Just So We’re Clear…

…I’m pretty sure the Secretary of Transportation is one of the Cabinet offices, like Education and Energy, that we could get rid of tomorrow and nobody would notice.

But with that said:

If Trump were still president, and Elaine Chao were sitting on the sidelines during a national crisis squarely involving (for better or worse) her corner of the bureaucracy, I’m pretty sure we’d be hearing about it.

By the way – during the nomination process, it seemed Buttigieg’s main qualification was that he was kind of a train geek as a kid. Too bad he wasn’t a ship geek, like me (and most rural North Dakotans).

From The “Things Only Idiots Didn’t Know” Files

Even liberal Democrats are figuring out the “Moderate Joe Biden” image was a bill of goods. A canard. A gull for the gullible.

Baked wind.

…when Cillizza, of all people, devotes a column to “the utter radicalness of Joe Biden’s presidency,” maybe it’s time to acknowledge that Biden is trying to implement extremist policies considerably outside the mainstream. Biden’s initiatives, writes Cillizza, amount to a “massive outlay of federal spending” that “will add massive sums to the federal budget deficit.”

Of course, Cilizza was one of the people behind building the myth in the first place – meaning he’s either a PR flack or an idiot.

I Don’t Believe In Karma…

…but I believe what goes around, comes around.

Dr. Ana Navaro, celebrity physician of sorts, spends months wishing ghastly ill on the unvaccinated.

Dr. Ana Navaro on The View, last week:

Hope she gets better soon.

And yes, that means I am a better person than her.

Coattails

A “Minnesota” Poll – which ,as we’ve noted in the past, has historically favored Democrats, sometimes to an absurd extent with deeply suspicious and one-sided patterns, even after numerous reboots and changes in management and pollsters – shows Governor Walz under water:

The crosstabs are even more ominous for Walz, and show President Biden to be a bit of a drag down-ticket.

Fearless predictions:

  • The Strib, Channels 4, 9 and 11, and the rest of the media will switch into full PR mode for the DFL for the next 13 months. Indeed, they have; Esme Murphy’s interview with Jennifer Carnahan – complete with the sort of on-air toenail-painting she normally reserves for DFLers – can be seen as nothing but an attempt to keep the MNGOP even more divided and impotent than normal.
  • MPR will be a little more artful about it – but the output from the DFL’s opposition research will get prominent placement.
  • And a quick reminder to Tom Hauser, perhaps the only genuinely detached journalist in Twin Cities TV or print news: drapes don’t have shoes.

I’m going to put a pin in this.

Selective

Iowa governor Kim Reynolds’s approval rating has been moving up well into positive territory.

Current polls in the Des Moines register show 53% of Iowans approve of her job, while 43 do not – which, at +10, pretty decent ratio in this very polarized society.

The article in the Des Moines Register is actually fairly comprehensive about reporting the story.

With one exception.

Go ahead, read it.

In what paragraph this very favorable story is the governors party mentioned?

Answer below the jump.

Continue reading

Well, Lookie Here

Rep. Matt Gaetz exonerated of allegations of sex trafficking.

He was the victim of an extortion attempt:

Florida Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz has been exonerated after 62-year-old Stephen Alford was recently indicted by the Department of Justice for extortion.

“Stephen M. Alford did knowingly and willfully devise, and intent to devise, a scheme to defraud and for obtaining money and property by means of material false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises, and for the promise of executing such scheme, did cause, and attempt to cause, a wire communication to be transmitted in interstate commerce,” the indictment states.

So, all you Democrats in the comment section (you know who you are) who were measuring the drapes in a Supermax cell for Gaetz? Anything to say?

By the way – Rep. Gaetz’s father, Don…

…was a student of my father’s, back in Rugby, ND, back when I was a toddler.

I’m not gonna claim it gives me absolute moral authority or anything.

Surprising Nobody

This blog has accepted as a truism that a functioning representative democracy needs institutions that The People can trust – law enforcement, the judiciary, and the news media – to keep all the other institutions accountable, and thus allowing the democracy to survive.

So in a sense the fact that National Public Radio is beginning to drop the pretense of “objectivity” might almost be seen as good news:

According to the new guidelines:

NPR editorial staff may express support for democratic, civic values that are core to NPR’s work, such as, but not limited to: the freedom and dignity of human beings, the rights of a free and independent press, the right to thrive in society without facing discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual identity, disability, or religion.

NPR’s public editor, Kelly McBride, explains that the guidelines allow journalists to participate in such causes as Black Lives Matter demonstrations or Pride parades, though they have to discuss specifics with their supervisors.

But not – one recalls when listening to Lulu Garcia Navarro plunking generous helpings of her point of view into her “Journalism” – the audience.

Ruparing

I’d like to claim this as a late addition to the DFL Dictionary – but alas, it’s actually from the Urban Dictionary:

Rupar (Verb): To purposely (sic) mislead. To completely mischaracterize a statement or video by omitting context.

Yesterday, at a “press conference” on the Capitol steps, as embattled representative John “Burn Hugo Down” Thompson, the DFLer from either Saint Paul, Superior or someplace else, was promising not to resign, a woman – “Tammy Jo”, we’re told – drove “onto the Capitol Mall” (looks like the upper parking lot to me) and waved a Trump flag.

KARE11’s John Croman – who is distinguised by being “Not Quite Esme Murphy” – tweeted what would appear to be a troubling outburst:

Now, my first thought was that “Tammy Jo” was likely a DFL plant, a DFLer from Woodbury, sent to lend Thompson and his press conference a cleansing blast of the unambiguous victimhood that is his only line. That, I surmised, would explain why not a single member of our city’s press corps – the people who ran down “Umbrella Man” and his life story run down while the rubble was still burning last year – has come up with a complete identification of “Tammy Jo”.

I’m sure it’ll happen.

But even given the in-the-bagginess of the Twin Cities media, that seemed a bit of a stretch.

Still – it’s not merely the Twin Cities media; it’s KARE11, the station that led the local TV market to “Woke”-ness. There’s got to be a DFL-upsucking angle, I thought. I mean, this wasn’t a “hate crime” per se, but Berg’s 20th Law seems to be proximate: “All incidents of “hate speech” not captured on video (involving being delivered by someone proven not to be a ringer) shall be assumed to be hoaxes until proven otherwise.” There might need to be an Esme Murphy Corollary: “Hoaxes, and/or DFL PR operations”.

Because the DFL had a need, and Croman fulfilled it.

Leave it to David Steinberg, who on issue after issue – Keith Ellison, Ilhan Omar, the riots, the Minneapolis City Council – does the reporting the Minnesota Media can’t be bothered, or haven’t been told by Ken Martin they’re allowed, to do.

So – what really happened?

Aaron Rupar isn’t the disease. Coming from the Twin Cities media scene as he did, he’s just a symptom.

Noxious Brew

Did the management at “Black Rifle Coffee Company” – the gleefully un-PC, over-the-top God Guns ‘n Guts-oriented, veteran owned coffee company – go “woke”?

You be the judge:

[CEO Evan Hafer] quickly debunked the notion that he made derogatory remarks about BRCC’s customers or conservatives and then proceeded to explain how the New York Times deliberately twisted his words and took them out of context. According to Hafer, his conversation with the NYT Magazine reporter was in the context of racism and anti-Semitism in America in light of Hafer being the target of an organized attack last year because of “my last name and my heritage.”

“We were purely discussing that,” Hafer says, and he was not conflating those groups with conservatives.

“The New York Times, as we know, the chances of them being objective were fairly slim, but we gave them the opportunity,” he added. He went on to mention veterans issues he hoped to bring attention to. But, unfortunately, the New York Times chose to go with “the salacious headline” about the company instead.

Hafer reiterated that racists and anti-Semites have no place in his company.

“I really need you guys to get the facts straight on this, which is: There’s no chance in hell I’m gonna talk s–t about conservatives to the New York Times. It’s just not gonna happen.”

You live and you learn. That’s my take.

Steven Kruiser is a little less forgiving…of Hafer:

How long do the mainstream media hacks have to keep exposing themselves as frothing-at-the-mouth haters of conservatives before conservatives get it? If Hafer truly thought that the Times was going to give him a fair shake and that this would be a good marketing opportunity, then he’s too monumentally stupid to be around anything that isn’t toddler-proofed. It’s like walking into a biker bar while wearing a tuxedo and being surprised you got your a** kicked after you called all of them wusses. It’s just super easy to predict how some things are going to work out.

Conservatives shouldn’t be treating The New York Times and its ilk with any kind of courtesy. Unless you want to be a turncoat, it’s not going to work out well for you. Don’t hang out with an enemy who spends all day pointing a knife at you then turn away and act surprised when you get stabbed in the back.

And here’s the most important lesson for conservatives: don’t pull the knife out, hand it back to your enemy, then turn away again.

Well, Kruiser’s gonna kruis. At the risk of giving Hafer too much credit – something I tend to be wont to do – he’s a businessman from Utah, not breezy media analyst; there’s a first time for everyone.

Not saying that stands up – Black Rifle is pretty savvy, generally.

Further evidence for my eternal advice – if you’re a conservative, any conservative, and the mainstream media are interviewing you for any reason, record the interaction. Every single time. If you’re misquoted, wrenched out of context, played for a patsy – as is likely in many corners of the media these days – you’ll have evidence.

Privacy

Esme “Rabid Bulldog” Murphy, the dowager dean of Minnesota political reporters and tenacious, utterly impartial reporter on all things political in the state of Minnesota, who has never, ever been fairly or accurately accused of softballing DFLers, twote in re Rep. John “Burn Hugo Down” Thompson and allegations that he snuck out of a not-generally accessible back stairway from Minneapolis City Hall to avoid reporters who, to my amazement, seem curious about his verbal claims of racism and written but unacknowledge claims of multiple residences:

Well, that settles that.

If there’s one thing no DFL pol ever needs to worry about, it’s Esme Murphy violating their privacy. Or asking them anything more involved than their favorite flavor of ice cream.

But let’s pump the brakes – I’m all for respecting peoples’ privacy.

With that in mind, all I really want to know is, which of Thompson’s residences should I plan on not protesting at – the one on the East Side of Saint Paul, the one in Superior, some other residence not yet publicly discussed, or any or all of the above?

Thanks.

A Bit Of A Reach

NPR (I listen so you don’t have to) has a story on Paris’s crack problem – which, after a year of lockdown, has gone pretty public.

Near the end of the piece, the reporter reassures the NPR audience that at least there isn’t any gun violence, due to France’s strict gun controls.

Thing is, even in the US, guns and all, crack addicts rarely shoot each other. Oh, they sometimes use guns to rob people to get money and fence-able goods for their next fix – but the NPR piece doesn’t favor us with anybody sight as to how French baseheads pay for their buzz. Given hiw defenseless French Gun control, leaves citizens, there’s less need to use a gun to rob people, but again, the report goes into no details.

No, in the US it’s gangs, taking and defending turf and herding beeves, thst do the shooting. And it seems French gangs don’t have that much trouble getting guns.

There are just different priorities so far.

Let’s Cool Things Down

SCENE: A conference room at “Minnesotans for All Progressive Causes” – a non-profit group financed by progressives with deep pockets – for the weekly message coordination meeting.

MyLyssa Silberman, reporter for National Public Radio’s Saint Paul bureau, covering the “Fake News” and “Diversity” beats, waits in the conference room along with Betty Rae Torstengaardsen, senior staff writer at the (possibly fictional) progressive blog “MinnesotaLiberalAlliance.Blogspot.com“, sit, along with Mesme PHURPHY, elite objective political reporter from WCCO-TV They nervously check their watches.

Eventually, Gretel Stromberg Executive Director of “Minnesotans United for All Progressive Causes”, and Inge “Lucky” Carroll, Executive Director of “Minnesotans United for All Progressive Causes”, enter the room.

CARROLL: (Looks at Silberman and Torstengaardsen and Phurphy, clears throat).

SILBERMAN, PHURPHY AND TORSTENGAARDSEN: (quickly rise from their seats)

STOMBERG: Be seated. (All sit, with STROMBERG at the head of the table). Americans are rejecting the term “insurrection” to describe the January 6 riot. We need to come up with another term.

PHURPHY: How about ‘genocide’?

CARROLL: Love the energy, Mesme, but it might be a bit of an overreach.

TORSTENGAARDSEN: I mean, ‘riot’ pretty much sums it up.

(STROMBERG and CARROLL cough nervously).

TORSTENGAARDSEN: Er…never mind.

SILBERMAN: ‘Coup’ usually implies the elites seizing control. ‘Insurrection’ implies a sustained, military campaign, like the Viet Cong or the IRA.

STROMBERG: I’ll go with “Putsch“.

(The three “journalists” sit, somewhat agape. Finally, SILBERMAN speaks)

SILBERMAN: So – a term that, outside a very thin film of political science and history academics, refers in American English solely to Hitler’s abortive 1922 Munich coup attempt?

(The three “journalists” look at each other)

PHURPHY: Works for me.

TORSTENGAARDSEN: Yep.

SILBERMAN: I hear and obey.

STROMBERG: (abruptly rising) Make it so. (Leaves the room with CARROLL).

And SCENE

The Memory And Perceptions Holes

A friend of the blog emails re what’s going on in Uptown Minneapolis:

If the local media doesn’t report on what’s happening does that mean it doesn’t exist?

As far as political life and the institutional history of Minneapolis at this point in history observed by our political class?

Rhetorical question, right?

Urban Progressive Privilege means never having to feel awkward about the devastation your policies inevitably lead to.

Pravda-ish

How far through the looking glass are we?

I thought I would live to see a lot of things.

One of them was never “Matt Taibb as a principled dissenter from the main stream media is narrative”.

And yet, here we are. In this case, discussing his collection of Cold War Soviet newspapers:

Reality in Soviet news was 100% binary, with all people either heroes or villains, and the villains all in league with one another (an SR was no better than a fascist or a “Right-Trotskyite Bandit,” a kind of proto-horseshoe theory). Other ideas were not represented, except to be attacked and deconstructed. Also, since anything good was all good, politicians were not described as people at all but paragons of limitless virtue — 95% of most issues of Pravda or Izvestia were just names of party leaders surrounded by lists of applause-words, like “glittering,” “full-hearted,” “wise,” “mighty,” “courageous,” “in complete moral-political union with the people,” etc.

Some of the headlines in the U.S. press lately sound suspiciously like this kind of work:

— Biden stimulus showers money on Americans, sharply cutting poverty

— Champion of the middle class comes to the aid of the poor

— Biden’s historic victory for America 

The most Soviet of the recent efforts didn’t have a classically Soviet headline. “Comedians are struggling to parody Biden. Let’s hope this doesn’t last,” read the Washington Post opinion piece by Richard Zoglin, arguing that Biden is the first president in generations who might be “impervious to impressionists.” Zoglin contended Biden is “impregnable” to parody, his voice being too “devoid of obvious quirks,” his manner too “muted and self-effacing” to offer comedians much to work with. He was talking about this person.

Forget that the “impregnable to parody” pol spent the last campaign year jamming fingers in the sternums of voters, challenging them to pushup contests, calling them “lying dog-faced pony soldiers,” and forgetting what state he was in. Biden, on the day Zoglin ran his piece, couldn’t remember the name of his Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and referred to the Department of Defense as “that outfit over there”:

The whole thing is worth a read, unless you want to cling to any illusions that the “elite” media is anything like what you were taught in Journalism 101.

Two Rules, One Narrative

If government tells you something, distrust but verify. And then, usually, distrust some more.

If the media tells you something – at least, anything about an event that is especially socially fractious – distrust, and verify even harder. And, as always, usually wind up distrusting even more.

If any of Big Left’s social hangers on declares some thing with immense servitude? Distrust, verify, and, well, you know the drill.

Last week was the fifth anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting.

“Perish the thought, it couldn’t possibly have been a deranged man tied to and eliminationist sect of Islamism“, Big Media media assured us. “It was an anti-LGBTQ hate crime, nothing more, nothing less“.

Which is how the media and Biden administration have been treating it, over this past weekend

Distrust. Verify.

Continue distrusting.

Desperately Seeking

Twin Cities media – in this case, the “Minnesota Reformer”, aka “MN Monitor 4.0” – is apparently still hoping for the FBI to charge “Umbrella Man” with destroying or damaging 700 buildings last year.

I’m sorry. That was snarky.

I’ll try again.

They are apparently still awaiting formal confirmation that Umbrella Man led a horde of “white supremacists” who managed to damage 700 buildings, while leaving not so much as a single swastika or “14 Words” refernce – being simultaneously a bunch of brain-damaged losers and operatives with Mossad-level fieldcraft skills. .

Updates as the situation warrants.

From The BlueAnon Archives: The Phantom Menace

To: Jon Collins, Minnesota Public Radio News
From: Mitch Berg, Irasible Peasant, critic of BlueAnon
Re: It’s Been A Year

Mr. Collins,

Last year – literally, a year ago last Wednesday – you sent out a message to MPR’s mailing lists asking if anyone had seen “white supremacists” during the civil unrest of the previous weeks.

I know this sounds crazy. But it’s 2020. And I’m working on story now about white supremacists coming to Minneapolis to foment race war under cover of the protests. I need your help, and your friends help. Please refer anyone with real, credible info (not rumor or speculation) or sources to me at (I’m gonna redact that)

As we go on a year after that request, and a week after President Biden reiterated the nearly two decade old claim that “white supremacist terror” is the greatest danger facing this country, it’s. probably not unreasonable to ask if you found anything.

A not-entirely-casual search of MPR News’s archives indicates “no”.

Any chance we could get an update?

That is all.

(I sent Collins an email. Since have it on absolutely reliable sources the management at MPR News has told their staff not to engage with peasants, I’d be amazed if I got a response).

Curiouser

Another friend of the blog emails:

Funny, why would this article mention “ghost guns”?

It relates to the San Jose shooter – who showed ample sign of being completely, although not legally provably, insane.

And no sign of having used a “ghost gun”.

Build It And They Will Come

Almost 35 years ago, reacting to the Democrat bias in the media, Rush Limbaugh brought fearless, joyful paleoconservatism [1]. Spends thirty years dominating the ratings.

Decades ago, reacting to “liberal” slant from the Big Three and CNN, Rupert Murdoch creates Fox News [2]. It dominates cable ratings for decades.

2021: reacting to a landscape of deadly dull, smugly “progressive” late night hosts that all have different names but may as well be reading off the same deadly dull script [3], Fox Launches Gutfeld.

What’ll be happening in decades? Time will tell, but the roll-out has been pretty spectacular. I’ve added emphasis:

Gutfeld!” averaged 1.6 million viewers for the week ending May 14, beating Kimmel on ABC and Fallon on NBC, though it trailed CBS’s “Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” Nielsen data shows.

May 13 was the Fox show’s best night so far, with 1.8 million viewers, placing second only to Colbert’s show, which drew 1.9 million viewers. Gutfeld’s show beat Colbert slightly in the key 25- to 54-year-old demographic.

The free market will provide.

Which is why the Harris Administration is trying to hard to kill it.

[1] “But but but but he was so hateful!” He was no such thing. You’re projecting.

[2] “But but but but but but they’re teh biased!”. In terms of news coverage? Less so than CNN. In terms of opinion programming? Who cares (other than “you, because you’re threatened by dissent and have no productive, adult way to deal with it”, I mean).

[3] The fact that Stephen Colbert has a late night show at all shows that the late-night comedy gene pool is very, very shallow. The fact that Samantha Bee and Jimmy Kimmel have late-night shows tells us that gene poll is inflatable and gets filled with a hose.

The New Rules

Remember when there was an unstated rule, when following news coverage of a crime in the Metro – if they didn’t mention the offender’s ethnicity or show a photo, it actually answered the question?

New addition to the rule: if the story pertains to criminal justice’s response to last year’s riots, and the offender’s ideology – “Boogaloo”, “proud boy”, whatever – isn’t mentioned, you know by omission whose “side” they were on.

Case in point.

Prove me wrong.

The Great Shun

There was a time when news outlets in the Twin Cities would, on occasion and when it was germane to the story, reach out to people on the political right. It even got to the point, in the last aughts, when lowly lil’ ol’ me was getting occasional calls from Channel 4, MPR and WCCO Radio for a grassroots conservative perspective on stories. This hit a peak during the Tea Party years…

…and then, abruptly, stopped.

We’ll come back to that.

The “point/counterpoint” feature was, if not a staple, at least a fairly normal part of American media life not all that long ago. Before “Crossfire” – which, I’m surprised and pained to see, has been gone for over 15 years – there were others; the earliest I can remember was a weekly bit on “Sixty Minutes”, “Point/Counterpoint”, with liberal Shana Alexander and James Kilpatrick – two articulate spokespeople for two diametrically opposed viewpoints.

Of course, CNN’s Crossfire was the biggest of them all. The original cast – Pat Buchanan and Tom Leyden – was the best, and sometimes created some fantastic TV – and I say this as someone who was pretty much a Democrat back then, although I hadn’t really thought that much about it (which makes me amply qualified to be a Democrat today). The most memorable bit, in those days when “white supremacist” groups operated in the open and were at least an order of magnitude larger than they are today, was an interview with a uniformed American Nazi. And Leyden, the show’s liberal and a World War 2 veteran, opened the segment by saying “My biggest regret in life was that I didn’t kill more of you back during the war” as the normally un-out-irascible Buchanan looked on, his jaw momentarily agape.

It’s a scene you wouldn’t get today – partly because any notion of patriotism and objective good and evil is gone from the left…

…and partly because Crossfire is long gone.

Now, according to Ben Domenech at Federalist, it was killed by Jon Stewart, who during a fabled appearance in 2004 completely trashed the premise of the show:

Readers will recall this was the infamous “hurting America” clip, where Stewart crapped all over the very concept of a debate show that paired left and right as co-equals in a running debate over the direction of America.

Stewart, who’s a fan of uninformed hubristic rants generally but will put the clown nose back on the minute you call him on it, went on a jeremiad against hosts Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala as representing the worst aspects of American politics. But looking back on the ramifications of his comments — “Crossfire” was canceled months later — what do we see? There is today essentially no program on all of cable television that pairs left and right perspectives on camera as co-equal hosts, allowed to engage in free and open debate about the topics of the day.

Domenech’s premise – that event was the beginning of the end of actual debate in the media:

So we should ask: Is that a good thing? Is the media landscape Stewart helped create better for it, where Brian Williams regularly engages in Stewart-like snark (he called Ron Johnson a Russian asset the other day for reading a Federalist article into the record) and Tucker Carlson is the biggest name as a solo act in cable news?

In a context in which so much ink is dedicated to the concept of silos and the elimination of common space between right and left — and I mean the real right and left, not David Brooks and Maureen Dowd — do we honestly want a world where there is no space where these warring sides meet to do rhetorical battle?

The answer is: of course not. It’s much, much worse. The inability to have a space where such debates play out, and the inability of existing entities to provide such a space, has led directly to a degradation of our political conversation and a lack of familiarity with even the most basic version of the other side’s perspective on the world.

Domenech may have a point – the event was certainly the beginning of the end on cable.

But the stifling of actual co-equal debate began much earlier. I recall the woman who edited the “Letters to the Editor” page at the Strib, back before the internet made everyone an LTE editor, and then before social media made us all stupid, describing on a talk show how she made sure she picked only the dumb voices on some subjects, like gun control and abortion. You know which side she favored.

But it’s become absolutely airtight. As I noted way up above, local media made a point of at least acknowledging some sort of opposing opinion. During the run-up to the Republican National Convenion in 2007, I got invited on an MPR program on the planned protests, to discuss planned counterprotests. Because there was a counterpoint, and there was another side.

A few years later, when I spent some time fact-checking NPR’s fact-check column, both here and via email – correctly – one of MPR’s news execs inadvertently cc’ed me on an email to RIchert, telling her not to bother engaging. And that was the last I’ve heard from NPR, on any level, for any reason.

And it’s not just me. Far from it – even “tame” liberal Republican voices like David Brooks are getting rarer.

It was almost like a switch flipped, along about 2011. LIke the media saw what a motivated, decentralized, idealistic conservative-libertarian throng like the Tea Party could so (and did, in 2010), and figured they needed to starve it of that most precious political commodity ,air time.

I strongly suspect that the “outing” of “JournoList” didn’t end the collusion around the progressive narrative in the media – indeed, I suspect that, like an evil, adenoidal Gandalf, it just came back, bigger and stronger and more secret still.

And the nation is much worse off for it.