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by Dan Burns
Aug 28, 2019, 7:00 PM

Minnesota corporate media’s infuriating Omar/Trump double standard

Let’s review. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) was born in Somalia and spent years with her family in a refugee camp. Since coming to the U.S. she has, by dint of intelligence, hard work, and just fundamental excellence as a human being made her way to the U.S. Congress, where she has immediately begun to make a difference for the better – a reality which provokes sheer terror in right-wing “minds.” Meanwhile, “President” Donald J. Trump is, among a lot of other vile, noxious things, a racist, serial sexual predator with severe, and worsening, mental health issues that render him frighteningly unfit for his office.

Yet everything “controversial” about Rep. Omar makes the front page of Minnesota’s leading corporate media (CM), the Minneapolis Star Tribune – in the latest case, the day after it ran a fawning piece of crap about one of the most deranged, mindless haters ever to defile the Minnesota legislature. (More about Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R-Mazeppa) here.) Meanwhile, Trump’s daily demonstrations of delusion and stupidity, if they’re put on the front page at all, are couched in excruciatingly careful false equivalence.

As I’ve said, over and over – and as plenty of others have also said, over and over, and in many cases better than I have – “traditional” CM (mostly meaning in this context major daily newspapers and broadcast/cable news) has the same base as the Republican Party. That would be people of advancing age whose political views at least lean conservative. And with Rep. Omar CM gets the trifecta, as far as getting to play to their base’s racism, misogyny, and religious bigotry, all at once.

But do they really think it’s in their best interest to do such a thing? Most of the conservatives I know are not howling, fanatical kooks. Same with those I know who actually read the A section of the Strib or watch broadcast news. If the real head case wingnuts are viewing or listening to any “news” at all it’s the likes of Fox and Breitbart. Moreover, there is little indication that MN’s primary corporate “news” outlets are in any particular trouble. (Except for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, and its imminent demise has been predicted by “experts” for well over a decade now.) Nor would they be if they shaped up and did honest journalism they could be proud of, because in fact its base has been with them forever and isn’t going to change its lifelong habits. But purported concerns over economic survival are just part of the deal. CM is, after all, owned by the rich man.

I’ve seen belief, including among progressives, in CM as having in the good old days been devoted to real, honest truth telling. Apparently that’s grounded in what happened during Vietnam and Watergate. In fact, throughout its history CM has almost entirely been about advancing corporate interests – that is, those of the greedheads and war pigs – and what went down in the late 60s and early 70s was an anomalous outlier. And, since I mentioned Watergate, note that the current administration is far more scandal-ridden than Nixon’s, or anyone else’s, has ever been (and more incompetent and just plain stupid than George W. Bush’s, or anyone else’s, has ever been). Yet you’d certainly barely get an inkling of that from the front page of the Star Tribune, or any of Minnesota’s broadcast news outlets, or for that matter from TPT Almanac (though I acknowledge that MPR/TPT are still better than those others, particularly in covering environmental issues and economic ones affecting the vast majority who aren’t rich).

I strongly suspect that those who make the calls at CM know damn well that intelligent, knowledgeable people see right through them. I also strongly suspect that they couldn’t care less. They’re a smug bunch.

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