An Intellectual Palate Cleanser

Sunny Hostin on The View: Climate Change caused the eclipse, has brought out the cicadas:

I wonder what “intellectual self-defense” looks like, legally? Because this woman is an immediate danger of destroying or gravely injuring the national intellect.

Air Davos

George Soros and his, uh, “activist” investment operation are set to take a controlling interest in Audacy, the nations’ second-largest radio station chain:

The Soros investment firm, which is listed alongside other Audacy lenders that are members of the “ad hoc first lien group,” is poised to have its debt converted into Audacy stock as part of a restructuring of the company.

Audacy filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this year in order to reduce and restructure its $1.9 billion debt, converting most of it into stock.

“Through the restructuring, Audacy and its debtholders will undertake a deleveraging transaction to equitize approximately $1.6 billion of funded debt, a reduction of 80 percent from approximately $1.9 billion to approximately $350 million,” the company said in a Jan. 7 press release.

There were a number of critical reactions as word spread on social media that Mr. Soros’s investment firm is set to assume a major stake in America’s number two radio station chain.

There’s concern from the right that Soros might turn Audacy’s stations into a huge progressive media nexus.

I’m less convinced. Audacy’s major holdings in the Twin Cities are a couple of the bigger music stations, and the once-mighty WCCO. If progressives took complete control of ‘CCO, I’m not sure we’d notice any more than if they’d taken over the Strib.

The Real Victims

SCENE: Mitch BERG is leaving a guitar shop on Selby Avenue after dropping off an instrument for some repairs, when MyLyssa SILBERMAN, reporter for National Public Radio’s Saint Paul bureau, covering the “Fake News” and “Diversity” beats, steps out of a chi-chi coffee shop.

SILBERMAN: Merg.

BERG: Oh, hey, MyLyssa…

SILBERMAN: Terrible, what’s going on in Gaza.

BERG: Yep. 1,300 Israelis massacred, thousands of Gazan human shields dead, hundreds of Israeli soldiers killed…

SILBERMAN: Dozens of journalists killed in Gaza by Israeli forces. It’s terribly dangerous for journalists.

BERG: er, yeah. I suppose that’s a problem too. But, as in World War II, if you’re where the action is, there are dangers.

SILBERMAN: World War II killed dozens of journalists.

BERG: Right. And between 30 and 50 million other combatants and civilians.

SILBERMAN: And dozens of journalists.

BERG: And during the New York Draft Riots of 1863, which killed thousands, especially black and immigrant New Yorkers…

SILBERMAN: Rioters besieged the New York Times building and killed several journalists.

BERG: When the Titanic sank, it was a tragedy that…

SILBERMAN: …two journalists died.

BERG: But it’s not like they were singled out. I mean, they were on a ship…

SILBERMAN: Aren’t you listening? Journalists died.

BERG: Right. So – Rwanda…

SILBERMAN: Journalists were murdered!

BERG: Hmmm. And during the Minneapolis riots, the biggest outrage was…

SILBERMAN: Journalists getting pepper-sprayed and shot with rubber bullets. And some government officials didn’t respond to our requests for interviews.

BERG: And the destruction of East Lake Street and University Avenue, the Third Precinct, and much of civil order…

SILBERMAN: (Yawns broadly). Sorry. I really have to get to the Society of Professional Journalists meeting

BERG: No doubt.

(And SCENE).

I Read Deena Winter In The “Minnesota Reformer” So You Don’t Have To

Earlier this week, the Minnesota Reformer – a news outlet financed by “progressive” plutocrats iwth deep pockets – did its review of AlphaNews’s “Minneapolis Has Fallen”.

The claims – well, I’ll let the tweet do the talking for the piece, entitled “I Watched Minneapolis Has Fallen So You Don’t Have To”.

Let’s go briefly through Winter’s claims.

Restraint

The biggest hit Winter has against Collin is that, according to her, the movie’s revelation that Chief Arredondo and his training officer lied about whether “Maximal Restraint Technique” was part of the MPD’s training and policy. Collin showed cops, and Chauvin’s mother, opening the manual to the exact section, and showed multiple current and former MPD officers saying they’d been trained in the technique. The movie also said the jurors were not allowed to see the body cam footage that showed that Chauvin did the technique correctly – with his knee on the shoulder blade, rather than on George Floyd’s neck.

Winter claims that yes, the jury saw both.

OK – so if that’s true, and the jurors saw the same training that the officers had, then could someone explain to me why Chief Arredondo still lied about it?

Neither reporter has clarified that for me, so someone else has to.

UPDATE: Danger Close

And as I wrote this in a hurry, I forgot this. But as “Bigman” noted in the comments – why the fact that Cahill failed to sequester the jury – who came to and from a courthouse that was being fortified like the Green Zone in Baghdad, and who were being told more or less directly that if they reached the “wrong verdict” that they were in huge trouble – not being discussed?

I’ll ask the question because Winter didn’t think she had to.

White Riot

Winter goes on to discuss the parts of the film dealing with the riot, most specifically the evacuation of the Third Precinct (on which. apropos nothing much, I scooped the entire Twin Cities media), I’m trying to figure out what Winter’s point is.

I’ll dispense with the fact that Winter…lacks a certain amount of empathy, or at least insight outside her own apparently narrow experience (emphasis added):

Collin also spends considerable time questioning why the MPD and local and state officials were slow to take action as protests devolved into riots and arson that destroyed hundreds of buildings across the metro.

Retired MPD officer Jason Reimer tells Collin what bothered him the most is “they let people throw rocks and bricks and firebombs and we’re supposed to just put on a helmet and take that.”

Well, helmets, but likely also bulletproof vests and eye-irritant spray, handcuffs, Tasers and semi-automatic pistols.

Bulletproof vests don’t keep you from burning to death. Spray and tasers are useful to get control one on one, not against a mob.

And I’ll let Deena Winter’s idea of shooting into a crowd of rioters hang out there, because I sure didn’t want to have to do it for her.

Winter cites some fairly wrenching scenes in the movie (that reflect what I reported in May of 2020), to which I’ll add some emphasis:

“We were in the middle of a war zone,” Herron said. “We were ordered not to do anything.”

She said the fire department wasn’t responding to calls, and officers were “wandering around aimlessly, waiting to be told what not to do next.”

They weren’t doing anything to control the riot,” she said. “They wouldn’t let us do our jobs.”

All true – but keep the emphasis in mind – the “they” that left them wandering around were the city and MPD leadership. We’ll come back to them.

Winter adds:

The city and state’s failed response and inability to quell the violence and arson are well documented, but it’s inaccurate to claim police were standing down. 

They went on joyrides, fired rubber bullets at protesters (see Jaleel Stallings); an officer, who went on to run an actual banana stand, was caught on video by a journalist macing protesters for no discernible reason; lots of cops in riot gear teargassed crowds

They shot protestors like Soren Stevenson with a rubber bullet and blinded him in one eye. They maced a journalist from Vice News in the face. They fired rubber bullets at journalists, including Reformer reporter Max Nesterak and Star Tribune reporter Andy Mannix.

Side note: anyone but me notice how journalists only get really irate about injustice and official overreach when it’s other members of the Journo Club who are affected? Lake Street – and a fair chunk of the Midway, my neighborhood – got burned. The Minneapolis Police Department was, and remains, gutted. Crime soared, and is still double what it was as recently as 2018 – enh. But journalists got attacked ZOMG!

Not that Winter’s article tells you, but the main contention of the cops in the movie was that the city and the. MPD leadership – the “they” in the emphasized text in the first round of quotes, above:

  • Had no plan to deal with the riot
  • More specifically, abandoned the Third Precinct (apparently to “give the rioters ‘space to destroy'”), without having the foggiest idea about what the officers marooned there were supposed to do.

So when Winter snarks:

To the people on the other end of a rubber bullet or tear gas or mace, the police response sure didn’t feel like “standing down.” 

Stop me if I”m wrong, but everything she cites supports the cops contention. Some cops, operating in a complete vacuum, followed the normal human inclination to fucking hit back.

Either way, there was no plan. They were left danging in the breeze.

Winter doesn’t write about that, so I have to.

Who’s The Boss?

Winter goes on (and I’ll add emphasis):

[retired MPD cop Jason] Reimer says the weak response was all a deliberate attempt by politicians to use Floyd’s police killing to their advantage.

“The elections were coming up,” he said. “They were gonna use this incident for a political narrative, and they did.” 

Let’s hope Reimer was a better cop than he is a political analyst: The riots were a political disaster for the mayor, the governor and the entire DFL establishment. DFL political operatives blamed the riots and the defund/abolish police movement for key suburban losses that prevented a 2020 DFL trifecta. 

Although both Frey and Walz won reelection, they did so in part by hitching themselves to police during their reelection campaigns and would soon be accused by partisans on the left of being too cozy with cops.

I’m tempted to get cute and “hope that WInter is a better political analyst than Jason Reimer” – because it’d be more accurate to say the riots were a disaster for one city political establishment; the one where Jacob Frey and Andrea Jenkins and Lisa Bender were the “middle” and Alondra Cano was the loony left.

And for them, the riots were a disaster. For the new establishment, the one that gained huge ground in the ’22 elections and is poised to take the city over, the one led by the Democrat Socialists of America, against which Frey and Jenkins barely survived, and Bender and Cano retired lest they be seen as “too conservative” (literally the language the DSA droogs use to refer to Jacob F*cking Frey and Andrea Jenkins – the riots, and the aftermath (including the far far far left’s well-funded and well-organized response to whatever backlash there was in the ’20 elections) were a prime organizing opportunity.

But I won’t call Winter a myopic political analyst. Someone else will have to.

A Bonus I’ll Answer So You Don’t Need To

“Minneapolis Has Fallen” refers to quite a number of former MPD cops. Winter reminds us that a number of them are living on disability pensions and workmens comp settlements.

Someone needs to explain why that’s relevant (as opposed to, frankly, kinda pointlessly bitchy) since Winter will no doubt say she doesn’t have to.

Tea Leaves

Every DFL politician’s social media feed is raving about this puff piece from HuffPo which christens Tina Smith “the Velvet Hammer”.

The Velvet Hammer?

I can think of lots of adjectives to add to Smith’s hamfistedness. Velvet ain’t one of them.

And what usually happens after you see DFLers posting “attagirls” over inexplicable media. puff pieces?

Some dirt comes out on them. .

For example – during the session, the DFL noise machine broke out into a round of praise for Rep. Finke. It went from zero to 60 in three seconds, as if the Representative had just pulled someone from a burning building Clearly something had happened.

That something was Finke had charged across the House floor at another representative over retweeting a trans-skeptic account.

So am I too cynical in asking “what dirt is coming out about Smith?”

All That Is Needed Is That You Keep Sending Money

A friend of the blog emails regarding an email he got from Minnesota Public Radio regarding their recently-finished pledge drive:

Wait a minute. I thought that government subsidies was only a small portion of their funding.

So which it is?

Here was the email:

MPR’s Spring Member Drive ended last week, and we made great progress. But there is still a long way to go to meet our budget goals by June 30. I know the budget isn’t the most exciting thing to talk about, but the fact is that it powers everything we do – the programming you love, and the hosts, journalists and staff who create and share it. 

To give you a status update, here what’s happening:

👉 Economic uncertainty continues to negatively impact our revenues

👉 Vocal attacks on public media continue, even resulting in calls to defund public media on the national stage

These headwinds materially affect MPR. We’re working hard to keep on track. It’s important that we do so that we can move forward in a position of stability and strength. 
 

Look, MPR – public radio apologists keep saying NPR gets a tiny share of its funding from government. But if NPR says they’ll collapse without government funding, how are they not state media?

Shots Fired

In the wake of his move to Twitter, some bad news for Tucker Carlson.

He’s been banned from…

…uh…

“Tribel”.

Because apparently nobody’s banning people on Mastodon.

Or Air America, apparently.

Unquestionably

The U of M paid Nikole Hannah-Jones $50K to speak at the U – and complied with a demand to conceal the evidence (emphasis added by me):

Hannah-Jones participated in a Dec. 6 “moderated discussion” as part of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs Distinguished Carlson Lecture Series.

According to a contract obtained by Alpha News, the university paid Hannah-Jones’ agents $50,000 for her appearance on campus. The contract prohibited the university from recording the live event, which some school officials took issue with.

“Is the no recording item firm? I would like to remove that if possible. I am looking at one of our local news reporters for the moderator, and we’ve had great success with replaying the conversation via Minnesota Public Radio when we use their hosts. This, along with providing the recording to classrooms for instruction and discussion is important to us,” wrote Gail Fridlund, an events manager with the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

But of course, the U acquiesced.

Tom Gagnon, executive vice president of the Lavin Agency, said “that provision is firm” but offered to explain the “good” reasons for the recording prohibition.

“I don’t want folks to think she’s being a diva!” he said in a later email.

The university ultimately agreed to prohibit recording and covered the costs of Hannah-Jones’ travel and lodging expenses.

Those “good reasons” are none other than you and me – taxpayers with the capacity for critical thinking. They’ve seen what happens when the plebs see how the grift works.

If someone knows someone with a samizdat recording, let me know.

Let Them Eat Pasta!

Anyone remember Mika McFeely? He’s sort of the Filene’s Basement version of Ed Schultz, another guy who got his start talking about grown men chasing balls around fields, and decided to go into being a political, talking head. He’s the Heitkamp family’s token liberal on KFGO in Fargo, and proof that the talent bench for progressive talk hosts in Fargo is even shallower than in the Twin Cities.

I wrote about him (checks notes), a little over 12 years ago, when he wrote easily the stupidest hatchet piece I’ve ever seen, about Mary Franson, during the 2012 elections.

Anyway – he came to Minneapolis over the weekend. Ironically, it was to see Les Mis, a play featuring an out of touch patrician class that attacks a plebaian class whose travails they neither share nor understand.

Oh, yeah – he had a great time!

In other words, he went to a show, with hundreds of other people, and then went to a tony restaurant on the south end of the gentrified North Loop. Back to the hotel – or on the road back to Fargo? – by 11!

And look – no crime!

Guess all those people talking about crime in Minneapolis are wrong!

Speaking of crime – tourist McFeely has an interesting perspective on recent Twin Cities history:

Not sure it’s “Anti”-Fa that’s shooting up crowds after bar closing on First Avenue.

But he’s getting a little warmer: “Anti”-Fa are the children of the Twin Cities bon vivant class. But they didn’t burn the Ordway, or Kenwood or Linden Hills. They burned East Lake and University – the places where immigrants and lots of entrepreneurs and workers try to earn a living.

But he didn’t go to a show on Lake, or Uni, or up at Plymouth and Sheridan, now, did he?

Well, I guess that settles it!

Dysfunctional

One of the more controversial stances I’ve taken on this blog is “MInnesota Public Radio News sucks less than most local news organizations”.

It’s not an unblemished statement, of course. With some of their staffers, their eliminationist leftism slips out (or comes gushing out in a tsunami of foul, scabrous rotting bile). And you don’t have to scratch the surface too hard to find MPR doing its best to uphold Big Left’s narrative.

So yes – they suck less. It’s a low bar, and they barely get over it, but there you have it.

But the product has been slipping in recent years. MPR’s newsroom has been shrinking – by a little over half in the past 5-6 years. Their on-air programming has gotten more and more perfunctory; ; less local production, (except for their local talk shows, which don’t take nearly as much overhead and effort as doing news – especially given how over-staffed as MPR historically has tended to be).

All is not well.

Jay Boller at Racket has a long, well-reported and, I need to add, utterly stereotype-affirming report on the recent decline of MPR News.

Long story short: As executive salaries soar, less and less of that taxpayer and donor money is going to news and programming.

But naturally, to those remaining, the problem is, notwithstanding the fact that the organization has unionized and pushed itself to the bleeding edge of the social justice fashion curve, MPR News just isn’t progressive enough:

The employee-led Transform group re-stated its lists of demands around anti-racism and gender equality last fall after Taylor assumed her role, concluding, “We remain tired, perhaps more tired than ever before. But we will not stop trying to force this company to change. It is simply too important.” 

This comes at a time when some – few, but some – in the “progressive” non-profit industrial complex are starting to ask some of the same questions about their business and political models (about which more, likely, next week), after noticing that all that money seems to be buying less results and more internal, woker-than-thou discord. The parallels are worth discussing.

I’d love to ask someone from MPR to come on the show to discuss this – but they’ve long since circled up their wagons and stopped talking with anyone outside the Circle of Trust.

Our Idiot Elite, Part MMMLCCXVII

In twenty years of first blogging and then social media, you’d think the semi-literate popsies that populate the ranks of “new big media” would have learned by now: trying to make people you disagree with sound dumb, about things you’re not especially smart about yourself, is going to backfire.

Molly Jong-Fast – a gift that keeps on giving, in the mold of Robin Marty or Jeff Fecke, but with a six-figure income – was exhibit 50,234,632,421 yesterday, in re Ted Cruz’s commentary on how schools should be designed:

https://twitter.com/MollyJongFast/status/1529613341781544960

I get it. Molly Jong Fast, being on the (pardon the expression) academic fast track (I kid you not – she attended “New York University, Barnard College, and Wesleyan University and completed a Master of Fine Arts degree in English at Bennington College”, which qualifies her as Central Casting Overpromoted Progressive Dimwit in one of my little satirical dramatizations, has likely never spent much time observing the mechanical and logistical details of the physical world around her.

Not just tactical security issues, like Cruz is discussing.

No, I’m talking about this little number here:

Locked from the outside under normal circumstances, easily opened from the inside under the extraordinary ones – say, the ones that would require a fire alarm anyway, like a fire.

Ring a bell?

I’m gonna go out on a short, sturdy limb and guess Jong-Fast thinks knowing about things like this is a job for a Honduran immigrant.

Intellectual DNA Testing

I occasionally listen to public radio – not “in spite of” the fact that they have turned into the public relations arm, not just of “today’s left”, but of the “progressive” upper middle class. It reflects their angsts; I imagine a drinking game involving taking a shot whenever there’s a mention of Covid, January 6, climate change and white supremacy being very short and very chemically lethal.

It reflects their conceits; the traditional “NPR Voice”, the ofay upper-middle-class accent of the Oberlin poli-sci graduate, is being supplanted by very audibly African-American and, how shall we say this, accents of males with alternate lifestyles – the sort of stuff things that upper-middle-class white progressives demand from their entertainment.

And it reflects their ignorance, over and over, in so many ways.

One that I caught yesterday while driving across the Northern Plains, on the syndicated “New Yorker Radio Hour” – an episode which has not yet gotten onto the website – involved a woman, a reporter if memory serves, saying with what sounded like a straight face:

China has changed so much in recent years – economically, and socially.

And yet, the political system just doesn’t seem to change

Huh.

You’re saying a communist kleptocracy, which knows fiull well that the only alternative to being in power in a Communist dictatorship is a bullet in the back of the head, a system that is more similar to the Mafia than anything else we know of, doesn’t “change with the times?”

I often – very, very often – say that Democrats can say pretty much anything they want to their audience, since they – whether they dropped out of high school, or have a PhD in Women’s Studies – are so universally gullible and ignorant.

Sometimes I feel like I’m speaking too broadly.

Then, I hear things like this, and I get back on track.

Urban Progressive Privilege: Angst

Elon Musk buying Twitter is generating some…exaggerated reactions from progs:

The idea that they are not, in fact, an inevitable force of history seems to confuse and frighten them.

For The Record

Matt McNeil is a talk show host, of sorts, on AM950, the Twin Cities putative “progressive” talk station. [1]

Now, McNeil has a habit of blocking everyone on social media that can beat him in an open debate on logic, reasoning and facts – which is, to be fair, pretty much everyone.

He was, in fact, one of the people (in a large field, to be honest) who gave me the original impetus to the formulation of Berg’s Sixteenth Law. (“The percentage of “progressives” outside of academia who can make it to the second round of a debate without running out of “facts” and having to switch to deflection, ad hominem and straw man arguments is within the statistical margin of error”).

Anyway – in a move that isn’t a sign of insecurity, no way, no how, McNeil tweeted this the other day:

Image

Not sure if this qualifies as “gaslighting”, or is a strawman, or if McNeil doth protest too much, but I’m pretty sure nobody who matters has ever said McNeil is “terrified” of “rightos” [2] like me.

To be clear, all I say is that McNeil does not pack the gear, either intellectually or as a talk host, to do much of anything but chant into an echo chamber over which he has complete control, and that if I were as bad at forming a coherent argument as he is, I would block all dissent as well.

I’m not – perhaps I am a legend in my own mind and should but, but I’m not – so I don’t. I block almost nobody. When I do, it’s not because they’re too good at debate, but are in fact so subject to Berg’s 16h Law as to deserve life in my rhetorical SuperMax.

[1] I’m as surprsied as you are that AM950 still exists. I check in every couple years or so to see if there’s still a signal there, much

[2] What he lacks in fact and intellectual rigor, he also seems to lack in the key talk radio skill of coming up with breezy terms to describe complex groups. But “bloom where you are planted”, I always say…

Kangaroos Everywhere

SCENE: The studio at the National Public Radio Twin Cities bureau. Mitch BERG is sitting, in headphones, in front of a microphone. Around the corner of the table is Cat SCAT, designated “fact checker” at the (possibly fictional) progressive blog “”MinnesotaLiberalAlliance.Blogspot.com“, she is the office manager at a small phrenology practice. Through the glass, an engineer, an assistant engineer, an editor, an editorial assistant, two associate producers, a producer, a digital producer and an executive producer sit, listening intently. Across the table from SCAT and BERG sits MyLyssa SILBERMAN, reporter for National Public Radio’s Saint Paul bureau, covering the “Fake News” and “Diversity” beats.

ASSOCIATE PRODUCER 1: “Aaand we’re rolling”.

SILBERMAN: (Reading from a script). Thanks, Kathy. That dress is adorable, by the way. Now, we look at America’s large and growing political divide. With us today are Cat Scat, Executive Fact-Checker at the journalism site “”MinnesotaLiberalAlliance.Blogspot.com”, a source of journalism and news for Minnesotans since 2008.

SCAT: Hello. Is this thing on?

SILBERMAN: And Mitch Berg, blogger and talk radio host.

BERG: Uh…yeah, hi.

SILBERMAN (Still reading from script) Since 2016, concerns about the rise of authoritarianism have swept the nation…

BERG: Er, MylLyssa? That’s not true – on either side. People on the left were concerned about a rise in populism in Europe in the early 20`0s, when, rightly or wrongly, they fretted about the rise of the Volkspartei in Germany, and Victor Orban’s Fideš party in Hungary, as well as some pretty potent Polish nationalism. In the meantime, conservatives in the US have been concerned about the politicization of the state bureaucracy, with Barack Obama weaponizing some of the tools of excessive power that George W Bush instituted during his administration’s control over the War on Terror…

(BERG stops, noticing that SILBERMAN and SCAT are glaring at him).

ASSOCIATE ENGINEER: Take two?

SILBERMAN: Yep

LEAD ENGINEER: Rolling.

SILBERMAN (Still reading from script) Since 2016, concerns about the rise of authoritarianism have swept the nation. As right-wing anti-science theocrats took charge, fomenting boog bang… (stops). we’ll cut that in the edit. (deep breath) book bans, restrictions on saying “gay”, bans on reproductive rights, and a rise in hate from the right…

PRODUCER: (breaking in on the talkback): MyLyssa – read that as “skyrocketing racial hatred from red America directed at people of color and LGBTQ+ Americans.

EDITOR: …and “women and their children”.

PRODUCER: Love it. Got that, MyLyssa?

SILBERMAN: (scribbline on script) Got it.

ASSOCIATE EDITOR: Take it from “As right wing…” (SILBERMAN nods)

ASSOCIATE ENGINEER: Three, two, one…

SILBERMAN: As right-wing anti-science theocrats took charge, fomenting book bans, restridctions on saying “gay”, and skyrocketing racial hatred from red America directed at people of color, LGBTQ+ Americans and women and their children, we want to get the views of our guests – Cat Scat, progressive journalist and activist, and Mitch Berg, right wing hatemonger.

BERG: Uhhhhh

SILBERMAN: Ms. Scat, what’s your take?

SCAT: The problem entirely started in 2016, when hatemongers took over the White House, ushering in an era of hatred for people of color, for LGBTQ+, for women’s reproductive choice, for transgender and queer folk, for demoracy itself, and replacing it with a paranoid neo-nazi ammosexual delusions of a bunch of red-state trailer-park dwelling cousin-f**king high school dropouts, which studies show the majority of red America are…

BERG: I’m gonna break in, here. Your statement is the kind of lie that gets legs of its own if you let it fester. It’s a preposterous slander of tens of millions of millions of Americans; we almost invariably are motivated not by hate, but by concern over the trashing of the parts of Western Civilization that have made us not only the free-est and most prosperous society in history – one where for the firs time ever, obesity is a bigger problem than starving to death – but more humane, especially for gays, people of color, LGBTQ+ and whomever you’re concerned about, and don’t support authoritarians, ever, in any way.

PRODUCER: What can we do with that last bit.

ENGINEER: Wait one…

(freantic computer editing)

ENGINEER: OK, here’s what we got:

(BERG’s voice, edited, in the playback): “I’m gonna break…Your…legs …we… hate… the trash…of Western Civilization…obesi…gays, people of color, LGBTQ+ and whomever you’re concerned about and…support authoritarians…in any way.

SILBERMAN: So you hate people of weight as well as POC, LGBTQ+ and Latinx people…

SCAT: You’ve been fact-cjhecked!

BERG: I did in fact record the original unedited exchange on my phone and this digital recorder.

SILBERMAN: Unfair!

PRODUCER: Chilling effect on journalism!

EDITOR: Why do you hate the free press?

And SCENE

Based, loosely but not nearly loosely enough, on an MPR piece I caught last week.

Ricardo Lopez: Middle School Reporter

Ricardo Lopez writes for “MN Reformer”, which is a website in the tradition of the old “MN Monitor” – basically a propaganda site funded by progressive plutocrats with deep pockets,

https://twitter.com/rljourno/status/1347590798381101056

Further proof that not only the Democratic party, but its pet media (and the Reformer is nothing but a paid PR lapdog for Ken Marti) can assume that their audience isn’t an especially critical bunch of thinkers.

Because, say what you will about Miller’s letter, logically or epidemiologically, but other than choosing the word “Exchange” over the more apposite “Exposure”, he got the mechanics of how we currently know Covid is spread pretty right.

It took Lopez’s apparently eighth-grade sense of discernment to read “sexual transmission” into a choice of words that, otherwise, got things basically correct.

But in a world where Samantha Bee is among the left’s top journalists, it doesn’t not make sense that someone like Lopez would do…well, this.

My Checklist

My “Black Friday” checklist:Wednesday before Thanksgiving:

  1. Make sure I’ve got groceries and essentials sufficient to get through ’til Monday. Check.
  2. Anticipate the places I need to go for the next three days, and map out routes avoiding major malls, Targets, Walmarts and commercial districts. Check.
  3. Switch on NPR and start counting all the “celebrities” and “newscasters” referring to this next four weeks as the most miserable, dysfunctional time of the year, full of family one hates because of their politics and the onerous nature of having to engage in forced civility while celebrating gratitude and humility while apparently feeling neither. Make sure I have a fresh set of legal pads, since it gets worse every year. Check.
  4. Silently ponder, for yet another year, converting to Russian Orthodox Christianity, at least in part to put Christmas off til January 6 and get some awesome savings on presents in the week between Christmas and New Years. Check.

OK. I’m good to go.

Happy Day After Thanksgiving, everyone!

Out Come The Long Knives

What Tom Bakk and Dave Tomassoni did this week in Minnesota, it seems Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia is doing, more or less, in the US Senate.

And progs aren’t happy about it:

While he would certainly never acknowledge it, Joe Manchin just took it upon himself to go on national television, and had the brilliant idea to singlehandedly throw away any reason someone in the state of Georgia would have to vote for a Democrat in order for them to take the Senate. If he has already positioned himself as someone more interested in catering to the right as opposed to the left, and it’s all but guaranteed he will act as a barrier to any meaningful legislation whatsoever that Democrats could pass, does he not understand he just essentially told people that nothing was going to get done if Democrats control the Senate? Does he not realize he essentially just told voters to go ahead and make the Democrats the majority, while at the same time telling them there was actually no reason to do so considering he has made himself the barrier to anything their base wants to see done?

However the George Senate runoffs turn out, Joe Manchin is going to be one of the most powerful people in the United State for the next two years, at least.

Follow The Absence Of Money

A friend of the blog emails:

St Paul City Councilmember Mitra Jalali says that capitalism crushed a local alternative weekly.

I’m scratching my head at this because the print and online versions were free. So, if they couldn’t survive by giving away whatever they had, how did capitalism crush them? One would think something free would “crush” something more expensive. That’s usually what is said of Walmart- they offer things so cheaply that the small businesses can’t compete. In this case, what is the issue? Free publications can’t compete with more expensive subscription news? Or is it actually can’t compete with better sources online that are also free? Is that capitalism? I guess maybe it is because we here in the USA do have lots of choice and are also free to start another weekly in City Pages place. So, if that choice and opportunity bothers Mitra Jalali, just what alternative does she want for us? 

I suspect councilwoman Jalali – who was “Mitra Jalali-Nelson” until having a hint of Scandinavian became a negative in Metro DFL politics – knows this.

I suspect she, like all DFL pols, knows her voters don’t think about it all that hard, and that nobody in the media is ever going to make an issue of it.

Pining For The Hipster Fjords

I do “get” nostalgia.

My first radio station – KEYJ, which became KQDJ during my senior year of high school – was one of the formative experiences of my life. 

But sometime around 2000, it changed from a local middle-of-the-road station to a “computer in a closet” station relaying ESPN Sportsradio and the occasional high school sports event.  They moved the studio from above the drugstore on mainstreet to a nondescript suite in a strip mall downwind from a Walmart.  I don’t drop by to visit, because it’s not the station it was when I was 16.  It’s not a radio station anyone in 1980 would have recognized at all. 

The past is a keen, formative memory.  The present is a 10 year old PC passing along people jabbering about the NBA.   

If it disappeared tomorrow, the memory would remain.  The present wouldn’t be lamented at all. 


The CIty Pages – which was the last survivor of an endless stream of “alternative” weekly tabloids (Twin Cities Reader, Nightbeat, Cake, Buzz, and no doubt others) that used to sit in bins outside record stores, co-ops and cafes all over town – has closed, effective whoah, that was fast:

“Since City Pages revenue is 100% driven by advertisers and events—and those investments have dropped precipitously—there’s no reasonable financial scenario that would enable us to continue operations in the face of this pandemic,” Star Tribune Chief Revenue Office Paul Kasbohm said in a statement. “Unfortunately, we foresee no meaningful recovery of these sectors or their advertising investments in the near future, leaving us no other options than to close City Pages.”

City Pages will stop publishing in print and online immediately, according to a news release. The last print edition of City Pages will be distributed this week.
The closure eliminates all City Pages positions.

I come not to praise the City Pages, but to bury it. But fairness demands a little clarity.

The City Pages were the last survivor of what used to be a bumper crop of freebie tabloids that popped up in bins outside restaurants, co-ops, record stores and bars. There were a bunch – Nightbeat in the eighties, Twin Cities Reader in the eighties and nineties, joined by Cake and Buzz and a few others in the nineties. The field winnowed down to just the City Pages by about 2000.

In the eighties, it was where writers like David Brauer, Brian Lambert and James Lileks got their starts – indeed, it was where Lileks gave me my first legit-media plug, 33 years ago.

And for a few years, in the ’90s and early 2000s, City Pages did some great journalism. They did more, better long-form and investigative reporting than the Strib or PiPress, at their best, under editor Steve “Don’t even think about singing ‘Oh Sherry’ around me” Perry. It was biased to the left to a fault. But beneath all that, the reporting was otherwise generally solid. And Perry could go off the reservation; in about 1997, Perry was the first journo in the Twin Cities to write that the swelling push for carry permit reform in Minnesota hadn’t brought blood to the streets of a couple dozen other states, wasn’t going to bring it to Minnesota, either.

When Perry left in 2005-ish (to return as editor of the Soros-funded attack-PR site Minnesota Monitor, which became the Minnesota Independent, and distinguished itself in journalistic glory under neither guise), the City Pages slid and slid hard. For most of the past 10-15 years, the paper’s “journalism” has been at best risible hackery, or incompetent hackery, self-parodying hackery, or sloppy gurgitations of DFL chanting points or, when female conservative politicians were involved, creepy panty-sniffing.

If the City Pages had been its 1998 self, its collapse would have been something to mourn, maybe, for some reason other than the nostalgia local establishment journos have been venting about.

But the City Pages of the 21st Century has been not a shadow, but a mockery, of anything of real value that it may once have been.

Blue Fragility: Open Letter To Jonathan Chait

To: Johnathan “Chaitful” Chait
From: Mitch Berg – Red State Sleeper Agent
Re: This Little “Eliminationist Hatred” Problem You Have

Mr. Chait

We go way back, of course – and not in a good way. You have a bit of a history of being a horrible excuse for a human being. But you are a gift that keeps giving, for people like me, so for that I thank you, even if backhandedly.

This past week, you wrote an article in “New York Magazine” claiming that the Republican response to Covid is, in your terms, a “Death Cult”.

I won’t pullquote anything – the article is long, and never really improves over the title.

But I have two questions.

First, some background – here’s the listed Covid fatalities/million as of last Friday:

  • NY (D): 1,684
  • NJ (D): 1,790
  • US average: 474
  • FL (R): 319
  • MN (DFL): 291
  • TX (R): 241
  • ND (R): 135

So I’ve got two questions for you, Mr. Chait:

  1. Did you ever refer to Cuomo (or the governors of NJ/CT/MA) as running a “death cult?” I’ll confess, I’m an infrequent reader of yours. I only read you (or John Fugelsang) when you step on your d**k spectacularly – but I’d hate to be unfair.
  2. I wager you a shiny new quarter that as of November 3, 2020, TX and FL will be below half NY’s fatalities per million. Any action on that bet?

Thanks.

By the way – at the risk of sounding uncharitable, there are times that I think you are God’s karmic gift to me for never teasing the short-bus kids in elementary school. For this, I thank Him, and urge you to keep up the, uh, work, karmically speaking.

That is all.

Side Note: I’m making this the The George W. Bush Corollary To Berg’s Seventh Law – All of a Republican’s sins, imaginary or (for sake of argument) real, will be forgotten once the Republican can no longer hold office.