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Saturday, July 26, 2003

The Argus Leader double standard
Today’s Argus Leader contained a letter to the editor that included this comment:

"On TV, we are forced to undergo The Club for Growth's vicious and personal character assassination of Daschle."

I emailed executive editor Randell Beck to complain about the above statement. I argued that it was not factually correct, because the Club for Growth was in support of the Bush tax cut and they simply pointed out that Daschle was against it. A long shot from being a “vicious and personal character assassination of Daschle”. This is simply an issue ad by the Club for Growth.

I reminded Beck that it has been over a week since he said he would get back to me regarding the censoring of my letter about David Kranz’s bias, based on a false accusation that it was not factually correct by editor Chuck Baldwin.

Today’s email to Randell Beck was opened this afternoon, but I have yet to receive a response. I guess it’s hard to respond when your operating under a double standard.
Media secrets
Today, the Mitchell Daily Republic printed my letter to the editor. Since they did not put it on their web site, I decided to post it here:

Your July 11 “Our View” column forgot to mention one major advantage Tom Daschle has in the upcoming 2004 Senate race. That advantage would be the media.

Example was your July 9 page 3 Associated Press report on Daschle’s ethanol ads. Most of your readers were not aware that the story was very similar to a July 8 story that ran in another paper. The writer has a 20-year history of being under the gun for bias.

Specifically the report refers to a “fight” with “the oil companies who were opposed to us”. Here is the backdoor attack on President Bush. The bias is in what was not in the report…the 2002 visit of Bush to a South Dakota ethanol plant voicing his support.

The report mentioned Daschle’s campaign manager Steve Hildebrand’s spin, “the advertising should not be considered partisan”. If that was true, then the ad should have mentioned Bush’s ethanol plant visit instead of the fight with oil companies. To avoid bias the AP story should have also included the Bush visit.

Your column also mentioned the bipartisan support for Daschle in South Dakota due to his clout that brings home the bacon. The South Dakotans who benefit the most financially on a per capita basis due to Daschle’s clout…Tom Daschle himself and his lobbyist wife Linda. After 25 years of Daschle in Washington, DC, South Dakota is still around 49th in everything…as the Daschle’s purchase a multi-million dollar home in Washington DC and look to purchase land in the Black Hills.

It’s time for a change and Daschle knows it. That is why he is running campaign ads so early. Even his clout among Democrats has diminished, as some have plans on Hillary Clinton becoming their new leader in the Senate.

Don’t forget McGovern was considered unbeatable in 1980, but lost his re-election bid to Jim Abdor. Like McGovern, Daschle has gone too far left as he moved up the Democrats’ ladder of leadership. South Dakota won’t know how far left if the local media does not fully cover Daschle’s support for abortion, gun control, Clinton’s lies, and the anti-American movement with his negativity.


Please note that name of the writer in paragraph 3 was not mentioned. The MDR told me they did not want to include David Kranz’s name because it is their policy not to mention other papers. They fear it will promote their competition. I have heard the same from other letter writers. To be fair, I have to say that the MDR does allow for an open discussion on the opinion pages.

Unfortunately, this policy prevents the media from policing itself.

The Argus Leader, the paper that published David Kranz’s reports, have censored letters to the editor regarding the bias of David Kranz. My letter was censored based on the false allegation that in was “not factual”. I have requested the editor, Chuck Baldwin, and the executive editor, Randell Beck, to specify what content was not factual. It has been over a week since Randell Beck said he would get back to me. His silence appears to be stonewalling on this issue. This is how the media keeps their secrets.

Friday, July 25, 2003

Daschle’s vulnerability is widely known
In an Anchorage Daily News report regarding the issue of drilling in the ANWR, the Governor of Alaska recognized Daschle’s re-election doubts:

"I think things have remarkably changed this time, as a consequence of Tom Daschle's coming election and the closeness of the polling," Gov. Murkowski said.
As Murkowski sees it, Daschle, the Senate minority leader from South Dakota, is desperate to pass an energy bill so he can deliver the ethanol mandate corn growers in his state want.
(The energy bill would require the nation to dramatically boost its use of renewable fuels such as ethanol. Alaska and Hawaii would be exempt from the requirement.)
The governor said Daschle would be unlikely to re-appoint high-profile ANWR opponents like Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., to the negotiating committee on energy. Last year, Murkowski said, the two presidential candidates "pretty much used it as a soap box to attack the ANWR issue."
The governor figures Daschle needs the bill too much to appoint senators who are so unbending.

Thursday, July 24, 2003

Children as political pawns
Cybercast News Service reported on Wednesday’s Capital Hill gathering of kids that supported the Democrat’s $400-per-child income tax credit to families who don’t pay income tax. Tom Daschle was included in the coverage:

Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) chastised House Republicans for "blocking" the child income tax credit payments.

"It's been 49 days since we started this effort," he said. "Families should not have to wait another day to get that relief that they need so badly."


This quote revealed the truth of this effort:

"President Bush; the tax cuts are leaving us behind. We can't pay for anything," explained Crystal L., a high school student from New York. "He's giving all the money to the millionaires, and that's just not good."

I feel so sorry for this high school student. The left has given her such a negative attitude about herself. “We can't pay for anything” shows she has so little hope. Giving her $400 would do nothing but convince her that she can’t take care of herself, and that she has no choice but to become dependent on government. This is how the left uses class warfare to oppress those who need hope the most. Those people need to hear about the American dream. They need to hear stories about how the millionaires became millionaires. That in America, anyone…even poor high school students, can find prosperity.

Tom Daschle uses this same approach in South Dakota. He has people convinced that we can’t take care of ourselves, that we need to rely on the government. We are suppose to believe that without Tom Daschle’s clout we have no hope. We have to rely on other people’s money…that means he is playing on people’s greed.

What is most disturbing is the left’s use of children as political pawns. Crystal is an example of the consequences of that ploy. Indoctrination of our young people, with a class warfare approach, in order to promote the anti-American so-called progressive movement to socialism… causes children to attack the free market enterprise capitalistic system that made this country the strongest in the world.

Its time we believe in a leader who believes in us. Tom Daschle only believes in big government and the creation of worldwide socialism, just like George McGovern. Since history repeats itself…its time South Dakotans wake up to the destructive left-sided policies of another leader of the Democratic Party, Tom Daschle…just like we did in 1980 when McGovern lost his re-election bid.
Argus Leader bias and cover up continues
It has been nearly 24 hours since I emailed David Kranz regarding the Senate Democrats holding up legislation to ban partial-birth abortions by not allowing the conference committee to meet. I asked Kranz if he knew what Tom Daschle is doing, if anything, to resolve this log jam. I received no response so far.

It has been a week since Randell Beck said he would get back to me regarding their censoring of my letter to the editor regarding the bias of David Kranz.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Another Tom Daschle negative remark
An Associated Press story regarding the death of Saddam Hussein's sons includes this reaction from Tom Daschle:

"Obviously, no one can underestimate the value of the developments today, if they are found to be accurate," he said "But I would simply say that what many of us have said from the beginning is that in order to win the peace, we need more help. We need more resources, we need more personnel, we need more international involvement."

Daschle is way too partisan to congratulate the President, but this goes beyond partisan. This is so negative about some very positive news, that I would classify this as anti-American. Daschle has every right to say what he said, but I also have the right to call it how I see it. I do not believe that this represents the majority of South Dakotans. It does not represent my view of America.

Daschle obviously under estimates America as he also does to South Dakota. I am positive enough about this State to believe we can continue to develop ethanol without Tom Daschle. We should not put up with embarrassing statements, such as the one reported above. It's time to find a leader with a positive attitude about us and America. It's time for the doubting Tom Daschle to go.

Ban on partial-birth abortions stalled by Senate Democrats
The Washington Times reports that legislation to ban partial-birth abortions is being stonewalled by Senate Democrats:

Senate Democrats are slowing the progress of legislation banning partial-birth abortion as Senate Republicans try to bring the measure to conference with the House, Republican officials say.
Both chambers overwhelmingly passed bills that would ban the procedure, and now they must be reconciled in conference. The House appointed its conferees, but a Senate Republican leadership aide said Republicans have tried twice in behind-the-scenes talks to appoint conferees, and Democrats have said "no" because they first want to offer procedural motions.
"They're not letting us appoint. They've objected," the aide said on the condition of anonymity. "Democrats are throwing up roadblocks."
Sen. Rick Santorum, Pennsylvania Republican and sponsor of the Senate bill, said California Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer wants to offer a nonbinding procedural motion insisting that the final bill contain language supporting the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that struck down abortion laws as violating a right to privacy.
The Senate added the language, sponsored by Sen. Tom Harkin, Iowa Democrat, to its bill before passing the measure 64-33 on March 13.
The House bill, which passed 282-139 on June 4, does not contain the Harkin language, and when the House moved to go to conference it essentially stripped the language from the Senate bill.
Mrs. Boxer wants the language included in the final bill and so does Mr. Harkin, said his spokeswoman, Allison Dobson.
"We believe that the Harkin amendment is extremely important in affirming Congress's belief that the court was right in Roe and that women have a basic right to reproductive health services," she said.


I wonder how or if the leader of the Senate Democrats, Tom Daschle, is using his clout to remove this log jam? I will email the dean of South Dakota political reporters, David Kranz, to find out what he knows.

Monday, July 21, 2003

Web site provides comprehesive coverage
Jeff Gannon's website www.jeffgannon.com is a comprehensive coverage of the Argus Leader bias and the intimidation of the Tom Daschle operatives. The site includes the Talon News series on the South Dakota saga and the June 2003 Argus on Air segment of Straight Talk when Randell Beck ackowledged the college relationship of David Kranz and Tom Daschle. The site also contains this commentary:

Investigating South Dakota politics was like turning on the kitchen light in the middle of the night.

Bias at the Argus Leader isn't really a big story. No matter how unfair and frustrating it might be, bias at a newspaper in a small media market is not new nor is it unique. Limited resources and lack of competition creates an environment where more often than not, the news comes to the paper instead of the paper going after the news. A combination of laziness and complacency can sometimes compromise journalistic standards. Under such circumstances, journalists and entire news organizations are ripe to be co-opted by those pursuing self-interest.

Just as Watergate was "a third rate burglary", bias at the Argus Leader has turned out to be the "dirty little secret" whose exposure has drawn attention to a much larger and more serious situation.

A ruthless political machine flourishes amidst the cornfields of America's heartland. A mixture of media manipulation and intimidation effectively mutes political opposition. Businesses and citizens are routinely threatened with economic retribution and public humiliation if they dare exercise their First Amendment right to political expression. The tactics go well beyond "hardball politics" and verge on criminal activity.

Now that a spotlight has been shown on the machine, the behavior exhibited by those running it has been interesting. They scurry about to cover their tracks, issue denials and try to discredit those holding the spotlight. It would be amusing if one could forget that people have been terrorized into silence to further a political agenda.

There is no shortage of political oppression in the world but we expect to find it in Havana and Tiananmen Square, not Sioux Falls and the Loop.

Operation Iraqi Freedom liberated 24 million people who are now free to speak their mind without fear of reprisal. The citizens of South Dakota deserve no less.

Sunday, July 20, 2003

The shoe is on Randell Beck’s other foot
The Randell Beck column in today’s Argus Leader is another Beck spin job. He quoted a Gene Patterson:

"When (the press) is doing its job, which includes raising inconvenient questions and exposing unhappy facts, those offended will often see it as getting in the way of their pet solutions to society's problems.''

I believe that Beck doesn’t feel that “the press” includes those of us who send letters to the editor. This should not be surprising coming from a media elitist. It is well known that with barrels of ink, the common citizen is no match if they choose to raise inconvenient questions about the content of a newspaper.

But what Randell Beck is trying to deny, is the point made in a Kathleen Parker column titled, “Blogs breaking logjam of journalism":


I'm not an expert on blogging, but I am a fan. As a regular visitor to a dozen or so news and opinion blogs, I'm riveted by the implications for my profession. Bloggers are making life interesting for reluctant mainstreamers like myself and for the public, whose access to information until now has been relatively controlled by traditional media.

I say "reluctant mainstreamer" because what I once loved about journalism went missing some time ago and seems to have resurfaced as the driving force of the blogosphere: a high-spirited, irreverent, swashbuckling, lances-to-the-ready assault on the status quo. While mainstream journalists are tucked inside their newsroom cubicles deciphering management's latest "tidy desk" memo, bloggers are building bonfires and handing out virtual leaflets along America's Information Highway.

In some areas, bloggers are beating the knickers off mainstream reporters and commentators. Bloggers are credited, for instance, with ramping up interest in Trent Lott's suicidal praise of Strom Thurmond's segregationist history. Bloggers like Andrew Sullivan, former editor-in-chief of The New Republic magazine and author of www.andrewsullivan.com , was riding herd on Raines and The New York Times long before Jayson Blair became synonymous with criminal journalism. He was insisting on Raines' dismissal while everyone else was tapping the snooze button.


Randell Beck is not willing to grant bloggers, such as myself, the same right to raise “inconvenient questions and exposing unhappy facts” as he gives himself. Is it this elitist attitude or is it because the shoe is on the other foot or is there a hidden agenda at the Argus Leader?

Maybe insight from my experience of sending letters to the editor of the Argus Leader, can answer the motives behind the Argus Leader editorial positions.

I have, on a close to monthly basis, been submitting letters to the editor of the Argus Leader. I have been frequently edited or rejected, in what can be described as censorship. The following is about the latest episode.

On 6/29/03 the Argus Leader published a letter from Dan Swanson that questioned the issue of David Kranz’s bias that my 6/8/03 letter questioned. So I wrote a response which presented the facts that backed up my premise. You have been reading them on this blog.

The letter was returned to me as rejected for “not factual/misleading”. So I sent the editor, Chuck Baldwin, and Randell Beck this email on 7/12/03:


The attached letter was returned to me rejected due to "not factual/misleading".

I have backup to all points made. Which ones to you need proof on? I will send the backup to you. I doubt that Tony Dean and Clark Butler have backup to support their allegations of lies regarding our endorsement of John Thune in September last year...that was reported as news in the Argus Leader. You have yet to allow my defense.

The email sent to Baldwin was opened on 7/13/03 and the one copied to Beck was opened on 7/15/03. Since I got no responses, I sent this email titled “No Straight Talk” on 7/16/03 to Randell Beck:

No the subject is not about your no show on KELO-AM. It is about your lack of response to my latest letter to the editor that was rejected. Again...you verified two of the points on Belfrage's show(SDSU & 1990), and I have backup to the rest. What's up?

Beck’s response:

Steve: thanks for the contact. First, as I'm sure you can appreciate, your critical emails are no more or less important than all the others, some actually positive and helpful, that we get so I am not going to drop everything to respond. Second, I have no doubt whatever i say will be picked up and placed, slightly out of context, on a blog somewhere. And I'm not interested in feeding that. So I will get back to you. Best regards, Randell.

Bloggers put the shoe on Beck’s other foot, and he doesn’t appear to like it. When his newspaper is the subject of “raising inconvenient questions and exposing unhappy facts”, he becomes defensive. Instead of allowing full disclosure and open discussion on the issue, he stonewalls and censors editorials to save ink for his self-righteous columns that attempt to degrade those who he censors. Beck refuses to grant bloggers respect. We are a threat to his media empire. He is just beginning to understand that there is more cyberspace than there are barrels of ink.

This blogger is still blogging, but also waiting for a response from Mr. Beck about my letter that was wrote in defense of Dan Swanson’s published letter. All I ask from the Argus Leader is a fair and even platform from which to exercise my First Amendment rights. The founding fathers granted that right to all law abiding citizens, not just a few media elitists.

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