Biden administration have been treating it, over this past weekend

Distrust. Verify.

Continue distrusting.

Desperately Seeking

Twin Cities media – in this case, the “Minnesota Reformer”, aka “MN Monitor 4.0” – is apparently still hoping for the FBI to charge “Umbrella Man” with destroying or damaging 700 buildings last year.

I’m sorry. That was snarky.

I’ll try again.

They are apparently still awaiting formal confirmation that Umbrella Man led a horde of “white supremacists” who managed to damage 700 buildings, while leaving not so much as a single swastika or “14 Words” refernce – being simultaneously a bunch of brain-damaged losers and operatives with Mossad-level fieldcraft skills. .

Updates as the situation warrants.

From The BlueAnon Archives: The Phantom Menace

To: Jon Collins, Minnesota Public Radio News
From: Mitch Berg, Irasible Peasant, critic of BlueAnon
Re: It’s Been A Year

Mr. Collins,

Last year – literally, a year ago last Wednesday – you sent out a message to MPR’s mailing lists asking if anyone had seen “white supremacists” during the civil unrest of the previous weeks.

I know this sounds crazy. But it’s 2020. And I’m working on story now about white supremacists coming to Minneapolis to foment race war under cover of the protests. I need your help, and your friends help. Please refer anyone with real, credible info (not rumor or speculation) or sources to me at (I’m gonna redact that)

As we go on a year after that request, and a week after President Biden reiterated the nearly two decade old claim that “white supremacist terror” is the greatest danger facing this country, it’s. probably not unreasonable to ask if you found anything.

A not-entirely-casual search of MPR News’s archives indicates “no”.

Any chance we could get an update?

That is all.

(I sent Collins an email. Since have it on absolutely reliable sources the management at MPR News has told their staff not to engage with peasants, I’d be amazed if I got a response).

Curiouser

Another friend of the blog emails:

Funny, why would this article mention “ghost guns”?

It relates to the San Jose shooter – who showed ample sign of being completely, although not legally provably, insane.

And no sign of having used a “ghost gun”.

Build It And They Will Come

Almost 35 years ago, reacting to the Democrat bias in the media, Rush Limbaugh brought fearless, joyful paleoconservatism [1]. Spends thirty years dominating the ratings.

Decades ago, reacting to “liberal” slant from the Big Three and CNN, Rupert Murdoch creates Fox News [2]. It dominates cable ratings for decades.

2021: reacting to a landscape of deadly dull, smugly “progressive” late night hosts that all have different names but may as well be reading off the same deadly dull script [3], Fox Launches Gutfeld.

What’ll be happening in decades? Time will tell, but the roll-out has been pretty spectacular. I’ve added emphasis:

Gutfeld!” averaged 1.6 million viewers for the week ending May 14, beating Kimmel on ABC and Fallon on NBC, though it trailed CBS’s “Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” Nielsen data shows.

May 13 was the Fox show’s best night so far, with 1.8 million viewers, placing second only to Colbert’s show, which drew 1.9 million viewers. Gutfeld’s show beat Colbert slightly in the key 25- to 54-year-old demographic.

The free market will provide.

Which is why the Harris Administration is trying to hard to kill it.

[1] “But but but but he was so hateful!” He was no such thing. You’re projecting.

[2] “But but but but but but they’re teh biased!”. In terms of news coverage? Less so than CNN. In terms of opinion programming? Who cares (other than “you, because you’re threatened by dissent and have no productive, adult way to deal with it”, I mean).

[3] The fact that Stephen Colbert has a late night show at all shows that the late-night comedy gene pool is very, very shallow. The fact that Samantha Bee and Jimmy Kimmel have late-night shows tells us that gene poll is inflatable and gets filled with a hose.

The New Rules

Remember when there was an unstated rule, when following news coverage of a crime in the Metro – if they didn’t mention the offender’s ethnicity or show a photo, it actually answered the question?

New addition to the rule: if the story pertains to criminal justice’s response to last year’s riots, and the offender’s ideology – “Boogaloo”, “proud boy”, whatever – isn’t mentioned, you know by omission whose “side” they were on.

Case in point.

Prove me wrong.

The Great Shun

There was a time when news outlets in the Twin Cities would, on occasion and when it was germane to the story, reach out to people on the political right. It even got to the point, in the last aughts, when lowly lil’ ol’ me was getting occasional calls from Channel 4, MPR and WCCO Radio for a grassroots conservative perspective on stories. This hit a peak during the Tea Party years…

…and then, abruptly, stopped.

We’ll come back to that.

The “point/counterpoint” feature was, if not a staple, at least a fairly normal part of American media life not all that long ago. Before “Crossfire” – which, I’m surprised and pained to see, has been gone for over 15 years – there were others; the earliest I can remember was a weekly bit on “Sixty Minutes”, “Point/Counterpoint”, with liberal Shana Alexander and James Kilpatrick – two articulate spokespeople for two diametrically opposed viewpoints.

Of course, CNN’s Crossfire was the biggest of them all. The original cast – Pat Buchanan and Tom Leyden – was the best, and sometimes created some fantastic TV – and I say this as someone who was pretty much a Democrat back then, although I hadn’t really thought that much about it (which makes me amply qualified to be a Democrat today). The most memorable bit, in those days when “white supremacist” groups operated in the open and were at least an order of magnitude larger than they are today, was an interview with a uniformed American Nazi. And Leyden, the show’s liberal and a World War 2 veteran, opened the segment by saying “My biggest regret in life was that I didn’t kill more of you back during the war” as the normally un-out-irascible Buchanan looked on, his jaw momentarily agape.

It’s a scene you wouldn’t get today – partly because any notion of patriotism and objective good and evil is gone from the left…

…and partly because Crossfire is long gone.

Now, according to Ben Domenech at Federalist, it was killed by Jon Stewart, who during a fabled appearance in 2004 completely trashed the premise of the show:

Readers will recall this was the infamous “hurting America” clip, where Stewart crapped all over the very concept of a debate show that paired left and right as co-equals in a running debate over the direction of America.

Stewart, who’s a fan of uninformed hubristic rants generally but will put the clown nose back on the minute you call him on it, went on a jeremiad against hosts Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala as representing the worst aspects of American politics. But looking back on the ramifications of his comments — “Crossfire” was canceled months later — what do we see? There is today essentially no program on all of cable television that pairs left and right perspectives on camera as co-equal hosts, allowed to engage in free and open debate about the topics of the day.

Domenech’s premise – that event was the beginning of the end of actual debate in the media:

So we should ask: Is that a good thing? Is the media landscape Stewart helped create better for it, where Brian Williams regularly engages in Stewart-like snark (he called Ron Johnson a Russian asset the other day for reading a Federalist article into the record) and Tucker Carlson is the biggest name as a solo act in cable news?

In a context in which so much ink is dedicated to the concept of silos and the elimination of common space between right and left — and I mean the real right and left, not David Brooks and Maureen Dowd — do we honestly want a world where there is no space where these warring sides meet to do rhetorical battle?

The answer is: of course not. It’s much, much worse. The inability to have a space where such debates play out, and the inability of existing entities to provide such a space, has led directly to a degradation of our political conversation and a lack of familiarity with even the most basic version of the other side’s perspective on the world.

Domenech may have a point – the event was certainly the beginning of the end on cable.

But the stifling of actual co-equal debate began much earlier. I recall the woman who edited the “Letters to the Editor” page at the Strib, back before the internet made everyone an LTE editor, and then before social media made us all stupid, describing on a talk show how she made sure she picked only the dumb voices on some subjects, like gun control and abortion. You know which side she favored.

But it’s become absolutely airtight. As I noted way up above, local media made a point of at least acknowledging some sort of opposing opinion. During the run-up to the Republican National Convenion in 2007, I got invited on an MPR program on the planned protests, to discuss planned counterprotests. Because there was a counterpoint, and there was another side.

A few years later, when I spent some time fact-checking NPR’s fact-check column, both here and via email – correctly – one of MPR’s news execs inadvertently cc’ed me on an email to RIchert, telling her not to bother engaging. And that was the last I’ve heard from NPR, on any level, for any reason.

And it’s not just me. Far from it – even “tame” liberal Republican voices like David Brooks are getting rarer.

It was almost like a switch flipped, along about 2011. LIke the media saw what a motivated, decentralized, idealistic conservative-libertarian throng like the Tea Party could so (and did, in 2010), and figured they needed to starve it of that most precious political commodity ,air time.

I strongly suspect that the “outing” of “JournoList” didn’t end the collusion around the progressive narrative in the media – indeed, I suspect that, like an evil, adenoidal Gandalf, it just came back, bigger and stronger and more secret still.

And the nation is much worse off for it.

On “Hockey Night In Vermont”, Soon.

PLAY BY PLAY ANNOUNCER: “Gascoigne checks O’Reilly into the boards…”

COLOR GUY: “Oh, wow. Cheap hit, there…”

PLAY BY PLAY ANNOUNCER: “Aaaaand off come the gloves. We’ve got a donnybrook going here”

COLOR GUY: “Hockey used to be such an artistic game. How far hockey has fallen, since it’s first ever fight, last January 7”.

PLAY BY PLAY ANNOUNCER: “RIght you are, Guy”.

Somewhere In Highland Park, Probably

GUY A: “Who was that woman who got arrested here in Highland a few years back for being a terrorist?”

GAL B: “Sarah Jane Olson. She was arrested for being involved in January 6″.

GUY A: “I thought it was from in the Symbionese Liberation Army, back in the seventies?”

GAL B: “Couldn’t be. There was no political violence before January 6”

GUY A: “Doh. My bad”.

One Day, Driving Through The Eastern Ukraine

TOUR GUIDE: “Welcome to Volgograd – formerly Stalingrad”.

TOURIST:”Excuse me – will we see any monuments to the Battle of Stalingrad?”

TOUR GUIDE: “What?”

TOURIST: “The epic battle between the Nazis and Soviets, in 1942-43?”

TOUR GUIDE: “I don’t understand. There was no war or violence of any kind before January 6”.

KOMMISSAR (yelling from off-camera left (where else?)): “Or since!”

In A Blue-City School, Somewhere, Probably

TEACHER: OK, Chad, what do the Gulf War, World War 2, World War 1, the Civil War, the War of the Roses, and the French Revolution have in common?

CHAD: Um…

TEACHER: Besides being called wars.

CHAD: Um…I don’t know?

TEACHER: None of them existed. Because there was no violence of any kind before January 6.

Public Health Theater Of The Absurd

When “Karen” tells me “I follow science”, I’ve taken to silently appending, often (but by no means always) in my mind, “you absorbed a CDC announcement a little over a year ago”.

The people maniacally scrubbing surfaces? As re Covid, it’s largely a wasted effort.

Via the Atlantic, which nearly along among periodicals has done a good job of actual journalism as re public health:

Whenever I’ve written about hygiene theater, some people have responded with the same objection: “Hey, what’s the matter with washing our hands?” That’s an easy one: Absolutely nothing. “Pandemic or no pandemic, you should wash your hands, especially after you prepare food, go to the bathroom,” or touch something yucky, Goldman said.

But hygiene theater carries with it an immense opportunity cost. Too many institutions spend scarce funds or sacrifice scarce resources to do microbial battle against fomites that don’t pose a real threat. This is especially true of cash-strapped urban-transit authorities and school districts that have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on soap technology rather than their central task of transporting and teaching people.

Hygiene theater also muddles the public-health message. If you tell people, “This disease is on surfaces, on your clothes, on your hands, on your face, and also in the air,” they will react in a scattered and scared way. But if you tell people the truth—this virus doesn’t do very well on surfaces, so you should focus on ventilation—they can protect themselves against what matters.

Of course, if you read this blog (and, to be fair, this blog’s citing of writers in The Atlantic), you had a solid hunch about this nearly a year ago.

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.