News Day: Media spotlight on media / Best Buy, worse pay? / Cigarettes, surcharges, furloughs / more

Media spotlight on media From Fox News to the Strib, media is the news this morning.

Not all media are equal in the eyes of the law — or at least not in the eyes of Minneapolis Police Chief Tim Dolan. The TC Daily Planet reports that the chief decided to give an exclusive interview to the Strib about the legal case arising from the 2006 police shooting of Fong Lee, but isn’t answering requests for interviews from the PiPress, which has reported on the family’s side of the ongoing lawsuit. Since then, the chief has also talked to MPR. Guess he doesn’t like the PiPress coverage of inconsistencies in stories about the gun found near Fong Lee’s body or questions about the patrol car video.

And then there’s Fox: the “news” channel sponsored and heavily promoted yesterday’s national tea bag protest day — and then joined the rest of the media in extensive coverage of the events. Sponsorship? Oh, yes — as Media Matters reports, “from April 6 to April 13, Fox News featured at least 20 segments on the “tea party” protests scheduled to take place on April 15 and aired at least 73 in-show and commercial promotions for their April 15 coverage of the events,” which Fox hyped as “the FNC Tax Day Tea Parties.” This goes so far beyond the bounds of journalistic ethics that it’s hard to know where to begin.

Back to the Strib, “embarrassed” about printing a Michelle Bachmann op/ed with obvious factual misstatements. ;MinnPostpicks up on a Wonk Room interview with Strib opinion editor Eric Ringham:

Eric Ringham, the opinion page editor of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, recognizes now that the MIT lie was fully debunked before the column was submitted by Bachmann: “It wasn’t on my radar. I’m embarrassed to have let it go unchallenged.”

Ringham says that a letter to the editor debunking Bachmann’s claim was sufficient response to the column, and that it would be “uncomfortable” to run a correction pointing out the column’s errors.

Best Buy, worse pay? As Best Buy plans to open eight new stores, it is also “slashing wages and eliminating jobs in its stores,” reports the Strib. The Richfield-based company cut 750 HQ jobs earlier this year, but won’t say how many employees will be impacted by the new round of cuts.

Best Buy would not disclose the number of people affected, but New York investment firm Sanford Bernstein said in a research note Wednesday that as many as 1,000 assistant store managers would have their positions cut. Up to another 8,000 senior sales associates would be demoted to regular sales positions that would pay 25 percent to 50 percent less than their previous jobs.

Say it ain’t so, Barack The Wall Street Journal reports that President Obama is considering keeping secret the Justice Department memorandums related to CIA interrogations.

Among the details in the still-classified memos is approval for a technique in which a prisoner’s head could be struck against a wall as long as the head was being held and the force of the blow was controlled by the interrogator, according to people familiar with the memos. Another approved tactic was waterboarding, or simulated drowning.

One of the arguments is that release of the memos would damage CIA credibility, but, as Daily Kos observes:

The argument that the agency’s credibility could be any more damaged either at home or with foreign intelligence services is laughable. The essential contents of these memos is well known–as is the result. The leaked ICRC report provided that in stark, and intensely damaging detail.

Resurgent right-wing extremism A new Department of Homeland Security report points to increasing right-wing extremism, reports Politico:

The report explains that threats so far have been “largely rhetorical,” but points to the April 4 shooting of three police officers in Pittsburgh as a “recent example of potential violence associated with right-wing extremism.”

Could this be a sign of what the report is talking about?

Jeff Fecke’s Blog of the Moderate Left observes:

… that’s a Teabagger calling for the execution of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Senate Majority Leader, and the Secretary of State, in addition to four other Senators and three other Representatives. In what is surely just a coincidence, every member of the House of Representatives on the list is either a woman, gay, black, or some combination thereof.

Let them drink gasoline Ethanol production is slurping up alarming quantities of water, according to a U of M study reported in MinnPost. While “Minnesota’s 17 ethanol plants currently average about 3.5 gallons of water for each gallon of ethanol produced … down from about 10 gallons per gallon of ethanol just a decade earlier,” that’s not the only vector. Irrigation to produce corn “has pushed water consumption to alarming levels in the desert Southwest and parts of California.” Even in Minnesota, if irrigation is included in the equation, the amount of water used per gallonof ethanol produced rises to 19 gallons. (And then there’s the whole petrochemical/pesticide/soil erosion equation for corn growing — but that’s another story.)

Understanding the MN Somali community Laura Yuen and Sasha Aslanian do a great job in interviewing young Somalis for MPR. The three young women were all questioned by the FBI.

“This was the first time I actually saw an FBI badge,” she said. “I had seen ‘CSI Miami’ or some show like that, and I’m like, ‘Whoa, that’s how it looks?'” …

The women say they don’t know who persuaded their friends to go to Somalia. The FBI and grand jury interrogations suggested the investigation was closing in on local mosque leaders.

Ruqia Mohamed doesn’t find that plausible. She was a youth leader at Abubakar As-Saddique, a south Minneapolis mosque that many of the young men attended. [She said] young people at the mosque complained that the imam took too little interest in Somali politics.

That’s just a short excerpt – you really should check out the whole story here . It’s a great read.

Cigarettes, surcharges, furloughs As the legislature races toward adjournment, just over a month from now, the latest proposals include:

Pawlenty’s continuing quest to save money by cutting paychecks, this time through unpaid furloughs for state employees — 48 days over the next two years. That’s more than a month per year.”Let’s face it,” Pawlenty said. “Public employees have it pretty good.”

Rep. Tom Rukavina is proposing an income tax surcharge to raise $1.3 billion. This is a surcharge with a progressive twist: under $30,000, 6 percent; $30,000-$80,000, 8 percent; $80,000-$250,000, 10 percent; and over $250,000, 12 percent.

DFLers in the House are also talking a dollar-a-pack cigarette tax increase, hoping to use the funds to stop the draconian cuts proposed by the Guv for MinnesotaCare health insurance.

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