Note: This post is listed as “by Baron Bodissey”, but it isn’t really. Dymphna was using Baron’s computer today and neglected to switch the Blogger login before posting.
Now you can guess which one of us is actually writing this explantory note! We wear similar pajamas, so we’re hard to tell apart…
There has been some fruitful discussion of a recent post of Wretchard’s, The Blogosphere at War. In his essay, among a wide range of ideas, he says this:
There is considerable interest in the idea that “blogs” are somehow able to offset the mainstream media’s (MSM) ability to sell a given narrative to the public, a power which is of considerable interest in peace and even more so in war. It is widely recognized that molding public perceptions through narratives is nearly as important in war as the outcomes on the actual battlefield. Palestinian Media Watch convincingly demonstrates that Arab and Muslim organizations have long made influencing international publics through print and broadcast media a strategic goal, especially in any confrontation with Israel. This effort has historically followed two tracks: the establishment of technically sophisticated media outlets like al-Jazeera to sell messages directly to audiences; and mounting information operations aimed at shaping the way in which Western Media outlets cover any issue of interest.
As usual, there was a long, thoughtful discussion among Belmont’s commenters. What struck me most, however, was a comment early on by a reader, Nahncee. I keep going back to what she said, and now want to present it to you as an idea with interesting possibilities. To my knowledge, no one else has posed this question.
The nation’s first Muslim Congressperson was elected in November, Keith Ellison in Minnesota. PowerLine, a fairly famous and well-known blog, wrote extensively about Mr. Ellison for months prior to the election.
The local newspaper, on the other hand, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, had a news blackout on the fact that Mr. Ellison is a Muslim with ties not only to CAIR but to other terrorist organizations.
Two months later, the Strib had just been sold for $530 million, after having been worth over $1 billion some years ago. It’s readership has declined to the point where it’s becoming worthless as well as redundant.
However, this is not helpful AFTER Mr. Ellison has been elected to the Congress of the United States of America, and is now demanding that he be sworn in to his new office using a Koran. In other words, his fealty will be to Islam rather than to the US Constitution.
– – – – – – – – – –
She’s correct in this assumption. Mr. Ellison’s fealty does not lie with the U.S. Constitution. It is not his first loyalty as an office holder — a public servant — in this country. And his past, plus his present associations, most definitely point in the direction of “Koran First, Constitution Second.” And, of course, her information on the decline and sale of Minneapolis’ leading MSM outlet speaks volumes about — as she says — its redundancy. Welcome news about a continuing trend.
But here is where her line of reasoning gets most intriguing, and this is the thought I want to present to you for discussion:
It seems to me that that citizens of Minnesota have an excellent case for bringing a lawsuit for malfeasance against the Star Tribune for *not* adequately informing them of who and what they were voting for. Ignorance is not accepted as a plea for wrong-doing in a court of law, but surely normal people living their lives outside the internet should be able to expect to be warned about waves of other evil things approaching them besides tsunamis. [my emphasis]
I can see lots of counter-arguments against this proposition — e.g., freedom of speech does not demand that one is obliged to say everything one knows. However, in this case, where a newspaper presents itself as being truthful about a political campaign, what does it owe its readers in either presenting the whole case about a candidate for office, or, at the very least, providing a disclaimer that it does not purport to be even-handed and will omit knowledge it has about someone if it helps their cause?
We probably shouldn’t hold our breath waiting for Minnesotans to demand full access to the news. However, there may be some — readers of Powerline who reside in that state — who could present a class action suit, in ACLU fashion, using Nahncee’s idea as their basis. The fact that the Strib deliberately and with forethought omitted crucial information about the questionable character of Mr. Ellison, particularly his extreme anti-Semitism, his ties to CAIR, etc., could be construed as a clear harm to the commonweal.
Is such a suit constitutional? Would the very fact of attempting to bring it on put the more blatantly biased of the MSM mouthpieces on notice? Would they have to begin acting like journalists rather than merely shills?
For those of you more versed in the intricacies of interpreting the First Amendment, it would be a big help if you were to weigh in on this idea of Nahncee’s.
What do you think?