Yesterday, I tackled a Strib op-ed by Jim Backstrom. Backstrom, the Dakota County Attorney, wrote the latest in a long string of fact-challenged diatribes against the rights of the rigorously-law-abiding gun owner.
Now, Backstrom – who is not just an elected public official, but one in charge of enforcing the law by prosecuting accused criminals in Dakota County – has been misrepresenting facts when it comes to the law-abiding gun owner for years.
Of course, we do have a First Amendment. Freedom of Speech means freedom to lie like a sack of crap. And as a general rule, I support the idea that the best way to respond to bad, stupid, misleading, lying speech is by responding with the truth, and more of it. And I’m not changing that.
But I do have two questions:
Professionalism: If a doctor were to go in the Star/Tribune and not just declare that, research notwithstanding, smoking cigarettes is in fact good for you, what would happen? Would she be castigated? Shunned by her fellow physicians? Accused of professional malfeasance? Have her records gone over by dogs trained to sniff out whackdoodelry?
Have her professionalism questioned for giving advice to the public that is directly counter to fact?
So why is it that Jim Backstrom – the chief prosecutor of one of Minnesota’s larger counties – is allowed, as a matter of professional integrity, to misrepresent Minnesota criminal law? Because as I pointed out yesterday, that’s exactly what he did in yesterday’s op-ed, and in many before it.
Is there no requirement, legal or professional, that lawyers, especially lawyers who are public officials and officers of the court, refrain from actively and blatantly misrepresenting the laws they are charged with enforcing?
(Of course there is no legal requirement; I’d suspect that the same court decisions that allow cops to lie to suspects to trick them into giving information applies to county attorneys lying in the newspaper to the sheeple they’re responsible for herding).
Shouldn’t there be?
I mean, other than the next Dakota County attorney’s election? Although as a point of principle, DakCo residents should take umbrage at a county attorney who lies about the law. Even you liberals; if he misrepresents laws about self-defense, who’s to say the next one won’t be, I dunno, Voter ID?
The Same Old Song To The Same Old Beat: And yet again, the Strib prints without question or serious comment the opinion of someone who is simply empirically wrong about the subject. On subject after subject, it’s been the Strib’s op-ed stock in trade for decades – and on none more than on the law-abiding citizens’ right to defend themselves.
The Strib continues to print the fact-less ravings of Heather Martens, Wes Skoglund, David Lillehaug, and of course Backstrom, without fact-check, without “gatekeeping”, without question, apparently for no other reason than (save Martens) they are big important (liberal) public officials.
Now, does anyone think the Strib would continue to publish, without question, op-eds from the doctor that claimed smoking was good for you? Or would the circular-file his submissions after a while?
If that doctor were a powerful DFLer, apparently not.