Minnesota TV Station Employs Stalinistic Tactics Against Blogger

Star Tribune: “Matt Bartel, owner of the popular MNSpeak blog also was issued an invitation by WCCO, although the station apparently didn’t recognize the name Bartel (ubiquitous in Twin Cities publishing circles) or his business, until the event was about to start. ‘They pulled me out of the auditorium and told me that they’d become aware of the fact that I had a blog,’ Bartel said. ‘They said, ‘We don’t want you to participate,” then offered him a choice: surrender his notebook or leave the event. I wasn’t going to give them my notebook; I had business stuff in there.'”

More from Bartel at his blog, where he confesses that he agreed that he would not talk about the event. This kind of Stalinistic strong-arming is something that no blogger should have to go through, not as long as the First Amendment (or what’s left of it) exists. Bartel was issued an invitation, but, as far as I can tell, there was no agreement in place that suggested he couldn’t write about the event (although there appears to have been an oral promise from WCCO news staffers). In fact, if WCCO was so concerned about public perception from bloggers, why were they idiotic enough to invite a blogger in the first place?


  1. I think this is just America-As-Usual now. When a little Stalin sits at the helm of a country, repressive Stalinist tactics should be expected. And when the words from Eagles songs are being bleeped out on the radio, there’s probably nowhere left to go but…nowhere.

    Don’t know what else to say; experiencing all this shit happening certainly isn’t easy. I feel so depressed most days.

  2. Yup, clearly President Bush is responsible for every bad thing that happens in this country. Because no one ever did this sort of thing before he was president, right? People aren’t stupid and heavy-handed unless a Republican is president. I am sure the conflict between blogs and traditional media is Bush’s fault and this is just another example. I am sure it has nothing to do with the actual people involved . . .

  3. I believe Kevin is referring to Fran’s odd comment, linking this event to “a little Stalin” at the helm of the country. I’m no fan of GW’s, but *dang* Fran, way to stretch.

  4. Sorry Ed, that was aimed at Fran above who indicated that “When a little Stalin sits at the helm of a country, repressive Stalinist tactics should be expected.”

    Perhaps, I should have just ignored Fran, but I was feeling a little snarky just then.

    As to the larger story, it seems more incompetence than Stalinist tactics. The story got out anyway so it didn’t accomplish much. But I agree that it was heavy handed and unnecessary. Trying to quash the story ends up hyping it even more.

  5. I knew something smelled stinky over there at WCCO (and I’m not just saying that because I have a friend who works for one of their competetors). (okay, that is why I’m saying that)

    Those idiots shouldn’t have let him in if they didn’t want him to report. How stupid.

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