ND xPlains and mansPlains and also, truthfulness in advertising.

I figured I'd borrow from the rant and rave femimob world, and use "mansplains" in a post!

Anyway.

I'd seen a post on Facebook about a new media company and I was intrigued. You can see why, if you visit the home page:



"Title is kind of arrogant," I thought, as if I needed someone to explain North Dakota to me, though I could get the play on the word "plains" because we can't be reminded enough that we're on the northern plains.

I'm interested in getting the real scoop on North Dakota politics from trusted sources--that's sources, plural, i.e. more than one--delivered right to me!

Oh, wait. The Facebook page only shows this one guy.



"Who's that dude?" I wondered. "I thought there would be multiple sources and views provided?"


Tyler Axness. You don't say.



Sure.

I fully expect a "unique perspective" on "current topics" and "breaking news" and a chance to "elevate" my voice on the plains from a singular politician from Fargo.

What unique perspective can I find from ND xPlains?

Stuff about Heidi Heitkamp that asks readers to really contemplate the nobility of her choices, and Kevin Cramer is Baphomet. Basically.

We all have political leanings. Fine. But when someone, with a few clicks on Facebook and a domain name and a website template and MailChimp account (i.e. pretty low cost to start), can launch a "news media" company and advertise it as apolitical with multiple viewpoints and the truth is anything but, we should reject it.

I'm serious.

Reject it.

Accept it as a political think-tank or propaganda machine or PAC or whatever else you want, and be gung-ho about it if you must, but reject it as a "news" source. Demand truthfulness in advertising when it comes to people outright calling or subtly hinting that they are a news source.

I mean, look at the email sign-up page. It is purposefully vague. It definitely matters that there is only one guy behind the thing, and he's a politician. It matters.

As to a solution, I'm not looking for what I call forced unrelated diversity.

ND xPlains is an enterprise of ideas that this guy is trying to get started, so stocking his stable with racial and gender diverse people has zero importance on making sure there is a broad spectrum of ideological diversity. It's like running a restaurant and promising people a diverse menu and all you have is the menu from "My Cousin Vinny", but you have a lot of racially diverse cooks making the food. Totally pointless.


I don't care if it is all white males working the typesetting machines and calling in the stories for your new media enterprise--if you say "trusted sources" and promise unique and "real" information, you better deliver that across the broad spectrum of ideology.

Look at my Lone Prairie brand. Not once, in the past two decades, have I promised anything but my opinion, and a grumpy one at that. I fully deliver.

I was a reporter once--not a journalist, but a reporter--and I literally reported the news. When I wrote about the state barley show, the local farmer's prize bull, the triplets born in a nearby town, the local summer musical productions, the disagreements between the city and the county over FEMA reimbursements, an expensive new street project, and all of the other gorey guts of local and regional news that really matters to people, I simply reported. I didn't offer my opinion. I described what happened, who said what, got quotes, shared data, and that was it. I believed my readers could extrapolate an opinion from that. They didn't need mine.

The world could use more people who thought of themselves as reporters and fewer journalists, because today's journalist is anyone with a Facebook page or snarky Twitter feed and the ability to arrange a paragraph fairly decently with a "passionate" opinion. A passionate opinion is about as rare as manure in the cattle barn, with the manure actually having the higher value.

Because do we need another "unique" perspective from a political corner? By all means, ND xPlains, make Facebook a further craphole of political bickering before the comments section even takes off. Please do endeavor to poison the waterhole further and bring the toxic division in this country right onto the plains, couching it in vague journalistic terms so that when someone gets into a fisticuffs over your post you can say "but I'm simply offering a unique scoop and not liable."

I can get better and more in-depth news at the Hampden cafe coffee table in the morning with a heckuva lot more laughs.

Heck yes, I signed up for the ND xPlains email. I simply can't get enough of millennial dudes from cities telling me what to think.

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