It’s time once again for that grand tradition in Twin Cities blogging; it’s the sixth-annual, 2011 edition of the Shootie Awards. These awards commend the worst – and, ever-so-rarely, the best – in Twin Cities (usually-but-not-always alternative) media.
And we’ll kick off the awards with the first statuette:
The Walter Winchell Award For Cool, Dispassionate Reportage – For 2011, it wasn’t hard to pick out the story that’d lead to someone getting the award; the Darren Evanovich shooting in Minneapolis last October, in which a Mr. Evanovich was shot by a legally-armed citizen in self-defense, was tailor made to bring out the prejudices and provincialism – dare I say, “rant and slant” – in the Twin Cities media. And as the Henco Attorney’s office investigated and kept the official story close to its institutional vest (turns out Evanovich and his sisters had allegedly done several such capers), and as the Twin Cities Second Amendment movement – the sole source of legitimate, unbiased information on gun-related news, I’m more convinced every day – waved its arms and yelled “Hey, there’s some facts that need reporting here!”, the Twin Cities media took ever-increasing liberties with un-released facts, including a touching portrait of Mr. Evanovich’s family from Channel 5’s Tim Cherno, and a high-level (and grossly-premature) second-guessing of the wisdom of Minnesota’s concealed-carry law from MPR’s generally-excellent Bob Collins.
But at the end of the day, the award was an easy one; it goes to the Strib’s Matt McKinney, who took the sparse info from the Minneapolis Police Department’s news release on the case, interspersed a lot of humanzing detail about Mr. Evanovich, and keystoned his report with the line of the year; that the shooter – still anonymous – had…:
…a state permit to carry a pistol, and he had one with him. He chased the robber behind a restaurant and shot him dead.
As Mr. D famously added, we could be grateful he didn’t add “…just to watch him die”, but really, would it have been necessary?
Two days after the story ran, Henco attorney Mike Freeman declared the shooter a hero, while tut-tutting that his actions should only be untertaken in the extreme – which drew a response of “d’ya think?” from every Twin Cities shooter.
The Gordon Jump “As God Is My Witness, I Thought Turkeys Could Fly” Award: The living will at the Minnesota Independent finally ground on down to its “do not resuscitate” clause. Three years after being shaved down to a skeleton crew, and after two years of doing not much but providing commentary on “Uptake” videos and writing about Bradlee Dean, the crew of “liberals with deep pockets” that kept the Mindy in the chips – and on salary – from its “Hey, Gang, let’s do a show (on George Soros’ dime!)” origins, through its Steve Perry/Erik Black/Paul Demko-sporting salad days, to its lonely and oblivious end, finally decided to call in the fire and pee on the dogs.
The Just Plain Too-Dumb-To-Fisk Award – In all my years of blogging, I’ve seen a lot of pretentious, entitled, stupid writing.
Only once have I seen something so completely bereft of insight and intelligence, yet so utterly clogged with smug entitlement, that I had literally nothing to say.
Hinda Mandell’s Strib op-ed last September, in which she found racism in coffee labelling, reset the counter on smug, entitled and parochial. It was really too weird to be “so bad it’s funny”. And if you followed that, you are probably too smart to read Hinda Mandell. Or something.
The “When Did You Stop Beating Your Husband” Award for Innuendo-Based-Journalism – It’s one of the Twin Cities’ leftysphere’s favorite “journalistic” techniques; “cover” a “story” by “asking” loaded “questions” about the “subject” of one’s “reporting”, so as to imply there’s “substance” to the “reporting” beyond the “question” itself;. And while it’s hard to filter through all the entries in this category – do Twin Cities leftybloggers have any other technique for reporting on stories that they don’t actually have the facts to close the deal on? (Doh! Now I’m doing it!), it’s foremost practitioner is in no doubt whatsoever. Award-winning jouralist Karl Bremer wins the award (!) and spikes the ball in the endzone with two “winning” entries in this elite category; his innuendo-laden mischaracterization of the status of Michele Bachmann’s law license last summer, distinguished by being nearly devoid of actual fact, and his breathless questions about Bradlee Dean’s association with a financial planner who was in trouble with the law (whom Bremer apparently wasn’t curious enough to find out was also in trouble with Dean – Dean had sued the subject of the story).
The Billy Graham “Blinding Flash Of Epiphany” Award For Renewed Interest In Absolute Moral Rectitude In Politicians – goes to every Twin Cities leftyblogger who, in 1997, bleated “It’s only sex! Mooooove on! Just mooooooooooove on! Peoples’ personal lives aren’t of any political importance” in re the Clinton/Lewinski flap, but suddenly re-discovered their inner tittering moralistic junior high nerd when news of the Amy Koch fiasco blew up.
The Phoenix Woman Award For Excellence In Rhetoric – For this year, this award goes to AM950 host Matt McNeil for – I’ll try to be tactful, here – face-palmingly inappropriate response to the Breivik shootings in Norway on Twitter. Further proving that if there was a “Fairness Doctrine” for doy, AM950 would be off the air.
The Mister O’Brien 2+2=5 Award For Analysis – This one goes to Minnesota Progressive Project’s Eric Pusey who, in the middle of complaining that nobody was covering the dreary, addled “Netroots Nation” and all the media were over at the companian, interesting, hospitable, babe-packed “Right Online” conference, noted for his blog’s brief national audience that the Strib is really a conservative tool.
The Tina Brown Award For Turning A Prestigious News Organization Into A Showy, Shallow, Shrill Joke – Goes this year, as every year, to Tina Brown for the job she’s done turning “Newsweek” into something no self-respecting grocery-store will stock next to the National Enquirer. In this case, for out-doing Dump Bachmann at picking the least-flattering possible portrait of Michele Bachmann to further their ‘Journalism”, and doing it with such bald-faced aplomb that the National Organization of Women, which normally wouldn’t pee on Rep. Bachmann if she were on fire, objected.
The Quickster Award For Excellence In Blog-Product Launch Marketing – is almost as easy to judge this year. What better time to put a capstone on a decade of frothy, often fact-challenged obsession with former activist, former State Senator, current Representative and Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann than when she’s riding high in the polls! None!
But the crew at Wiley and Sons waited to publish The Madness Of Michele Bachmann, a Hugh-Hewitt-like assemblage of eight years of blog posts by Eva Young, Ken “Avidor” Weiner and the award-winning Karl Bremer until Bachmann’s star had risen, set, and was calmly fermenting in the middle-to-bottom of the GOP presidential pack, and probably generating less interest (outside the rage-y bsessives that frequent The Dump) than Tim Pawenty.
The Cicero Demosthenes Award For Excellence In Political Rhetoric – This one is always a tough one. Which Twin Cities leftyblogger has brought the most to the expansion of the glory of written English rhetoric?
The nominations were compelling indeed:
- “Two-Putt” Tommy Johnson, who raised “I know you are, but what am I?” to something of a low art form
- Karl Bremer and the “Did you stop beating your wife?” school of reporting (which see above)
- University of Minnesota professor Bill Gleason, who brought spam sites into their rightful place as news sources.
But as to the winner? The choice wasn’t so much “who” as “why”. “Robert Erickson”, the nom de douche of Nick Espinosa, achieved the simulacrum of “progressive” rhetoric on two different levels in the past year. His mastery of the “Call and chant” form of speech, which he perfected at weeks and weeks of “Occupy MN” protests (he’s actually “Dieter” in this video here) was surpassed only by his pioneering of what is, truly, the dominant form of progressive rhetorical articulation; meeting ones’s opponents with a cloud of glitter.
You hear that? It’s the ghost of Demosthenes. He’s crying. I’m sure it’s joy. Really.
And finally, the award di tutti awardi of the Shooties lo these many years…:
The Charles Townsend Award, the keystone award of these entire festivities. Charles Townsend was a British Parliamentarian in the 1770′s, whose response to the growing “Tea Party” in the colonies was a marvel of patrician contempt…
“And now will these Americans, Children planted by our Care, nourished up by our Indulgence until they are grown to a Degree of Strength & Opulence, and protected by our Arms, will they grudge to contribute their mite to relieve us from the heavy weight of that burden which we lie under?”
…was worthy of Larry Pogemiller or Nick Coleman. Or Ryan Winkler.
On the Sunday, July 3 edition of the Esme Murphy show, Elliot Seid – the capo for the Twin Cities Service Employees International Union (SEIU) said in re the state’s budget squabble, and the legislative majority’s unwillingness to accede to a 22% state spending increase, and tax hikes to match, in the middle of a recession, said “We don’t have a spending problem. We have a revenue problem!”.
And that’s it for this year! Bus your own tables on the way out – we had to lay off most of the union kitchen staff to make our budget – and we’ll see you for next year’s Shooties!