Earlier this week, the afternoon of January 3rd to be precise, far left Minnesota Congressman and Deputy Chair of the Democratic National Committee, Keith Ellison casually tweeted a picture of himself holding a copy of “Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook” by Mark Bray. Antifa has been declared a domestic terrorist group by the Department of Homeland Security. The reaction was immediate everywhere except among Minnesota’s media, which has a long history of covering for Ellison’s terrorist affiliations as well as his extreme political positions.
As Gateway Pundit succinctly put it the day the tweet appeared: “Members of Antifa believe that violence is justified when used against political foes or to send a message during protests. Many claim that violence against “fascists,” or anyone to the right of Karl Marx, is justified as self-defense from an imagined threat. From rioting and causing over $500,000 in property damage to the area surrounding University of California at Berkeley to prevent Milo Yiannopoulos from speaking to bashing a stranger over the head with a bike lock for the crime of supporting our president, members of Antifa have become increasingly willing to use violence for political aims since the election.”
It went on to note: “At Bray’s recent speaking engagement to promote the book in Boston, a Trump supporter was violently assaulted by the far-left anarchists. He was attacked by a mob of seven to ten people and left hospitalized with multiple fractures in his face.”
Nothing appeared in local media and certainly no Minnesota reporter retweeted any of the numerous national outlets that had picked up on the story and tweeted about it. I asked repeatedly the day of Ellison’s tweet if they had. I’d keep asking for two more days.
The very day after the tweet, however, Tucker Carlson covered the matter. In an efficient, three minute segment Carlson revealed to the rest of the nation this demagogue’s past and present, something Minnesota media has been careful to downplay. Don’t let their claim of “we covered it once” fool you. Extensive coverage is the norm for any political controversy on the Right and silence or perfunctory coverage the norm for their friends in their political party.
Minnesota media had to be dragged into reporting on Ellison because of the exploding national coverage. When examining coverage about Ellison, the protocol seem to be if a story escapes into the broader media and political atmosphere, Minnesota media will cover it in an after the fact manner, playing down any elements most damaging to him and establishing a narrative framework to that end. If a story appears in only isolated outlets–even prominent ones–the usual approach is to ignore it.
Even then, what sort of coverage did the Star Tribune and the Pioneer Press provide to Minnesotans? Both ran the same six paragraph, unbylined story from the Associated Press that failed to mention Antifa is a domestic terrorist group. The AP also failed to mention that peaceful Minnesota Trump supporters who gathered in the state Capitol last year had been viciously attacked by local Antifa terrorists and that one of those terrorists was the son of Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton’s vice-presidential running mate.
Can you imagine the state’s two biggest newspapers not assigning any local reporters if something similar had happened on the Right? Of course not. Newsbusters showed what’s really going on: “The obvious purpose of the gatekeeping wire service’s piece was to tell the rest of the establishment press: ‘There’s nothing to see here.’” It added: “Wide knowledge of Ellison’s action would clearly hurt the party’s perception with average voters, which is why the AP swung into defensive action Thursday evening.” That’s how the media bias game is played and Minnesota media knows it and plays along, quite well it must be said.
Minnesota Public Radio, the media arm of terrorist affiliated CAIR, had a short paragraph buried in its blog but no free standing story. Funny, that. At least it appeared the morning after the tweet, although this is a prime example of local media not really covering Ellison by pointing to a squib no one read.
WCCO ran the same flawed, narrative framing AP story with the defects I’ve already mentioned. KSTP ran an even more abbreviated version of the AP story, pushing the false narrative that Antifa exists to protest “white supremacy.” There’s a reason I don’t watch local television news and it’s because you’ll end up more ignorant and less informed than if you didn’t.
The local AP reporter, to his credit, did cover the matter on Twitter and contacted Ellison’s office for comment, which said Keith doesn’t support violence, which one demonstrates, apparently, by promoting a book that has an entire chapter endorsing shutting down political speech with which you disagree, including by means of violence.
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Alpha News is the only Minnesota media outlet to pick up on the sensational story that Ellison received a $2,500 contribution from Taher Herzallah, an official with the anti-semitic group American Muslims for Palestine. “Israelis have to be bombed, they are a threat to the legitimacy of Palestine, and it is wrong to maintain the State of Israel,” Herzallah said, according to the Anti-Defamation League. “It is an illegitimate creation born from colonialism and racism.”
Why does Minnesota media consistently fail to accurately and fully cover Keith Ellison? The answer is obvious and it’s almost naive to ask the question.
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There are some good reporters in Minnesota, though necessarily that assessment is relative and by comparison. Still, it would be wrong to be completely sweeping in judging Minnesota media. Gross, biased, unfair generalizations are reserved for white people, usually by self-hating white liberals, which the Twin Cities enjoys in embarrassing abundance, in and out of media.
Like their national counterparts, Minnesota media have a great deal of work to do in order to regain credibility and trust from the general public. The disproportionate coverage of fringe items that are then associated generally with those on the Right is a serious problem they so far have failed to admit, let alone remedy.
The avoidance or downplaying of odious behavior by those on the Left remains a hallmark of Minnesota media coverage. For example, Google “Linda Sarsour,” a national figure widely written about, and see if you can find any Minnesota media coverage of her. Or Ilhan Omar’s association with her. Their shortcomings–deliberate–are hardly confined to Keith Ellison.
Until they change, local media will be held in the same, deserved, low opinion that most Americans have of media generally, seen as partisan advocates instead of reputable men & women who seek to bring to a wider audience what is going on in the world by factual reporting, leaving readers to draw their own conclusions rather than forcing a particular one upon them.
Minnesota media’s failure to change must be seen for what it is–a conscious choice, a political preference, a business model even–and should treated accordingly.
This seems like an appropriate moment to announce that Friday Alpha News will launch an ongoing contest in which readers are invited to submit to me each week their “best” biased headline or tweet. Fairness requires that I remind people most reporters don’t write the headlines to their stories. Twitter, of course, is another matter entirely. The contest is open to other manifestations of bias, such as local television or radio, to be decided on a case-by-case basis.
The winner will receive a $50 Visa gift card and will be announced every Friday. For the same or similar submissions, the one that reaches my inbox first by midnight the preceding Wednesday will be declared the winner. Full details will be announced Friday.
This should be a humorous endeavor so get out there and have some fun. I know I will.
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In addition to Alpha News, John Gilmore is also a contributor to The Hill. He is the founder and executive director of Minnesota Media Monitor.™ He blogs at MinnesotaConservatives.org and is on Twitter under @Shabbosgoy. He can be reached at John@alphanewsmn.com.