Democracy – and Free Journalism – In Action

An array of Minnesota bloggers, left and right, covered Congressman John Kline’s town hall meeting last night. 

The Twin Cities’ fringe left, convinced that Kline was shunning his constituents (because his office didn’t kowtow to the demands of a group of stalkers “demonstrators” who conducted several de facto sit-ins at his office), showed up in force.  Some of the best of the Twin Cities’ conservative blog community showed up to keep an eye on the “demonstrators” (and, as it happens, the leftybloggers).

Joe Tucci of Kool Aid Report was there, and provided the first report I saw of the evening’s tempest in a teapot:

740 – Gold star Mom just [smacked down the assembled lefties]. Half the place gave here a standing O. Half did not. Guess which half sat on their asses. Watch for the footage (and why the assholes patriotic Americans that didn’t stand, didn’t applaud her son are dregs) on residual froces tomorrow.

815 – LIBERAL LIES!!!! Minnesota Monitor monitor sez:

Reporter [heh -ed.] Jeff Fecke has called in from the town hall meeting sponsored by Rep. John Kline (R – Minn.). Although wifi access has been enabled, [lie – it has not been enabled – we checked. -ed.] Kline’s staff has asked that there be no live blogging of the event.He asked no such thing. They merely said that the school’s wifi was off. Fecke playing loose with facts? Like that never happens.He asked no such thing. They merely said that the school’s wifi was off. Fecke playing loose with facts? Like that never happens.He asked no such thing. They merely said that the school’s wifi was off. Fecke playing loose with facts? Like that never happens.He asked no such thing. They merely said that the school’s wifi was off. Fecke playing loose with facts? Like that never happens.

He asked no such thing. They merely said that the school’s wifi was off. Fecke playing loose with facts? Like that never happens.

Curious, I ran over to Minnesota Monitor (a regional rent-a-blog supported by the Washington-based “Center for Independent Media”, which used to share office space with George Soros’ “Media Matters for America”, but which denies any connection or funding from Soros, even though I’m not aware that the group has ever responded to any questions about its funding with anything but a giggle and a change of subject) to see what the fuss was about. 

MinMon’s rent-a-blogger Jeff Fecke, who wrote an otherwise fairly dispassionate account of the event, had this to say about the purported “restrictions”:

Minnesota Monitor had intended to liveblog the event.  Unfortunately, while some conservative bloggers were allowed internet access, Kline staffers informed this reporter that I would not be able to take advantage of internet access that had been offered me after inquiry with the Lakeville school district.

The Kline camp also declined to let news media hook into the auditorium audio feed, and did not allow anyone in to set up until ten minutes before the meeting was to start.

Michael Brodkorb responded by posting the rules for the event, that WiFi was not at the moment available, and that he…:

…walked into the auditorium, found a place to sit and used my Verizon Wireless Air-Card to access the Internet.  It is was not the responsibility of Lakeville South High School (the taxpayers) or Congressman Kline’s office (the taxpayers) to provide me with access to the Internet…

To prevent being scooped on future live-blogging events, I would suggest liberal bloggers buy air-cards, rather than creating conspiracy theories that  “somce conservative bloggers were allowed internet access”

And Kevin Ecker clarified:

I spoke with several members of the Kline staff and it was never related that there would be no liveblogging. Just that while the school had wifi, it wasn’t turned on. And I verified this with my laptop….which I had out, open and turned on. Plus both Joe Tucci and MDE were liveblogging next to me. Nobody questioned it. 

 Which introduces the question; when will the “journalists” – as the MinMon people claim to be – either:

  • reveal the source that told them that live-blogging was “prohibited”
  • elaborate on their claim of discrimination (“…some conservative bloggers were allowed…Kline staffers informed this reporter that I would not be able to take advantage of internet“)
  • Admit that they cried “wolf” when they should have cried “we didn’t do our technical homework”

Note to the MinMon kids from someone who’s actually worked for a [bad] living as a reporter; nobody is required to kiss your ass just because you show up at an event claiming to be a reporter.  Getting let into events late and being barred from PA system feeds is hardly unusual, and rarely political, and never an impediment to covering a story.

And a separate note from someone who has worked for a [equally bad] living as a broadcast producer, covering news, sports and special events; your failure to have a backup plan for a technical hitch doesn’t constitute a “conspiracy”.  When you are trying to cover an event and you are relying on any form of technology to help get the story out, you must always assume that the technology will fail, and have a back-up plan.  Michael Brodkorb had a technical workaround – his Verizon card.  Other conservative bloggers took their notes and waited until after the event to upload and publish; good enough is good enough!

Grow up.

After complaining about being repressed by the injustice inherent in the system, Fecke reported that the crowd – on both sides – seemed fairly restrained and civil.   

Kevin Ecker of Eckernet was also there, and had a slightly different take:

Several moments stuck out, some of them in retrospect, some of them I know even before were going to be memorable. One in particular was when a woman got to speak and started by saying she was a Gold Star Mother. I couldn’t help but wonder how many of these hippies knew the difference between a “Gold Star” mother and a “Blue Star” mother. So I knew where this was going and wow, she hit the ball out of the park with her speech, and when she was done quite a few people got up to applaud the sacrificies of her and her son. Not the lefties of course, they just sat there sulking.

Retired Lt. Col. Joe Repya…called out the lefties in the audience, declaring that they should be ashamed of themselves for not standing up and applauding for a Gold Star Mother and her deceased son.

More from Ecker, who opined…:

Somewhere in there [a woman who was a detractor of Kline’s] objected to being called unpatriotic (nobody called her that…it’s liberal talking points), and then called Kline dispicable. Kline waited until she was done and said he understood why she was upset if her patriotism was questioned, but that he also gets upset when he is called dispicable.

Fair?  Balanced?  You be the judge.

The Lady Logician from Ladies’ Logic was there, and promises both photos and a longer post.  But she notes:

Both sides were fairly equally represented. The town hall meeting was open to ALL issues so we did get a couple of intelligent questions about issues other than Iraq, but we all knew why the majority was there and the questions reflected it.We heard from the usual suspects on the left but we also got to hear from a Gold Star Mom (Merrilee Carlson) and from Powerlines Sgt Thole from Chaska. Sgt. Thole’s rep read from his 3/17 Star Tribune editorial and informed Congressman Kline that they were going to present his office first with the Appeal for Courage Petition (if you are active duty you need to check the site out).

Stay tuned; I have a hunch this is just getting rolling.  

And thanks, and good job, to Joe Tucci, Kevin Ecker, Lady Logician, Andy Aplikowski, and even Jeff Fecke.  I mean, I’d be wrong not to thank a guy for serving up a high, down-the-middle ‘tater like that…

6 thoughts on “Democracy – and Free Journalism – In Action

  1. Actually Kevin was kind to the lefty. When Congressman Kline made his remarks (about understand why she got upset because he got upset at being called despicable) the lady literally jumped 2 rows of people to snatch the microphone away from the staffer holding it and she was SCREAMING “I said no such thing” at which point several Conservates started yelling back at her “Yes you did” and “Sit down and let him speak”. I was taking notes fast and furious and this was one thing I intend to delve a little deeper into.

    That was probably the most surreal moment of the whole night.


  2. Oh and I was told before the event that WiFi would not be available and that live blogging could be done if you had a wireless card (which sadly I do not). Thus I had to resort to “old school” note taking… I have not taken that many notes since college and I do not care to think about how long ago THAT was…..


  3. I thought the highlight of the evening, though there were several, was John Kline’s almost-offhand comment that “We should not be making it illegal for our troops to win.”

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