Here is the sort of ridiculousness that makes people distrust the media. The Minneapolis Star Tribune published a story that breathlessly proclaims that "More people say there should be less of a Christian emphasis placed on the holidays" making it appear that a Christian Christmas is falling into disfavor with the American people. Wow, how dire for Christianity! Yet when you look closer at the story, it turns out that only 27% of those responding to a poll are saying such a thing. It happens that 64% say there should be more focus on the birth of Jesus during Christmas. So, with such an overwhelming percentage in favor of the religious content of Christmas why is the headline focused on the anti-Christian sentiment? As a result of that negative focus, should someone simply read the headline, a false impression that contradicts the facts is quickly fostered.
It is understandable, but not forgivable, that business reporters at Old Media newspapers might think that the economy is in bad shape. They first have to get past how poorly most of their employers are doing. The industry as a whole has not been doing well, and it's been that way for quite some time.
This table illustrates that point (September 30, 2007 figures are at this post, which originally came from this Editor & Publisher article, which will soon disappear behind its firewall; March 31, 2005 figures were estimated in reverse using annual percentage changes reported as of March 31, 2006, because older data I thought would remain available no longer is):
Back in the days of our MediaWatch newsletter, we used to have a feature called "Revolving Door" to note reporters swapping their jobs for political appointments or political appointees swapping their jobs for reporting gigs. (See the NB Revolving Door topic for more recent updates.) The Minneapolis Star Tribune announced that its editorial writer Dave Hage is leaving "to become communications director for first-term Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. Hage, 52, will take over Klobuchar's fledgling press operation," which has already lost its top press aide. Hage, a Minneapolis native, was an economics correspondent for for U.S. News & World Report magazine in Washington from 1991 to 1995, where he drew our attention as he repeatedly attacked Reaganomics and boosted Clintonomics. So the new Democrat job isn’t a shocker.
From our Notable Quotables in March 1993, the myth that health socialism-pushing Clinton would have a "healthy respect" for free enterprise:
Those pesky conservative suburbanites and their market forces! They'll be the ruin of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, bellows Anonymous.
Hugh Hewitt and Ed Morrissey have taken on the unattributed complaints of a self-described Star-Tribune ("Strib") veteran, who laments that his beloved paper is becoming a right-wing shill for, gasp, hiring a token conservative opinion columnist.:
The Rake, a local alternative newspaper here in the Twin Cities, published an interesting cri de coeur from "one Strib veteran" about the direction of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. The anonymous attribution wears thin in the first line of the quote:
If you've ever lived in Minnesota, chances are you've heard of one of the state's two major papers, the Star Tribune, often referred to as the Red Star Tribune. The paper is famous for its left-wing bias even to people who've never been to Minnesota. Well, it turns out things actually could have been worse.
In an interview, Jim Boyd, the outgoing deputy editorial page editor for the paper says that he was forced by his old corporate bosses to feature conservative columnists, something he absolutely detested. He hopes that under the new owners this policy will go away. The bias is thick enough to cut with a knife:
If you've ever heard the Star Tribune called the Red Star, you can
probably blame Jim Boyd, at least in part. As deputy editor of the
paper's editorial page, he's one of a handful of editorial writers who
plots out its official stance on issues from Iraq to a statewide
smoking ban to political endorsements. This morning, Minnesota Monitor
confirmed that Boyd will be taking a voluntary buyout and leaving the paper after nearly 27 years of service, and that the editorial page staff of 12.5 full-time positions will be trimmed by five.
The left is famous for its general intolerance and suspicion of religion, especially in the public sector. Yet, increasingly, an exception seems to be made for Islam.
Scott at Power Line caught another instance of this in today's Minneapolis Star Tribune where the normally anti-religious editorial page is oddly favorable to a local college's installation of a foot-washing basin for Islamic students:
It's worth remembering that
this question first arose at MCTC as a matter of safety, not religion.
A student slipped and fell after another student used a campus sink to
wash his or her feet. [...]
Banning Christmas carols on the official campus coffee cart -- which
incensed the school's critics -- seems plainly in keeping with a long
string of court rulings that forbid the use of public resources to
endorse a particular religion. But accommodating the prayer practices
of some devout Muslims seems akin to putting kosher items on the
cafeteria menu and letting employees display religious objects in their
private workspaces -- accommodations that MCTC has in fact made in the
The Minneapolis Star Tribune is currently investigating how one of its editorial writers has been taking portions of New Yorker magazine editorials and inserting them into his own articles. The Power Line blog raised one of the allegations and has the details.
Ted Kennedy can get away with leaving a campaign staffer to die in his car in the eyes of the media, but apparently a disputed and expunged arrest record of a Republican congressional candidate is worth blasting to the public. At least according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Scott Johnson at Power Line has the details:
I find Sunday's Star Tribune story
by Paul McEnroe and Rochelle Olson on the expunged 1995 arrest of
Republican Fifth District congressional candidate Alan Fine to be
reprehensible. We posted the rationale offered by Star Tribune
"reader's representative" Kate Parry for the Star Tribune's publication
of the story here.
Parry conteded that the story had "news value" because "Fine was
arrested by the police, charged with domestic assault and spent a few
hours in jail" and that "the allegations raised in the court documents
were corroborated by the ex-wife in interviews with Star Tribune
reporters." Parry did not mention or comment on the expungement of the
At the Star Tribune's online site, editor Anders Gyllenhaal has also offered his rationale
for the publication of the story. Anyone who suspects that the Star
Tribune offices are something of an echo chamber won't be disabused of
the notion by Gyllenhaal's comments:
Minneapolis Star-Tribune writer Eric Black says the campaign for Mark Kennedy, the Republican challenger to the Minnesota Senate seat held by Democrat Mark Dayton, has declared that it has two opponents to fight: The Amy Klobuchar campaign and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, which it says is conducting a de facto campaign of its own in favor of the Democrat.
The Mark Kennedy campaign has either come unhinged (for reasons about which I shall not speculate), or has decided that to beat Amy Klobuchar, Kennedy has to run against the Star Tribune.
In a June 28 e-mail to supporters, Kennedy Campaign Manager Pat Shortridge urgently requests campaign donations by tomorrow (so they can be included in the June 30 reporting period), because only by raising buckets of dough-re-mi can Kennedy hope to overcome the disadvantages of being covered by a newspaper that is little more than the publicity arm of the Amy Klobuchar campaign.
One of the annoying things conservatives discover when they spend any time studying public broadcasting is how much cash pub-casting bosses take home even as they beg struggling audience members for donations (and ever more taxpayer funds). The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that Minnesota Public Radio may forego $190,000 in state tax money rather than disclose how many MPR execs make more than $100,000. One sharp Republican legislator (my hero!) is saying you want the money, you disclose your salary info:
Thomas Kigin, MPR executive vice president, said MPR would ask legislators to change the law. Asked if it might forgo the state money should the disclosure provision remain, Kigin said, "It's possible."
According to a large story in the Minneapolis Star Tribune on January 26th, income inequality is widening. Wrote David Westphal, "income inequality is likely to deepen beyond its growth of the 1980s and 1990s, when incomes of affluent Americans grew more than three times faster than those of the low-income."
"Inequality is growing in all parts of the country," said Jared Bernstein, senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute.
"Certain trends have been favoring the left for the past several decades. In the early 1960s, transfer payments (entitlements and welfare) constituted less than a third of the federal government's budget. Now they constitute almost 60 percent of the budget, or about $1.4 trillion per year. Measured according to this, the US government's main function now is redistribution: taking money from one segment of the population and giving it to another segment. In a few decades, transfer payments are expected to make up more than 75 percent of federal government spending."
In the midst of the recent controversy surrounding Harriet Miers' political leanings, the media seems to have come to its own comfortable determination that Miers is a suitable candidate for the Supreme Court.
In this story by Donald Lambro for the Washington Times, several Republican chairmen are quoted as saying they believe their constituents support Miers. What I want to know is the last time a party chair said, "Yeah, my constituents agree, our president doesn't know what he's doing." This is news? And what about the conservative megasite, Townhall.com's recent poll, that said 86% of the site's viewers don't like Miers? I'm not great at math, but something isn't adding up.