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April 23, 2011

What do Polk County, Iowa CCW Permit Holders, Rape Victims, Arthur "Scud Stud" Kent & General Motors Pickups from the 70's Have in Common?

They have all been the "pet projects" of Michael Gartner, the bowtie-wearing journalist, businessman AND Renaissance d-bag who currently resides in Central Iowa.

Last night, I got a call from a co-worker who saw a "teaser" on a local 6 PM newscast for a big story coming up at 10 PM. Cityview, the local free weekly "alternative" paper in Central Iowa decided to suppliment their usual fare of 27 pages of advertisements disguised as "dining and bar scene reviews" and personal ads for "Furries seeking Furries" with a comprehensive list of EVERY person who has received a Concealed Carry permit in Polk County, Iowa since the first of the year. All 5,200 of them.

(analysis and gratuitous character assassination after the jump)

My take on the controversy? Well, considering that Cityview's staff and ownership are all hostile to the Second Amendment, I don't think its a stretch to say that this was meant to intimidate gun owners and attempt to reverse Iowa's recent loosening of local law enforcement's control over the issuance of CCW permits. I think that the release of this information, which is strictly limited to all NEW permit holders (not anyone who received their permit before January 1, 2011) is an attempt to use "wiki research" to find a inelgible CCW holder who slipped through the cracks in the rush of new permits. If they get a tip that one of these 5,200 people has an undisclosed domestic assault conviction in their past, that person will become the new poster child for the left-wing effort to repeal this new law.

But really? The people most damaged by this revelation are NOT the people on the list. Those people stepped forward and applied for permits because they want to proactively defend themselves and their community. No, I think the people who should worry the most about this are the people who aren't on the list, because they just got a big neon sign hung over their name that says DEFENSELESS AWAY FROM HOME.

When you think about it, this action by the paper goes after the blanket of protection provided to a community by those who carry concealed. Think about the concept of "concealed carry". The guns carried by those who are willing to take the responsibility to defend themselves and others are by definition concealed. This means that you don't know who's carrying. People who aren't packing can get the benefit of the doubt because violent criminals have to worry about whether or not they have a gun. When the list of everyone who carries a gun is broadcast loudly to the public, a little legwork on the part of the criminal can identify soft targets and prevent them from confronting an armed victim by mistake. When you make it easier to distinguish between sheep and sheepdogs, the wolves are the only beneficiary.

Think I'm wrong? Think this is a ginned-up concern? Fine, let's publish the list of every woman who has had an abortion in the last decade, and see if the people who published this list start whining about an "invasion of privacy".

Oh, and the "gratuitous character assassination" part of the post? That starts here. Michael Gartner has been a fixture in Central Iowa since I learned to read. He took over as the editor/president of Iowa's biggest daily paper in 1974, and then returned to buy a share of the Ames Tribune after the NBC Dateline debacle (which is the daily paper in the City where I attended college). He's always been a bowtie-wearing intellectual who wore his liberalism on his sleeve, but here's a short summary of his "greatest hits":


While president of the News Division at NBC, Gartner broadcast the names of the William Kennedy "Damien Thorne" Smith AND Mike Tyson rape accusers. In the WKS case, he went on ABC's Nightline to discuss his decision to release the name, blurted out the name on camera, and then had a toady justify NBC's use of the accuser's name by saying "ABC did it too". Nevermind the fact that the use of the name on ABC was strictly the responsibility of the President of NBC's news division: ABC did it too.

Gartner has been crusading to release the names of rape accusers for years. His reasoning that this will remove some of the stigma rape victims have to deal with may have some merit, but the problem is that his use of a rape accuser's name in public is just as nonconsensual as the accused rapist's "accused" use of her body. He has stated that women of this generation need to suffer in order to free their daughters and granddaughters from the stigma currently associated with rape. Does he have a point? Maybe, but it's still "playing God" with someone else's life.


This one was classic. When Arthur Kent, the Rome Correspondent for NBC News was embroiled in a contract dispute with NBC in the early 90's, Gartner ordered him to immediately report to a new post in war-torn Bosnia without the benefit of translators, guides or other protective measures like maps or body armor. When Kent refused to take this assignment, he was suspended and then fired. Kent collected an undisclosed settlement from NBC for wrongful termination, and the depositions released in that case definitely painted Michael Gartner in an unfriendly light.


Not much to say here. I think you all remember this story, but here's a quick summary if you forgot. Based on this, I think the Polk County permit holders should consider themselves fortunate that Gartner's Cityview only published their names in the paper. It could have been worse: they COULD have attached miniature rocket engines to their fuel tanks and then run a sensationalized story about how letting people carry concealed weapons causes their cars to burst into flame.

(A big hat-tip to State29, one of my favorite profane semi-retired Iowa-centric bloggers, who shares my distaste for all things Gartner).

UPDATE: I can't believe I forgot this little gem. Back in the early 90's, Michael Gartner owned another "alternative" newspaper, Pointblank Des Moines. That paper ran a local gossip column that ran juicy pieces with little or no verification. One of their "little tidbits" concerned the former manager of an inner city grocery store on the North side of Des Moines, and the paper stated that he was fired because he smoked crack cocaine on the job. They settled this case out of court, but if you dig really hard, you can still find a few traces.

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posted by Russ from Winterset at 10:06 AM

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