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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Mitch Berg Helped Develop Aplikowski's Racist Interview with Minnesota Monitor

It's rather long winded, but the MOB Parrot finally gets to the point:

Last week, Fecke - in his capacity as a “journalist” for the Minnesota Monitor - sent Andy Aplikowski an “interview” - an email with a bunch of questions.

Andy is an outspoken Republican, a firebrand within the party, someone who has a vision and works for it with a tirelessness that the party needs a lot more of. Like anyone with a vision and the cojones to state it, he’s developed some detractors and enemies within the party. It’s the detractors’ loss; the perception that political parties are full of people who fret more about internal politics than about winning elections is one of the things that kills the desire of anyone who doesn’t live for that kind of thing to get and stay involved.

Andy’s first reflex was to delete the “request”; Fecke is a writer with a five year history (on his personal blog as well as the MNMOn) of antipathy toward Republicans, working for an outlet whose mission is to serve as a propaganda organ for the regional left. In retrospect, it may have been the right reflex.

But Andy forwarded the email to a group of other local center-right bloggers, including me. And in a brief burst of creativity, we concocted a number of flagrancies; a fictional groundswell for John Hinderaker to lead the MN GOP, a bunch of things that’d jump right out at a typical leftyblogger as stereotypes for the snarking, to justify much gamboling about and poo-flinging.

Learned Foot - a party to the party - sums things up fairly well:

What it was, however, was an amusing diversion; an exercise in disinformation with a rather obvious play to the preconceived prejudices of you and your audience. I mean, didn’t those references to Obama and the Imus comment seem just a little extraneous and out of context?

It was like waving our arms yelling “Yoohoo! You can play the race card here!”

Not to you people. Critical thinking jumps right out the window when you hacks see the chance to slime somebody. Hell, it never even occurred to any of you that perhaps Andy didn’t write any of those answers at all (aside from inserting typos and torturing some of the syntax to make it look more authentic).

It was a half-baked hoax - because, frankly, what’s the point of fully-baking a hoax with these people?

Fecke responded in the comments:

# Jeff Fecke Says:
May 9th, 2007 at 4:27 pm

Say what you will, Mitch. I haven’t lied to anyone in an interview. I’ve been approached by Brodkorb–less a reporter than even lil’ ol’ me, even you will agree. I declined the opportunity. Oh, I could’ve “punked” him–but that would have required me to lie.

And I don’t lie in print.

Am I a perfect journalist? No. I’m learning my craft. And given that I was running a straight interview piece, then there was nobody to check against. I wanted Andy’s opinions, and I ran them as he gave them to me. I even bent over backward to be fair, going so far as to send him a rough draft of where things were.

Why? Not because I fear being outed as liberal. I am liberal. MinMon is a liberal newsmagazine. We don’t hide that, or pretend otherwise. And if the GOP and right blogistan is not interested in being covered in a center-left newsmagazine, well, that’s fine.

But you can’t argue that I was unfair to Andy–because I wasn’t. And you can’t argue that I published a hatchet job–because in my original piece, I went out of my way not to print some of the over-the-top language that I felt Andy had inserted for shock value.

No, for all your griping, my failure as a reporter was trusting a liar, and those who helped him lie. And that is indeed my failure, and one I will learn from. And I will know next time I talk to you, or Andy, or indeed anyone on the right side of the aisle, that the odds you are telling the truth are negligible. Indeed, were I a reader of your blog anymore, that’s the lesson I’d take as well.

I don’t like being lied to, Mitch, but readers like being lied to even less. My apology will be going up on MinMon tomorrow, for passing through your lies as fact. I’ll await your apology, but I won’t expect it.

Others who helped with this appear to include Kevin Eckernet.

Aplikowski is now changing his story here and there:


I did alert the proper GOP leaders about the ordeal, and only one person was remotely concerned. A person who gives these hacks too much credit in my opinion.


No one gave me permission to do this. I simply said to a few random people that I had just done a bogus interview with the Fecker, as a heads up. Period. I acted alone in that aspect, so you lefties can put the plans for a grand jury on hold, and the righties can drop the legal defense fund.

He admonishes people to take a chill pill:

Have we got the idea yet, that this was all to out Fecker for the tool he is? that this Mini Money is a shill for Soros and the radical left that will print anything, no matter the ridiculousness of it, to harm Republicans? They make Mary Mapes look good at journalism.

Have we figured out that they are now trying to lash out at me for simply proving they are the hacks that they are? Give me a break. Fecker didn’t even use the stupid stuff until he got punk’d. Then his band of fellow Sorospherers have teamed up to make this into the scandal of all scandals, thus further making this thing seem even better than we could have hoped.

So please, take a chill pill. Realize I/we were joking around and simply using the left’s stereotypes of the right against them.

Uh oh, what’s that? The Strib is emailing? What do they want?

Hmm, what would the strib want? My question is what do others in Andy's district think about this?