Earlier this year, I began a “Bachmann Watch” blog at the St. Cloud Times, “because Minnesota media don’t.”
But the sheer weight and volume of Rep. Michele Bachmann’s assault on reason may have reached critical mass, crossing the tipping point beyond which Minnesota media could no longer tune out the insanity or avert their gaze from “The Emperor’s New Clothes” in embarrassed silence.
Minnesota media becoming ‘armed and dangerous’?
U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann
Though the St. Cloud Times editorial board has never endorsed Bachmann, its stinging editorial two weeks ago (“It’s official: Bachmann is nonfactor”) reminded me of the conversion of St. Paul: “And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose …” (Acts 9:18).
Then, just days ago, another outstate Minnesota newspaper crossed the Rubicon behind a withering hail of fire directed at Bachmann’s positions.
That editorial is reproduced below in its entirety, in the public interest.
Editorial, West Central Tribune
April 29, 2009
Congresswoman Michele Bachmann looks more and more like a politician with permanent foot-in-mouth disease.
Yes, the 6th District Republican representative has opened her mouth again and, surprise, says something either outrageous or wrong.
This week it was both.
Bachmann said Monday that she found it was an “interesting coincidence” that the last swine flu outbreak occurred under a Democratic president. She said that the current swine flu outbreak under Obama was similar to a swine flu outbreak in 1976.
However, Bachmann was wrong, again.
The 1976 swine flu outbreak occurred under Republican President Gerald Ford. The 1976 outbreak started when an Army private died and four other soldiers were hospitalized at Fort Dix in New Jersey. Democratic President Jimmy Carter continued the swine flu shot program when he actually took office in early 1977.
This is not the last or the first time Bachmann has opened her mouth and inserted her foot.
She really is good at that.
In early 2007, Bachmann commented about an Iranian plan to carve out half of Iraq to serve as “a terrorist safe haven zone.” She had no proof of this.
In the final days of the 2008 election campaign, Bachmann questioned the patriotism of Democratic-candidate Barack Obama and called for an “anti-American” investigation of Democratic members of Congress.
In March, Bachmann called for a “revolution” against the tyranny of Obama and congressional leadership. Calling for a “revolution” against the U.S. president or other congressional leaders sounds more anti-American than patriotic to us.
This month Bachmann claimed the six Muslim men removed from a plane at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport in 2006 had come to the Twin Cities just to attend Rep. Keith Ellison’s election celebration. She was wrong. The Muslims were in Minnesota to attend a national conference of imams.
These are just a few of the Bachmann quotable moments that raise concerns among both Republicans and Democrats.
Bachmann has become the poster child for bizarre politicians. She also is an embarrassment to both the 6th District and Minnesota.
Here’s how the Minnesota Independent reported on the story:
By Paul Schmelzer
The Minnesota Independent
April 30, 2009
With Rep. Michele Bachmanns false assertion that a Democrat held the White House with the last “swine flu” scare fresh in mind, the editorial board of the West Central Tribune conjures another agricultural affliction when discussing the 6th District Republican: “foot-in-mouth disease.” Citing her recent gaffes – many of which we’ve chronicled here – the editorial concludes: “Bachmann has become the poster child for bizarre politicians. She also is an embarrassment to both the 6th District and Minnesota.”
The paper’s Wilmar offices aren’t in Bachmann’s district, but the reach of its parent company, Forum Communications, means the sentiment will get a wider hearing. Its Worthington paper re-ran the editorial. [Update: On May 4, Forum’s Albert Lea Tribune also published the editorial.]
One Sixth District paper, that of St. Cloud State University, runs a bylined op-ed by Paul Crawford. He writes that Bachmann “is about as representative of our district as a thorn is of a rose,” adding that Bachmann’s actions would be “less disheartening if she silently supported these reactionary causes, which some politicians do. Instead, she actively pursues and promotes them though legislation, and what has become her weekly, nationally televised freakshow.”
The twin sentiments – the abundance of media appearances and the legislative issues she advocates – also appear in a blistering Apr. 19 editorial by the nearby St. Cloud Times. It decried Bachmann for evoking “extremism, typically by flitting around today’s 24/7 media culture ad nauseam.” It cites Bachmann’s “two straight years of her consistently spewing misleading snippets about important issues yet never stepping beyond those statements to find realistic solutions make it clear she is all about extremism and cares nothing about crafting viable public policy.”
Bachmann critic Bill Prendergast notes, “The Minnesota papers’ glacial indifference to Bachmann’s extremism is starting to crack and break up. Finally, and piece by piece.”
That assessment may yet turn out to be overly optimistic and premature; but for now, it’s refreshing to see Minnesota newspapers fulfilling their proper watchdog function in a free society and holding Rep. Bachmann accountable by shining a bright light on her words and deeds.
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