Friday, November 8, 2013

Leave No Narrative Unassisted

State Representative Andrea Kieffer, a Republican from Woodbury, announced yesterday that she would not be running for re-election in 2014. Kieffer was first elected to the Minnesota House in 2010.

As is her right, Kieffer gave no reason for her decision. However, that did not stop the lazy, agenda driven media, from inventing one.

Within a few minutes of Kieffer’s announcement breaking, two local reporters shared observations on Twitter.

The first, from the AP’s Brian Baskt:

And the second from StarTribune’s Rachel Stassen-Berger:

Both tweets provide information that may give a clue to Kieffer’s reason for retirement, and both are, in my opinion, very reasonable and relevant real-time observations about a breaking news story.

Only one, however, fits The Narrative™, which was in full swing by the next morning as the lazy and corrupt in the media began to pile on.

The first item I noticed was this tweet from StarTribune’s Lori Sturdevant, who never misses an opportunity to show you that she is morally superior to you, whoever you are:

By this time information about Kieffer’s daughter was widely known, having been disseminated in the StarTribune’s own daily politics newsletter.

Whether Sturdevant neglected to read her own paper’s coverage, or just ignored it, is up to you. One makes her ill-informed, the other makes her startlingly biased. Perhaps both can somehow be true?

If you are keeping score here, we now have two facts available- Kieffer has a daughter who suffers from a terrible disease, and Kieffer voted to support gay marriage.

But, as only one fits The Narrative™, only one will be repeated.

The second piece I noticed (h/t Erik Leist) was a piece by MPR’s Tim Pugmire, which came with this amazingly lazy yet provocative headline.

The Narrative™ has now decided that support of Gay Marriage has cost Kieffer her seat; those neanderthals in the GOP require bigotry as a condition of acceptance into their club, dontcha know?

It was at this point that I did what reporters used to do, and made a few calls to verify what I already knew to be true: that there is no organized opposition to Kieffer intent on punishing her for her voting record, but rather she decided to refocus her attention on her family.

I notified Pugmire of this by email. An email to Pugmire was not immediately returned, as they say.

Once The Narrative™ was settled, every other lazy media outlet was free to parrot it. And they did.

Several outlets ran near carbon copies of the Pugmire piece. Whether he posted his first or they posted theirs first is irrelevant.

I do want to call out two news organizations that went above and beyond, though.

The first is WCCO, who chose the headline “House GOP Marriage Equality Backer Won’t Run Again" along with this photo:

The second is MinnPost, who decided to pair laziness with incorrect facts, in the headline “Another of the Republicans who voted in support of gay marriage is leaving the legislature" despite the fact that Kieffer is the first to do so.

I have screen-capped the MinnPost headline below, as they have a habit of making their mistakes disappear down the memory hole when they are discovered.

The award for actual journalism unsurprisingly goes to a local paper, the Woodbury Bulletin, which got an actual interview with Kieffer before printing their story. You can read that here.

On an unrelated note, I was one of the many people who had never heard of Mitochondrial Disease before tonight.

If the media had done their job, there would be many more people aware of this affliction tonight. But The Narrative™ always comes first.

Rep. Kieffer and her daughter Melissa gave an interview about Mitochondrial Disease a few months ago. You can see that below.


To learn more, you can visit the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation at

I send my best wishes to Representative Kieffer and her family.