To: “Ed Brayton” of “Free Thought Blogs”
From: Mitch Berg, “Right Wing Conspirator”
Re: Your Response Has Made Me Slam My Face Into My Palms So Many Times My Forehead Is Getting A Callous.
I noticed in my pingbacks that you responded to my obit of the Minnesota “Independent” / Minnesota Monitor
Here’s the dumbest thing anyone has said so far about the transition that the American Independent News Network is undergoing. It’s the usual right-wing boogeyman being trotted out: “Soros pushes the ‘flush’ lever.” Sorry, but AINN had not received any funding from a Soros organization in years.
Maybe – and irrelevant.
For starters, Soros-funded organizations were involved with the franchise early in its existence; the deliciously-ironically-named “Center for Independent Media” got its start in a spare office at “Media Matters”, and you can’t get more Soros-backed than that.
Which is fine – Soros has First Amendment rights, too. The problem was, for the first year or two of the blog’s existence, “editor” Robin Marty stonewalled and denied there was any connection – up until Eric Black confirmed, as he left the blog for the greener (fiscal) pastures at the MinnPost that yes, Soros was one of the sugardaddies that kept the lights on.
Beyond that, though, Mr. Brayton? “Soros” is a sort of shorthand on the right for every “liberal with deep pockets” that is practicing checkbook advocacy, from Alita Messinger to Michael Moore to everyone in between. Sort of like “Fox News” is the lib’s code term for the left’s belief that the media is really conservative, or “ALEC” or “Koch Brothers” or “Richard Mellon Scaife” are the belief that conservative thought just has to be inorganic and merely a front for some sort of shadlowy Scrooges in the background.
These people really do think that anyone who has ever gotten money from any organization that Soros has given money to actually works for Soros and that he calls the shots — even if there hasn’t been any such funding relationship in a long time.
No, we really don’t “really do” think that.
What we do think is that, somehow, the Mindy – which has never run ads, but has always paid its “staff” the kind of money that no conservative blog with the Mindy’s middling-to-low traffic numbers ever gets – is getting its bills paid by someone who feels the need to underwrite “progressive” media. Is it George Soros? Or is it someone else? For purposes of criticizing the liberal alt-media, it’s a distinction with only an academic difference. y t
It’s just another way life on Planet Wingnuttia differs from the reality on this planet.
But only if you ignore all context. Which is just another way life on Planet Progressive Alt-Media differs from the reality on this…oh, wait, you already used that.
Oh, and he also says that the organization has “always been a hothouse flower – something that couldn’t exist without massive outside support.” Well, yeah. That’s how non-profit journalism works. It’s how the entire non-profit sector works, including a million different conservative foundations. Few non-profits would exist without lots of outside support. How terribly shocking.
Right, the faux vapors are cute, and all, but the point is that non-profits generally exist for a reason – to promote the sale and use of ketchup, or to lobby for flax farmers, or to reach an audience. Many of us wondered what was that attending purpose to the MinnMon / Mindy franchise over the past six years of being floated – in relative luxury, if you’re a mid-level blogger like, well, me. Its demise is just one data point toward the conclusion that “we were right to wonder”.
The commenters at the Minnesota Post do even worse.
[Wait – didn’t you say that I wrote the “the dumbest thing” ever said on the subject? How many superlatives can you give in one posting? – Ed]
And another, Mike Izon, gets even dumber:
It’s because of the lawsuit. They know they will lose and you can’t get money from a news organization that isn’t making money anyways.
The lawsuit he is referring to is the one filed by nutball extraordinaire Bradlee Dean against AINN and Rachel Maddow. And I laughed out loud at the idea that there are people out there deluded enough to think that has anything to do with the decision to close down some of the AINN sites. I’ll have more on that in a separate post.
Do keep us posted.
That is all.