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From the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the reporter is Jennifer Brooks. The first paragraphs:

Bachmann on the move in her toughest race yet

The baby knocked over a glass of water. Without missing a beat, Rep. Michele Bachmann crouched down to mop up the mess.

"I'm used to it," said Bachmann, who is facing an unexpectedly tough re-election campaign for her fourth term in Congress. "Just like I'm cleaning up the mess in Washington. How many times have I cleaned up spilled milk at home? I was fully prepared to do what I do in D.C."

Bachmann dealt with the puddle, then ran a wet wipe across the baby's cake-covered face for good measure, all while answering a constituent's question about the medical device tax in the president's health care bill.

That's reporting from the Minneapolis Star Tribune ("the Strib"), the most important daily paper in Minnesota. It's also widely considered to be the "liberal" paper. And that's the imagery they're using to sum up Michele Bachmann for Minnesota voters these days.

This newspaper story doesn't go on to report "the question about the medical device tax or Bachmann's answer." Reporting Bachmann's position on that issue (or any other) is not the aim of this kind of reporting. The aim of this kind of "reporting" is to present Michele Bachmann as some kind supermom/policy whiz. It's not objective or even-handed reporting.

The Strib reporters and editors read the political media. So they're all waaaaay past the the point where anyone familiar with the facts would sum up Michele Bachmann as a  "supermom/policy whiz."

That means the imagery employed amounts to outright distortion--since there's nothing in the article to counter it. There's no reporting that acquaints the readers with Bachmann's record with the truth--or her positions on issues--or her actual record in the legislature. Bachmann's charge that the US government has been infiltrated by Islamic extremists? That is presented as if it's a legitimate difference of opinion.So this a piece to puff Michele Bachmann, and that's all it is.

It acknowledges that Bachmann's facing a tougher re-election battle. But it doesn't explain (or even refer to) the reasons why conservative Bachmann is facing a tougher re-election battle in a conservative congressional district. Instead of that: we get paragraphs about wiping up after baby while fielding policy questions...the picture of superwoman; free political advertising for Bachmann courtesy of the Minneapolis Star Tribune

There's no excuse for this unless the reporter is age eight and her editor is age seven. You gotta remember that at the same time the Strib ran this story--there was legitimate real-live Bachmann news going on. (That was the story about how the Associated Press had imposed a quota on fact-checking of Michele Bachmann statements.)

The Strib chose not to incorporate or even acknowledge that in their piece on Bachmann. Instead they went with a "textual photo-op" of Bachmann wiping up after a cute little baby--and oh, yeah, a quote from one of her fundraising letters.

You must realize: the Michele Bachmann story was never just about Bachmann. It was always much bigger than that. It's a story about the entry of extremism into the GOP and thus into the mainstream of American politics. And it's a story about media, and the new tendency of media to puff extremists rather than expose the extremism.

Jim Graves for Congress. We're not just fighting Bachmann--we're fighting the corporate media.


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