Attempt to spread fake news about Vikings, homeless backfires on Mpls. men

A couple of local Twitter users probably didn’t think through a really bad idea that risked harm to the Twin Cities homeless population and destroyed their own credibility in the process.

Jake Nyberg, known Twitter commodity, writer, and musician from Minneapolis, apparently wanted to embarrass the Minnesota Vikings and force the team to deny they would help homeless people. So he started a rumor on Twitter that they were providing shelter in the new stadium, hoping the fake news would spread and force the team to appear to turn its backs on homeless people.

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Nyberg, of course, knew it was phony. And so, apparently, did a friend, David Dellanave who gave the rumor another shove.

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Dellanave’s tweet was retweeted 7,000 times on the social network, which is often used by legitimate organizations for the homeless and poor to provide information on shelter and supplies.

Not surprisingly, the rumor picked up more steam. Some media Twitter accounts retweeted it without verifying its authenticity.

Nyberg later noted it was only a rumor, but that was a disingenuous attempt at later deniability. He knew that it wasn’t a rumor. He knew that it was lie, which he had invented.

YahooSports ran the story via its website.

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And CBS, too, began running the story, both news/sports organizations embedding tweets from the two men’s accounts for attribution.

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Queried by reporters, the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority confirmed to several media members that the tweets were a hoax.

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It’s unknown, however, whether it ever reached homeless people who were looking for a place to stay warm on one of the coldest nights in two decades. (Update: KARE 11’s Jana Shortal reports she was on a train on which people were trying to stay warm. They got off at U.S. Bank Stadium)

[Update: MSFA says no one showed up at the stadium looking for shelter.]

The fact that it might have didn’t seem to bother the pair, if it occurred to them at all.

Twitter turned on the two, who multiplied their original sin by committing another one any novice on Twitter would know: When you’re caught, just say you’re sorry.

Instead, they grew combative against the universal online condemnation.

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By later Sunday night, Nyberg had deleted all of his tweets and deactivated his account, the damage having already been done.

[Update] From Nyberg: “The intent of my tweets yesterday was never to make a larger point about fake news. In hindsight, I chose a stupid and shortsighted way to bring attention to what I believe is a worthwhile question — whether it might make sense for a large, warm, publicly-funded building to be opened to those experiencing homelessness on a very cold night. This obviously backfired, I regret it and sincerely apologize.”

  • Rob

    Nyberg and Dellanave are the kind of dicks that deserve to be dropped in the middle of nowhere when it’s 15 degrees below zero.

  • Anna

    This is why I avoid social media because this is proof positive you cannot verify the posters or whatever shilling they are doing with their accounts.

    This one is particularly cruel considering people without shelter die in this sort of weather, especially the homeless.

    News reporters have systems for vetting a news story and it is clear they need to start using it. We wouldn’t have an unqualified and mentally unstable person as president-elect if they had.

    If Russia can hack an email account what makes the new administration think they couldn’t hack Twitter? Live press conferences eliminate giving our hand away to the enemy and literally cuts off false news at its source.

    As my son put it in the nutshell “How could Americans be so gullible and stupid?”

    Yahoo? Really? Considering recent news, why am I not surprised.

    There’s a sucker born every minute. In the digital age, it’s a nanosecond.

  • MrE85

    Oh, dear. I’m a longtime follower of Jake, but I was offline this weekend, so I didn’t hear anything about this. Disappointing.

  • BReynolds33

    As I have said other places… I bought in. I’ve met Jake. I know people who trust Jake. I’ve seen him interact with people “in the know.” Then, my training to trust the little blue check mark, and to trust media members RT’ing that little blue check mark, kicked in.

    Truly sorry to see that all of it happened. I want to believe Jake when he says what his intentions were, but I’m not sure I can even do that at this point.

    The real injury is that people who needed this help actually believed the news and went there. Real people (as reported by Jana Shortal), who then found ti to be false. That’s the really disgusting part of this.

    I’ve lost faith in someone I thought I could trust and I lost faith in the institution hosting the information (maybe misplaced from the beginning).

    Maybe some good will come out of all of this, and the building will actually get used for this purpose. I have my doubts. Until then, please give generously to those actually trying to help. There are quite a few sitting in the shadows of the People’s Stadium.

    • Hencer612

      His intentions are mute at this point — primarily because the homeless aren’t a joke.

      • Rob

        I think his intentions speak all too loudly, though they may be moot.

        • Eric

          What I’m getting from this is that Jana Shortal is full of BS, and you guys are buying it…

  • killershrew

    Oh wow. I don’t know Jake personally, but we have some mutual friends. He had a lot of followers and seemed well respected, he’s falling off of a high pedestal here.

    I didn’t see this unfold on Twitter. Did Jake specifically say that his motivation for doing this is what’s listed in the article? Did anyone get any screen grabs of those tweets?

    Also, very sad that he opted to become combative when confronted. Apologies first are absolutely the way to handle very public mistakes.

  • Mike

    Part and parcel of the vast narcissism that is most social media. I guess it doesn’t matter that actual harm might have occurred to real homeless people – as long as these two jerks got some publicity out of it.

  • Gary F

    Those lads may want to spend a week or two during the winter working at Dorthy Day or Harbor Lights.

    • Kassie

      Having volunteered at Dorothy Day, no one should be subjected to that. Worst volunteer experience I’ve ever had. Not because of the people staying there, but the people running the place. I stood there with nothing to do for almost two hours waiting, then was told to serve food that broke at least six health code violations. I just couldn’t continue to be a part of that. Homeless people deserve so much better.

  • Andy

    I go back and forth on the value of social media. It’s facilitated a lot of good and a lot of bad for me; but there’s nothing saying that something like this wouldn’t happened happened regardless of the medium. I also don’t think this is an indictment of Twitter. It certainly has value inasmuch as it has cheapened discourse. Incidents like this further people’s distrust of one another, in a time when unity is paramount.

    You’re always going to find a huckster, shyster, or prankster in its midst. And it’s pathetic what some people will do for ‘lulz’ and retweets. But I think it’s worse when someone posits something this loaded and essentially says “Sorry if you were offended”. Humanity has offered up no shortage of disappointments this year. This was the last thing we needed.

    • It was a very passive-aggressive hoax.

      The goal was to make the point that the Vikings or MSFA should open up the stadium to the homeless on cold nights.

      The way to do that in a more honest way is to tweet “hey, MSFA, how about opening up the stadium so homeless people can take shelter” and then maybe ask your legions to retweet it or even call.

      That’s sort of an old-school way of doing things, true.

      The way Nyberg and his pal did it had the aroma of self entertainment to it wrapped up in the ribbons of wanting to do something good.

      • crystals

        They also managed the previously unthinkable: making the MSFA and Vikings at least temporarily sympathetic figures. So…exactly the opposite of their intent?

      • What was it? A “very passive-aggressive hoax,” or, as you allude in your post above, an attempt to draw attention to a social concern?
        In any case, perhaps these thoughts from a beloved leader will inspire deeper thinking:

        “Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word “tension.” I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, so must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood. The purpose of our direct action program is to create a situation so crisis packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation.

        (…) I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that the present tension (…) is a necessary phase of the transition from an obnoxious negative peace, in which the (social outcasts) passively accepted his unjust plight, to a substantive and positive peace, in which all men will respect the dignity and worth of human personality.

        Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.

        In your statement you assert that our actions, even though peaceful, must be condemned (…) More and more I feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than have the people of good will. We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.”

        — Martin Luther King, Jr.

    • Rob

      Twitter has cheapened and coarsened discourse, mos’ def, and our Child-Elect has brought it to even lower depths than I thought possible. I’ve never second-guessed my decision to be Twitter-free.

  • Ben

    I don’t condone David’s and Jake’s tweets, but who are they and why do people think these two have any knowledge of how the stadium is used and the issue of homelessness in general? I don’t/didn’t follow them, so really would like to know.

    They don’t reference any news article with any quotes from any officials in their tweets. That should be a pretty big red flag for anyone who is looking for some sort of credibility to the statements. Would it be that hard to click on the Vikings handle and see if they announced anything about opening the stadium up as a shelter?

    I have seen more and more news stories just use tweets for the majority of the report. I hate this. That just seems so lazy.

    Tweets like these are definitely uncalled for, but any news agency that just blindly passes this stuff on as truth, really needs to stop and reevaluate its practices.

    • They don’t adopt any expertiese. They merely amplified a lie and it’s worth noting that it was journalists who called out the hoax.

      The “breaking news” tweet was retweeted 7,000 times. Seth Kaplan’s ytweet that it was a hoax was retweeted 300 times.

      It’s a fool’s errand to say that the problem here is the journalists (for the record, it appears Yahoo/CBS were the two offending parties) although that certainly amplified things.

      Twitter is a live animal in which every individual, regardless of what they do for a living, can give anything legitimacy merely by retweeting or repeating that which is incorrect.

      See also “Climate Deniers”

      • Ben

        The “Climate Deniers” example is my point. We need to consider the sources.

        “Twitter is a live animal in which every individual, regardless of what they do for a living, can give anything legitimacy merely by retweeting or repeating that which is incorrect.” – why is this true? Because people don’t stop and think about what they are reading.

        Whenever I read something on Twitter, I usually like to go to the account profile of the originator of the tweet, if it’s someone I don’t already follow. Just a little bit of digging and picking can tell me a fair amount. Not enough people do this.

      • Jesse

        Bob, you couldn’t be more wrong, and it’s alarming. Any kid who ever took an AP writing class knows you have to cite your sources, they have to be verifiable, and they have to be credible. “Random Stranger on Twitter” is not a credible source.

        These journalists had a responsibility to contact either the Vikings or the USBS staff before posting those articles, yet they only did it after they posted them. In my opinion, that should lead to termination.

        • I’m not sure what you think I’m wrong about since I never said sources shouldn’t be cited.

          The local journalists DID contact the Vikings or the USBS staff. Yahoo and CBS did not.

          But what I’m suggesting is that RT’ing is every bit as damaging as running it on some blog on CBS sports or on some Yahoo blog that most people probably don’t read.

          People are trying to avoid their own responsibility by saying the sole responsibility rests on these out of town journalists. And, true, they have/had a responsibility.

          But people have a responsibility to RT responsibility, even if they’re not in the journalism business.

          Ask the guy who shot up the pizza shop because of an alleged sex trafficking ring there where he heard about it and he’ll say, “the Internet.” And by “the Internet,” I doubt very much he’s citing a reputable news source thereon.

          Journalists have a responsibility.

          But people are suckers for info that doesn’t come anywhere near the pen/microphone of journalists.

          • Jesse

            “It’s a fool’s errand to say that the problem here is the journalists
            (for the record, it appears Yahoo/CBS were the two offending parties)
            although that certainly amplified things.”

            You are wrong here. The problem is definitely the journalists who thought Twitter was a good enough source to run with a story that would be global. Them being out-of-towners means nothing, as I’m pretty sure the telephone has been invented for a while, which can be used to call and find credible sources.

            Now you bring up the Pizzagate thing, and deflect to disreputable news sourses. But Yahoo and CBS are supposed to be credible news sources, and yet they jumped on fake news just as fast as infowars.

            What’s worse is they didn’t try to verify any facts until the stories were already posted, using random tweets as their only source. I don’t care how many people retweet something. Twitter isn’t, and never will be a credible source to any self respecting journalist, unless you work for Buzzfeed or HelloGoggles when posting the next big cat meme.

          • That’s not in dispute. Yahoo and CBS (sports, not news) had a journalistic responsibility.

            But, as I’ve said multiple times, this story was racing full speed long before Yahoo and CBS bit on it.

            The question isn’t whether Twitter should be considered a credible source to any self respecting journalist. The question is whether Twitter should be considered a credible source TO ANYONE.

            it will be interesting to ask Jake, when he comes back online, whether his hoax was intended to get media to bite on it, or whether he felt it could have legs just by retweets and Twitter doing its things.

            My suspicion is one of the reason some journalists locally are upset with him is because Nyberg was pretty tight with a lot of them and I suspect that if his plan targeted them, that’s something that could raise some dander.

            That’s a far separate issue from the responsibility of journalists, which — again — local journalists like DeRusha and Kaplan met.

            I’m not aware of any local journalism organizations that bit on the hoax.

          • Jesse

            But why is that the question? Of course Twitter shouldn’t be considered a reputable source for anyone, because it isn’t.

            I don’t think it was ever meant to be. It’s got a limit of 140 characters for a reason. It was made to post little random bullshit.

            It’s not people who are trying to turn it into a reputable source, it’s the media. Every article now has quotes from some random twitter user. Every social outrage article has screen grabs of twitter users showing, you guessed it, outrage.

            Here’s my question; What’s more attainable, get people to stop lying on Twitter, or get journalists to show some integrity?

          • It’s the question because of the power on social media virality, the component of which involves more people than just journalists.

            If a lie can take on a life as fact based on Facebook posts that are reposted and retweeted without confirmation by its users, how are the users not contributing to the elevation of a lie to a fact in the public sphere?

            Your last paragraph is certainly consistent with the times. But f you cannot recognize the integrity that journalists, as members of an industry, consistently show every day, then I don’t really know if it’s possible to reach you.

            If you’re citing two muttonheads in New York and declaring that on that alone you’re concluding that journalists don’t show integrity, then, Jesse, you are the problem.

            And the easiest thing would be for you to change that.

          • Jesse

            Wait, you’re saying I’m now the problem because I expect journalists to verify facts before releasing their articles? Nice deflection using a logical fallacy.

            Maybe if these two articles were the only instance of an organization using false information to create a headline you’d have some leg to stand on, but it sadly isn’t.

            How about Diane Rehm who used a Facebook post as a source to claim Sanders had dual citizenship. There are so many instances of news organizations, wanting to get the scoop, posting false stories or information.

            It’s become a quest for ratings, instead of a quest for truth. But yes, I’m the problem.

          • The best way to know what I’m saying is to actually read what I’m saying.

            So let me make it easier:
            1. THE *main* problem is two guys who tried to play a hoax.
            2. CBS Sports and Yahoo should have checked with MSFA before whipping out a blog post.
            3. Good job by local journalists who unveiled the effort as a hoax.
            4. In the age of social media, people who retweet and repost have tremendous power to shape a public narrative and to elevate fiction to fact in the public sphere. They should accept the responsibility not to do that.
            5) Each of the above facts is independent of the other.

            6) Every days, thousands of journalists with tremendous integrity go to work in the belief that they have a role to inform people, even the ignorant and stupid among us.
            7) Some people in journalism shouldn’t be.

          • Bob: ‘citing two muttonheads,’ shall we provide evidence of more muttonheads for our profession? Why the defensiveness? Yahoo & CBS blew it. They’re your muttonheads. How about those media who quote that other Twitter muttonhead, the perpetually threatening, then flip-flopping, POTUS-to be? Are they absolved for calling his Twitter rants ‘news’ without providing context that proves that his rants are wrong when they are, which is often? Or is that the readers’ fault, too? If readers are the problem and should do their own fact checks on ever single thing they see on Yahoo, CBS, Fox, CNN, etc etc. what do we need news media for?

      • David Dellanave

        @bcollinsmn:disqus: You’re entitled to your own interpretation of the event, but you’re not entitled to your own facts – facts which have been conspicuously unimportant to the whole #USBankWarmingHouse debacle.

        Fox9’s Seth Kaplan was one of, if not the very first, journalists to uncritically retweet the “news”. He has of course since deleted it and denies it, but maybe some enterprising individual can recover it – twitter.com/Seth_Kaplan/status/810659189647360001

        After retweeting with some sort of comment lauding the Vikings for their good deed he did his due diligence and only then was part of those debunking.

        It’s not a fact, but I’d argue that Seth’s legitimizing and sharing of it is what allowed it to escape from my network of Twitter followers who would know my trademark tackling of social issues and snarky derision of plutocracy. I never would have imagined that it would have been picked up by actual “legitimate” news media, but I wagered (correctly) that no homeless people would be put at risk for the reasons that others have outlined – they would know especially acutely that this is satire.

        You can take whatever holier-than-thou position you want on the social commentary, but your holding up local journalists as having *done their jobs* is factually false.

          • David Dellanave

            Yes, Jason did his job. Congrats? Kaplan was hardly alone, but you’ll have to forgive me for not being able to remember which of the 7000 retweets, a huge portion of which were “verified” sports journalists, local or otherwise, also spread it uncritically.

            But, please, keep coming back with your pedantic straw man defenses and don’t let me take away from your overarching point of passing the buck for turning satire into news and defending your own.

        • David Dellanave

          Thanks to whoever saw this and sent me the screenshot!

    • killershrew

      To take a stab at your first question – one of the main reasons Twitter is valuable is because it allows you to network. It provides you with direct access to people you might otherwise not be able to access. People with large followings are generally connected to other people who have inside knowledge on topics.

      A second reason Twitter is valuable is because news breaks there first sometimes. For example, when McMahon’s Pub on Lake Street caught fire many years
      ago, I saw the fire as I commuted to work. Local news was not publishing
      any articles on it when I checked. Through Twitter, I was able to
      determine not only that it was McMahon’s, but also that people had died
      in the fire. The official news reports followed an hour or so later.

      So when you put those two things together – people who are networked, and people who can break news before the news does – situations like Jake’s tweet can happen. When someone with a lot of followers and who is verified, like Jake, puts out a bit of news, he is given the benefit of the doubt. There’s an assumption that he heard it from someone in his network who would know, even if the news hasn’t been officially announced yet.

      Not saying this is a good thing, just stating what I have seen happen in the past. For people to take Jake at his word, to act on his word and spread it around, is not unheard of.

      • Rob

        Sounds like you need to go back to News Verifying School 101. When you see a statement Tweeted by someone whom you’re a fanboy of, ask the question: does he/she cite a legitimate source for their news-like statement? If not, assume that it’s not true until you can determine that it’s legit. It ain’t that hard.

        • This is the moment — and the tweet– when a lot of rules were thrown out the window.
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c97fae16aa3530d4d1b15c32468743ca6545376b53cf985f67eda1cd32d1699b.jpg

          Perhaps what we’re learning is a lot of the proclamations that we don’t need mainstream media anymore now that information has been set free and there are no gatekeepers, are disingenuous?

          • Rob

            I’ve never accepted the notion that the blossoming of bright shiny social media platforms obviates the need for gatekeepers. And as old school as this may sound, I will always prefer to get my news and information from – wait for it – legitimate news and information sources. Self-interested hosers tweeting out garbage, which is then retweeted by thousands of fanboys, is never gonna be a go-to source of news and info for me.

          • “set free” … and amplified by the professional, paid media. Lets run the numbers. The Tweet was retweeted 7000 times. CBSNews has how many in it’s audience? And how many follow it on Twitter, among those, how many retweeted the CBS “news story” it published with the sole and only source being an obscure Twitterer? Now lets add the Yahoo audience, and their Twitter followers….

            If I Tweet that all homeless people are given Vikings gear — boots, blankets, sleeping bags(?), stocking caps, coats, gloves, etc. as an humanitarian gesture and excellent PR move to counter this story, can my story get that kind of professional news coverage too, before any professional media fact catches on?

            PS: Something tells me professional, paid media weren’t the only or first to fact-check it. Perhaps I’m wrong. But, not all Twitterers are utterly gullible.

        • killershrew

          You seem to have missed the part in my post where I said “not saying this is a good thing, just stating what I have seen happen in the past.” Other than the McMahon’s Pub example, I was not speaking of what I do, I was speaking of what I have witnessed others do.

          If you wish to ask me what *I* do when I see unverified news on Twitter, I would be happy to tell you.

          • Rob

            Please share.

          • killershrew

            I go looking to see if legit news sources are reporting it. If not, take it with a grain of salt and move on without sharing. Just like you!

        • KTFoley

          Just want to report that I was driving home with the radio on scan and heard a voice reading part of this post. Turned out to be 100.3, whoever’s on air at 4:15 pm. They were still on the topic some 15 minutes later.

      • Ben

        Don’t get me wrong, I find value in Twitter too. I’m just wondering why people would assume these 2 people had any particular knowledge of this supposed occurrence. It’s so easy to quote your source in Twitter, like provide a link. They obviously didn’t do that. And regarding the verified account, Trump’s account is verified, so…

        • I’d love to hear from people the 7,000 people who RT’d the “breaking news” tweet and perhaps they could answer that question.

  • jane

    Gosh, what IF the stadiums Up North here DID open up for homeless people during Cold Spells?
    I might feel better about taxes being spent on a stadium. How about you?
    And yes, news sources should indeed be checked. Not hard to contact the stadium and ASK if this is true, is it?

    • Hencer612

      Do a little research on what it takes to operate a homeless shelter. Does the MSFA have the proper insurance & security? Do they have enough volunteers and resources to support opening up for the homeless? What about local schools and their gyms? Why are we targeting the MSFA?

      • DavidG

        But, we’re not really talking about running a homeless shelter there long term. We’re talking about about emergency shelter on one night of extreme temperatures.

        Standing under an awning downtown is no long term shelter, but it will
        serve its purpose for the few minutes it takes for the downpour to pass.

        But sure, over public buildings could be considered too in these kind of emergency situations. In fact, they often do (for much longer terms) after tornadoes, floods, and other natural disasters.

      • RBHolb

        “Why are we targeting the MSFA?” Apart from the fact that they and the Vikings hosed the taxpayers for a big chunk of the expense for their lavish playhouse that is used only a few times a year (unlike schools and gyms), and that has only the function of stroking the egos of some very wealthy people (see previous parenthetical), and that it is supposed to be the “People’s Stadium,” I can see no reason for it.

        • Hencer612

          You conveniently ignored the point about proper insurance, security, volunteers. You will to pay the insurance claims if someone gets hurt?

          • RBHolb

            Let’s just say it opens up a much needed discussion about the proper use of Stately Wilf Manor.

            As DavidG points out, we’re talking about an emergency shelter for one night. Surely, the Vikings organization and the players are so charitable and so interested in “giving back” that they could find a way to make this work? Or doesn’t the charity count if there aren’t TV cameras filming it?

          • Was Harbor Light full?

          • Kassie

            Harbor Lights is full almost every night. But there are lots of emergency shelters. Everyone who wants a warm place to spend the night could find one. I think what people are missing is that there really isn’t a need for a stadium to be open on a cold night, there are plenty of places that are and teams of people looking for homeless people to get them into a warm place.

          • RBHolb

            My point is more that sports facilities are regarded as semi-sacred places, even though they are built with massive doses of public money.

          • CharlieQuimby

            The city has a process whereby homeless adults can get shelter for the night by going to a single location. People on the street inform each other, and this system is an improvement over the past.

            Since they know about, there weren’t lines outside the stadium. Too bad the media didn’t know or take the time to find out before getting all huffy.

            Beginning October 17, 2016 in order to access a shelter bed for single adults in Hennepin County, you must visit Adult Shelter Connect at St. Olaf Catholic Church in downtown Minneapolis. This system replaces waiting lines or going to the lottery.

            Hours are Monday through Friday 9am to 5:30pm and 1pm to 5:30pm on Saturdays and Sundays. You can call (612) 248-2350 during business hours or call United Way’s 2-1-1 (651) 291-0211 from cell phones) after business hours.

            Adult Shelter Connect is located at St. Olaf Catholic Church:
            215 S 8th St, Minneapolis. The entrance to the office is on the intersection of 2nd Ave & 8th St.

          • Still one of the best writers I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading.

            http://greatdivide.typepad.com/across_the_great_divide/2016/12/give-the-homeless-some-credit.html

          • Hencer612

            Here is what happened at the Superdome in New Orleans when they used it as a temporary shelter during Katrina – “As of August 31, there had been three deaths in the Superdome: two elderly medical patients and a man who is believed to have committed suicide by jumping from the upper level seats. There were also unconfirmed reports of rape, vandalism, violent assaults, crack dealing/drug abuse, and gang activity inside the Superdome. On September 11, New Orleans Police Superintendent Eddie Compass reported there were “no confirmed reports of any type of sexual assault.”

            But, yeah, we can plan for that in a few hours, right?

          • RBHolb

            Thank you for pointing out the gap in our emergency preparedness. Why don’t we prepare for it in advance? It’s not like it’s never going to get brutally cold again.

          • Hencer612

            Again, if you are willing to pay the increased costs associated, by all means, get your checkbook out.

          • RBHolb

            Or the Vikings could do it, seeing as how they are all so interested in “giving back.”

          • Hencer612

            Ahh, of course. You’re all talk and no action. You want everyone else to pay, except you refuse to have any skin in the game. Typical liberal.

          • RBHolb

            I have plenty of skin in this game: I am a taxpayer, and resident of Minneapolis. Who do you think is footing the bill for a big chink of this monstrosity?

            If the Vikings want to show they really are a community asset, they can step up and contribute. They can do it even when the cameras aren’t aroud to record their “selflessness.”

          • Hencer612

            You should probably visit http://www.vikings.com/outreach/.

          • DavidG

            If insurance/liability were that big a hindrance, how on earth do we have any shelters at all?

          • Hencer612

            Umm…because they are built to operate as a shelter…

  • You betcha.

  • Alex Lodner

    Using the homeless for their own high-schoolish prank is inhumane. Not taking responsibility for their stupidity and blaming US for calling them out is worse.

    • Kassie

      Yep. They should of apologized, deleted their tweets and stopped the spreading of the lies. Instead they acted like idiots.

    • Folks, I think you’re missing the point. It was a very successful direct action agitation. What is stupid is that news media ran with it. But, thats a big win for their effort to raise awareness and create a discussion. To claim that this somehow put homeless people at more risk is exactly backwards.

      • The media is plural. What media exactly.

      • Alex Lodner

        Respectfully, and completely, disagree.

        • Was just reading on WCCO about two women who hand out sleeping bags to homeless people.

          You know what direct action is? That!

          This other stuff is all just changing avatars.

          • Two women handing out sleeping bags to the homeless is compassion, humane, yes, ‘direct action’ to and with people in need. it is not, however, culture change. It is an individual, relational reaction to a public problem. Not a civic solution engaging or engaged by a publicly owned and paid for civic asset that calls itself ‘for the people.’

  • Kassie

    My hot take on the whole thing is that my twitter feed (very much in a frenzy over all of this) really doesn’t know much about homelessness, homeless people, shelters or cold weather emergency shelters.

    Also, someone should fact check Jana Shortal’s tweets about people trying to get into the stadium at 10pm. Seems like BS to me. Either they weren’t homeless, or she isn’t being honest. By 10pm, homeless people looking for a place had already found one, likely the place they stayed the night before when it was even colder.

    • blindeke

      One reporter sees someone get off the train is not compelling in any way.

      • Ben

        I’ve wondered how many people think I’m homeless when I’m on the train or the bus, especially on the those days when I haven’t shaven for a while and am wearing my more frayed clothing.

        • Kassie

          Having worked with the homeless, I know that they can’t be picked out by what they wear or how they act. I had one client who wore khakis and a polo shirt every single day. He always looked very nice and had no problem fitting in walking around the Minneapolis skyways every day. No one would have known he slept every night at Harbor Lights and was very mentally ill.

    • CharlieQuimby

      Exactly, Kassie. Covering the hoax angle is much easier to do from your desk, although it’s not hard to find out how homeless individuals actually do find shelter in Minneapolis.

      HINT: Not by call the Vikings or stadium commission.

  • Hencer612

    Throughout this ordeal, Nyberg’s only defense was that people weren’t getting his “joke.” Then he made his Twitter account private before suspending it — he’ll be back in a few weeks. You don’t run from your errors. Quit being a coward, own up to the mistake and stop being an ass clown.

  • LifebloodMN

    The problem is not the deceiving tweet. Whether it was a joke, a troll, a hoax, a personal anecdote, or a social justice message doesn’t matter. The problem is when it’s reported as news. The methods used to collect information must be genuine. I said methods. Journalists have an ethical responsibility to do their due diligence. As a scientist, methods are pretty important to me.
    It’s being reported (from a message) on P-Press that apparently homeless people did make it to the stadium, suit up in purple jerseys and made it onto the field on Sunday. Zimmer was reportedly unable to tell the difference due to his eye problems.

    • No, that’s not really the problem. It MIGHT have been the problem 20 years ago when you need journalists to spread the news.

      But that’s not the problem in 2016 when you don’t.

    • KTFoley

      I disagree. The root cause of the problem is that the message was a deliberate lie.

      How it spread, and the agency of social media in its spread, would all be moot if the content met the basic parameters for speaking ill of another: is it true? is it kind? is it necessary?

      • Ben

        And if it wasn’t a deliberate lie? If it was just someone who misunderstand a conversation and stupidly passed it on as truth? Would the end result be much different? We still could have had homeless people trying to shelter at the stadium.

        • Part of the problem is the “I’m not just saying, I’m just repeating” mentality of journalism where if you can attribute the source of a statement, be it correct or incorrect, you should be held harmless.

        • KTFoley

          Doesn’t change the fact that the responsibility for this one still lands on Jake’s doorstep.

    • Nobody showed up at the stadium seeking shelter.

  • Jake Nyberg was right. The problem wasn’t that he made up a story for a laugh. The problem is that the media reports it without actually fact checking ANYTHING. The media has been hyperventilating over “fake news” lately, when most of the time THEY are the ones reporting the “fake news”.

    • “the media” is plural. Which media are you referring to in the Nyberg tweet?

      And, again, the local media fact checked Nyberg, called the Vikes, the MSFA, and some homeless agencies and found it to be a hoax.

    • Kassie

      As pointed out in Marc Rosen’s tweet, you don’t yell fire in a theater. Sure the media has responsibility to fact check, but everyone, especially those with thousands of followers, have the responsibility to not just go around posting lies.

    • killershrew

      After learning about this event today, well after the fact, I went on Twitter and searched all the latest tweets directed at @jakenyberg. You can find at least one response from a reporter who reached out to someone with the Vikings, who responded that the rumor wasn’t true.

  • William Hunter Duncan

    So did the Vikings ever do anything for the homeless or not? I mean, im going to be paying welfare to that gdmn organization as long as i live in Minneapolis, so maybe condemnation of this guy is monumentally misdirected?

    • RBHolb

      This time of the year, you can count on athletes of all persuasions “teaming up to bring a little holiday cheer to those less fortunate.” They will walk through a pediatric ward in a hospital, drop off a few toys, and make pious statements for the cameras about how important it is to give back to the community. It’s a well-worn, if tiresome, staple of TV journalism.

      Mr. Duncan, it sounds like you are not sufficiently grateful that you have the opportunity to breathe the same air as these fine individuals. Why is that?

      • I often wonder if an athlete has ever asked to go visit the pediatric mental health unit.

        • Jerry

          Considering the number of them who suffer from serious mental health issues, it would be a good gesture.

  • Curmudge

    He should have claimed that the Russians did it.

  • Jerry

    Why’s do I get the feeling that people are creating a false narrative about this story? As far as I understand it, two people made up a story on Twitter, thousands of people passed it around immediatly, and almost as quickly, local media members fact checked it and debunked it. It sounds like local media did its job. The rumour came to life and died within a few hours. Before social-media this wouldn’t even be a story.

    • jimbowman34

      The MSM want’s to use this case and others as an example so they can push for licensing of “real” reporters and news sites by the government.

    • jon

      //Before social-media this wouldn’t even be a story.
      I wonder if twitter sees this as good or bad publicity…
      Trump for that matter also…

      Seems like Twitter is constantly in the news, that must mean something to them right?

    • And, Jerry, the Tweet succeeded spectacularly in its mission!

      • Jerry

        In making them look like jackasses? Ok.

        • No. In creating conversations like these. Samuel Adams was called a jackass when he organized the Boston Tea Party. MLK was called a ‘jackass,’ too. The good news is, shortsighted slurs didn’t stop them.

  • Eric

    7,000 idiots and 2 lazy news organizations are responsible for this. You decide to assassinate the one person who actually had a point to make, because none of them got it? Pat yourself on the back, journalist. As if this kind of Twitter wildfire is predictable.

  • jimbowman34

    MPR and NPR were spreading fake news for the past year about the election as a federally funded arm of the Obama administration.

    • Attribution?

    • jon

      Remember when the liberals calls the conservatives racists? Conservatives came back with “We aren’t racists you are racists!”
      Or when liberals called conservatives puppets and the conservative response was “I’m not a Puppet! You are a puppet!”

      And now we’ve moved to “I’m not spreading fake news, you are spreading fake news!”

      When did political discourse degrade to “I’m rubber and you’re glue”

      We can do better than this.

      • RBHolb

        “We can do better than this.” Please, do you have a source for this idea? This is where we are after being an independent nation for 240 years, and having had a great degree of self-government for 150+ years before that.

        • jon

          “Please, do you have a source for this idea?”

          I’m afraid I don’t understand what you mean… A source for an Idea… it came from my Brain.

          Wasn’t a particular revolutionary Idea… because generally we can always to better at nearly anything… But the current level of political discourse is pathetic and we can do better, regardless of how many years it took for things to get to this point (weather they were improving or degrading over those years)

          • RBHolb

            It looks like I did a good job of burying agreement under sarcasm.

            We could do better with our discourse, and we ought to do better. I wish I could be optimistic that we will. I don’t know if we are seeing the deterioration of our conversation, or if we are just seeing the malevolence that has always been a sub-current coming to the surface. What we may think of as a better age for political discourse has always had a nasty side: One factor in George Washington’s decision not to seek a third term may have been the vitriolic responses to the Jay Treaty (there were “Death to Washington” clubs in some cities).

            Is this the inevitable result of democracy, or populism? I wish I could say “no, not inevitable.” I hope we can do better.

          • jon

            Apologies, I didn’t read the sarcasm.

            I’m sure there are many times in the course of history (American and others) where the course of civil discourse has been less than civil (like just before every civil war) and loaded with anti-intellectual sentiment.

            One does not need to dig to deep into the history books to find people who thought their political environment was the worst, I do not think we should make it a mission to definitively prove them wrong.

            So in that sense this is nothing new… however there are enough historically unpresidented (ha!) events happening with this election cycle that I don’t think any one is in a positions to really know what if we will do better (I’d like to hope we will) or if we will stay the course and just be angry all the time about the fake news the people we disagree with must be spreading to make a point we disagree with (so it must be a lie, right?)

    • Rob

      booshwah. if you actually heard this somewhere, it wasn’t from a legitimate news source.

  • I never thought I’d see the day I’d see MPR stooping to the lowest common denominator of its erstwhile less-dignified peers. To explain, I’ll weave some of Mr. Collins’ derisive words into my comment, in an attempt to mirror the ironic effect back at you:

    The fact that the Yahoo and CBS articles covering the information from the Twitter ‘rumor’ or ‘lie’ or whatever you want to label it should never have been published doesn’t seem to bother you, if it occurred to you at all. It seems it didn’t given your comments lack anything on a troubling reality more I’d say is more worthy of ‘observing.’ Which is that it is the job of paid, professional news media to NOT publish unverified information. Indeed, it is Journalism 101 to do a fact check, at the very least! One would hope in this Trump-on-Twitter time journalists would know better than to consider a screen shot of third-party comments sufficient story sourcing.

    Now you’ve multiplied your peers’ original sin by committing another one any novice on Twitter would and most certainly any well established, respected, paid and professional news media should know. You grew combative, persisting to publish this un-constructive blog post. It doesn’t cover any substantive angle. Instead it jumps right in on and glorifies an undignified social media harassment campaign. Worse, you piled on it with false claims. Namely that the bullying, or ‘online condemnation’ as you put it (with, one imagines, a seasoned professional’s disdainful sniffle) by going so far as to call the ugly responses ‘universal.’ Which, Mr. Collins: they were not. Count me as one who is not condemning the Twitterers.

    To be clear, much as I’ve appreciated the past work of you, Mark Rosen, Jason DeRusha and David Brauer, it is you and all professional, paid media who are immediately and astonishingly complicit in this glaringly bush-league fake-media mess! Dudes, really. What were you thinking?

    It says something troubling that even MPR is publishing this which amounts to little more than an articulate riff off of social media trolls.

    Which makes it appear you prioritized assuaging crony’s bruised egos over ‘nourishing anyone’s spirits (as your Mission statement asserts).’ And/or buttressed their biased perspective rather than offer something that would ‘expand the perspectives of’ your audiences. Public service? Doesn’t look like it from here. It looks like a public dis-service that dives right into an untoward fray against Nyberg et al for posting a little non-violent direct action agitation that a bunch of suckers (and others) were too obtuse to navigate. When the blame lies at least equally — I’d argue far more — with the “cut and paste” fake news propagators behind these near-universally known media.

    Specifically: It would seem you chose News Cut not to broaden the topic to inspire useful dialogue, but, to double-down with a distraction.

    You skimmed right past their pro-social point. Made no attempt to develop the themes into a more comprehensive debate that, perhaps shines a little light on the stark contrast Nyberg was trying to (albiet perhaps with tongue-in-check) illuminate. No evidence of you seeking to elicit even approximate data regarding relevant information regarding how many homeless folks were freezing outside the glam stadium versus how many privileged folks were warm inside watching the Vikes lose again. No link to the timely hook-in that finds the publicly-paid ‘People’s Stadium’ serving as a gratis venue for publicly paid legislators, leaders, etc. and their families.

    Not so much as a whisper about what I’d say is the most obvious hook of all: fake news. Namely the misconduct of Yahoo and CBS. Instead of calling out your competition/colleagues for making a mockery of professional media, you came out to cover for them.

    You offer three quotes by three media stars to unbalance one from the non-pro media Twitterer. All wrapped up in this boys-who-write-the-news-watch-each-others-back package you’ve published — with a little ad-hominen added. Why? Because its showing up in the rough n’ tumble Sports section? If so, thanks a lot, you just reinforced the dumb-jock motif many of us (including me: http://bit.ly/STRIBEveryBallInAir, http://bit.ly/GOPHRSPORTSFBPlayerTeachProfs ) have long been trying to debunk.

    I for one hope this isn’t further evidence that I need to grieve the loss of yet more of the last bastions of reliable, substantive, objective and professional news media.

    • I stopped reading after “doesn’t seem to bother you” Get back to me after you read what I’ve written.

      Facts still matter to me.

      • Facts matter to me, too, Mr. Collins. The fact is — as I noted in my comment, “doesn’t seem to bother” you are your words referring to the Tweeters, not mine. I simply used your words, as I noted, to mirror your tone back to you. But, now you won’t read past your words? Well, OK.

  • “You deplore (the attention this fairly humble act of social media civic engagement achieved). But your statement, I am sorry to say, fails to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought (it) about. (…) I am sure that none of you (or Mr. Collins, Mark Rosen, Jason DeRusha and David Brauer, et al) would want to rest content with the superficial kind of social analysis that deals merely with effects and does not grapple with underlying causes. It is unfortunate that (it takes news media running with a little Twitter irony to get this kind of attention) but it is even more unfortunate that the city’s white power structure left the (…) community with no alternative. (…)

    “Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word “tension.” I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth.”

    “Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, so must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood. The purpose of our direct action program is to create a situation so crisis packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation.” — Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr.

    It appears you and the local news leaders you’ve highlighted here are prioritizing assuaging cronies bruised egos over ‘nourishing’ anyone’s ‘spirits’ (as MPR’s Mission statement asserts). And/or buttressing biased perspectives rather than offering something that would ‘expand the perspectives of’ your audiences. Public service? Doesn’t look like it from here. It looks like a public dis-service. Unless you call diving into the ugly fray to gang up on Nyberg et al for posting a clever, and — thanks to paid professional media — pretty darn effective act of non-violent civil disobedience for a good cause. Just because a bunch of suckers (and others) were too obtuse to navigate the nuanced point. The blame lies at least equally — I’d argue far more — with the “cut and paste” fake news propagators behind these near-universally known media.

    I sense the concern you and others express for the homeless leans towards expedience more than sincerity. After all, these are homeless folks. Had they fallen for it too, it’s not like they’d have been any less homeless for doing so. Related, unless one has telepathy it’s unclear, from the screen grab you posted here (in a comment) that was sent from the stadium to Mr. DeRusha, whether the stadium is truly more concerned about homeless folks or more concerned about the PR problem this little (inspired, I’d say!) agitation elicited.

    I don’t know the Twitterers. Never heard of them before your piece here. But, I have heard of and appreciated the work of you all.

    What a disappointment to see this level of defensiveness from professional media men we count on to maintain objectivity — or at least not make like so many “lets take down the ‘libtards’ for lulz” trolls.

    As if we didn’t have enough us v them…

    • I’m intrigued by this paragraph in your most recent comment:

      It appears you and the local news leaders you’ve highlighted here are prioritizing assuaging cronies bruised egos over ‘nourishing’ anyone’s ‘spirits’ (as MPR’s Mission statement asserts). And/or buttressing biased perspectives rather than offering something that would ‘expand the perspectives of’ your audiences. Public service? Doesn’t look like it from here. It looks like a public dis-service. Unless you call diving into the ugly fray to gang up on Nyberg et al for posting a clever, and — thanks to paid professional media — pretty darn effective act of non-violent civil disobedience for a good cause. Just because a bunch of suckers (and others) were too obtuse to navigate the nuanced point. The blame lies at least equally — I’d argue far more — with the “cut and paste” fake news propagators behind these near-universally known media.

      With this comment you posted a day ago:

      Which makes it appear you prioritized assuaging crony’s bruised egos over ‘nourishing anyone’s spirits (as your Mission statement asserts).’ And/or buttressed their biased perspective rather than offer something that would ‘expand the perspectives of’ your audiences. Public service? Doesn’t look like it from here. It looks like a public dis-service that dives right into an untoward fray against Nyberg et al for posting a little non-violent direct action agitation that a bunch of suckers (and others) were too obtuse to navigate. When the blame lies at least equally — I’d argue far more — with the “cut and paste” fake news propagators behind these near-universally known media.

      I can’t say I’ve ever seen people cut and paste their own comment in the same thread before.

      • Glad you read them both! I took you at your word when you said you didn’t read yesterdays past the first paragraph or so.

        So I copy and pasted the part above, since you had said that you: “stopped reading (my comment) at ‘it didn’t seem to bother you,'” (which was actually a phrase from your post, above), as noted in my comments.