Monday, May 11, 2009

Why So Serious?

It is never a good sign for the country to see liberals being happy. It means they are getting their way. Hoping, changing, redistributing, and fundamentally remaking America in the mold of their Utopian dreams.

In case any of you conservatives haven't had enough bad news of late, here are four slideshows featuring pictures of a jam-packed ballroom full of local media liberals smiling, tittering, drinking, toasting, guffawing, back-slapping, slurping, noshing, sucking, and jackknifing with laughter.

The occasion was Minn Roast at the posh downtown Minneapolis Graves 601 Hotel. A fundraiser for the local liberal Web site MinnPost, largely staffed with Star Tribune and lefty alternative media cast-offs. Given the financial state of their chosen industry and profession, you wouldn't expect these people to be ecstatic with the state of the world. But it is clear something has got them jazzed. Wonder what that is?

Yes, these people are allowed to have their fun. They won, they continue to win, and the voters as yet have shown no signs of rebelling at their schemes and agenda. Sounds like the perfect time for a Gatsby-like demonstration of care free opulence and gloating. However, the unsavory aspect of these pictures wasn't the media members in attendance. It was the other primary occupation group in attendance. Liberal politicians.

I don't have a guest list, but the pictures alone reveal the presence of RT Rybak, Chris Coleman, Mark Dayton, Walter Mondale, Margaret Anderson Keliher, Larry Pogemiller, John Marty, Susan Gaertner, and Tarryl Clark. (One shot of the lonely, huddled mass of Republicans, Peter Bell and Marty Seifert, was also included.) In fact, Coleman, Rybak, Keliher, and Clark are shown participating in the on-stage comedic skits.

That liberals in the media and liberals in politics would want to pal around together is not news. The cozy, bosom relationship that exists between liberal politicians and the press is also not surprising. (My favorite picture is of WCCO's Don Shelby and RT Rybak literally arm-in-arm while laughing and singing.)

The problem, fellow citizens, is that this wasn't just some after hours, purely social meeting of the media-politician industrial complex mutual appreciation society. No, this was a fundraiser for a news outlet. An outlet in the business of providing information about elected officials. And in attendance were dozens of these very elected officials, donating their time, money, and performance skills to help this institution stay in business. I wonder why that is?

Those not familiar with MinnPost might think their partisan agenda is clear, they are an explicit information arm of the Democrats, so this is no big deal. However, that is not what they claim to be. They fancy themselves to be a professional journalism site. A new media model for how the voting public can access news to help them make informed decisions. Their mission as articulated in the Minn Roast promotion includes this punch line: to keep serious journalism alive in Minnesota.

Serious journalism? So serious, that you have the Democrat mayor of Minneapolis, Democrat Mayor of St. Paul, Democrat Speaker of the MN House of Representatives, the Democrat Assistant Majority Leader of the Minnesota Senate, among others, performing like trained seals in order to keep them in business.

The conflict of interest for the media organization is obvious. "Serious journalists" should not be enlisting the subjects of their scrutiny in ensuring their financial well-being. And these long time veterans of the news business should know that by now.

But the more revealing aspect of the journalism being provided by MinnPost is the willingness of these Democrat politicians to participate in the first place. They apparently love the kind of journalism being peddled by MinnPost. They love the kind of scrutiny applied to their own actions (and the actions of their opponents) by MinnPost. They love it so much, they are willing to help raise money so that it can continue to cover them even more.

Maybe this is the new model for political journalism. At the height of the seemingly unclenchable monopolistic grip the Star Tribune had over Minnesota press coverage a few years ago, many conservative critics wished they'd just admit their biases and brand themselves with a party affiliation. MinnPost seems to have taken a half step toward this end by openly funding themselves through partisan activity. But they really need to go all the way and drop the pretense of being "serious journalism" and come up with a tag line closer to the truth. My suggestion: MinnPost, Democrats getting what they paid for.

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