A Cheap Piece Of Tin With A Partisan Stenographer Pinned To It

I was out at Target the other day when I ran into a familiar face pushing a shopping cart full of Reynolds Wrap through the grocery section.  It was Professor William G. Krieppi, Associate Professor of Rhetoric at Hennepin Technical College’s School of Geology.

It went something like this.

———-

KRIEPPI:  (Seeing me) Hey, Merg!  Brian Lambert at the Minnpost sure pwn3ed you?

ME:  Hm.  I always wondered how one pronounced “Pwn3d”.  Otherwise – and I know I’ll regret asking you this – what are you talking about?

KRIEPPI: He called you out on your “citizen journalist” nonsense!  In the MinnPost!

ME:  Well, I’m glad to see they have such important stuff to cover.

KRIEPPI:  Check it out!

ME:  Jeez, it’s only Lambert.   I’ve got stuff I gotta do.

KRIEPPI:  You are clearly melting down.   Why do you hate children?

ME:  Oh, what the hell.   (Types quickly on IPhone) (sotto voce) If I say “That’s a fascinating point”, will you go away?  (Normal tone of voice) OK, here it is:

…you might want to reader conservative blogger Gary Gross’s take on [whatever Lambo was writing about]. It concludes with this semi-classic threat: “What this means is that Gov. Dayton’s words, Pat Kessler’s words and other biased media’s words didn’t have a hint of truth to them. It’s worth noting that ABM didn’t hesitate in using them in their statewide smear campaign against GOP candidates. It’s time for Mr. Sommerhauser and other reporters to blister Alida Messinger, Gov. Dayton and the Twin Cities media for telling the whoppers that they told. If he won’t, citizen journalists like Mitch Berg and myself will expose the DFL for the corrupt political party it is.” Hey, guys, can I see your “citizen journalist” badges?

KRIEPPI:  hahahahaahahahaaahaahahahahaahahaahahahaaahaaha (shallow breath) )hahahaahahaahahahaaahaahahahahaahahaahahahaaahaahahahahaaha!!!

ME:  OK…?

KRIEPPI:  So where’s your badge, Merg?

ME:  I don’t have one.  But then, I used to work as a reporter, and I didn’t have a “badge” back then, either.  Why don’t you ask Lambert to see his ”badge”?

KRIEPPI:  He is teh real journalist!  What teh hcek is a “citizen journalist”?

ME:  (Groaning wearily) I don’t much care for the term “citizen journalist”, and I never have..  And for that matter, the term “Journalist”, either.  Establishment “journalists” wrap themselves in the term to try to give themselves a veneer of non-existant “objectivity”.  The problem is, left-leaning establishment journos from the NYTimes down to the MinnPost, along with the Administraiton, are trying to define the term such that only “people who get paid by institutional media outlets” qualify as “journalists”, which is cynical and stupid, but certainly self-serving.

KRIEPPI:  Quit equivocating!  He pwn3d you!  Maybe even pwn4d you!   He showed that you are nothing but a partisan hack!

ME:  Huh.  So let’s recap, here; you’re referring to the “objectivity” and/or “hackery” of a guy who writes utterly-unveiled opinion pieces for a glorified blog, and has appeared for years on the radio as an expressly, even stridently-partisan commentator…

KRIEPPI:   Yes!  Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

ME: …who interrupted his “non-partisan” “media” career for a gig as then-Senator Mark Dayton’s press secretary?

KRIEPPI:  …Hahahahahahahahahaahhahahahaaaahahaaahaahah… (maniacal laughter slowly grinds to a halt).

ME:  Who’s spent most of his career as a DFL stenographer and snark-bot,  but who will nonetheless dance up and down and say “You’re not a real journalist” because it’s a whole lot easier than explaining why a group of plutocrats and unions have basically bought the governorship and legislature with his blog’s blessing.

KRIEPPI: (stands, blank-faced)

ME: Hey, have a great day, Professor!

(I walk away as KRIEPPI slowly opens a carton of Reynolds Wrap and starts to wrap it around his head)

———-

Like I said, i don’t much care for the term “citizen journalist”.  Partly because it’s stilted and anachronistic, but mostly because In the modern sense of the term, it’s a little like saying “citizen carpenter”.  There’s no real barrier of entry to picking up a hammer and a saw – or a keyboard.

Oh, “professional” journos like to act like Journalism is a higher calling, like a secular monastic order.  Listen to Garfield and Gladstone doing “On The Media” on NPR sometime (somebody has to, right?); Krista Tippett’s “On Being” isn’t as pompous, solemn and brow-furrowed.   And it makes sense; “professional” journalists devote a lot of time to learning the craft, and years and decades practicing it – and usually spend their time covering city council meetings and interviewing high school athletes and boutique owners.  Of course they’ll try to give it some higher meaning!

But journalism is not a monastic calling.  It’s certainly not a profession.  It’s a craft, not much different than carpentry or CNC machining or cooking a good steak.   If I need a complicated metal part, I call a machinist.  If I want to know what happened in a city council meeting, or what was up with that car crash or house surrounded by police tape, and I’m not able or interested in asking the questions myself, I go to a “journalist”.  And if you want to know what’s really going on with charter schools, I go to someone who covers education because it’s their passion and interest and whose coverage of the issue engages me; it might be a reporter for an institutional media outlet, but it’ll more likely be Matt Abe and Speed Gibson, because they’re just plain better at it. 

Am I a reporter?  Not normally.  I do some reporting – I’ve eaten the rest of the media’s lunch on a few stories over the years, and I’ll do it again – but doing “reporting” right takes time. I have a day job, so I usually stick with analysis, or just plain opinion.  Sort of like a newspaper columnist, only without the salary.

So I don’t have a badge.  Either does Lambert.  He gets paid to snark and occasionally report.  I don’t.   He does it eight hours a day or so.  I do it for about 90 minutes.

Other than that, there’s not much difference, really.  Unless you start talking radio.

Pin that to your shirt.

18 thoughts on “A Cheap Piece Of Tin With A Partisan Stenographer Pinned To It

  1. Curious… what sort of badge does a guy get when he reaches the age of decrepitude still sporting the title of “Associate” anything.

    At some point even a feckless boob has to realize that “Associate” is just a polite way of saying “loser”, doesn’t he?

  2. Also, ya really have to admire the stones of a guy who’s command of his “profession” is so weak his employers have to shield him from comments correcting his wayward use of the English language, to say nothing of his willful abuse of his low intelligence readership.

    Lambo and his ilk used the journalism profession as toilet paper, and are just butthurt someone is still out there with a shred of integrity.

  3. MITCH’s PREFACE: For nearly six months now, I’ve been asking “Dog Gone” to please, please favor us with an elaboration on her claim that the “Stand Your Ground” bill, passed by a bipartisan majority of both chambers of the Legislature but vetoed by Governor Bored Dilettante, was, as she put it, “A piece of crap legislation”.

    There’s still been no answer.

    Now if you go over to “Penigma”, her blog, you’ll find that they don’t tolerate that sort of obtuseness (or any disagreement at all, really) from commenters. Draw your own conclusions on that matter…

    …but that’s really neither here nor there. I’d like to take this opportunity to remind DG that she needs to tell us: Why, specifically, in policy and legal terms, was “Stand Your Ground” “crap” legislation.

    I’m inclined to think that her continued evasion of this question means she didn’t really know why, but was, like most leftybloggers, reciting the chanting points fed to her from above.

    “Dog Gone’s” comment follows:

    ———-

    I notice that you alternate these fake conversation posts, which mostly resemble the foolish empty chair conversation that Clint Eastwood floundered through at the Republican Convention. It is easy to mock the other side of a conversation if you’re writing both parts, and you seem to consistently use such monologues to portray yourself as a stoic victim.
    What else I’m seeing is an increasing frequency of you writing extensively, also from the point of view of a wronged party that is part of a larger wronged group – very much a victim mentality that creates an us versus them dynamic, where you hold forth on why the mainstream is wrong. That includes your elaborate commentary on why polls were wrong, and part of a plot against the right. Neither was true; the polls were quite correct, and there was no plot by media or moguls.
    I see you doing the same with the right wing fantasy of voter fraud, parroting without question stories like that Cincinnati Ohio high school piece where Fox News claimed they were sending three busloads of students to polling places, giving them democratic only ballots, and bribing them to vote Dem. with ice cream. The reality was that there were three students, not three busloads; going to vote was part of their civics class, not a democratic union plot; and they road with a van load of seniors from a nearby church, joining them for ice cream on the trip back. Or the elaborate conspiracy theory you posited about unions shutting down New York by not plowing during a blizzard — that turned out to be another total whopper, as evidenced by no less than 4 separate and independent investigations. Or any of the Crow Wing MN nonsense made up by someone who never saw the disabled people vote. Or any of the 103 invalid ballots in Dinkytown that didn’t exist. Or your claims about felon voter fraud that referred to seven studies of FORMER FELON voting patterns after having their voting right restored, claiming they proved theft of elections — except they didn’t.
    You are not factual or well-researched, Mitch, no matter how much you claim to be factual.
    What differentiates you from the MinnPost is this — accountability to other people who put money behind you, and who maintain officers and an advisory board to whom writers are accountable if they write factually flawed material like yours:
    As of Fall 2012, MinnPost had more than 3,400 member-donors contributing amounts ranging from $10 to more than $20,000 a year. Almost a third of our donors are sustaining members. Sustaining members include all those who sign up for automatically recurring donations, as well as loyal supporters who have made a donation for three or more years in a row.
    Our Founders

    MinnPost’s initial funding of $850,000 came from four families: John and Sage Cowles, Lee Lynch and Terry Saario, Joel and Laurie Kramer, and David and Vicki Cox.

    Major foundation support has come from the Blandin Foundation, Otto Bremer Foundation, Bush Foundation, Carolyn Foundation, Central Corridor Funders Collaborative, Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Martin and Brown Foundation, The McKnight Foundation, The Minneapolis Foundation, Pohlad Family Foundation, and The Saint Paul Foundation.

    You write wonderfully, and some of what you write is wonderful – notably your commentary on music and history. When you get more fringie extreme partisan, you get less factual and lose credibility except for your echo-chamber bubble-world readers.

    MinnPost can be very partisan, but they;re more centrist than you are, and they strive for more balance and factual content than you have, with posts like this.

  4. Gosh DG did you forget your homework again?

    We are actually waiting to see if you can prove for once that you aren’t a pathetic blowhard.

  5. When you get more fringie extreme partisan
    When Dog Gone says things like this, she is projecting. The viewpoints she finds ‘fringie extreme partisan’ are not only well within mainstream political discourse, they are usually held by a majority of American adults, sometimes a strong majority.
    -A voter photo ID requirement is supported by a majority of Americans.
    -Most Americans are opposed to amnesty for illegal immigrants.
    -Most Americans are opposed to affirmative action.
    -Most Americans say the government does too much rather than too little.

  6. DG,

    Let me try this directly:

    How was Tony Cornish’s “Stand Your Ground” bill a piece of “Crap Legislation

    Please be specific. Because I’m fairly certain you have no idea what you’re talking about, then or now.

  7. DG,

    Your capacity to miss the point always astounds.

    It is easy to mock the other side of a conversation if you’re writing both parts,
    It’s hilarious that someone who gets positively tingly when talking about Stephen Colbert – who has built a career out of doing more or less exactly the same thing – would write that.

    and you seem to consistently use such monologues to portray yourself as a stoic victim.

    You used the term “victim”, not me.

    “Patient sufferer of fools” is more accurate.

    By the way – How was “Stand your Ground” “crap legislation?” Please be specific and detailed.

  8. What else I’m seeing is an increasing frequency of you writing extensively, also from the point of view of a wronged party that is part of a larger wronged group – very much a victim mentality that creates an us versus them dynamic

    Nothing “victim”-y about it. I’m a satirist and a critic.

    And nobody who writes as you do about conservatives – “racist, fat, white, middle-aged, angry” – had best accuse others of creating “us vs. them dynamics”.

    By the way – How was Cornish’s “Stand your Ground” bill “crap legislation?” It’s been six months. Please give an answer, or admit you were just parroting.

    Your attention to this matter will be appreciated.

  9. , where you hold forth on why the mainstream is wrong.

    FACT CHECK: I hold forth on why liberals are wrong. They are not “the mainstream”. They are a faction, enjoying limited ascendancy at the moment. Nothing more.

    Just a reminder: Please tell us why “Stand Your Ground” was “crap legislation”. I don’t think you can. Please surprise me.

  10. That includes your elaborate commentary on why polls were wrong

    Nobody cares.

    By the way – Why was Cornish’s “Stand Your Ground” bill “crap legislation”> Having a coherent answer might help dispel the impression that you are nothing but a chanting-point-bot.

  11. What differentiates you from the MinnPost is this — accountability to other people who put money behind you, and who maintain officers and an advisory board to whom writers are accountable if they write factually flawed material like yours:

    DG: You are living in a fantasy world.

    Please show us any “accountability”, short of matters of legal liability, between the “newsroom” and the backers?

    Editors are generally pretty proud of their newsrooms’ independence from the money side of the operation. I know this because I have worked in the business, in a way that you have not.

    By the way – most of the MinnPost’s institutional donors are DFL supporters. The Strib turned into DFL stenographers on Cowles’ watch. .

    As of Fall 2012, MinnPost had more than 3,400 member-donors…

    Who cares?

  12. At any rate, DG, the point was not to compare myself to the MinnPost; unlike the MinnPost, I am honest about my motivations.

    But you’ve missed the point – as you are excessively prone to doing. I’m attacking Lambert – who is no less a liberal chanting-point-bot than you are (and I’ve shown it many times), who wraps himself in the world “journalism” the way you do in the word “fact”; as camouflage and false legitimacy for strident partisanship.

    Please tell us about why Stand Your Ground was “crap legislation” forthwith; I believe I’ve been more than patient enough. ;

  13. DG,

    As a final comment – I’d actually love to ask you to make the case that Lambert – the subject of my piece, if it matters – is anything but a leftyblogger with a paycheck signed by a “news” organization.

    But until you answer the question about the bipartisan Stand your Ground bill, I really don’t care.

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