The Astroturf Campaign Against Target: Fake But Accurate

posted at 11:40 am on July 31, 2010 by Mitch Berg

Here in Minnesota, where Ed and I live, we’re watching what may well be a preview of the DFL’s rear-guard action against the conservative/Tea Party onslaught this fall.  The DFL is a week and a half from their primary to determine who will face conservative Republican Tom Emmer in the race to replace Presidential contender Tim Pawlenty.  Their choices; sitting Speaker of the MN House Margaret Anderson-Kelliher (the DFL’s endorsee) and the front runner, former one-term Senator Mark Dayton, whom Time once called one of the “Five Worst Senators in America“.

To fill time before their primary, a DFL-linked PAC has been running a series of largely-inaccurate attack ads against Emmer; as I noted on Hot Air two weeks ago, this group gets 2/3 of its funding from Mark Dayton and his relatives (and the rest from unions).

In the past week, a right-leaning PAC, “MN Forward”, started running a pro-Emmer ad.  The DFL learned that MN Forward was funded in part by a donation from Target Corporation, the Minneapolis-based mega-retailer that was, ironically, founded by Mark Dayton’s family.  Target, along with a list of other prominent Minnesota corporations (including Best Buy and Polaris) fears the business consequences of a DFL governor; Minnesota business already suffers from one of the highest corporate tax rates in the country.

And the DFL and its PAC minions haven’t taken well to the idea that our “corporate citizens” are exercising their new (via the Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” case) right to spend money on campaigns.

I saw this bit on CBS News yesterday - entitled “Target Boycott Movement Grows Following Donation to Support “Antigay” Candidate” – and I thought “Wow.  Sounds like there’s a wave of spontaneous anti-Target fervor out there!”

Then I looked a little deeper.

The piece – featuring someone named “Roadie Roaring” or “Rudy Rattan” or something’; the woman’s diction is less-than-ideal – shows her walking into a Target, exchanging a bunch of goods, and demanding that her Target card be cut up.

It’s presented as if it were a spontaneous bit of reportage.  Look at it, you be the judge.

We’ll come back to Ronnie Roller in a bit.

With about three seconds to go in the piece, it notes that it was “Produced for the Uptake by Bill Sorem”.  ”The Uptake” is a left-leaning “Citizen Journalist” Group in the Twin Cities, about whom more in a bit.

I got an email from someone who follows these things:

Bill Sorem has records on Mn Campaign finance of giving a couple hundred bucks to the SD42 DFL (which includes Eden Prairie, the city where the faux boycott took place), and a $2300 contribution to The Obamanation.  So…a known DFL supporter just accidentally has his video camera and tapes this bit of faux news that is designed to threaten businesses into not contributing to causes that might benefit GOP candidates, helping his DFL party.

But of course, Bill has no unclean motives….NOOOOOOOOOO!

So – Bill Sorem just may not have  been a random passerby with a camera.

The Uptake, the left-leaning “citizen journalism” videoblog, has spent the last year trying to convince the Legislature that they were a “news” organization worthy of credentials to cover the Legislature.  Now, they are participating in an attack ad run by “Alliance for a Better Minnesota”, a PAC funded by Mark Dayton, his family, and his union supporters.

So who is “Randy Rattan?”

Gary Gross at Let Freedom Ring emails me:

Phil said that Rondy Raiton “sounds strangely similar to Randi Reitan, a gay activist mother who frequently is on the op ed page of the Strib.”

I googled Randi Reitan & clicked on her images page. BINGO!!! So much for this being a chance happening. Rest assured that I’ll be posting about this this afternoon.

So when you google Randi Reitan, you get – voila!  The picture of someone who is not only not just some random Target customer, but in fact is someone who is relishing her fifteen minutes in the spotlight.

A skim through the Federal Electi0ns Commission database shows that Mrs. Reitan has given over $10,000 to various Democratic candidates over the past decade or so (Patty Wetterling in ’04 and 05, First District congressman Tim Walz, Former state legislator Elwin “E-Tink” Tinklenberg, who ran against Michele Bachmann in 2008,  several to the DFL, a bundle to America Coming Together, a grand to Al Franken, a thou for Paul Wellstone, and much, much more.  Plus another $300 to Mark Ritchie, Minnesota’s Secretary of State who presided over the Al Franken/Norm Coleman recount debacle, and $200 to the House DFL Caucus, according to the MN Campaign Finance board.

And her husband Phil?   Around $4,000 more.  Son, Jacob?  Another thou and change.

At the beginning, where Mrs. Reitan introduces herself, perhaps it would have been helpful and honest if she’d called herself “a mother, grandmother, and DFL uber-activist“.  Just saying.

So to summarize:  Alliance for a Better Minnesota (and CBS News) want us to swallow the following:

That Bill Sorem Just Happened To Videotape A Random Outraged Customer:  It’s hard to say if the producer wanted this event to look like a candid camera incident; it certainly looks staged.  But it was presented by the Uptake and A4aBM  as an organic, grassroots, random protest against Tom Emmer and against Target’s donation to the “MNForward” PAC, which supports Emmer in the gubernatorial election, and by CBS as .evidence of a mass movement against Target.

This is bad journalism.

That The Uptake Is Anything But An Arm Of The DFL: After participating in an ABM attack campaign – which, as we noted two weeks ago, is funded by unions and, mostly, Mark Dayton and his relatives - future protestations of being “journalists” should be taken with a large block of salt.

Long story short; the Uptake is staging the news for the ABM’s, and the DFL’s, benefit.

This is not journalism.

UPDATE:  Gary Gross at the excellent Minnesota conservative blog Let Freedom Ring does some more checking on Randi “Random Customer” Reitan.

Cross-posted at Shot In The Dark.

This post was promoted from GreenRoom to HotAir.com.
To see the comments on the original post, look here.


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Truthiness !!!!

Jeff2161 on July 31, 2010 at 11:45 AM

Minn has a problem and it is lyin Libs stealin elections.

Do Not go to the polls alone take two or three previously non voters or former Dems.
The corruption must be overrun or the Al Franken model will happen again. Do NOT depend on the RNC they are too busy makin sure the early Presidential Primaries stay open so they can nominate the next RINO in line!

dhunter on July 31, 2010 at 11:50 AM

I would like to see Target just relocate their HQ to Fargo,Omaha or some other friendly location. Same with Life Time Fitness and others. Heck, let’s move the Vikings to LA too. Time to play some hardball leverage against these fools.

Hummer53 on July 31, 2010 at 11:50 AM

What do we expect from DhimmicRATS?

Vntnrse on July 31, 2010 at 11:51 AM

Thank you – I work for Target and this “outrage” is laughable.

Target is one of the most pro-gay companies I’ve ever seen. I wish the media would actually do a little digging and report the facts.

Wonder if they’ll go after Best Buy next – they put in $100,000 to MN Forward.

gophergirl on July 31, 2010 at 11:52 AM

If the MSM was too lazy to look into the jug-eared sh*t-stain’s background, why would Mrs. Reitan think that any news organization would look into hers. It was probably a calculated gamble she thought she could win. Since we are talking about Minnesota, she still might.
I still vote we threaten to nuke Canada unless they annex Minnesota.

Extrafishy on July 31, 2010 at 11:53 AM

Just the tip of the iceberg. I hear these radio ads all day and they make me simultaneously laugh and puke.

As for Target stores, they are the go-to place in MN for everything from groceries to clothes, I very highly doubt that more than a handful of people would actively boycott the place.

Bishop on July 31, 2010 at 11:55 AM

Just the tip of the iceberg. I hear these radio ads all day and they make me simultaneously laugh and puke.

As for Target stores, they are the go-to place in MN for everything from groceries to clothes, I very highly doubt that more than a handful of people would actively boycott the place.

Bishop on July 31, 2010 at 11:55 AM

The drunk driving one is disgusting. It’s going to be a long couple of months.

gophergirl on July 31, 2010 at 11:57 AM

The drunk driving one is disgusting. It’s going to be a long couple of months.
gophergirl on July 31, 2010 at 11:57 AM

Haven’t heard that one yet, can you share?

Bishop on July 31, 2010 at 12:03 PM

Is it too late to let Canada have Minnesota as reparations from 1812?

TugboatPhil on July 31, 2010 at 12:04 PM

This cracks me up – the left must hate the internet by now. It’s getting so hard to fake left slants in the news. No wonder they are trying to stifle it.

Liberal government is like a tick – in a few months we can pluck the bloodsucking body off, and in 2 years we can remove the head.

ace tomato on July 31, 2010 at 12:04 PM

God help us now–most main stream citizens watch only the alphabet news…they have no idea…

lovingmyUSA on July 31, 2010 at 12:05 PM

The trouble with liberals is, they think America is some kind of video game. So if the game allows you to do something sneaky, that’s great, what’s the problem? You win however you can win.

RBMN on July 31, 2010 at 12:08 PM

That woman is a dumbass.

VegasRick on July 31, 2010 at 12:08 PM

The best anti-Emmer ad is the one where the announcer says “Tom Emmer is so radical he makes George Bush look reasonable…and Tom Emmer likes SARAH PALIN!” complete with ominous and slightly evil background music.

Comedy gold, especially when you’ve had a few beers, but slightly off-putting when you her the ads during the Rush Limbaugh show.

Bishop on July 31, 2010 at 12:08 PM

Yeah, I hear the ads too…I’m like ‘yeah…Ok…good for Emmer’….

Money well spent…I guess it’s about time to start going back to Minnesota Democrats Exposed and watch people scream at each other…..

BigWyo on July 31, 2010 at 12:09 PM

My favorite part is this: the lefties can boycott Target for daring to spend a little petty cash on Emmer, but how might we boycott the government workers who are funding (in some cases against their will) the attacks on Emmer? Try boycotting the DMV or the DNR sometime and see where that gets ya.

Mr. D on July 31, 2010 at 12:15 PM

An endorsement of “TheUptake”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5P2MKkFku8

RBMN on July 31, 2010 at 12:16 PM

The drunk driving one is disgusting. It’s going to be a long couple of months.

gophergirl on July 31, 2010 at 11:57 AM

Yes, it is. But it also makes Dayton’s time in alcohol rehab and his mental health problems fair game.

Mr. D on July 31, 2010 at 12:16 PM

Target is dead to me.

They jacked my wife’s credit card to 30% intrest, claiming she was late on two payments (she wasn’t). Our credit score is stellar and we have never defaulted on a card or loan. Normally we do not even keep a balance on the thing, bbut there was a small one. We tried to fight it, but Target refused to back down (typically a credit card company will fix this automatically). There was not enough to really fight over, still it frosts me that they basically cheated us, so we simply paid off the balance and told them to get stuffed.

It is too bad, because I used to like Target. I will not shop there and I think they completely suck. Target cheats its customers and deserve nothing but scorn. There are alternatives. Frankly I can get computer games and toys cheaper on line than I can from Target. It was more convienance than anything that we shopped there. The rest of their lines are mostly cheap Chinese crap anyway.

Walmart tells its employees that the average Walmart customer spends more than $250,000 there over their lifetimes. Walmart tells its employees they are not KMart. My guess is if Target keeps up this crap, Walmart will be saying they are not Target too.

Mr. Joe on July 31, 2010 at 12:19 PM

Out here in the 6th district there are ads that target Michele Bachmann and Emmer simultaneously by telling us that Bachmann endorsed Emmer.

In the 6th district. This is Bachmann’s district and Tom Emmer was our state rep.

How dumb are these liberals, spending all that money in Bachmann’s backyard, ground zero for conservatism in a blue state? Very dumb I tells ya.

Bishop on July 31, 2010 at 12:22 PM

RBMN on July 31, 2010 at 12:16 PM

HEY!! How about a little warning there????

I just had a ‘Bluto seeing Flounder for the first time‘ moment there.

BigWyo on July 31, 2010 at 12:22 PM

See how easy that was? A little investigatin’ and foot work (or search engine work) and Voila! –the real Astroturf story! Nice work Mitch. The State Run Media should take some notes.

conservative pilgrim on July 31, 2010 at 12:24 PM

Target Anti-gay??? I have no idea what MN Target is like, but in ATL it’s very gay friendly. And face tattoo friendly, and tranny friendly, etc. One location I shopped at looks like all the workers just left a club and happened to stroll in and put on a name tag, just for kicks……

di butler on July 31, 2010 at 12:27 PM

Target Anti-gay??? I have no idea what MN Target is like, but in ATL it’s very gay friendly. And face tattoo friendly, and tranny friendly, etc. One location I shopped at looks like all the workers just left a club and happened to stroll in and put on a name tag, just for kicks……

di butler on July 31, 2010 at 12:27 PM

There are no anti-gay retail companies. Retail stores want to sell stuff, they care not who your bed partners are or wit whom you seek orgasm. They want your money, period.

Tim Zank on July 31, 2010 at 12:49 PM

Great piece, Mitch. CBS sure does like doing fake but accurate reporting, eh? I agree with a few other posters here commenting that perhaps Target should move to a more business and consumer friendly state.

simkeith on July 31, 2010 at 12:52 PM

Great detective work. And you were able to find, as Paul Harvey might say, the rest of the story on your own without the benefit of Katie Couric’s $15M/annum salary. Go figure!

leilani on July 31, 2010 at 12:56 PM

Target Anti-gay??? I have no idea what MN Target is like, but in ATL it’s very gay friendly. And face tattoo friendly, and tranny friendly, etc.

di butler on July 31, 2010 at 12:27 PM

You know, the first trans-gender bathroom I ever saw was at a new Target a few years ago. Seriously, they had three bathrooms, and it took me a second to figure out what the little picture meant.

Merovign on July 31, 2010 at 12:56 PM

PS This is the kind of journalism that journalists Do Not Do!

Merovign on July 31, 2010 at 12:56 PM

Mr. Joe on July 31, 2010 at 12:19 PM

Too bad about your credit run in with Target. However I take issue about the demographics of their merchandise. All the big box stores are loaded with ‘cheap Chinese crap’ because to compete with Walmart, they have to buy where Walmart buys – not that they wouldn’t buy China anyway, but some would still support their country if they didn’t have stockholders

Target carries a selection of USA made items I cannot find elsewhere, including store brand plastic sandwich bags, garbage bags, plastic ware, medical supplies etc. Such items are proudly labeled made in USA, instead of the sneaky ‘distributed by’ dodge used for most store brands to hide place of origin

I read all labels and buy USA as much as possible, which is why I shop a lot at Save-a-Lot, which is loaded with Product of USA labels

I cannot imagine Target, the estrogen palace, being anti gay. I know guys who won’t shop there because the dainty image attracts SUV mama crowd. It is so pink you don;’t have to wear a pink ribbon, it gets burned on your skin in the parking lot

Back to subject: great reporting on political sleaze

I cannot wait until the little people grab their pitchforks and torches. I am weary of the degradation from lust for power

entagor on July 31, 2010 at 1:07 PM

The DFL is a week and a half from their primary to determine who will face conservative Republican Tom Emmer in the race to replace Presidential contender Tim Pawlenty.

Unless one of the two losers decide to get on the ballot 2 November via the Arne Carlson route. I can see Dayton doing that with his trust fund money.

Amendment X on July 31, 2010 at 1:27 PM

DFL? I had to Google that since I am not in MN. Please spell out the acronym for the rest of us.
DFL = Democratic-Farm-Labor Party

Mike Morrissey on July 31, 2010 at 1:33 PM

I’ve had to address this stupidity with some rabidly pro-gay friends of mine who were repeating the HuffPo / Kos “Target is anti-gay!” line of attack.

I didn’t get a response after I sent them a link to Target’s donations on Open Secrets showing that they’d given somewhat equally to both parties in Minnesota this cycle, including to some lefty nutbars like Rep. Keith Ellison and Sen. Amy Klobochar in addition to Emmer and Michelle Bachmann, who were the subjects of their outrage.

teke184 on July 31, 2010 at 2:25 PM

RBMN on July 31, 2010 at 12:16 PM

HEY!! How about a little warning there????

I just had a ‘Bluto seeing Flounder for the first time‘ moment there.

BigWyo on July 31, 2010 at 12:22 PM

Yeah, that’s about 14 seconds I’ll never get back.

As far as the totally realistic unstaged protest video (she just happened to be filmed when she bought the stuff and also later when she returned it??) what do you expect from the reality based show party?

2ipa on July 31, 2010 at 2:59 PM

Alinskyism in action, folks, just like the administration. Lies, smears, character assassination, subterfuge, fear-mongering, the works.

LarryG on July 31, 2010 at 3:03 PM

Hopefully this will have the same impact that the Whole Foods boycott had: it increased their sales.

RedRedRice on July 31, 2010 at 3:09 PM

This is bad journalism.

Which differs from typical Liberal “Journalism” how, exactly?

oldleprechaun on July 31, 2010 at 5:26 PM

Minnesota, would anyone expeect anything different. Remember Al Franken.

Wade on July 31, 2010 at 7:28 PM

Unhittable.

Immolate on July 31, 2010 at 9:25 PM

Minnesota is so stupidly leftist is almost makes living in Illinois feel tolerable.

Jaibones on July 31, 2010 at 11:32 PM

Minnesota is so stupidly leftist is almost makes living in Illinois feel tolerable.

Jaibones on July 31, 2010 at 11:32 PM

Amen Jaibones. And for the record, I just spent over $100 at Target.

Major Nuisance on July 31, 2010 at 11:50 PM

Minnesota is so stupidly leftist is almost makes living in Illinois feel tolerable.

Jaibones on July 31, 2010 at 11:32 PM

Having lived in both states I would call Minnesota perplexingly purple while Illinois is as about as red as California.

Not only is it disgustingly red, it is completely corrupt and yet Illinois residents continue to elect their corrupt Democrats (although I doubt the Republicans are any less corrupt).

Mr Purple on August 1, 2010 at 2:55 AM

Mike Morrissey on July 31, 2010 at 1:33 PM

Thank you!

Keemo on August 1, 2010 at 8:30 AM

Rural MN is normal from what I’ve seen.
MN’s are fleeing, many of them coming back here (they were from here & went there to get jobs) to ND.
I was tooling around here, & found ND’s tax info very interesting.
I guess it’s why many businesses have been relocating here lately.
Our economy isn’t good just bcs of oil.
I refuse to travel through MN on my way to & from S. IN anymore.
Motel taxes & prices are insane, & I curiously kept getting pulled over for no valid reason (I am always driving old crappy looking cars).
I have been harassed there way too much.
And the native city folks from MN?
We have suffered their vile company for way too long out here in ND pheasant country.
They’re real prick$.

Badger40 on August 1, 2010 at 8:49 AM

That video is pathetic, obviously staged, insincere, and does anybody believe this woman is about to cry? And what is it exactly that Target has done to its’ gay employees? Oh my god! They’ve gainfully employed them! How awful!

Alfresco on August 1, 2010 at 9:38 AM

Keep North Dakota Clean. Dump your trash in Minnesota.

Wade on August 1, 2010 at 10:20 AM