SCENE: Mitch BERG is leaving a downtown Saint Paul bar after happy hour with friends.
As he fumbles for his keys by his car, MyLyssa SILBERMAN, reporter for National Public Radio’s Saint Paul bureau, steps out of an organic tax accountant office. Dressed in a hemp power skirt, her brunette-but-slightly-prematurely-gray hair cut into the style known as “ELCA Hair”, she wrinkles her nose on encountering BERG.
SILBERMAN: Er, hello, Merg.
BERG: MyLyssa. A pleasure (He finds his car key)
SILBERMAN: You and your show and blog are “fake news”
BERG: Huh. You don’t say. Why’s that?
SILBERMAN: You don’t have a staff of fact-checkers.
BERG: .Like the Washington Post.
SILBERMAN: Exactly. The Washington Post has layers and layers of gatekeepers and factcheckers, all trained at Ivy League journalism schools to the highest standard of the journalistic craft.
BERG: The WaPo ran a story last week about Russian hackers trying to bring down the Vermont power grid. Until it turned out it wasn’t; just some malware on a laptop that wasn’t connected to any grid other than an AC plug. Then they revised the story, and tried to re-focus it under the radar while going “um, nothing to see here” about their earlier claim that Russians were trying to bring down the US power supply.
SILBERMAN: Right. The fact-checking worked.
BERG: The “fact-checking” was entirely external to the Washington Post. They were “fact-checked” by their audience and the rest of the media. No different than my blog.
SILBERMAN: No, Merg. That’s false. And I’ll tell you why.
BERG: OK. You do that.
SILBERMAN: The person who pushed “publish” on the online revision?
SILBERMAN: And the person who started the printing presses?
BERG: Right? Yes?
SILBERMAN: They were Washington Post employees. Without them, the correction would have never gotten out.
BERG: Huh .
SILBERMAN: Also, you are a white male. (Looks at bare wrist) Oh, look at the time. (Steps back into accountants office).
BERG: (Rolls eyes, climbs into car)