The Astroturf Campaign Against Target: Fake
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.
Breaking on Hot Air