Last night, this tweet by Sally Jo Sorensen was rocketing around the local twittersphere: “Best investigative blogger in Minnesota. Will be missed. A friend. Stillwater journalist Karl Bremer dies http://www.twincities.com/localnews/ci_22380735/obituary-stillwater-journalist-karl-bremer-dies … #stribpol”
When Sally Jo Sorensen says that somebody is the best investigative blogger in the state, believe her. She herself is no slouch when it comes to birddogging the truth.
Karl Bremer ran the local blog Ripple in Stillwater, focusing on the goings-on in what until recently was a key part of Minnesota’s Sixth Congressional District, home to Michele Bachmann. His scoops included key parts of the Petters scandal, which the national and local corporate media has covered to a degree, and the Vennes scandal, which the national and local corporate media has comparatively ignored, leaving Karl and his friend Ken Avidor to cover this looming story. (The Vennes trial starts February 5. Representative Bachmann should find it of great interest.) He was also, as a committed environmentalist, a leading voice against the $700 million Stillwater Bridge boondoggle, which came to a climax last year right around the time he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
One way to judge people is by judging their enemies; by that standard, Karl Bremer is shown to have been golden.
Kent Kaiser, communications professor at local Fundie factory Northwestern College and senior policy fellow at the archconservative Center of the American Experiment (you know, the people who put out that laughable apologetic for voter suppression that Gustavus Adolphus professor Max Hailperin ripped to shreds?), said “Good riddance” when Tweeting the news of Bremer’s death — and was immediately taken to task by many members of the local journalistic set. Kaiser did end up apologizing, but (oddly enough) only to the ones who were most likely to be helpful to him in his career.
Furthermore, a look at the comments section of Karl’s obituary in the Saint Paul Pioneer Press finds no less a person than Eric Langness, Vice Chairman of the Republican Party in Bachmann’s district (the Sixth), posting without proof such statements as this one: “His blog was full of hate and lies about those on the political right, including myself. That is not journalism, it’s slander. I hope he is allowed to rest in peace.” When another commenter retorted like “fox news ..right?”, Langness simply responded “No, like this: http://www.rippleinstillwater.com/2011/08/washington-county-gop-officer-calls.html” — a story of Karl’s on Langness’ having termed the domestic assault of which a fellow Republican was accused “a mild form of abuse”. Perhaps Langness was hoping that posting the link itself would be considered “proof” of his slander assertion, and that no one would actually click through to read the story — which, by the way, contains a screen shot of Langness’s Facebook entry, showing that he’d typed exactly what Karl said he did.
As Greg Stricharchuk, editor in the business news section of the Chicago Tribune, noted of Mr. Bremer: “The fact that some people who commented said he should burn in hell and not rest in peace means he must have been doing something right. -30-”
Thirty, and ave atque vale, to you, Karl Bremer. The good work you did lives on, and thank you so much for it. Here’s a favorite song of yours and mine from one of our favorite bands.