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May 21, 2005
Strib Has Its Eye On The News

Power Line posted late last night that the local broadsheet, the Star-Tribune, finally noticed that the Governor had invited several Metro-area bloggers to the mansion for a meet-and-greet last Tuesday. Scott and John do a good job of poking holes in the reporting of Mark Brunswick, so I don't necessarily want to cover the same ground, but some aspects of Mark's report are just too good to pass up.

First off, I can confirm what Scott says about having received no contact from Brunswick about this report despite the four days it apparently took him to write it. I display my e-mail address right on my website, just below the Day by Day cartoon now, and I can assure readers that my e-mail service works just fine. (In fact, this morning I've already received three offers from former Nigerian heads of state who need to get millions of dollars out of a bank for a sick relative. I should be rolling in dough by the end of the day!)

Brunswick instead just lifted quotes off of our blogs, which is fine, but then contacted a blogger who didn't get an invitation for his reaction. This part is so unintentionally hilarious, and is presented by Brunswick with so little editorial forethought, that it cries out for special focus:

The owner of Mnleftyliberal accused the local conservative blogs of getting caught up in the heady world of digital age punditry.

"These bloggers are so intent on being the next Powerline, they are willing to jump on it, hiding behind the fact they are not 'real news' or their anonymity," said the owner, who identifies himself only as Trillin.

Scott Johnson and John Hinderaker have written opinion pieces on the pages of the Star Tribune. My name (Edward Morrissey) appears frequently on my site, and the Star Tribune has done two front-page articles about me and my blogging, complete with pictures, the last in conjunction with the Canadian political scandals and my coverage of them. The rest of the bloggers at the mansion all identify themselves by name on their blogs, except for the Fraters gang, who don't go out of their way to hide their names, either. Instead of doing some research and pointing this out in his reporting, Brunswick lets the snide remark by someone "who identifies himself only as Trillin" stand unchallenged.

Irony, as you may guess, escapes Strib reporters and editors alike.

As for us all wanting to be the next Power Line, well, I'd say we wouldn't mind Power Line's traffic. I think most of us are pretty comfortable with who we are and how we blog, and if Brunswick had bothered to contact us, we could have explained our approach to both our blogs and to our visit with the Governor. Instead, he chose to take the lazy way out and wound up making himself look rather foolish.

I did get mentioned in his article, and the reference made to me I felt was perfectly legitimate. However, it does give me an opportunity to respond to another Strib representative, Nick Coleman. Brunswick quoted me about Pawlenty's chances on the national stage in 2008:

Captain Ed at the blog Captain's Quarters was among many who commented favorably on Pawlenty's potential as a candidate for national office.

"If you like to handicap presidential primary candidates, I'd suggest including Tim Pawlenty in your calculations," he posted afterward, remarking as well about being struck by Pawlenty's "youth and fitness."

That last part apparently set Nick into a tizzy of titillation earlier this week on his local Air America radio show. A few people who listened -- which I assume was Nick's entire audience -- tells me that Nick concluded that I must be gay based on my report. Nick's keen sense of reporting must have missed the picture that appeared practically in the middle of that same paragraph that shows my wife and I standing with the Governor, and given that Nick has never met nor even spoken with me, the evidence for this conclusion seems rather thin. It does, however, exemplify the journalistic standards employed by the Star Tribune and at least some of its staff.

If I was gay, I'd have no problem talking about it, but I'm not. I find Coleman's attack on me based on a spurious notion of my sexuality somewhat amusing and revealing of Nick and the Left more than it says anything about me. The Left wants people to think that they are more tolerant than anyone about sexual preferences, but when they attack liberatarians and conservatives, they love to accuse us of being closeted gays and lesbians. Nick does this quite often, especially when criticizing the guys from Power Line, a tendency that never fails to send the Northern Alliance into gales of laughter. We'd all like to know why Nick seems so interested in our sexuality. Maybe someone could drop us a line to explain his, er, curiosity.

Finally, Brunswick did report something new at the end of his article. The press interest in the event caused some question about whether the evening's costs should be borne by Minnesota taxpayers -- all $200 of it -- and the Governor wound up reimbursing the state out of his own pocket. I find that ridiculous, not the least that all four Fraters guys attended and the bar bill came in that low. If we had been local reporters for newspapers and television stations invited for a similar event, no one would have questioned its cost.

In return for the Governor's personal generosity, I'd like to return the favor on behalf of all those who attended on Tuesday evening. Governor, if you read this, we'd like to invite you to a reception hosted by the local blogging community for Governors who get the new media, their wives, and their staff. It's at John Hinderaker's house, and it's on us. I'll let John know about it as soon as the RSVPs start rolling in...

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at May 21, 2005 8:28 AM

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