BoCo

I was remiss (overwhelmed with life, really) in not noting last week the big local media news – Bob Collins of MPR has retired after 27 years at the Taj Ma Klling and 45 in radio all together.

Bob worked at MPR, so it’s an absolute given we’d disagree on…well, most things. We sparred a time or two over at the “NewsCut” blog he ran for many years over at MPR. Which says something – Bob would spar. Most MPR figures hid behind the organization’s magisterial facade and didn’t bother engaging the peasantry.

Not Bob. He was the only MPR staffer – and one of very few mainstream media figures – to ever appear at a MOB party, back in blogging’s heyday. The image of Collins talking, I think, sports with Gary Miller was one of the highlights of that whole time of my history doing this blog thing.

And I would be lying if I didn’t admit that he wrote two of the things that I’ve been proudest of in all my years of doing this.

In 2007, I wrote a piece o the death of Bo Diddley, about which Bob wrote:

Mitch Berg, author of the Shot in the Dark blog, pens a tribute (by the way, to see why Berg is, perhaps, the best blog writer in Minnesota when it comes to music, see his post on Bruce Springsteen.), invoking some long-forgotten images of when rock married politics, as in the 1989 George Bush inaugural

I’ve gotten a lot of compliments writing this blog – notably, the fact that so many of you spend time reading it every day – but yeah, that one coming out of the blue stuck with me.

And the next year, during the run-up to the Republican National Convention in Saint Paul, I walked from my job at the time over to a news conference held by a group of groups that were planning the demonstrations at the convention. Collins took up the scene:

What about what most people think when they hear a term like militant, violence, for example?
“The violence that I’m worried about is the violence that’s being carried out in Iraq right now,” she answered, which isn’t really an answer.
“You’re not answering my question,” a blogger said, uttering the five words that mark a great political journalist.
“I know,” she said, adding that she doesn’t consider the blockades being planned — allegedly — by other groups “violence.”
“That’s not what we’re planning,” she said.

I was the blogger, natch. And while I’ve never been a “political journalist” – I’ve always preferred “irascible peasant” – I always took that as a great compliment.

Anyway, good luck out there, Bob.

11 thoughts on “BoCo

  1. He wrote an excellent blog. He had excellent news sense generally, and a good editorial eye. He has some fine empathic communitarian sensibilities. His excessive, virtue signaling anti-racism always tone policed what should be areas of legit conversation. On the topic of climate change, same. He is an anti-gun know nothing and a pro-abortion zealot. he’s also got a douche atheist misanthrope thing that could discern from time to time.

  2. Most of the time he allowed comments.

    Which is better than 98% of the of the MPR online staff.

    He did shut them down on occasion when he didn’t want the narrative challenged.

    He always found great stories of average people doing great things. A pleasure to read.

    MPR will miss him. “Comments are closed” will be the norm from now on.

  3. Back in the early 2000’s, MPR hosted an online forum. It was quite different from the current form, more open and freewheeling and if memory serves me correctly, the “comments closed” device was never used.

    The balance between liberals and conservatives was very close to 50/50 and although people tended to get obnoxious from time to time, we all got along. So much so, that at one point, Bob asked if a few of us wanted to go flying with him.

    Other than news, Bob’s passions were baseball and flying. He was even building his own airplane from a kit.

    We met at Flying Cloud airport and flew to Mankato then Redwing and back to Flying Cloud. In the process, we took it low over my house.

    Damned fun.

    I don’t know what happened to MPR but I can’t listen to it anymore. It has always been liberal and you had to take that with a grain of salt. When I volunteered to man the phones during the pledge drives, people complained about it – but then it really got bad – a kind of insular arrogance controls the place now and it is impossible keep MPR on the dial for more than a few minutes at a time.

  4. Y’know, back about the time I got to know Bob, MPR actually made an effort to get more than one side of a story. Some of us bloggers were on the rolodexes at MPR, at least on subjects we knew about (which was the whole point), and they did an honestly decent job.

    I get the impression their key demographic didn’t want balance, and what they say is what they want come pledge time.

  5. At least in my opinion, what happened to MPR is the same thing that has happened to the media in general, especially the news, late night television and comedy. It evolved from entertaining the world to molding it.

    These days, people who listen to public radio are the educated, the sophisticated and the fashionable. They are the people who have vision and set the standard for what we all must aspire to. In short, they lead the way.

    One can understand why they resent and loath those who fail to follow.

  6. Oh! Well if Collins paid attention to, and wrote nice things about Mitch he couldn’t be the thin skinned, self righteous, leftist twaat I thought he was.

    I somehow got the impression that his job was to sniff out the choicest bits of leftist degeneracy for his troup of trained gerbils to coo about, and to maintain strict ideological discipline in the feedback.

    I stand corrected.

  7. Swifty, the world is not binary. One can be both a “thin skinned, self righteous, leftist twaat” and write good things about someone they don’t agree with.

    It is one of the great paradoxes of life.

  8. Oh! Well if Collins paid attention to, and wrote nice things about Mitch he couldn’t be the thin skinned, self righteous, leftist twaat I thought he was.

    I somehow got the impression that his job was to sniff out the choicest bits of leftist degeneracy for his troup of trained gerbils to coo about, and to maintain strict ideological discipline in the feedback.

    I stand corrected.

    Things have changed quite a lot in the last decade. Once Obama and his Chicago cabal got hold of the Democratic Party, any chances of amity went away. Those guys don’t brook any dissent. And when Trump had the temerity to not accept the boot on his throat, it got even more ugly. It’s not going to end well.

  9. Sorry Greg, I must disagree.

    If you align with people who think sexual deviency and mental disease are not only deserving of special privilege, if you think the US Constitution is a set of suggestions that should be reinterpreted to suit the whims of pop culture, if you think it’s our duty not only to accept low IQ refugees from every 3rd world shithole on the planet, but to subsidize their lives, if you think Western traditions and culture need to be wiped from memory…well, then your not the “American” I’ll be serving on a gun crew with.

    There’s a right, and there’s wrong. Sanity and insanity. Totalitarianism and Freedom…It’s as binary as anything gets.

  10. “If you align with people who think sexual deviency and mental disease are not only deserving of special privilege, but should be the template for society…”

  11. Swiftee, I have met people who believe in all the right things but are complete a**holes and I wouldn’t trust them to hold my ice cream cone at the Dairy Queen while I dig for change.

    I have also met people who believe in all the wrong things but I would trust them with my life and those of the people I love.

    Humans compartmentalize their lives and it is entirely possible to put religion and politics in one container and character in another.

    I think our current president best illustrates that. Politically, he is a gem, personally, he is an a**hole.

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