May 6th, 2010

TIR and the ABC’s of Accountability, Bias and Credibility Assuming The ABC’s of Always Branstad and Craig

Come Clean CraigWill Craig Robinson make Krusty’s ‘You Must Be An Idiot’ list this week or will I for calling Craig out? It’s not often we bite the hand that feeds you, but to Craig’s credit he graciously allows me to write my say on this site expressing my first amendment rights, which I appreciate and respect. So here is my honest rant response to recent so called news and the next installment of this ongoing political conversation. I welcome Craig’s inevitable opinion and response. After all we both get drilled after just about everything we write anyway.  This time we may  have to dig into each other until we strike a peaceful oil.

Laughable… I think that is the best word to describe how I felt when I heard about Craig’s Leaning-Tower-of-Pisa-landmark-eroding article about Bob Vander Plaats’s 2006 general election voting record. Then after reading it and I was sincerely embarrassed. I am embarrassed for Craig and the because we have a better reputation than that and that article was a total joke when it wasn’t meant to be a joke. This wasn’t an April Fool’s Day feature, but rather slow news day desperation (and it wasn’t a slow news day.)

Picture the 2006 November scene… Iowa news camera crews film the republican Lieutenant Governor nominee Bob Vander Plaats and his family at the voting station celebrating the rite of passage with his firstborn son who was voting with his Dad Bob who was, get this… on the ballot. To insinuate and then even argue that Bob Vander Plaats did not vote and furthermore try to make the point of a lack of GOP loyalty on Bob’s part is none other than unscrupulously preposterous fictitious undisclosed biased ridiculousness and it needs to be addressed.

To attempt to stretch this bust Bob obsession so far into the atmospheric realm of irrelevant nothingness (where lost socks from dryers mysteriously float everywhere) and then claim and try to prove that Bob Vander Plaat did not vote in the 2008 general election seems like evidence for an overall strategic messaging campaign on the part of Craig. This time the foot (and socks floating from the universe) are stuck in Craig’s mouth. That’s okay though because here is his chance to spit it out…

Besides hits, revenue and success of the TIR site what are Craig’s motives for writing such an article about Bob? Do his motives flow beyond into political aspirations and goals too? Don’t tell me Craig is on Branstad’s future favor list… Like it or not many people now clearly see Craig in a confirmed new light that includes a bias for Branstad and a seemingly hell bent belligerence towards Bob.

I personally have many barriers in the way before I could support Terry Branstad. It’s like the opening sequence in the “Get Smart” show from the sixties, but I can’t get through the walls yet nor do I understand how Branstad supporter can. Meanwhile we have a month before the primary and I think it’s time to “Get Smart” and tune into these ABC’s to get and the truth about campaigns back on track through barriers so republicans can be effective in November 2010.

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A is for ACCOUNTABLITY – Being accountable includes honestly disclosing your bias.

In my book “You May Be A TEApublican If…” the word ‘TEApublican’ is an acronym and the letter “A” stands for accountability. I am all for investigating reporting like Craig does. I love John Stosell’s work too and have linked it here at in the past. And if you think when Bob Vander Plaat s wins the governorship I will just sit back and be silent about Bob you’re wrong if he need to be held accountable. I am passionate about keeping politicians and the press accountable so please hear me out.  Here next are some story ideas for you Craig.

Why are there so few articles if any about the 16 year record riddled with controversy of former republican governor Terry Branstad? We need to keep this man accountable too. And after all if done with integrity a question and investigation is not an attack or is it? For example when Glover recently asked Branstad, “In your 16 years of governor you signed 2 increases in state sales tax, an increase in the state gasoline tax and the state budget grew by 2 ½ times, how do you answer that?”

Branstad responded, “I’m not going to spend my time responding to the attacks of my opponents.” It is interesting to note no opponents were in the room. I left to assume Branstad thinks any question about his record from the press is an attack.

Now that is an example of not keeping a politician accountable. When Branstad is asked about his record he claims he is being attacked and he uses a redirection and avoidance tactic calling it all “rhetoric.”

Don’t even get me started on the whole 2 Book Terry fiasco. Gee, I wish Craig would do some investigating on that. C’mon Craig get to the bottom of that will ya instead of clerical errors blow out of proportion? Like a haunted ghost Branstad mentioned the phrase, “generally acceptable accounting principles” four times in the first gubernatorial debate, even when the topic really wasn’t being discussed.

If the “generally acceptable accounting principles” are so generally accepted then show me former governor Branstad, 50 states and 100 state financial books. Every state should have 2 books if it’s so generally accepted right?

In other words, I mean hey “Colonel Jessup if you gave an order that Santiago wasn’t to be touched then why was Santiago in danger? Why was he being moved off the base if your order and followed crystal clear? ”

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Craig, can the TIR audience handle the truth about Branstad? Did he doctor and fudge the books of the state of Iowa? Having been in office 16 years has he just found out better ways to hide corruption overall? I am tired of politics as usual and I hope Branstad’s health improves, but I also hope he doesn’t get another chance to ‘shrink’ government because it got bigger the first 16 attempts. Craig write about this please, your Pulitzer awaits you.  I don’t want Culver to go up against Branstad and reveal his record this summer and have Culver win.

If the “generally acceptable accounting principles” of keeping 2 books are so generally accepted then please promise me Mr. Branstad you will do it again if you get in office. Clarify that this is just the way you do things and that we should expect it more. Or admit that it wasn’t the best idea or the best way of doing thing and quit trying to dupe the people of Iowa into believing your lame 2 book excuse. Admit it or promise to do it again. If you do you will win my respect and I will stop bringing this up. I have already had one governor flip me off, I don’t care if you do too. I want the truth more than favor. I want the truth, not claims of rhetoric so you can get away with deception. I want the truth and I can handle it.

I am begging you Craig! Please investigate the 2 Book Terry controversies and don’t pussyfoot around it either. Get to the bottom of it. Talk to Branstad, talk to Dick Johnson the state auditor at the time and talk to anyone who knows about it. Instead of ‘Drill Baby Drill’ I’m saying, “Dig Craig Dig!” Dig into this please. Then when you discover the truth and your stomach starts to turn from knowing you are intentionally helping this man who deceives Iowans attempt to get reelected, do the right thing… Stop taking his money and take down his advertisement. Tell him “No Thanks Terry” like I have.

If you have the balls to do that I will take up a collection to pay for your last month of lost advertising from turning down the Branstad campaign’s ad revenue or get another ad up so you will not lose money. By digging onto this Craig you can’t lose. Turn your IFPC blasting superpowers into a comprehensive Branstad investigation. Then you Craig will be the hero… My hero! I’m not kidding. Expose this man and the emperor’s new clothes he is pushing. Save the day Craig. Keep Branstad accountable!

B is for BIAS – Disclosing your bias is a credible method of accountability.

When Craig and I first discussed me being involved in beyond photography we both desired an honestly of disclosing my political bias. It was a simple solution. In my signature footer of every article and blog I wrote it would automatically list every time among other brief biographical data that I am a Mike Huckabee, Ron Paul and Vander Plaats supporter.

Case closed for wondering where I stand if ever my motives were in question because I wear them on my sleeve. Readers would not suffer from attempting to decipher any misunderstandings in the context of my point of view. Readers could always take into consideration my personal point of view in context of my writing by knowing where I come from.

In fact I wrote an entire book about my political views found free at so at the very least if you care to know you know where I am coming from. This has been effective because even those who disagree with me in the comments section we for the most part interact respectfully.  Take my advice and add the candidates you support in your signature footer Craig.

Let’s just take the influential wording of even a basic news item Craig passes on to us today for example. It seems innocent enough to rework a Branstad campaign press release and report. Craig writes today, “The news of Branstad’s procedure isn’t likely to make a major impact in the Republican primary…” – Really, isn’t that leading the witness your honor, by minimizing facts a bit hoping this legitimate concern doesn’t become a hindrance to the Branstad campaign? I mean if Bob Vander Plaats had any type of heart surgery I think it would “make an impact.” Brilliant spin the Branstad campaign twirled on this one saying the surgery is technically elective, but even more biased is Craig running the same direction.

I am sure the surgery was “elective” when given the choice that the man’s heart may not be beating otherwise. Perhaps the real meaning could be more accurately found in this sentence, “Darn, I hope the news of Branstad’s heart surgery procedure doesn’t make a major impact in the Republican primary to the degree that Iowans may fear Branstad’s health being a hindering issue.

C is for CREDIBILITY – Increase credibility by being accountable and disclosing bias.

Waywardson may have said it best when he wrote on 5 May, 2010, 15:41 Craig, Craig, Craig, Craig, Craig!! :::Shaking Finger:::: I have pretty much avoided the BS about you taking cheap shots at Bob and Shilling for TEB, but this is way way too much about nothing. And thanks to this article, I am joining in on the “YOU ARE NOT BEING OBJECTIVE” bandwagon. And so I have added the following on this thread for you, just so you don’t get into any trouble. LOL This blog: Paid for by Branstad 2010 Committee.

There has been some interesting articles from Craig’s keyboard the last month and I as I already stated I hope Craig investigates the 2 Book Terry story, but I think overall we need a cooling of the insatiable passion of out scooping every writer in Iowa politics at the price of arguing with Steve Deace, IFPC and BVP supporters on a weekly basis. We don’t need the extra sensationalism or drama so often. If this is a site for republicans and by republicans, maybe there should be less sensationalism, less gossip, less mudslinging, less real rhetoric and less doubt casting. Maybe there should be more benefit of the doubt giving, more encouragement, more fact fishing, more understanding, more truth and more integrity overall.  More ABC’s!

I am truly not trying to attack Craig, but rather give him a discerning boost of brotherly grace, the same grace I would hope for after such an omelet facemask. Keep in mind there is a difference in an article and a blog.  An article should be like a news story and blog is more opinionated.  This is a blog you are reading now. Craig writes newstories and the should have more scrutiny.

We have the potential to have a great site here and I believe this is a chance to make it even better if we cut the crap. I have a vested interest in both the Vander Plaats campaign and in and so this is a kind slap in the face attempt to wake Craig up to the fact that people are onto him. I feel its time he comes out of the closet and honestly states who he supports, especially in the gubernatorial race. In facing the fear of losing advertisers due to such truthful full disclosure I think these ABC’s will strengthen Craig’s message and heal the damage he has recently made to his own site, let alone unconfuse most of TIR’s readers.

If you the reader think all TIR writers should state their political picks, then vote below in the comments section accordingly. If this site is really for republicans by republicans this is a great time for feedback. Also consider urging Craig to admit his Brancrush and apologize to the Vander Plaats campaign for, what was it I said, ‘unscrupulously preposterous fictitious undisclosed biased ridiculousness.’ A little confession is good for the soul and an apology goes far.

Thanks for reading Craig and TIR reader.  Thanks for the therapy.  Bill me the usual rate, but meanwhile let’s bare down republicans… If we can show the democrats a little more cooperation we’ll be singing.  What say you republican?

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About the Author


Dave Davidson is the TIR artjournalism storyteller photographer and founder of (polite) presidential paparazzi with manners. He is the author of gobs of books including “Sarah Palin Inspires Me”, “Huckisms” and “You May Be A TEApublican”.

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