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Old media vs new in the kerfuffle of the hour

In case you missed it, there has been a bit of a kerfuffle going on online for the past handful of days. Of course, you probably were caught up in some other online kerfuffle. It is, after all, the Internet, where camisades and bagarres spring like kudzu. In this instance, we are referring to a conflict between so-called "legacy" news organizations (the Officer Krupkes of media, such as newspapers and television stations) and The UpTake, an online citizens' journalism group that will take the role of The Jets here, sneering, "You was never my age, Officer Krupke," and tending to their pompadours using switchblade combs. Sarah Janecek of Politics in Minnesota first reported the donnybrook March 26, and it can be summed up as follows: "At least two media organizations currently renting space in the Capitol press room are objecting to The UpTake also renting space in the basement of the Capitol."

What? Why? It seems to stem from accusations that The UpTake is a partisan organization, which, in turn, stems not from its reporting, but from tweets from individual members. There are also veiled accusations that The Uptake is engaging in some sort of dubious story-gathering (specifically, Mike Dougherty, the local news editor for the Rochester Post-Bulletin, wrote in an email that there is "no guarantee someone else’s work won’t appear on their site or be Tweeted via Twitter") which, frankly, is not an accusation that should be veiled. If a news organization is unethical, call them out on it and back it up with facts, but to smear with innuendo and hypotheticals? Well, there are some ethics regarding that as well.

Of course, the real meat is in the comments (such as one who claims, "This isn’t about partisanship. It’s about fear of the 'new medias.'") And, the new media being what they are, the discussion left the original story and migrated across the web, populating itself hither and thon. For instance, it showed up on WCCO's The Wire. MnStories founder Chuck Olsen, who is sort of the paterfamilias of new media in the Twin Cities and has a longstanding relationship with The UpTake, added the Wire's story to his Tumbleblog, saying, "Yes, The UpTake is a news organization. Yes, we make certain legacy media journalists uncomfortable. Welcome to the 21st century." WCCO reporter Jason DeRusa then re-Tumbled the story, adding his two cents: "Reporters should not be working to kick other media orgs. out."

It sounds as though TPT has also been in on the complaints about The Uptake, and staffer Mary Lahammer offered a few comments via Twitter, saying, "TPT is not fighting UpTake, just concerned about sharing space w people who work, contribute, share info with political campaigns" — which, again, suggests unethical behavior on The UpTake's part that doesn't seem to have been demonstrated. We can't link to Lahammer's original Tweet — it was scrubbed afterward — but The Deets blog has a screengrab of the comment. Deets author Ed Kohler also noticed that MPR's Bob Collins, who had been discussing the subject with MinnPost's David Brauer via Twitter, suddenly suspended his Twitter account, but Collins showed up in the Deets comments to say, in his inimitably irritable way, the events were unrelated.

But it seems the UpTake is taking it on all sides. Luke Hellier of Minnesota Democrats Exposed reposted a Tweet from UpTake reporter Erin Maye in which she mocks people at the Kill the Bill Rally at the Capitol, and asks, "Does anyone actually believe the Uptake is objective?" It's a fair question, and it's also worth asking if objectivity is the only mark by which we judge journalism. Of course, Minnesota Democrats Exposed might not be the best place to ask such a question: One of the first comments in response starts off with "Typical socialist" and then deteriorates into an especially nasty personal attack. Kohler tries to answer that question, but, as he also works with the UpTake, he might not be the most objective judge, as he admits.

And that's it for the Insider Baseball section of Glean today, so we're not going to discuss City Pages redesign of the web page; heck, you can check it out yourself with this story: They have a video by conservative activist Jason Mattera (author of something titled "Obama Zombies") in which he ambushes Sen. Al Franken in a hall, demands to know about "$7 billion to fund jungle gyms" and then gets told to shut up by Franken (which, in context, comes off as brusque but understandable, as Franken clearly realizes he's being set up). City Pages also points to Media Matters, which pretty thoroughly debunks Mattera's claims. Honestly, if there are zombies out there, maybe Mattera's concerns are a little misplaced, unless he was worried that we were wasting money on jungle gyms we should be spending on perimeter fences, body armor and shotgun shells.

If Franken seems to be a little pugilistically minded, well, it's a pugilistic time. For instance, the Minnesota Independent's Andy Birkey of the Minnesota Independent offers video of Michele Bachmann in a boxing ring in Duluth declaring, "We gotta duke it out between now and November, and we will turn this country around in November." She also decries "pantywaist" Republicans and claims that complaints of misbehavior at the anti-Health Care Reform rally in Washington (which she spoke at) were fabricated. "[N]obody has any record of it," she said. "They said they were spat upon, no one saw it." It's unclear what she means by this, because, of course, plenty of people saw it, including her fellow lawmakers.

Perhaps it would be easier to convince Bachmann had there been some physical evidence, as happened Monday in St. Cloud, when police were called to investigate what Fox9 is calling a "large amount of racist and anti-Semitic graffiti." It's been a tense time for St. Cloud, what with that fellow who threatened to use a gathering of Somalis as target practice  and those anti-Muslim cartoons that were posted on a utility pole. Additionally, the Apollo High School in St. Cloud was the scene of a rally Monday, as Muslims and supporters complained that the school wasn't doing enough to protect its Muslim students from harassment, as reported by the Associated Press.

Well, sir, I guess there's just a meanness in this world, as Bruce Springsteen once sang. Look no further than the story of Jacoby Smith of St. Paul who allegedly beat a quadruple amputee. Why? According to the report filed by WCCO's Liz Collin, she had blocked his view of a television. Richard Chin of the Pioneer Press has more of the story, in which Smith alleges that he was simply fighting back after she had struck him in the groin. Huh? "She'll swing, push me down and choke me with her nubs," Smith explains to Chin.

In sports: Michael Russo of the Star Tribune uses an old sportswriter's trick in retelling the Minnesota Wild's victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Monday night, in that he has picked a member of the team to make a hero. It's a neat way of summarizing the game without having to transcribe every single play — you just find someone who did especially well and make the story about them. And particularly in this instance, the player Russo picked really was heroic: defenseman Greg Zanon, who threw himself in the way of pucks with suicidal abandon, and has apparently been playing on a broken ankle. Zanon "probably bleeds green or something," Russo says.

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Comments (3)

Re: Jacoby Smith and the Beating. Mr. Chin of the PP also noted that Mr. Smith's victim said they "both needed anger management" training.

Chin's article demonstrates the truth of her remark, although nothing can excuse Smith's violence toward her.

Uh, Mr Sparber, did you look at the video? Sen. Franken wasn't being brusque because he "realized he was being set up." Franken has dealt respectfully with all sorts of folks trying to "set him up." He was brusque because Jason Mattera, whoever he is, was a disrespectful, out- of-control little punk hyena. Anyone whom Mr Mattera approached in that way, Senator or otherwise, would be totally forgiven for clocking him in the face, just to make him shut up. Franken's self-restraint was more than anyone could reasonably expect.

Watching Al Franken be our Senator has been a real joy. He truly channels Paul Wellstone, with courage, conviction, literacy, intellect, and better diction.

No wonder the Republicans were so afraid of him that they spent millions on the empty suit from Brooklyn who called himself Norm Coleman.

And I just remembered I forgot to go to his latest fundraiser. Dang.