“Truth in Media” Event Triggers Lies in Media

Has anyone ever asked the leftist cabal known as the Alliance for a Better Minnesota what their titular vision entails? What would make Minnesota a better place to live, work, and pursue happiness?

We might begin to decipher their vision by examining what they oppose. For instance, when they took the effort last week to smear Republican gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson for attending an event hosted by a political action committee which seeks “to return our state to the principles of limited government, free enterprise, and individual liberty,” we might assume they oppose those principles. When they base their attack on a blatant misrepresentation of an invited speaker advocating for truth in media, we might assume they oppose that as well. Apparently, the “better Minnesota” ABM prescribes would emerge from unlimited government, constricted commerce, blanket tyranny, and lies broadcast throughout.

Certainly, no shortage of lies emerged from ABM and their eager media accomplices after Liberty Minnesota (the aforementioned PAC) hosted Ben Swann (the aforementioned speaker) at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Policy on September 13th. Copying and pasting from an ABM press release, City Pages writer Aaron Rupar shamelessly used the phrase “Alliance for a Better Minnesota reports,” as if deferring to a journalistic colleague rather than a partisan political organization. Rupar began:

The Alliance for a Better Minnesota is petitioning to demand that Hennepin County commissioner and 2014 MNGOP gubernatorial hopeful Jeff Johnson apologize for attending a 9/11 truther event held last Friday at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

Surely, were the occasion a “9/11 truther event,” it would have included some discussion of “9/11 truth.” Yet, by all accounts, no such discussion occurred aside from headliner Ben Swann briefly addressing allegations related to his coverage of the “truther” phenomenon. Both during his address at the Humphrey School and earlier that day during a local radio appearance, Swann denied being a “truther.”

Those facts did not dissuade Minnesota Conservatives blogger John Gilmore from running wild with false accusations. Gilmore reportedly attended the event, and therefore stands uniquely liable for misrepresenting its content and participants. Gilmore’s personal disdain for the liberty movement within the Republican party has been a dominant theme of his work, offering arguments which routinely rest upon the fallacy of guilt by association. City Pages eagerly echoed Gilmore’s misrepresentation, aiding ABM under the guise of journalism.

Such shenanigans may be par for the course wherever these perpetrators operate. However, the smear campaign gained undue credibility when joined by Rachel Stassen-Berger of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. In a post for her Hot Dish Politics blog, Stassen-Berger added to the misrepresentation of Swann’s work. She wrote:

Swann has also attracted controversy for breathing life into conspiracies ‘rethinking’ the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, questioning the ‘official narrative’ of lone shooters in recent mass shootings and an alternative explanation for the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

Apparently, reporting on events which have occurred and considering them from multiple perspectives breaths life into conspiracies; because nothing says truth to power more forcefully than echoing press releases.

Utilizing the same logic employed by ABM, John Gilmore, City Pages, and the Star Tribune, the latter two publications clearly endorse “9/11 truth” on account of their running ads from Rethink 9/11, the same “truther” campaign which Swann reported on. Right? Or, is it possible that a publication could include content which does not necessarily reflect the views of its stakeholders? Certainly, a partisan smear group like ABM cannot be reasonably expected to acknowledge so obvious a principle and apply universal standards in their conduct. But any publication aspiring to the category of journalism must. Ironically, that is Swann’s entire point.

Edward R. Murrow once said in testimony to Congress:

To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible; to be credible we must be truthful. It is as simple as that.

Ben Swann operates by that creed, and was invited to Minnesota by an organization which shares it. Lost in ABM’s manufactured controversy is any consideration of that message, of the value of truth, and the growing advocacy for individual rights in our state. One might wonder why an organization purporting to ally toward a better Minnesota seeks so desperately to draw attention from those topics.

Cross-posted at Fightin Words, where comments are welcome.