Bear Life laid bare: the Strib's fake paean to Pawlenty

Categories: Media

I loves me a cuddly bear. If it's a choice between backing a bear or backing Tim Pawlenty, well, good luck to you, Governor sir, and I hope those raw meat boxer shorts fit. I'll make popcorn.

Hence it was with delight that I read that Solo-the-sorta-tame-black-bear would be spared, and surprised to learn that it was ol' Gov. Pawlenty that was responsible. Unless the wildlife in question is a turkey around Thanksgiving, I reasoned such a pardon would be more an agency matter. But if the Strib says it's the Guv's call in the opening paragraph, then surely it's true. Right?


Quoth the lede (this is how we fancy-ass journalists spell "lead"):

"Solo, the seemingly tame black bear that is hibernating with her two cubs under a northern Minnesota lake cabin, won the support Friday of Gov. Tim Pawlenty and soon will avoid being destroyed and instead travel with her little ones to a wildlife sanctuary in South Dakota or elsewhere, state officials said."

But you read on, and you find that the state's Department of Natural Resources was already planning to send Solo and her two cubs to a wildlife sanctuary, either in the Black Hills or another site. Meaning Pawlenty's homilies to ursine clemency had exactly two things to do with this: jack and taco, and I just ate the taco.

And it was delicious. But I digress.

Take another look at that lede and see the clever wording: "Solo, the seemingly tame black bear that is hibernating with her two cubs under a northern Minnesota lake cabin, won the support Friday of Gov. Tim Pawlenty and soon will avoid being destroyed ... "

The sentence is worded to equate correlation with causation. Solo got Pawlenty's support and will avoid being destroyed. I got a job at City Pages and the Minnesota economy looks like it will avoid recession. Note the absence of "and so" or "and because of this."

The juxtaposition in the most-read part of the story misleads; Pawlenty doesn't have to do anything, and gets a free P.R. hug in print. Sadly, expect to see a lot more of this as our (unofficial) VP candidate hosts the GOP bash. Prepare your between-the-lines glasses.



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