Sunday, November 29, 2009

Insight News Keeps A Low Profile When It Comes To Post-Election Editorials...

Photo By John Hoff, on the Northstar Line

After the November election, in which Council Members Don Samuels and Barb Johnson wiped the floor with their opposition, some of us were eagerly waiting to see what kind of editorial would appear in the pages of Insight News. After all, Insight News had vigorously supported Kenya McKnight and, for good measure, Natalie Johnson-Lee and "woman abuser" Lennie Chism. (Plus Troy Parker, who lost to Barb Johnson) Insight News had printed some of the most vile and disgusting anti-Don Samuels rhetoric, taking race-baiting to a whole new level.

But Kenya's vote totals were abysmal--just over fifteen percent--and Don Samuels won the election handily, actually becoming the first public official in Minneapolis to win through second round IRV voting, quite a historical footnote.

So those of us who are informed and follow neighborhood issues closely just had to wonder what kind of egg-on-face editorial would follow the election? Would Insight News say something along the lines of, "Oh, well, good job,'s some issues we hope you will pay heed to in the next four years?" Or would Insight News cry foul and write some kind of bitter, whiney, pro-loser editorial? (Kind of like the Mpls Mirror?)

Whatever Insight News was going to write, I could hardly wait to read it! After all, it's not easy to say something articulate and graceful after embarrassing oneself so completely. Would Insight News be up to the challenge? Well, as it turns out...

No, Insight News was not up to the challenge. Once the election results were finalized and one might expect some kind of editorial, all Insight News had to offer was valuable advice on completely thawing and cooking your Thanksgiving turkey. Meanwhile, Don Samuels was actually out in the trenches helping to pass out turkeys at Cub Foods.

The strategy of Insight News appeared to be this: say as little as possible, so people will forget more quickly how wrong Insight News was in its hype about Kenya McKnight or, for that matter, in the decision to ignore all the troubling facts around Lennie Chism and just treat him as though he had creditability. In fact, Insight News talked about Lennie bringing "firepower" to the debates. (In fact, Lennie is not allowed to possess a firearm due to his legal problems with abusing a woman) So you have to wonder whether the "firepower" remark was some kind of Freudian slip.

One of my friends who closely follows Northside politics offered this observation. Four years ago, Insight News actually endorsed Don Samuels late, late in the election after mostly beating a drum of racial contention. After the endorsement, Don won the election. So perhaps Insight News got an ego-stroking notion that their endorsement MATTERED. So this election cycle, Insight News not only endorsed Kenya McKnight very early in the race, but sometimes actually seemed to be more involved in her campaign than Kenya herself.

(Word is McKnight expense reports are still being sought to see how those large ads were paid for week after week in the pages of Insight News)

How can any of us forget that excruciating moment at the Fifth Ward DFL Convention when Insight News publisher Al McFarlane spoke so long at the podium about Kenya McKnight, that McKnight herself had 37 seconds to make a speech?

In any case, just because Insight News endorsed Don Samuels four years ago, and Samuels won four years ago, doesn't mean there's a cause-and-effect relationship between the two events. After all, this blog made endorsements and most of our endorsements won, with the sole exception of Park Board candidate Michael Guest; who still made quite a strong showing. But a successful endorsement doesn't cause victory so much as it merely shows a media entity is in tune with the pulse of the majority of voters.

The conclusion, therefore, is inevitable: Insight News is severely out of touch with the pulse of North Minneapolis. Insight News vigorously endorsed what turned out to be a fringe candidate. And as for Lennie Chism, well, the man is a criminal and yet Insight News served him up like he was the greatest thing since...since...smokeless gunpowder.

When readers eagerly expected a post-election editorial, Insight News said nothing. (But did give valuable turkey preparation tips, let's not forget that) Their awkward, guilty silence speaks volumes. And that awkward, guilty silence should not go unremarked. Insight News tore open gaping wounds in the social fabric of North Minneapolis, printing ugly things about a decent man who has helped to turn our neighborhood around. Insight News has much to answer for.

One wonders when the answer will hit the pages of this "dead tree media" or will the awkward, guilty silence go on forever?


Johnny Northside said...

Veg Nation Submits the following comment:
did insight ever even report the RESULTS of the election? i never saw it online, but i don't always see the paper edition. if not, that goes beyond editorial cowardice and is really just orwellian thought control.

As for the rest of the comment by Veg Nation, and a question she asked: on the advice of my lawyer, I'm not talking about that topic.

veg*nation said...

@ JNS--wow, that DOES sound like things are getting orwellian. creepy!

Johnny Northside said...

I agree, but I did post your comment as well as I could...with some unintended Orwellian irony.

Anonymous said...

Insight is the oddest little paper. Not quite sure who it is targeting as an audience. Judging by how often Al MacFarlane's picture is on the cover, I'd say he's probably his own target audience. They seem to pick up articles from all over the country and sort of slap them together. Combine that with their support of wingnut candidates and you have a fine liner for Polly's cage.
I'm partial to North News myself. Good coverage of local news. JNS, too, of course, for the muck-raking stuff.

Anonymous said...

Al's got hurt feelings.
When he has hurt feelings he clams up. I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for Insight News to have any real news about the election.