Minnesota Democrats Exposed is a fascinating website for those interested in seeing what blindly partisan attempts to tear down political opponents – rather than focus on the merits of their own party’s candidates for office – looks like. The main writer for the site these days is Luke Hellier, who seems like a lightweight version of the type of person you’d want to put in such a non-constructive role.
One misleading tactic used by Luke Hellier in recent misguided attacks on Minneapolis Mayor and Gubenatorial candidate, RT Rybak, is to abridge historical crime data to fit a narrative he’s trying to push. Even though we’re more than half way through the 12th month of 2009, Hellier decided to use crime data though only the end of 2008 data to support his arguments.
I mentioned this in the comments at MDE:
As you can probably imagine, the year to date stats don’t fit Luke’s anti-Rybak narrative, so it makes perfect sense that he’d avoid using more honest, freely available data.
Luke responded with this:
Ed and Dan,
Maybe you should check the record. Rape is already higher in 2008 than 2009 (336) and assault is well on pace at 1685 to meet or exceed 2008 numbers. Facts are facts.
Which garnered this response from me:
Luke, you’ve done a fine job cherry picking the numbers to support your narrative while ignoring those that don’t. As I look at the data, it seems pretty darn clear that you’ve picked the only category of crime that is projected to have a net increase year over year.
If you simply choose to ever other type of reported crime, you’re exactly right. That’s a pretty big if, eh?
BTW, you may want to check your math on the agg. assault stats.
Overall, I think this was a constructive conversation where Luke may have learned a bit about how to present data accurately when making attacks. Make sure the facts support the argument you’re trying to make, right?
Sadly, I don’t think Luke welcomed the unsolicited advice based on his future behavior. On a different blog posts where Luke Hellier continued his anti-RT narrative, I left a somewhat mundane comment pointing out how pointless his bloviating had become:
Notice next to my name where it says, “Your comment is awaiting moderation.” Until this point, my comments would immediately go live. Comments where I civilly disagreed with Luke Hellier’s posts were suddenly being held for moderation.
I left a tab open to see whether Hellier would get around to approving my comment, and noticed that other comments coming in later were being approved, such as chile’s here:
By the way, when a comment is marked for moderation, the only people who can see it are the commenter and the blog’s moderator(s), so chile wouldn’t know about my pending comment. For anyone but me and the site’s moderator(s), the comments look like this:
One possible explanation of this is that Luke Hellier hasn’t logged into the website to moderate pending comments since I posted my comment. However, we know that isn’t the case since he’s posted at least one new blog post since then.
I’m not suggesting that Luke Hellier is required to approve my comment. Minnesota Democrats Exposed is far from a public forum and I have no first amendment rights over there (probably 2nd Amendment, though). I’m just pointing out what it takes to essentially get banned for publicly courteously disagreeing with Luke Hellier.
It’s surprising to see Minnesota Democrats Exposed slip so much from its previously respectfully disrespectful position on the right. I think there is a role for opposition websites like Minnesota Democrats Exposed, but their influence relies entirely on the intelligence, authority, and influence of the site’s author(s), which is where MDE has slipped considerably.
Side note: It looks like MDE was hacked by a pharmaceutical spammer this past week, based on this search result for Michael Brodkorb:
The last time Google visited and cached MDE’s homepage, it looked like this:
No comment on whether that improved the quality of the site’s recent content.