Friday, October 31, 2014

Who Is The Star Tribune's Suki Dardarian? Part 2

For lack of a better term, I would say the feminine values are now the 
values of America, sensitivity is more important than truth, 
feelings are more important than facts.
--Bill Maher

Suki Dardarian is a past president of the Associated Press Media Editors (APME). This professional association might well qualify as the most sclerotic in existence. A quick check of its web site reveals it hasn't updated or modified its Statement of Ethical Principles since 1994. It's understandable, I suppose, given how rarely journalists are ethical.

Remember, before being welcomed by the liberal media borg extant in the Twin Cities, Dardarian lectured that ethics was the single most important quality anyone wanting to go into journalism could bring. It appears this is a one and done type thing in her world, a world of checklist boxes to be tic'd so as to verify that you are indeed sensitive, warm and inclusive by covering, at least once, those subjects to which the checklist boxes apply.

Liberals themselves are the ultimate social construct.

Dardarian's Twitter feed is nothing exceptional; it has a feel of duty about it until a real life friend punches through and a person emerges from the self-conscious newspaper manager. Otherwise it's the usual menu of stories from her own paper and other media outlets. A thoughtful person will rarely find anything thoughtful for them to click on in her feed.

Who Dardarian follows on Twitter exemplifies what someone who thinks news is "curated" would follow. This is why you'll find both the Heritage Institute account as well as the usual give aways, like Valerie Plame. You wonder if Dardarian even knows who Richard Armitage is?

What's interesting, though, is that Dardarian appears not to know how to use Twitter in any conversant sense and this is confirmed by her subscribing to only one public list: food trucks.

I swear I'm not making that up. Private lists exist so perhaps she has subscribed to several of them. Something tells me no, however. For someone who was supposed to have had large digital responsibilities, Dardarian's social media presence appears to be a flat circle of time.

* * * * 

She can, however, live tweet events when needed, as she did when she attend the 2014 APME conference in Chicago earlier this year. Membership is limited to those who hold senior positions of management in newspapers. The tweets were instructive. #Editors2014

For instance, we learned: "many news organizations don't really know what engages their readers." How odd. 

Then again, it's been said that journalism is the only business where the owners don't care what the customers think of their product. Eat the dog food.

We also learned in Chicago that Voxdotcom is "smartly starting to rewrite news media ecosystem rules." This sort of jargon means nothing but doubtless the attendees ate it up. Voxdotcom is a laughing stock on and off Twitter, with a horrible factual track record and almost daily corrections. Yes, American media, Ezra Klein is your answer. 

Finally, one got a sense of media's unwarranted self-importance and post-graduate abuse of language when one speaker said "We must ask, what is the promise of this collection of words?" Promise? Like life after death? For starters, how about: are the words accurate and free of bias? No, apparently the question is the promise. Of this collection of words. That no one will ever remember. 

* * * * 

About a month after being in the new but same job at the Star Tribune, Dardarian was interviewed by Scott Faegerstrom, which resulted in two separate, very good articles written by him for MinnPost. In them, we learn that she has cred because of the Pulitzers won by the Seattle Times and being past president of APME; the coins of the newspaper realm. 

Job one for her will involve "public service journalism." That's essentially another word for liberal agitprop but cosseted in the virtue of service. It isn't news reporting and it isn't even journalism, if such a thing still exits. Faegerstrom notes with approval that Dardarian is a woman because the week prior to the interview Jill Abramson of the New York Times had been fired and this, he notes, "aroused such ire." 

Why yes, women can't be fired when they screw up. Nor can blacks, latinos, asians, gays, lesbians, atheists or any other atomized demographic in the ridiculous worldview of liberalism. Abramson was fired because she was a bitch and couldn't work with people, as New York Times' sources put it anonymously. These are certified, tedious, New York City liberals making such comments, mind you. The reflexive support for her among the wider media simply because she was a woman underscored again how easy it is to be a liberal: stop thinking critically and go with the herd of individuals. 

Faegerstrom quotes one journalism professor as noting how similar Seattle is to Minneapolis and the lack of any challenge in moving professionally from one to the other: "I think this will be a very smooth, quick entry for her." But the game is given away when that professor says "It isn't like she's parachuting into Texas." God forbid. That would require real change and real diversity; she might even learn something new. Keep it comfortably numb, please, in Minneapolis. 

* * * * 

It's not news that newspapers are dying. Approximately only a third of Americans under the age of 35 look at a newspaper even once a week. Lately I've seen liberals I follow on Twitter tweet pictures of different sections of the Star Tribune and I'm always shocked at how thin and awful the pages look. Whatever the opposite of reading is, it invites it. 

Recently, Robert G. Kaiser wrote a piece called "The Bad News About The News." Kaiser spent more than half a century at The Washington Post as a reporter and editor. Journalists too often attach themselves to media outlets like barnacles; MPR, NPR and "public" television have disconcertingly large numbers of lifers. Can you imagine looking back over a career of such vapidity? 

At any rate, Kaiser laments a number of things about the current travails of newspapers. Craigslist wiped out the classified ad revenue (which 20 years ago accounted for more than a third of WaPo's revenue!) and circulation plummeted at the same time for a variety of reasons. He deserves credit for being forthright: "Despite two decades of trying, no one has found a way to make traditional news-gathering sufficiently profitable to assure its future survival."

At seventeen quickly read printed pages, I recommend the piece if you're at all interested in newspapers, journalism, the media and its collective future. You can do so by clicking here.

Of course Kaiser remains a creature of his time and of his intellectually monochrome mind, like most in media. He talks about the time before "digital technology" changed the world, noting that "the news was quite orderly and predictable." Well yes, Robert, wasn't that part of the problem, predictable news? And isn't putting it that way avoiding the unpleasant truth that elites, almost always liberal, suffused reporting with their many biases? It is. He goes on to observe that "[t]his small, nearly-closed world rarely provided any surprises." Quite.

In what for me was a moving passage demonstrating the power of intellectual blindness, if not bankruptcy, Kaiser asserts calmly that for "nearly four decades after World War II, mainstream journalism was notably non-ideological." No serious observer of media now, or any historian of modern media, would make such a statement. These creation myths of present day media are important to the Woodward & Bernstein generation of journalists who are reaching the end of their days. WaPo's Ben Bradlee recently died, a totem of not only an age gone by, but, for people like Kaiser, one that never really existed except in their minds. Everything passes and it is with that awareness one should be compassionate in assessing that generations' colossal media failures. 

* * * * 

It's virtually impossible to notice any change to the quality, tone, tenor and embedded bias to most Star Tribune reporting in the time since Dardarian arrived. This is a function, I believe, of both the bland sameness of reporters and employees there (including a batch of new reporters, all uniformly liberal and of widely varying talent) as well as her limited time as managing editor. She did, however, in the video interviews I linked to in part one of this topic, say that she believed a goal of good journalism was "to raise hell a little bit." 

I've searched but can find no evidence that Dardarian has done such in her career. Consequently, and at no charge, I thought I'd offer some hell raising suggestions for her to pursue as a government watchdog, brave speaker of truth to power and teller of stories that enrich the community:
  • Is Gov. Dayton mentally well enough to govern for another four years? Is he on any medications for mental illness, what are they, at which dosage levels and is he under the care of a psychiatrist?
  • Can the Governor hold a valid driver's license? Does he? If not, why not?
  • Have you ever suggested embedding a reporter, such as they are, to see if Dayton can manage a forty hour work week? 
  • If Tina Flint Smith is the functional governor of this state, which many in local media tell me is precisely the case, why would you not explore that in depth? 
  • Is there substantial public corruption among black politicians and black community activists that guilty white Twin Cities liberals are afraid of investigating aggressively?
  • Why such reticence to understand what caused that building in Cedar Riverside to explode? Hint: it wasn't a gas link.
  • What is the source of increased violence in Minneapolis? Why in a metropolis filled with earnest education liberals would there exist the nation's worst achievement gap? What isn't being looked at? 
I could go on but there's no need. For any inquisitive journalistic mind there wouldn't be enough hours in the day to cover things that would "raise hell a little bit." 

To make it hit home, why not a feature on whether your boss, Rene Sanchez, executive managing editor, is a white hispanic? That's the term the New York Times invented and applied to George Zimmerman to keep a white/black race narrative going. As a friend noted, by that logic President Obama is a white black. Welcome to your own world. 

Better yet, how about a series on the enormous violence between blacks and hispanics? What are its sources and what are its possible remedies? I realize your problem: this discussion of racial strife leaves out whites so of what possible use is it to the media?

* * * * 

The internet destroyed the liberal media monopoly that Robert Kaiser fondly recalls and which is missed daily by Social Justice Warriors in today's media. Matt Drudge running the spiked Michael Isikoff story on Monica Lewinsky & Bill Clinton was a watershed from which there was no return. 

Media bias could no longer hide and its agents no longer be seen as anything other than that which most are: democrats with a by line. It's only going to get worse, by which I mean not Lenin's imperative--the worse the better--but worse for a media that won't adapt to the new journalistic age and new expectations of honesty and fairness.

Before he died Andrew Breitbart called the media evil. It took me a long time to understand that he was right. But there was nothing else to call them when an NBC producer deliberately altered the audio from George Zimmerman's 911 telephone call to make him appear racist. That producer still works in television. 

The new journalism, the bloggers, the online start ups, the falsehood destroying power of Twitter, all this reminds me of what, years ago, was said by the critical legal studies movement's Roberto Unger about the legal education establishment. His words seem to me today, however, to apply more exactly and fully to citizen journalists against the media ancien régime:

"When we came, they were like a priesthood that had lost their faith and kept their jobs. They stood in tedious embarrassment before cold altars. But we turned away from those altars and found the mind's opportunity in the heart's revenge."

©2014 John Hugh Gilmore & Minnesota Media Monitor™ All rights reserved.

Photo credit: Suki Dardarian, Twitter.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Who Is The Star Tribune's Suki Dardarian? Part 1

"The bias of the main stream media is toward sensationalism, 
conflict and laziness."
Jon Stewart to Chris Wallace

Suki Dardarian, 57, is Vice President and Senior Managing Editor of the Star Tribune. She spent the previous fourteen years at the Seattle Times. Dardarian had been one of two managing editors but lost out to Kathy Best, the other co-manager, who received the promotion to editor, replacing David Boardman, who resigned after a mind numbing 30 years to become Dean of Temple University's School of Media and Communications in Philadelphia. Media insularity can hardly be better demonstrated than by Boardman's career change. 

The liberal ethos dictates that no one can ever lose, no one can be better than another and, so, Dardarian was given the consolation prize title of "Director of Audience Development and Innovation." That title, as Christopher Hitchens would be wont to say, is enough to make a cat laugh. No one really knew what that meant but it took Dardarian out of the newsroom, hardly an encouraging career development.

This week we learned that the FBI sent a message to a teenager who had been sending bomb threats, some seven years ago, that masqueraded as an email from the Seattle Times. Kathy Best, its now editor, said in an email statement that she hoped it was a one time mistake and "not a symptom of a deeper lack of respect for the role of a free press in society."

Is she out of her mind? Remember, this is the person Dardarian lost out to! Best has to be on another planet not to know that the Obama administration has been the worst persecutor of the free press in American history. Media are loathe to report on their own attacks by thugs in Eric Holder's Department of Justice. Just yesterday Susan Page of USA Today said out loud what everyone already knew: the Obama administration is the most dangerous to the media in our nation's history.

Yesterday as well Glenn Greenwald tweeted "That Obama is horrible on press freedoms is a virtual consensus" and proceeded to link to the New York Times, The Guardian and the Washington Post. Had this been a republican president, the coverage wouldn't be intermittent and fitful but sustained and just short of hysterical. The hypocrisy of American media knows no bounds.

While Dardarian was at the Seattle Times the paper won two Pulitzer prizes for breaking news coverage. Breaking news coverage awards are basically the white Ford Broncos of the Pulitzers: something explodes under your journalistic nose, you cover it ("flood the zone" in self-important news speak) and your peers will praise you for it. 

Pulitzers are liberal awards handed out to (mostly) other liberals in the media and in some of the arts. A stray conservative is awarded one often enough that the enterprise can be defended as not being completely liberal, so what's the complaint? Dardarian twice served on a Pulitzer jury. That's a credential I instinctively tend not to respect. 

I remember well when Dorothy Rabinowitz, opinion columnist for the Wall Street Journal, was passed over once too many times even for those who ran the awards. The Board intervened and reversed the Pulitzer jury, giving the award to Rabinowitz that had been denied her previously for years because journalists on the jury didn't care for her political views, the extraordinary quality of her thought and writing notwithstanding. 

The Pulitzer family is worth an estimated $1.5 billion. One heir suffered a nasty divorce in the 1980's involving lurid claims of drug use, orgies, lesbian assignations and generally white trash behavior, including sleeping with an heiress to the Kleenex fortune. Google "Pulitzer family scandal" and have yourself some fun. 

* * * * 

Before her hermetically sealed life was transplanted from a Seattle terrarium to a Minneapolis one, Dardarian sat for an interview that can be  viewed by clicking here. Her answers are both confirming and revealing at the same time.

For example, we learn that she went into journalism to "make the world a better place." That's an actual quote, a howler to be sure, something out of a media parody account. Manifestly that's not the function of journalism but it's the first thing out of her mouth. Yet not one person with whom Suki Dardarian worked previously or currently would disagree with that statement of hers. Not one.

Tellingly, the most used word in her interview is "stories." News per se might still exist like some Platonic ideal or some occasion of calamity. Beyond that, "story speak" speaks and it doesn't shut up. Journalists now have expansive conversations with themselves and their navels about how best to tell stories. How those stories get picked goes unspoken because in this audience they know the answer very well; indeed, they are it.

Storytelling represents the irreversible infantilization of journalism, the triumph of sociology majors as reporters and editors. It is a synonym for propaganda of the writer's preferred views on any given subject.

She went on to say, with a straight face, that media are a government watchdog, they hold power accountable and community building, whatever that may be, is now part of its mission. Finally, when asked what skills are needed most in her profession, Dardarian embodied the deeply rooted nature of the lies media tell themselves. What was the one skill needed more than all the others? The answer, said she, was ethics.

That takes some brass. And an impenetrable force field of denial. Political reporting in this country, to say nothing of Minnesota, resembles a journalistic "Truman Show." "Cue the sun."

Ethics are the last thing media have a claim to.

* * * * 
Once the packing material was removed, Suki was free to move about the cabin. A liberal Seattle newspaper editor makes a seamless transition to the Twin Cities' culture of liberal newsrooms. Life in this bubble is nothing but a comfort zone filled with similar thinking people who never challenge or question their own conventional wisdom despite the hubris that they are fierce truth tellers. They are nothing of the sort.   

There is nothing easier to be in America than a liberal. 

Dardarian quickly adapted to her new, but utterly familiar, cultural environment. She observed the 50th anniversary of the BWCA, which is something liberals do, give birthdays to legislation. They appear not to notice the whiff of the totalitarian in that. She attended the Paul McCartney concert in St. Paul recently, presumably without a second thought. 

Her Facebook account embodies a relentlessly middle class aesthetic. The usual bromides and cultural references for someone in her milieu are posted. Though I could only find a BA in Political Science & Communications from the University of Washington for her, I'm certain she kept up to intellectual speed by reading books recommended by National Public Radio or another narrow-cast liberal media outlet through which she knew everything else her colleagues did but no more, despite rote professions of fealty to diversity. She seems like a nice lady.

Earlier this month she attended a reading of her "pal" Lisa Westberg Peters' embarrassingly self-absorbed book "Fractured Land: The Price of Inheriting Oil." It was a full house at the repulsive Garrison Keillor's lovely bookstore, Common Ground, for the event. The smug must have been near black out levels had some random conservative wandered in, not knowing the Coven had been summoned.

A bored Minnesota liberal inherits some North Dakota land from which oil is extracted. Writes faux angst filled book about it. The tribe turns out to support the effort. I think Evan S. Connell's masterpiece "Mrs Bridge" needs to be updated for 2014 and situated in this world. The magnification of the immeasurably trivial, but personal (i.e., it happened to ME), is a hallmark of modern liberal life. It is breathtaking in its inconsequence, nauseating in its narcissism. Such people are at a loss to understand what Evelyn Waugh meant when reviewing a book of J.F. Powers': "life has a weak plot line."

The Peters' book reviewer in the Star Tribune was as self-absorbed and ridiculous as her book sounded. He praised the author for "openly acknowledging the moral ambiguities so many of us confront each time we start our car." One needn't be Freud to see such nonsense as the child demanding to remain the center of attention throughout life. Starting a car as moral paralysis: these people border on the pathetic. I myself am frequently paralyzed mid-morning-mouth with a hoisted spoonful of Rice Chex: "What if some GMO's got into this?"

Every moment of our lives is politicized by these types. That's the hallmark of North Korea and any totalitarian society; there's no room for the individual, for the truly private. Just yesterday the laughable Keith Ellison wrote in an op-ed that politics "is in everything we do." Of course it isn't but intellectual midgets like Ellison want it to be, the more so for the far left to control people.

* * * * 

Dardarian's hiring was announced in March and she started in April of this year. In August, her spouse Peter Callaghan was hired by MinnPost. Imagine not even having to age out, steeped in bitterness at the Star Tribune and at life in general, before writing for them! Callaghan's background and life experiences appear to be as homogenous as his wife's. He seems like a nice guy.

It would be churlish not to wish a couple to both find work in a city one of them must move to for employment. I note Callaghan's media perch simply to point out, again, how seamless the liberal media ecosphere is and can be. I've called this environment mediaocrity.™

In a similar fashion, I examine Suki Dardarian not because she is particularly accomplished or exceptional, she is neither, but because she's ubiquitous.

Friday: Suki in situ, or, Who Is The Star Tribune's Suki Dardarian, Part Two.

© 2014 John Hugh Gilmore & Minnesota Media Monitor™ All rights reserved.

Photo credit: Suki Dardarian, Facebook. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Tina Flint Smith, Governor

My post last week asking if Governor Mark Dayton was mentally competent was, I'm told, the talk of the town and, if my traffic is any indication, apparently so. I'm not Powerline and I don't blog on a regular basis. But the simple question of whether our state's governor is mentally competent was said to have been a taboo, one I broke. It's 2014 and Minnesota pretends to be a progressive state. In fact, it's backwards and parochial, with a high school level of politics mirrored by a high school level of political reportage. Almanac and At Issue prove the point every time they air, to say nothing of print, online, wire and radio.

I myself was fascinated by the lack of media coverage outright of what I wrote and the attempt to insulate Dayton from the worst aspects of it. I wasn't surprised on either count.

Remember, I wondered out loud both whether Dayton was up to the task of governing and if, in fact, Tina Flint Smith, shown above, wasn't the de facto governor already. Her being moved from Chief of Staff to Lt. Governor candidate for this year's election simply confirmed what, at a minimum, she'd already been.

The day my piece posted the Associated Press rushed out a quickly thrown together story claiming in "an interview" with Dayton (readers are never told when it took place nor at whose request) that there was no truth to the "rumors" that he would not serve out his full term should he win next month and be replaced by Smith. Mission accomplished, or at least one half of it: the idea Dayton would step down was refuted by the end of the day my post appeared. Weirdly, the governor himself is quoted in that piece talking about "acuity," a word I used in my post. No one has a claim on a word, of course, but I could be forgiven for noticing.

The AP reporter, naturally, never asked the salient question about Dayton's mental health. This is how it works. Instead, the focus was on Dayton's hip injury and recovery. Absent the unforeseeable or the catastrophic, our bored dilettante of a governor is going to sleep walk his way through another four years.

The rumors referenced in the AP report were also never explained to the reader. What rumors? Where did they come from? For how long had they been circulating?

The fact is media and democrats themselves are the source of those rumors, something never revealed in the story. This omission created the desired effect: such questions are coming from those crazy republicans. Again.

The story also repeats the myth that former Lt. Governor Yvonne Prettnor Solon "decided against another term." Of course she didn't: she was frozen out the entire first term and then pushed off the ticket.

Is this the truth? Yes. Do media know it? Yes. Are they liars?

Let's just say that they don't begin to report what they know.

Here's a question, then:

Is is true Dayton cannot hold a driver's license because of the levels of his medication?

Let's see if any media suss out that one. If I'm wrong, they will. If right, crickets. At any rate they'll have done more original research about Dayton than at any other time in his tenure.

I confess to thinking that perhaps Morning Take would have, at least cautiously, linked to my post with all the appropriate caveats so the client base wouldn't punish the proprietor. It's previously linked to bloggers with stories that damage republicans so I thought my post would be of interest because the owner is said by himself to no longer be partisan. But no.

Brian Lambert, who writes "The Glean," a twice daily feature in MinnPost, has previously publicly and privately admired my writing, for which I've thanked him. He's linked to me regularly in the past. He, too, passed on linking to this piece although he generously quoted from and linked to my "MN Republicans' Simulacrum of Competitiveness," calling me the "iconoclastic conservative blogger."

This is how you get stroked when they approve of you.

MinnPost seems unable to live up to its own billing, "a non-profit news organization providing high quality journalism for news intense Minnesotans." This is called a conceit and Joel Kramer seems content with feeding his aging liberal audience, through mostly aging former Star Tribune reporters, the same pablum and "world view" that has kept them from having a new political thought for forty years. They're edgy only in their minds or when able to pronounce items in the latest food fad.

MPR, of course, remains the land of the invincibly ignorant (that's actually a Catholic theological term of art) so I had no expectation that the praetorian tax-supported guard there would do anything constituting real political journalism.

I only mention the lack of "break out" in traditional media of my piece questioning Dayton's mental health not because I want the press, so to speak, as much as to show how little true, genuine, challenging reporting our media do.

If you can go to the Governor with rumors about his physical health, why not his mental, where concerns about it have been on display for years?

Tina Flint Smith has effectively been governor for most of the last four years. What makes me say this? The same sources that wondered out loud to me about Dayton's mental capacity. Even if Smith doesn't take over from the obviously impaired and not fully functioning Dayton, she would remain the power behind the throne. The continuity would be seamless; the reporting deceitful.

Recall that when her "candidacy" was announced local media outdid themselves to praise her. You have to laugh at these people; it's like they think no one with an intellect is watching. The Star Tribune's first sentence was:

"Her boss is one of the most demanding and critical politicians in Minnesota--and she is friends with his ex-wife."

Bootlicking doesn't come any more appalling than that. Remember, there are "stories" to tell now in journalism, the very idea of news, short of breaking catastrophes, something of an idea driven out of town. You can be pretty not bright and tell stories, thanks, and our general political reporting environment is much too filled with those sorts.

Smith oversees some of the most important projects in the state, with immediate and long term consequences of a relatively high order (it's just Minnesota, after all, xenophobes). In one sense it's doubtful she could further ruin the state given its brainless liberal autopilot. Minnesota democrats remind of me Kabuki extras: there, barely noticed and unessential. Special far left forces have already shaped the rough outlines of a second Dayton term and they are so organized it will mostly fall into place. How I hate republicans obsessing over an occasional small time democratic squabble, as if that were the game, while whole agendas go sailing into enactment. We play the game so very badly compared to them but don't need to. Yet nothing changes.

What also doesn't change is a media with no accountability.

God forbid the truth about Minnesota politics, or at least a real question about it, pierce the miasma of the Twin Cities' media outlets. If you want to know what's going on politically in Minnesota, you won't learn it from them. Instead, you'll get--how to say it?--a simulacrum.

Photo credit: John Doman, Pioneer Press

Friday, October 10, 2014

Is Mark Dayton Mentally Competent To Govern?

The mental and physical condition of any elected official is a proper question and the subject of inquiry in any free and open society. Citizens have an absolute right to know if anything is amiss that would affect the discharge of that individual's duties once in office. Those who argue otherwise, for any reason whatever, ask us to be serfs. I decline.

Oddly, the question of his health has not been asked of Gov. Mark Dayton since a ten minute interview in December of 2009. One and done in this state's media, a wholly owned subsidiary of the DFL. In that interview, Dayton said "I am a candidate for governor and I think people have a right to know this about me." That right to know is not a limited time offer; if anything, subsequent behavior in office has made it more compelling than ever.

Dayton's lifelong history of maladies is well documented; there is no need to go into them here. In the last few years, however, his physical appearance, mental acuity and clarity of speech have all degraded to a shocking degree. Readers know instantly that this is truth, the only question being whether it is improper to discuss it in public. It is not and those who wish to stifle such a discussion have agendas, paid or unpaid, and not particularly hidden ones. Their protestations only underscore the need for having the subject out in the open.

The governor's website stopped posting video of him in 2013. In gambling, that's called a tell. Some believe that something happened in June of that year, given his Kim Jong-un like absences from the public eye for long periods of time. We can never know for sure but we can  observe, and judge, Dayton's countenance and behavior in the time he's been governor. Only we don't know how much he's actually the governor and how much he's manipulated by others around him. The Kim Jong-un analogy is surprisingly apt.

It is a routine entry in Blois Olson's "Morning Take" that "today the Governor has no public appearances but will meet with Commissioners and staff throughout the day."

Does he? We don't know; how would we? How many business days in each year has Mark Dayton made no public appearance? No one in the press has bothered to check, nor will they, and the men and women behind the curtain are not about to tally it up for us either.

We are asked, sotto voce, to act as if we don't notice (for Tom Emmer supporters that means in a low voice, so as not to be overheard). But we do notice. As if we live in some Scandinavian North Korea, however, we are discouraged from speaking about this out loud. Whenever the slightest comment about the subject is made, on Twitter for example, an interesting overreaction occurs. "Keep it classy" and "out of bounds" are the politest expressions of this defensiveness. This is sheer hypocrisy, of course, as those same types would be the first to launch a frontal assault on a governor of the other party. These people are not to be taken seriously.

Dayton hasn't released his medical records so we don't know for sure which medications he is being administered. It defies firsthand experience and common sense, however, to pretend that he is not frequently heavily medicated in public.

Can anyone imagine an engaged Mark Dayton on a full time basis, in public view most of the day for a solid week? Of course not. He's carefully handled to appear for only limited amounts of time in public. Even then, most people cringe out of compassion given his performance. I know I do. The rest of the time when he's out of the public eye one's imagination runs riot. I've come to think of Mark Dayton as a vulnerable adult.

Some disturbing images of Dayton can be seen in the excellent ad released by Jeff Johnson just yesterday. Click here to view it; tell me things are fine.

Media know how impaired Dayton has become but don't particularly care: they're on the same team and none of them would do anything to harm the progressive agenda. If a republican governor, however, were this manifestly troubled, Minnesota media would cloak themselves in the phony "the public has a right to know" rubric and have at it.

Want in on a little secret? Actually, by now it's an open one:

Media fully expect Mark Dayton will not serve out his full term should he win next month and Tina Flint Smith will take his place. Smith at one time was vice president of external affairs for Planned Parenthood of North & South Dakota and Minnesota.

It's difficult to convey to the average person the sanctifying effect that that barbaric credential has on democrats in Minnesota. Our Lady of the Dismembered. One imagines her hands perpetually ice cold.

Smith was Dayton's chief-of-staff in his first term. A great many people recognized her as the real power in the governor's office.  Think Mrs. Wilson.

Lt. Governor Yvonne Prettnor Solon was not about to be the first female governor if the people who run the executive branch were to have anything to say about it. That hick can be dispatched back to Duluth. She was essentially frozen out from the beginning of Dayton's administration, but only if it were a republican governor treating a woman this way would our media pay attention.

I can name the names of reporters (print, television, radio, online) who know this, who have admitted it to me and to others, and who look forward to the calculated change of chief executive for Minnesota, with no regard for the electoral dishonesty, the betrayal of public trust they enable.

They'd all deny this, of course, and it would be my word against theirs as I don't tape record people surreptitiously (only people without any integrity do that).

I wrote about Dayton's "dissociative" episode when he gave the Lecture to the Policy Fellows of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs in September of 2012 (see the blog archive to the right for that date if you wish to read it: "Fisking* Dayton's Humphrey School Lecture").

In the audience for this major speech were Vice President Mondale and University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler. I called that speech disjointed and incoherent. You could feel through the audio alone Dayton take intermittent leave of reality.

Larry Jacobs, head of the school, famously told me on Twitter that the lecture wasn't videotaped because videotape "is expensive" and promptly blocked me. Only the audio was released and you can sense the glue holding the mental joints together dissolve as Dayton receded further into his past while holding his audience of liberals hostage. To be fair, I could feel the audience's discomfort during the many pauses in the speech, before Dayton took off in a completely different direction, a lecture of non sequiturs.

To this day I have not been able to obtain the video of an incumbent governor giving a major public policy speech at a public facility. Now why would that be?

MPR has since removed even the audio of this event. The memory hole triumphs! Click here to see its initial story but no links to the audio of the speech or to the audio of the Q&A remain. The first line of the first comment, however, succinctly sums up the experience of listening to the speech, as I did for a mind numbing twenty-five minutes.

Mark Dayton's fitness for office is a concern commonly remarked upon by Minnesotans from all walks of life and throughout the state. That the media refuse to address it tells you all you need to know about whether there is something to those concerns.

They'd ask but they're afraid of the answer they already know all too well.

Forget Hillary, they're ready for Tina.

UPDATE: MPR tells me that the audio of the Dayton Lecture has been restored on the site linked to above. Happy listening.