Craig Westover has taken note of the professional tone present in the presidential endorsements and post election commentary of his own Pioneer Press versus the Star Tribune. And I must say I agree. Beyond the fact the Pioneer Press endorsed our man W, the endorsement itself was a joy to read. At least it was for those of us who appreciate the use of logic, the building of evidence to support a conclusion, and at least the attempt to honestly persuade.
I defy even the defenders of the Star Tribune to explain the following editorial excerpts as anything other than what they appear to be - wild, exaggerated, juvenile bluster, attempting nothing more than settling scores and assuaging wounded egos. As you're reading, remember, all of these unsigned editorials represent the institutional voice of the dominant newspaper in the market.
From the Star Tribune's endorsement of John Kerry:
Kerry recognizes that to prevail in the struggle against terrorism, America must return to the moral high ground rather than unilaterally pursue a perverted, narrow vision of its national interest.
He would reverse Bush's devious dismantling of environmental protections, and he would preserve the safety net that protects America's most vulnerable citizens.
[Bush] has proved to be the most divisive, insular and partisan president since Richard Nixon. He ran as a moderate, but has pursued radical goals that have plunged the nation into debt and injected the government into the most personal of family matters. He promised to conduct foreign policy humbly, yet he repeatedly spurned allies, culminating in his arrogant and misguided rush to war on Iraq.
From their post-election assessment of what the Bush victory means for the country:
Looking ahead, Bush faces an enormous, uphill struggle to keep Iraq from turning into a disaster. Should he fail, and should the right insist on trying to force-feed America its radical social agenda, the 2006 midterm elections could bring real congressional grief to the Republicans. This is still a centrist, tolerant society, and any effort to remake it into a conservative theocracy will bring swift, decisive repudiation.
From their day after election requiem, explaining what happened to create the conditions of Bush's victory:
Also on the Web for the first time in this campaign were the bloggers. Much of what they passed off as political analysis was little better than rumor-mongering and garbage-peddling.
But some of them performed heroic jobs fact-checking the candidates, challenging the traditional media and, in the latter days of the campaign, acting as an early alert system for voting problems.
Interesting for them to condemn certain bloggers as rumor mongers and garbage peddlers, while celebrating others as heroes. Who's who? Should I be insulted or gratified? We'll never know. In their typical style, the Star Tribune can lob personal insults from the editorial page and never have to explain anything - the confused readers be damned. In their defense, it is much easier engaging in vague innuendo, since they don't have to worry about getting heroically fact checked about anything later.
It is curious for them to compliment ... someone ... for fact checking candidates and challenging the traditional media. Here in the real world, the most prominent example of that is our friends from Powerline. They became nationally prominent for their exposure of John Kerry's fictitious Christmas in Cambodia stories and for their investigation into the use of fraudulent documents by CBS News to attack on the President. By any reasonable interpretation, that's fact checking candidates and challenging the traditional media. But, you may recall, during the campaign the Star Tribune didn't see fit to compliment Powerline. Instead, they called them "fraudulent," "immoral," and "smear artists."
(Note, I had to link to a Powerline post for documentation. The Star Tribune archives have been purged of any evidence of Jim Boyd's dual melt downs of a few months ago. Curiously, if you want to find a collection of Jim Boyd's other work, from as long as 5 years ago, it's not a problem.)
So, did the Star Tribune have a drastic change of heart on Powerline? Or are they referring to some other set of bloggers as the heroes? We'll never know. The institutional voice of the dominant newspaper in this market chooses to speak in riddles on this one.
They weren't so mysterious with regard to another group that had an affect on this past election.
There was quite a lot of bad and ugly, typified by the Swift Boat Vets for Truth and the Sinclair Broadcasting Group's effort to broadcast a smear as "news." To a lesser extent, Michael Moore was guilty of the same thing with his conspiracy theories in the film "Fahrenheit 9/11."
The worst aspect of this campaign was the Swift Boat Vets and POWs for Truth. They're worse and uglier than Michael Moore - a man who has done more to spread anti-Americanism and encourage our enemies than anyone in history. Take this example from Derbyshire:
I was talking to some young English people the other day. They didn't know much about U.S. politics, and half of what they knew came from watching Fahrenheit 911. They knew there was something fishy about that movie, and giggled in a slightly embarrassed way as they played back the opinions they had picked up from it; but those were in fact their opinions faute de mieux(*), and some of them will stick. In cultures yet further removed from our own - in China, in Latin America, in India, in the Muslim Middle East - Moore's poisonous brew is swallowed without a hiccup, and has become the stuff that "everybody knows..."
And, according to the Star Tribune, he's not as "bad" or "ugly" as the Swift Boat Veterans and POWs for Truth.
I can understand their resentment against those veterans for effectively working against their personal political interests. But this level of disrespect is astonishing - and revealing. Remember, the Swift Vets and POWS are men who risked their lives to serve our country in a war. They suffered grievous injuries. Many were prisoners of war. They include a Medal of Honor winner. Their ranks include Democrats, Republicans, and independents and they organized only for the purpose of preventing John Kerry from exploiting their records for his personal gain. They only wanted to tell the story of what they experienced in Vietnam and the effect of John Kerry's antiwar activities on their lives, during and after the war.
And for that sin they were first ignored, then ridiculed, then slandered by the press. Now the Star Tribune calls them with "bad" and "ugly," worse than Michael Moore." This is the equivalent of Lawrence O'Donnell repeatedly shouting "liar, creepy liar!" at John O'Neil on MSNBC. And this is the institutional voice of the dominant newspaper in this market.
I wonder if the Star Tribune editorial board laughed and congratulated each other after putting together this anonymous attack against the vets. And I wonder how many of these same editors were insulting and laughing at these same servicemen when they first came home from the war, all those years ago.
Today, November 11, is Veteran's Day. People of good conscience, across all political orientations, honor the service of those who have gone before. And we pray for those currently fighting and dying to protect us all.
After seeing the Star Tribune's treatment of our veterans, I'm not sure we can consider their editorial board as people of good conscience. And I can't imagine why a veteran would ever give a dime to the Star Tribune again.