I saw this bit on CBS News yesterday – entitled “Target Boycott Movement Grows Following Donation to Support “Antigay” Candidate” – and I thought “Wow. Sounds like there’s a wave of spontaneous anti-Target fervor out there!”
Then I – or “we”, actually – looked a little deeper.
The piece – featuring someone named “Roadie Roaring” or “Rudy Rattan” or something'; the woman’s diction is less-than-ideal – shows her walking into a Target, exchanging a bunch of goods, and demanding that her Target card be cut up.
It’s presented as if it were a spontaneous bit of reportage. Look at it, you be the judge.
We’ll come back to Ronnie Roller in a bit.
With about three seconds to go in the piece, it notes that it was “Produced for the Uptake by Bill Sorem”. I got an email from someone who follows these things:
Bill Sorem has records on Mn Campaign finance of giving a couple hundred bucks to the SD42 DFL (which includes Eden Prairie, the city where the faux boycott took place), and a $2300 contribution to The Obamanation. So…a known DFL supporter just accidentally has his video camera and tapes this bit of faux news that is designed to threaten businesses into not contributing to causes that might benefit GOP candidates, helping his DFL party.
But of course, Bill has no unclean motives….NOOOOOOOOOO!
So – Bill Sorem just may not have been a random passerby with a camera.
The Uptake, by the way, is a left-leaning “citizen journalism” videoblog that spent the last year trying to convince the Legislature that they were a “news” organization worthy of credentials to cover the Legislature. Now, they are participating in an attack ad run by “Alliance for a Better Minnesota”.
So who is “Roofie Raygun?”
Gary Gross at Let Freedom Ring emails me:
Phil said that Rondy Raiton “sounds strangely similar to Randi Reitan, a gay activist mother who frequently is on the op ed page of the Strib.”
I googled Randy Reitan & clicked on her images page. BINGO!!! So much for this being a chance happening. Rest assured that I’ll be posting about this this afternoon.
So when you google Randi Reitan, you get – voila! The picture of someone who is not only not just some random Target customer, but in fact is someone who is relishing her fifteen minutes in the spotlight.
A skim through the Federal Electi0ns Commission database shows that Mrs. Reitan has given over $10,000 to various Democratic candidates over the past decade or so (Patty Wetterling in ’04 and 05, Tim Walz, Elwin “E-Tink” Tinklenberg, several to the DFL, a bundle to America Coming Together, a grand to Al Franken, a thou for Paul Wellstone, and much, much more. Plus another $300 to Mark Ritchie and $200 to the House DFL Caucus, according to the MN Campaign Finance board.
And her husband Phil? Around $4,000 more. Son, Jacob? Another thou and change.
At the beginning, where Mrs. Reitan introduces herself, perhaps it would have been helpful and honest if she’d called herself “a mother, grandmother, and DFL uber-activist“. Just saying.
So to summarize: Alliance for a Better Minnesota (and CBS News) want us to swallow the following:
That Bill Sorem Just Happened To Videotape A Random Outraged Customer: It’s hard to say if the producer wanted this event to look like a candid camera incident; it certainly looks staged. But it was presented by the Uptake, by A4aBM, and by CBS as an organic, grassroots, random protest against Tom Emmer and against Target’s donation to the “MNForward” PAC, which supports Emmer in the gubernatorial election. This is bad journalism.
That The Uptake Is Anything But An Arm Of The DFL: After participating in an ABM attack campaign – which, as we noted two weeks ago, is funded by unions and, mostly, Mark Dayton and his relatiives – future protestations of being “journalists” should be taken with a large block of salt.
Long story short; the Uptake is staging the news for the ABM’s, and the DFL’s, benefit.
This is not journalism.
UPDATE: Gary Gross at Let Freedom Ring does some more checking on Randi “Random Customer” Reitan.
UPDATE 2: An emailer writes:
Let’s see if I have this straight (pardon the pun):
Some little old granny, after seeing Target giving money to a group that supports Tom Emmer, who might not support gay marriage, goes down to her local Target store, where she just happens to run into an Uptake ‘reporter’, who just happened to have his video equipment on hand to witness the events that transpired.
Of course, there is no “CONTEXT” to the event. What you don’t see:
#1 “Granny”, her husband, and her gay son have given well over $10,000 to DFL causes over the years. $0 to GOP
#2 The gay son founded “Equality Ride” http://www.soulforce.org/article/1024 which spreads the message: “to empower young activists and challenge the unfair school policies that discriminate against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender students.” [We’ve covered SoulForce’s odd mission here]
#3 The husband of “Granny” is on the Board of “Soulforce” http://www.soulforce.org/article/891 whose Vision Statement is: “We seek freedom from religious and political oppression for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning people.”
Nope. “Granny” has no bias…no vested interest…no hidden motives. She just happened to bump into the guy with the camera at Target.
It would have been different, to an extent, had Reitan not gone to such pains to set herself up as just another woman off the street – “a mother and grandmother” – in the setup. But she did!
And why would “journalists” like the Uptake misrepresent a staged shoot as “news?”