A free press defends itself

The most frightening part of the White House’s assertion that the free press is the enemy of the American people is that the free press has had to work so hard in subsequent days to point out why it’s not.

Many Americans should be smarter than they are on this point.

In a lengthy editorial today, the Star Tribune takes a stab at it anyway.

Whether it’s in Washington, overseas or here at home, journalists work hard at getting beyond the official version to the deeper truths officials don’t always want you to see.

A global network of reporters collaborated to produce the Panama Papers, groundbreaking stories on how the rich here and abroad use secret offshore tax havens. A New York Times photo essay bore witness to dozens of killings on the streets of Manila as part of a brutal government crackdown on drugs.

Just recently Star Tribune reporters have uncovered failing child protection agencies, the inhumane misuse of solitary confinement in prisons, and the flagrant favors dispensed at U.S. Bank Stadium, leading to resignations of two top officials. The Editorial Board does its part with independently researched editorials that provoke debate and challenge leaders to do better, as well as by publishing commentaries and letters to the editor that reflect a broad range of thought.

Here’s a secret: Good journalists do have one genuine bias — toward the story that sheds light, pulls back a curtain and gives people the tools to understand what’s being done to and ostensibly for them.

The powerful have never liked being watched, and they will do whatever they can to avoid scrutiny. The founders of this country knew that. Americans now can ill afford to forget it.

In an op-ed, Dallas Morning News editor Mike Wilson suggested you have a right to know reality.

Enemies of the people cover the justice system. They write about the teachers who educate your children and the doctors who treat your illnesses. Enemies of the people warn you about greedy garage door companies and lousy customer service departments. An enemy of the people reports on the property tax rate you pay.

Enemies of the people spend long hours monitoring public meetings so they can tell you what the government is doing with your money and in your name. Our coverage of the Texas Legislature is brought to you by enemies of the people. Two enemies of the people cover Dallas City Hall.

We have enemies of the American people who cover the nation’s most powerful and important leader, bearing witness to everything he says. Enemies of the people understand the importance of choosing the right words because they know the damage the wrong words can do.

The nation’s founders recognized that a free press would act as a companion to the checks-and-balance system of our government. Perhaps they knew that the day would come when when branches of government would refuse to perform the role, choosing party over country instead.

The political allies of those declaring a free press as enemy won’t care about any of this. Whatever contempt they felt compelled to push back against last fall was well earned on this subject.

There’s not much Americans with a taste for a functioning democracy can do about that.

Except this:

From the archive: The miracle of the daily paper

  • Rod Chaffee

    I don’t read it as thoroughly as I should – and I get a lot of my news on-line and from Democracy Now and Counterspin – BUT I write the Star Trib check. And keep the delivery person delivering the paper.

  • Jay T. Berken

    I understand that media needs to get scrutiny, it keeps them sharp and it is our right, but what the current discourse of complete contempt of the media is very dangerous. Do not bit the arm off of which that feeds you…whom else is going to “spend long hours monitoring public meetings so they can tell you what the government is doing with your money and in your name”…Breitbart…RedState…where do you think they get their base news from. They do not have people on the beat; they are mostly opinion.

  • Al

    Buying the paper CANNOT be one of the only ways to support a free press. It’s just not affordable for many of us.

  • Mike Worcester

    The beauty of a free and independent press is that, even if they have their inherent biases, so what? In a market economy we are free to choose the media we consume. And those outlets can engage in fluff or muck-raking; that’s their choice. The alternative is a state-controlled media. Pravda, I’m looking at you!

  • Anna

    I used to get the Star Tribune but someone in my apartment building kept stealing my paper from the secured front entrance of my building. There was nothing the delivery person or I could do about the thief. Whoever it was, they kept doing it even when she left an extra paper with no apartment number on it.

    I don’t like reading the paper online. I like my newspaper. When I’m finished with it, it serves as padding for packages I send to relatives and friends who live in other states. I can use the comics section for wrapping paper if I happen to be out and it’s totally recyclable.

    I do get news online, mainly from MPR and NPR as well as listening online or on the radio in my car and I watch the local broadcast news at 6 on occasion.

    Those in political power will do anything these days to maintain that power including discrediting the free press. This is how demagogues and dictators mislead and control the populace.

    Anyone can start a false news website.

    I watch, read or listen to news organizations that have been around for generations and Trump be damned, I don’t plan to stop anytime soon.

  • Mike

    Yes, good journalism is worth defending. The problem is that fake news didn’t begin with the last election cycle. Too many journalists at prominent outlets over the years have been so eager to ingratiate themselves with government officials and politicians that they effectively become their mouthpieces – extensions of whatever PR job some faction of the government is pushing at the moment.

    I lost a lot of respect for the American press during the so-called debate on the invasion and occupation of Iraq, when war fever was in the air and the majority of the media (not all) were itching for death and destruction, regardless of the plain fact that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11.

    There have been numerous other examples since then: not calling torture by its rightful name; always labeling U.S. aggression abroad as “humanitarian,” while ignoring our war crimes; the current terrifying wish to escalate tensions with Russia because the establishment can’t face the fact that the public didn’t like its anointed candidate in the last election. The list goes on.

    The trick is not throwing the baby out with the bathwater, but there’s much about the mainstream press to dislike, and legitimately so.

  • Gary F

    Sure glad there is a free press so to keep the big boys in the media on their toes. Diversity in your sources people.

    http://hotair.com/archives/2017/02/17/fake-news-white-house-says-ap-report-on-100k-natl-guard-deportation-force-100-not-true/

  • MrE85

    While I don’t subscribe to the Star Tribune, I frequently buy newsstand copies. On Sunday I pick up the Pioneer Press, because I like their TV listing. We also are members of MPR, TPT and MinnPost.

    • Mike Stevens

      I subscribe to the Star Tribune, but have also been getting free copies of the Pioneer Press. The double coupons (and double news) have been great. Got a TiVo so I no longer need the guide. Also a member of the above and KFAI.

      FWIW, the Pioneer Press campaign is working since I am contemplating getting both papers.

      • Always loved “bonus day” when I was a carrier. They’re supposed to go to individual households which, presumably would follow up with a telemarketer call. But I wanted to get home to bed so I just dumped ’em in the nearest driveway.

        It was a way Knight Ridder, back then, could pad the circulation stats, I presume.

      • Jerry

        I feel like the Pioneer Press is slowly shrinking into becoming one of Lillie community newspapers.

  • MikeB

    The NY Times and Washington Post have really upped their game. The in-your-face challenge has been met head on. The ridiculous Enemy of the People charge is made by those who do not appreciate our system. A lot of damage will be done but it will be their undoing.

  • Will

    Yep a “free” press that silences dissent I just had my comment blocked from appearing, here’s the horrible, offensive comment that had to be blocked by a “free” press:

    Do your job, Trump hasn’t proposed any legislation to destroy the media, he’s simply criticizing the media’s coverage of him and he’s not wrong on that point. Sure, Trump has said some false things, I expect the media to call him on those “alternative facts” when they arise but please stop with the full out campaigning against Trump, the media is here to provide information and context not to campaign against a president who has been in office for about a month. The media needs to stop going hysterical because if everything is a crisis then nothing is, please report on actual things going on that matter, this whole Russia thing is a pure fabrication based on an unconstitutional law that has NEVER been enforced in over 200 years…you know what does matter? Tax reform, ACA repeal and replacement, the fact that I (and many others) just saw a 19% increase in our health insurance premiums and that’s from people who get their insurance from an employer. Oh yeah, that amazing stock market, wow, it’s still hitting records and you can’t even get the media to report it in a good light…even the economic based media is downplaying it (when with Obama they were singing praises of the stock market from the rooftops). It’s the hypocrisy many of us have a problem with in the media, once again, you’re going to face criticism from lots of people including Trump…do your job and report the facts from an unbiased perspective.

    I am a current subscriber to the Star Tribune, I’m going to cancel my subscription if they are going down the path of silencing those who disagree.

    • MrE85

      Someone needs a hug.

      • Will

        Someone needs to see and admit there is a bias in nearly all media outlets.

        • Jerry

          Because everybody knows giant corporations tend to be liberal?

          • Will

            Google, Facebook, Target, Apple, yep, you seem to have a point.

          • Jerry

            Google, Facebook, and Apple are more libertarian than liberal and with Target I feel that it is more about marketing.

        • RBHolb

          Because media outlets are run by people, and people have biases?

          • Will

            Correct.

        • Robert Moffitt

          Yikes!

        • Jerry

          Well, you were writing about a divisive issue that enflames the passions of Americans: trespassing at Minnehaha Falls.

        • Will

          Yep, that’s horrible and unacceptable from anyone. We need to be reasonable human beings. I’ve had death threats against me on a public radio forum, evil idiots are on both sides.

          • Not on this one you didn’t.

          • Will

            Correct, it was on WBUR’s On Point forum, I didn’t mean to imply that it was here.

    • Dude (Not Sweet)

      Although it is true that Trump has not introduce legislation, he is attempting to create a toxic environment towards the press. That is important to report.

    • Jeff

      While I don’t necessary agree, I don’t see anything offensive so maybe they are overly sensitive, but a few paragraph breaks might enhance your chances.

      • Will

        Yep, but that’s the thing, I get comments like that blocked constantly on the Star Tribune, there’s a bias there and it drives me crazy that those on the left tend to ignore or excuse that kind of thing away. Many of us right leaning moderates get tired of the double standard and that’s why we don’t agree with Trump’s comments on the press but we see he does have a point.

  • Mitch Berg

    I’ve said it in the past – MPR does a very good (not great, but very good) job of trying to be what the press is *supposed* to be. It’s nearly alone.

    Off the top of my head:

    JournoList

    The eight year tongue bath the big media gave the Obama Administration, meeting successive scandals – Fast and Furious, the IRS scandal, Obama’s sidestepping the law on immigration, and a long list of other scandals that the mainstream media met with stolid incuriousity.

    The coastal media’s record of furtive collaboration with the Clinton campaign.

    The debate in “elite” media circles (held out in the open on WNYC’s “On the Media”, on 91.1 KNOW every Sunday!) on whether it’s time to ditch the (nonexistent, laugable) notion of “objectivity” and move into open political advocacy, Because Trump.

    Arthur Sulzberger (of the NYTimes) himself admitting that it’s high time the Big Media got back to, y’know, reporting the news instead of serving as a PR firm and kaffee klatsch for their city’s establishment.

    The media’s “fact check” subsidiary getting routinely busted juggling which “facts” they apply to which candidates and stories.

    The periodic, temporary bouts of “Gorillas in the Mist”-style proposals to try to understand what all those weirdos in flyover land (or Greater Minnesota) actually do, think, believe and vote for.

    I mean, Bob, I get it – the media has this self-image; checks and balances, comforting the afflicted/afflicting the comfortable, yadda yadda. I get that. I used to see myself as part of that.

    But there’s this yawning disconnect between how the Media sees itself, and how the big, corporeal “it” actually performs – or, sure, perhaps just how our lying eyes and ears and brains tell us it’s performing – in real life. The disconnect predates Trump – for whom I didn’t vote, when someone inevitably brings it up – but is inextricable with why he won, I think.

    A free, independent press is essential for more than just democracy. But our press is, largely, not independent, does less “checking and balancing” than “enforcing a narrative”.

    • RBHolb

      “The eight year tongue bath the big media gave the Obama Administration, meeting successive scandals . . .” Maybe the scandals that were covered up, yet that were still widely discussed, weren’t such a big deal. Perhaps they paled by comparison to other scandals that were swept under the rug, such as the justification for the war in Iraq.

      • Mitch Berg

        Perhaps.

        Get back to me when you find that a political movement you belong to was actively squelched by an all-powerful, almost-unaccountable Federal bureaucracy, and we’ll talk comparisons.

        • RBHolb

          “Squelched?” Give it a rest, Mitch. These groups were asking for a tax exemption–something for which they must qualify. There was reason to think they did not meet the requirements–e.g. that they would be endorsing candidates for election–so there was more investigation of their applications. How is it “squelching” them to show they had to meet very clear legal requirements for what amounts to an act of legislative grace?

          You’ve gone a long way in proving the point that there is no one–no one!–in America with a greater sense of victimhood than the white, male conservative. You can whine all you like about feminists, LGBTQ activists, people of color, immigrants, etc., but the fact is, WMCs have turned “being picked on by liberals” into something approaching a religious dogma. Cry me a river.

          • Mitch Berg

            Shut up, RBHolb explained.

            “There was reason to think they did not meet the requirements–e.g. that they would be endorsing candidates for election–so there was more investigation of their applications”

            And the “investigations” dragged on endlessly – literally – for Tea Party groups, while other groups had identical investigations wrapped up in a timely routine manner.

            “You’ve gone a long way in proving the point that there is no one–no one!–in America with a greater sense of victimhood than the white, male conservative.”

            Wait.

            Back up.

            You’re trying to “whitesplain” me?

            Please, honky.

            ” You can whine all you like about feminists, LGBTQ activists, people of color, immigrants, etc”

            But I didn’t.

            Stop deflecting. I listed a specific case where there is vast, irrefutable evidence of wrongdoing.

          • RBHolb

            “And the “investigations” dragged on endlessly – literally . . .” Can you name one group that had an application denied? Yes, I can search for them myself, and yes, I see the articles from NewsMax and the Washington Times. I note they don’t explain why the applications were denied. Could it be because they didn’t meet the requirements for a tax exempt organization?

            “. . . while other groups had identical investigations wrapped up in a timely manner.” The IRS targeted groups with progressive-sounding terms in their names longer than it targeted tea party groups.

            “You’re trying to “whitesplain” me?” Sure, why not? Conservative discourse has turned from a real discussion of ideas and ideology into complaining about liberals (was Milo Yiannopolous really a conservative, or was he just popular because he was provocative?).

            Let me change my remark to “One can whine all one likes about feminists, LGBTQ activists, people of color, immigrants, etc” Better?

            “Stop deflecting.” Oh, please. Is that what you say when the inevitable “what about what Clinton did?” comes up on discussions about some Republican scandal?

            “I listed a specific case where there is vast, irrefutable evidence of wrongdoing.” “Vast?” Do we perhaps understand that term differently? Likewise “irrefutable?”

          • Mitch Berg

            “Could it be because they didn’t meet the requirements for a tax exempt organization?”

            Well? Could it?

            We can name a whole lot more. The LawProf Blog has been covering the IRS issue since it broke – every single day. So has Powerline, Glenn Reynolds and a good chunk of the PJM blog crowd. IT’s just a *tad* more than one or two, and yes, the Tea Party groups whose complaints are still in play met all the requirements, according to actual lawyers who work on this sort of thing for a living.

            “Conservative discourse has turned from a real discussion of ideas and ideology into complaining about liberals”

            Please. We can say the same thing about the bottom 80% of every side’s discourse. Vide your entire string of comments.

            “It’s all complaining and whining” is a comforting little narrative to convince yourself that the bad guys aren’t as smart as you. It’s stupid when conservatives do it, and it’s no better here, all due respect.

            “Is that what you say when the inevitable “what about what Clinton did?””

            Yes.

            “Do we perhaps understand that term differently? ”

            If your idea of checking up on it is stopping at Newsmax, then I suppose we do.

            You have a great day.

            Tangential question: I’m going to go make lunch now. Since no liberal will be there to hear me, will the act of making lunch be “whining?”

          • RBHolb

            “We can name a whole lot more. The LawProf Blog has been covering the IRS issue since it broke. So has Powerline, Glenn Reynolds and a good chunk of the PJM blog crowd. IT’s just a *tad* more than one or two, and no, there are no “reasons”.” I will refrain from snark about your choice of sources to clarify that I meant to ask if the reasons the IRS may have stated for denying tax exempt status were given. The sources I looked at–Washington Times, LawProf Blog–did not see fit to include that in their reporting. Surely, even the IRS would go through the pretense of articulating reasons before it squelched the voices of the people?

            “Please. We can say the same thing about the bottom 80% of every side’s discourse. Vide your entire string of comments.” I know it’s the inherently-suspect liberal media,. but this morning’s New York Times quoted several prominent conservatives saying the same thing–conservatism has devolved largely into hating on liberals. Was the election of President Trump (whom I know you didn’t support–you’re off the hook for this one) anything other than a sustained exercise in complaining about liberals?

            “Tangential question: I’m going to go make lunch now. Since no liberal will be there to hear me, will the act of making lunch be “whining?”” Good one! I also liked your earlier use of “Please, honky,” BTW.

          • Mitch Berg

            “I will refrain from snark about your choice of sources”

            Well, bully!

            The fact that you didn’t take note of the relevant facts is all I need to know! My damned lying eyes again!

            “this morning’s New York Times quoted several prominent conservatives saying the same thing”

            Let me guess – James Brooks, Andrew Sullivan and Olympia Snowe?

            Look – I’m a conservative blogger and talk show host. I *know* there’s all sorts of inchoate anger out there. There’s also a lot of incisive brilliance. I know what you’ll focus on, and can’t control it. I can suggest you broaden your filter; I can also run in the Olympics, if I just lop 15 seconds off my time in the 100 yard dash. .

            “Was the election of President Trump…anything other than a sustained exercise in complaining about liberals?”

            If the rest of the left is as unclear on that as you are (all due respect), then it’s looking good for a second Trump term.

          • RBHolb

            “Let me guess – James Brooks, Andrew Sullivan and Olympia Snowe?” Nice try, but they quote Matt Lewis and Charlie Sykes.

            “There’s also a lot of incisive brilliance . . . I can suggest you broaden your filter.” From time to time, I read The Imaginative Conservative, which presents actual ideas and is unlikely to call the former President “Barry Soetero” and pass it off as wit (not that I have any reason think you have ever done that–I’m just citing one example of a particularly tiresome meme).

          • JamieHX

            Left-wing groups applying for tax-exempt status were being more-than carefully scrutinized too, something I heard from the often-bending-over-backwards-to-appease-the-Right news
            media only a couple times (compared with dozens of reports of the scrutiny of right-wing groups).

          • Jay T. Berken

            Plus, at that time there were a lot more right wing groups applying for tax-exempt status.

          • JamieHX

            I think right-leaning groups NEED more scrutiny – they’re the ones who want to endorse politicians from the pulpit, the ones who want tax dollars to go to religious schools, the ones who want more hidden money in elections, the ones whose half of the FEC won’t allow groups to be investigated.

        • Robert Moffitt

          Your team controls the White House, Congress, and the majority of state governments. If that’s being “actively squelched,” the Dems better line up and get some, too.

          • Mitch Berg

            First – Trump is not “my team”.

            Second – so it’s OK, letting the IRS stall applications from non-profits that oppose the sitting administration?

            You REALLY want that for your precedent?

    • Will

      I agree wholeheartedly, how did the media miss the massive potential health insurance premium increases with the ACA before they happened? It just didn’t fit their narrative, even though Republicans warned about it years ago. I think the media must face their bias and narratives head on.

      • Robert Moffitt

        “..even though Republicans warned about it years ago.”

        How do you know this?

        • Will

          I listen to all political parties constantly, usually I would hear those things outside mainstream media like talk radio. The mainstream media didn’t report on it like they should have.

          • // usually I would hear those things outside mainstream media like talk radio.

            Talk radio. Yep.

          • Will

            MPR is talk radio…Yep.

          • Rob

            MPR is fact-based, insult-free talk radio. Just a tad different than the way Limbaugh and Hannity roll.

          • Will

            I dislike Limbaugh and Hannity.

          • Ben

            MPR/NPR is Journalism, talk radio is talk radio.

          • Mitch Berg

            You’re inserting a black line where a gray one is more appropriate.

          • Mitch Berg

            Bob,

            “Talk radio. Yep.”

            I will put the shows I did about what MNSure was replacing (the best system in the country, in 2008), on MNSure’s technical fiasco, and on the media’s illiteracy about health insurance up against anything MPR did.

            Yep, indeed.

          • Will

            I’d like to hear/read that, have a link?

          • Mitch Berg

            Aaagh. I looked. My station changed podcast hosts. Barring a minor miracle, my pre-2012ish shows are gone.

            Blah.

      • chris

        Please. Maybe you are too young to know that health insurance premiums were rising at unsustainable rates long before the ACA. Not sure how republicans would have been warning about the ACA before it happened since it was a republican Heritage Foundation/Romney Care plan in the first place…until Obama adopted it, then it was bad of course.

        • Will

          50% increases year after year along with $12,000 deductibles? No, wasn’t like that before Obamacare.

          • chris

            Premiums under the ACA have not increased 50% year after year. Stop reading fake news.

          • My premiums went up 2% this year. Maybe people should did out old pay stubs and let’s compare.

          • Gary F

            But your employer has been eating most of the increase, or in my case, we have much higher deductables, co-pays, and out of pocket expenses. My work provided insurance has gotten crappier every year.

          • Was just breezing through this list.

            http://www.mprnews.org/story/2017/02/22/npr-gop-seeks-reduction-in-health-law-s-10-essential-benefits

            You know, I vaguely remember — well, not vaguely, I actually DO remember — during the Bush administration when health care was an ISSUE that both parties seemed to be racing to embrace.

            I disagreed on the compromise that became Medicare part D, but there seemed to be a sense that people were pulling in the same direction — access to health care.

          • JamieHX

            I’ve heard a few times in the last couple years that health insurance costs for those with employer-provided insurance have risen more slowly since the ACA than they did for several years before the ACA. (I don’t have time to do the research to provide links, sorry.)

          • Mitch Berg

            Background, Bob: My day job has been in some sector or another of the Health Insurance industry for a good chunk of the past decade. No expert, but I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express.

            The amount withheld from your paycheck may well have increased 2% last year. I’m going to guess you’re on MPR’s plan, right? I’m going to guess MPR has a “large group” plan; many of those are completely or partly grandfathered from pre-ACA plans, and in any case will be the last to feel the effects of the ACA if it’s not replaced. And as Gary F noted, MPR is likely eating a fair chunk of any increases.

            I became an “individual” policyholder this year. My premiums, deductibles, copays and coinsurance is up *sharply*. 50%? In that ballpark. A lot of us independents are having to make some *very* tough budget choices. And it’s only going to get worse.

            If you’re on a “small group” plan – 2-100 people? You’re next.

            Large Groups like MPR will be the last to feel the pain – but it’ll happen, barring some major change. Your pre-ACA plans will lose their grandfathering, and the “cost share” model will run out of individuals and then small groups to “share” costs with.

            More proximate to your original post, Bob? I’ve found that most reporters, even eight years into this fiasco, are amazingly innumerate about how health insurance works.

          • // The amount withheld from your paycheck may well have increased 2% last year. I’m going to guess you’re on MPR’s plan, right? I’m going to guess MPR has a “large group” plan; many of those are completely or partly grandfathered from pre-ACA plans, and in any case will be the last to feel the effects of the ACA if it’s not replaced. And as Gary F noted, MPR is likely eating a fair chunk of any increases.

            I’m sure that’s part of it. The other part — the more likely part — is that because we’re self-insured (we just have a big HMO administer it ) we’re more exposed to the fluctuations of claims.

            A few years ago we were especially fertile, for example. Lots of claims. Throw in cancer here and there and voila!

            Get a year in which the winters aren’t too cold, the wine gets stale, and you lose your Barry White CD and the premiums come right back into line.

            I’m surprised nobody’s suggested that as a solution.

          • Mitch Berg

            I’m sure we’ll see people demanding mandator background checks on Sade CDs before long.

          • [Quickly hides the Sade CD under the couch cushion]

          • Will

            Did you see my source?

          • Dan

            A plan with a 12k deductible would be a HDHP, which is an entirely Republican construct. The widening gap between HSA contribution limits and deductible/out of pocket max was always part of the plan, part of what I believe the industry calls “cost shifting” (to the insured, natch). All based on the faulty premises that “consumer choice” would drive down costs, and that young people living paycheck to paycheck would sock thousands of dollars away for future health expenses. With Republicans back in power I’m sure they’ll be the hot item again; I’d be fine with scrapping them. In any case, I wouldn’t plan on spending all that money you’ll be saving with the repeal of Obamacare just yet.

            What I find somewhat puzzling is the notion that rising premiums or the ACA (dotingly referred to as “Obamacare”) escaped press scrutiny.

          • JamieHX

            Buying an individual plan (apart from an employer or other group) has always been prohibitively expensive. The ACA has made it possible for many people to get subsidies so they could better afford those plans — people who wouldn’t have ANY insurance otherwise. And it’s not the ACA’s fault that insurance companies have increased the cost of buying the plans.

        • Gary F

          But the President of the United States repetitively lied to us about the ACA.

          • Chris

            Not true. I have the same doctors.

          • JamieHX

            He didn’t lie about being able to keep your doctors, if that’s what you’re talking about. Nobody knew the extent to which that might happen. Obama was just being too optimistic about it.

          • We’re thread drifting, people.

        • Mitch Berg

          “it was a republican Heritage Foundation/Romney Care plan in the first place”

          That’s just completely false.

          Heritage had an obscure little proposal that suggested a mandate combined with a system of risk pooling and subsidies.

          The ACA converts the “risk”-based system to a “cost sharing” system. Except for a mandate, it’s the exact opposite of the Heritage plan.

          • Jay T. Berken

            “”risk”-based system to a “cost sharing” system”

            You know that is how insurance works.

          • Mitch Berg

            At an extremely superficial level, sure.

            Cost sharing = someone gets an appendix out, we all pay an equal share.

            Risk pooling: We indemnify people against appendectomy fees. Those who eat more fiber and less bacon – lower risk for appendectomies [1] – pay less. Those who eat cheetoz and pork rinds – higher risk [1] – pay more.

            That’s what makes *insurance* a viable business model; the positive behavior modification that comes from mitigating risk.

            [1] – or maybe those aren’t the risk factors. I’m not a doctor. It’s an example. Work with me here, people.

        • bri-bri

          Obviously I’m just one person, but if it’s of interest, here are my premiums for the last four years: I’m 40, self-employed, non-smoker. In all cases I’ve purchased among the least-expensive, high-deductible plans available. I don’t get any MNSure subsidy.

          2014: $1754 ($141.17/month)
          2015 (first year of ACA): $2153 ($179.42/month, 22.7% year-over-year increase)
          2016: $2505 ($208.75, 16.3% y-o-y increase)
          2017: $3740 ($311.67, 49.3% y-o-y increase!!!)

          So clearly not a 50% annual increase for every year of the ACA, but this year’s increase was basically 50%, and one heck of a jolt. My deductible is $6850, my out-of-pocket-max $7150, both about 10% more than last year.

          I’m thankful for the forthcoming relief passed by the state this year (which is not factored into my 2017 costs), but I can’t see how such relief will be sustainable going forward unless costs are reined in somehow.

          • JamieHX

            You do know that the increases in your insurance costs are not the fault of the ACA or MNSure, don’t you? It’s insurance companies with their millionaire upper management personnel who are responsible for those increases.

          • bri-bri

            Quite curious as to how exactly you “know” that. I was just trying to share information from my own experience.

      • JamieHX

        The media didn’t miss it. I remember hearing plenty about the possibility. And Democrats warned of it, too. That’s the main reason that everyone was required to have insurance. They made it clear from the start.

    • You’re part of the free press, Mitch. You know that, right?

      • Mitch Berg

        Jeez. That’s a low blow, Bob. I’ve always spoken so highly of you.

        😉

        Kidding. I know. I’m also upfront and clear about my point of view and my bias and my allegiance to, if not a narrative, at least a worldview.

        And I understand the big media’s ties to the idea that they are objective and above all those bias and perspective thing. I just think it’s pretty clear that train has left the station.

        The media were held in lower regard than used car salesmen and lawyers even before Trump announced his campaign. Can *everyone* be wrong?

        • Hahahaha! I’m a big fan. As you know.

          • Mitch Berg

            Back atcha!

    • Rob

      The //eight-year tongue bath the media gave the Obama administration// – that’s rich, Mitch. You were obviously consuming different media than I was.

      • Mitch Berg

        Could be.

        Or it could be we were consuming the same media through different personal experiences, filters and templates.

        My money’s on “B”.

      • Gary F

        Yep, gotta diversify your media. MPR/NPR StarTrib/NYT MSNBC/CNN is not diversity.

        • Throw a little Alex Jones in there.

          • Gary F

            Most center right people have no choice to hear the left’s point of view because the mainstream media/entertainment industry/education industryare dominated by the center-left. The center left thinks reading both Salon and Vox makes them diverse.

          • Were you always center-right or did you just get there when the party moved much farther to the right?

            How would you compare yourself on the spectrum to, say, Jim Ramstad, whom a certain talk show host here characterized as a ‘bedwetter’ because he didn’t adhere to the right side of the party.

            How far away are you from becoming a RINO.

            If you’re a moderate or center-right Republican and you always think you were, you’ve actually been moving left on the spectrum.

            and now I’m thinking of the famous Three Stooges scene in which they ask for volunteers and everyone but the Stooges take a step backward.

          • Gary F

            I was a big time lefty. MPR, Utne Reader, big volunteer for Dukakis years ago. I bought what my profs at the U of Mn were selling. Hook, line and sinker.

            Then in the early nineties, I got a job on base plus commission then straight commission, got married, bought a house in a capitol city, had a child, all in that order, amazing isn’t it, and I watched my values change.

          • That’s cool. But do you have the sense in your center-right spot that your party is moving away from you? Or are you moving with it?

          • Gary F

            I’ve never been that close to my party. Never happy with the ” DFL lite” or get along to along types, or the appeasement types. I think some of that is changing, which is good.

            The whole Trump thing threw me for a loop. I had to vote for him, just because of the Supreme Court. How could guy that was buddies with the Clintons two years before now be against her? It was a better of two evils thing. The Republicans worst choice out of 16 candidates beat the Democrats “best” choice, and the media’s choice. As much as I hate seeing Trump win, I can’t believe how giddy I am that Hillary lost.

            My party? Its never really been my party, I just can’t vote for most of the Dem’s anymore so I have to vote Republican. Living in St Paul that means living under one party rule for a long time. I’m thinking of leaving. The new urbanist utopian types are forcing me out.

          • Jerry

            I always think of the Republican Party as being like people on a boat, remarking how quickly the harbour seems to be moving away from them.

          • Gary F
          • Jerry

            The only area where the Democratic Party has moved to the left is on social justice issues. On things like the economy and even gun control they are about where the Republican Party was 40 years ago. On economic issues the current Democratic platform is well to the right of FDR and LBJ.

          • RBHolb

            Somewhat more than forty years ago, a lot of what are now mainstream positions on social issues were considered far left.

          • Jerry

            And thank god that has changed

          • Mitch Berg

            Bob,

            Also a former liberal, who grew up in a very left-of-center family.

            So…about this:

            “Were you always center-right or did you just get there when the party moved much farther to the right?”

            You think Trump is a move “to the right?”

            Populism is not conservatism. In many ways, Trump was the best Democrat in this past race.

            “How would you compare yourself on the spectrum to, say, Jim Ramstad, whom a certain talk show host here characterized as a ‘bedwetter'”

            Ramstad – a fellow Jamestown ND native and former student of my dad’s – was a good representative for his district at the time. I thought his vote on the 1994 Crime Bill was spectacularly ill-advised. I guess that makes we well to his right.

            “If you’re a moderate or center-right Republican and you always think you were, you’ve actually been moving left on the spectrum.”

            Yeah, that’s what people on the left keep telling us. Thing is, I don’t think it’s true at all.

            Go ahead and listen to Reagan’s 1964 “A Time For Choosing” speech. Not a word of it wouldn’t fit in at a Tea Party meeting today (and that’s a good thing).

            I think we look like we’ve moving to the right for the same reason Saint Paul looks like it’s “moving to the east” when you drive to Minneapolis. IfYaCatchMyDrift.

          • //You think Trump is a move “to the right?”

            I didn’t say anything about Trump, nor do I define the current era as when the party moved farther to the right. I would consider the ’94 “revolution” as being that point, although I think there’s a case to be made that it actually occurred in the era where Goldwater/Reagan and Rockefeller/Press Bush forces were fighting for the soul of the party. And in between were the George Bushes and Richard Nixon’s trying to figure out where to fit in.

            //Populism is not conservatism. In many ways, Trump was the best Democrat in this past race.

            Again, see above.

            There’s no question that the party sought to purge itself of its moderates and showed plenty of disdain for them. I’ve told often of my father in law, an actual moderate Republican, and how the party turned on him when he was running for Congress.

            He’d gotten the endorsement of the widow of Syl Conte, a pretty powerful guy in Congress and a friend of my FIL. But he was pro-choice and she was a Catholic and the church pressured her hard.

            I think the abortion issue, now that I think of it, is what drove the wedge in the party that exists to this day.

            I don’t know what became of all of those Republicans. The Democratic Party moved farther left, the Republicans moved farther right.

            FIL is dead now. And maybe all those moderates are too and they just don’t actually make them anymore. You get two choices and you have to be one or the other.

            //I think we look like we’ve moving to the right for the same reason Saint Paul looks like it’s “moving to the east” when you drive to Minneapolis. IfYaCatchMyDrift.

            Heh. You know that feeling you get when you’re sitting in the parking lot and the two cars on either side of you pull out and you JAM your foot on the brake?

          • Mitch Berg

            I think you’ve mentioned the story before. The party *has* moved to the right since the seventies. I think it’s for the better, but I make no bones about being a Reagan guy.

            Re the term “center-right”? My two cents worth: the term is intended for the consumption of Democrats in the audience; a quick coded message to say “please don’t do the ‘Alex Jones/John Birch/Infowars’ thing, I’m one of the real ones”.

            Think of it as a rhetorical pre-emptive strike against a strawman we’ve all had to burn off more times than we care to remember.

          • // Re the term “center-right”? My two cents worth: the term is intended for the consumption of Democrats in the audience; a quick coded message to say “please don’t do the ‘Alex Jones/John Birch/Infowars’ thing, I’m one of the real ones”.

            So the “center-right” is actually the right. It’s not “right lite.” Gets confusing, though, if you actually know what the right is.

          • Jay T. Berken

            “I think the abortion issue, now that I think of it, is what drove the wedge in the party that exists to this day.”

            I do not have the experience of that time, but I believe it was civil rights that drove the wedge into the Republican party. Abortion was the hammer.

          • RBHolb

            Abortion became a substitute for racial issues. Once it was no longer socially acceptable to advocate outright for segregation, social conservatives turned to abortion.

            The religious right started its ascendancy in 1976, when Ronald Reagan put up a serious challenge for the Republican nomination. It was about that time that the Southern Baptist Convention dropped its official “no position” on abortion and adopted an anti-abortion stance.

          • Civil rights primarily drove the wedge into the Democratic Party, actually, imho

          • Jay T. Berken

            So duck tape is the better descriptive analogy of what civil rights did for the Republican Party.

          • Dan

            Right, effected both parties, eventually the civil rights “wedge” splintered the “States’ Rights” Dixiecrat types off, and spun them into Republicans.

          • Mitch Berg

            “I believe it was civil rights that drove the wedge into the Republican party. ”

            Pretty sure it wedged the Democrats. The majority of Southern congressional delegations were Democrat for nearly three decades after 1968; the majority of governors and state legislators, Democrat until 2000.

            Unless someone wants to suggest that racists only voted for President…

        • JamieHX

          All mainstream outlets that are mostly neutral, with diverse voices, but occasionally (some more than others) right-leaning. Or, I should probably say “right-appeasing.”

  • Jeff

    As a sustainer, I just need to get this off my chest… I hate pledge week

    (Ok, I feel better.)

    I also hate to sound like an uncritical cheerleader for the Star Tribune, but compared to a lot of major city newspapers out there, they are a cut above. I will always prefer the dead trees edition over electronic. There’s a lot of information embedded in the layout and I run across content I wouldn’t have sussed out online. But I still read online for comments, etc. With my subscription I also get access to Washington Post content.

    Which getting back to the topic at hand Dana Mllbank similarly had a great column about the self-made Americans (some of whom are military veterans) who make up the newsroom and are “Enemies of the People”. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/these-are-the-american-people-trump-calls-enemies-of-the-american-people/2017/02/21/957b8bbc-f87a-11e6-be05-1a3817ac21a5_story.html?utm_term=.439c12fd480d

    • Kassie

      I always think that during pledge drive only members should be able to comment on this blog. I’d even up my pledge amount for that benefit.

      • Rob

        Yes!

      • crystals

        My dream – which is entirely non-viable, mind you – is an MPR backchannel where sustaining members get pledge-free broadcasts in appreciation for their loyalty.

        • But then you’d have to provide resources to produce the programming. I don’t see that happening in today’s environment. Pledge drives take the same sized staff.

          I might consider going to NPR One as a “thank you” resource. That’s a pretty good app once you get it set up.

          • crystals

            Absolutely – it is awesome! And despite my pipe dream I am still beyond happy to contribute (pronounced the Mark Wheat way) and listen. Just heard you and a great piece by Nina Totenberg within 20 minutes. Who can complain about that?

          • Sit tight. This is the Internet. :*)

      • JamiHX

        Nobody should have to pay to be able to make comments.

  • Kassie

    I’ve been talking for weeks about getting a newspaper subscription and this post finally got me to do it. We now subscribe to the online and Sunday StarTribune, as well as being sustaining members of MPR and TPT.

  • JonasGrumby

    Bob, I’m glad you still write a check for the StarTrib. I do too!

    • Rob

      And I’m guessing Bob’s middle name is either Beowulf or Beauregard…

  • Jay T. Berken

    We’ve been a member/sustainer to MPR since 2001, subscriber to the Economist since 2007 (my wedding anniversary gift every year), TPT member since 2007, Sunday Star Tribune since 2010 and online New York Times for a year.

  • John O.

    For too many news outlets, the messenger seems to be more important than the message.

  • Gary F
  • lindblomeagles

    As today’s spotlight letter indicates, the press had a large hand in creating the same Donald Trump Administration it now fears. The writer mentions Iraq, which by far, was an extremely egregious lack of TRUE coverage. I mentioned last year, on NEWSCUT, the press NEEDED to call Trump’s lies, lies. They weren’t, including MPR. Captivated by Trump’s fame and impossible journey to the White House, they miserably under reported ALL of the racist things Trump said, the racist people Trump was hiring, and most of the dangerous stances Trump stood for regarding the environment, public schools, the global community, and our financial system. Heck, they barely covered his scandals. But giving FOX NEWS, the biggest non-journalistic so-called news organization a forum, and never challenging that, was absolutely ridiculous. FOX NEWS made it fashionable to cover ALL VIEWS, including those not substantiated by facts, and by ALL CITIZENS, including those whose only aim was hurting other Americans. There’s a BIG difference between “freedom of speech,” censure-ship, so-called ranting, “letting off steam,” and AN AGENDA. FOX NEWS ALWAYS PUSHED AN AGENDA, THIS AGENDA, THAT WE NOW SEE WITH DONALD TRUMP. That was never in question or doubt. The media acted like it was. So if the media wants to turn this around, START HAMMERING STANDARDS! Don’t allow an agenda to masquerade as freedom of speech. Investigate and report the agenda. Let us worry about freedom of speech.

    • What’s a spotlight letter?

    • // he press NEEDED to call Trump’s lies, lies.

      the issue back then was more focused on whether his talk was racist.

      And, no, we weren’t silent.

      But the country wanted that. And, as their narrative goes, people were tired of being looked down upon , so they voted for Trump. And, apparently, that’s no longer a problem.

      • rover27

        No, the country doesn’t want that. If Comey and the Russians hadn’t interfered, there would be no President Trump.

        Also the media’s microscopic obsession with Clinton’s emails compared to Trump’s coverage that was all over the map. Never concentrating for lengthy periods of time on one or two issues that people could focus on.

    • Will

      You’re going to have real fun 4-8 years, don’t worry many of us right leaning moderates will stand up for your rights.

  • Tyler

    When it comes to our government, every single reporter should have the mindset of a prosecuting attorney.

  • Gary F
  • Closing comments, which have veered wayyyyy far from the topic.