The old newspaper building, up until 2015 (
by Dan Burns
Apr 19, 2023, 6:30 PM

What’s behind the Star Tribune’s stupid, obnoxious anti-Moriarty crusade?

First, for rhetorical purposes I need to repeat a plain truth that you already know: the fundamental purpose of corporate media is to promote corporatism. Especially continued plutocratic rule.

Mary Moriarty is the County Attorney for Hennepin County. She was elected last November. The Star Tribune had endorsed her opponent, Martha Holton Dimick, a so-called “tough on crime” type. The election wasn’t close. But what’s going on with the Strib is obviously far more than just hurt fee-fees over that.

What is going on is that the Strib has been providing pretty leading headlines (in their print editions, anyway) and coverage of how Moriarty doesn’t necessarily believe in coming down as hard as possible on young people who do really stupid things. Her approach is an element of what’s called “criminal justice reform,” and given how handily she won it’s something that a substantial majority of Hennepin County voters support. Those supporters are well aware that we’ve just been just locking people away, for centuries now, and crime hasn’t become rare as a result. Quite the contrary.

(I should note that I personally don’t believe in traditional imprisonment for anyone who’s not a clear and present danger to persons and/or property. There are other ways of dealing with criminal behavior, and convincing people it’s not worth doing again. But that’s another matter.)

As with all long-time big city daily newspapers, and as with legacy news media in general, the Strib’s base, these days, for its daily, delivered print edition is older people who tend to lean conservative. So by going after Moriarty, at the top of the front page, every chance they get, they’re promoting corporate conservative rhetoric, and appealing to their own subscriber base – a two-fer, to be sure. And by what they regard as the tried-and-true tactic of scaremongering about violent crime. Even though knowledgeable people are well aware that the worst states for violent crime are for the most part those that have been run by right-wingers for a while.

It’s the same thing as has been happening with corporate media and Vice President Kamala Harris. They reflexively demonize a very accomplished, and therefore to a lot of people – a lot of old white men in particular – intimidating and even frightening woman. Especially if she happens to be something other than both white and hetero.

At some point legacy news outlets are going to have to finesse a move to appeal to a more progressive, or at least considerably less conservative, base, if they want to survive, and indeed prosper, in anything like their current form. There are signs that they’re trying to do that now. I gotta say it’s hard for me to see the Strib’s current poobahs pulling that off, especially in league with their primary function as a rich man’s propaganda tool. But maybe they’ll surprise us.

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