Over the years, we’ve become used to the Minnesota Independent’s sloppy, agenda-driven “reporting” on issues.
Yesterday, Andy Birkey at the Mindy topped himself in a piece about a “donation” from the Tom Emmer campaign to “You Can Run International” (YCR(, an Annandale-based ministry.
YCR is a fundamentalist group that started as a metal-rap music ministry that started doing assemblies in schools, and have branched out into multimedia, including a weekly radio program, “Sons Of Liberty” on WWTC-AM, where my “Northern Alliance Radio Network” also broadcasts. Disclosure: I know Bradlee Dean via the station; we talk radio quite a bit; I disagree with him on not a few things, theologically and politically, and he and his ministry say a few things I don’t personally endorse. But we’re on the same team (and I’m waiting to see which leftyblog is the first to copy and paste “we’re on the same team” while omitting the previous couple of sentences).
The Minnesota House campaign of Rep. Tom Emmer donated to the ministry of You Can Run But You Cannot Hide Intl., Inc., according to the press secretary for Emmer’s gubernatorial campaign. Emmer is one of several Republican leaders involved with the ministry of Bradlee Dean, who leads a hard rock band that brings its message of Jesus Christ into public schools and recently affirmed the practice of Muslim countries executing gays and lesbians.
First, the “donation”.
According to a source very close to the Emmer campaign, “the “contribution” was nothing more than buying seats at a dinner”, a teen outreach event. It was not a direct cash donation to YCR, as Birkey’s article implies.
Tomayto Tomahto? Not really – accuracy and context count.
But Birkey goes farther into the weeds.
According to campaign finance reports, Emmer’s campaign gave You Can Run $250 in late 2008 (pdf).
In the last few months, Emmer has appeared on Bradlee Dean’s radio show — the same show on which Dean said, “Muslims are calling for the executions of homosexuals in America. This just shows you they themselves are upholding the laws that are even in the Bible of the Judeo-Christian God, but they seem to be more moral than even the American Christians do, because these people are livid about enforcing their laws. They know homosexuality is an abomination.”
Well, no. Emmer did not appear on “the same show” where Dean gave the quote above. He appeared on a completely separate episode of the program. And they talked about politics. Not Islam and Christianity’s views on gays. Birkey’s wording is incredibly misleading; the subtext – that appearing on a radio show implies agreement rather than trying to engage an audience – is even worse.
And if Birkey wants to believe appearance equals agreement, he might want to have a word with NARN guest R.T. Rybak.
And Dean was talking about traditional biblical and quranic theology, not advocating actions by a civil government. Fundamentalist Christianity and Islam are both rather harsh on the subject of homosexuality, and Dean is nothing if not a fundamentalist. But it’s crazy to take Dean’s quote – about an outrage on the part of Muslim governments – and spin it as sympathy for lynching gays (see “UPDATE”, below).
So to summarize, Andy Birkey wants you to believe that seats “donated” at an outreach dinner in November 2008 for a group whose radio program didn’t go on the air until August 2009 implies…what? That Tom Emmer harbors some sympathy for putatively outrageous views on gays?
Seem a little stretchy to anyone?
Emmer also posed for a picture with leaders of You Can Run,
As he did with pretty much everyone who attended any Republican function in the past year or so, myself included. Heck, if Andy Birkey had shown up, he’d probably have gotten a picture with Emmer too.
Emmer, by the way, responds pretty definitively to the issue to MPR’s Tom Scheck.
UPDATE AND CORRECTION: I talked with Bradlee Dean – that’s how I roll, reporting-wise.
First the correction: Dean interviewed Emmer on their old KKMS program, before he started on WWTC. KKMS is Salem’s religious station, while WWTC covers politics.
Now, the update. I asked Dean “Do you advocate or approve of the government executing homosexuals for being homosexual?”
He laughed a long, deep bellylaugh. That’d be “no”.
“Would it be fair to say”, I continued, “that the context of the quote Andy Birkey ran was discussing biblical and quranic theology, rather than advocating or tolerating actions by a civil goverment, and that neither Bradkee Dean nor You Can Run International advocate the murder of gays?”
“Absolutely”, Dean replied.
I don’t know about you, but that was not the impression I got from Birkey’s quote.