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Justin Kanew and Justin Fenton: Tennessee, Laboratory of Theocracy

March 27, 2024
Notes
Transcript
As local news is hollowed out, rightwing news fills in the gaps. In Tennessee—ground zero for the culture war—Justin Kanew’s site, The Tennessee Holler, holds leaders to account. Kanew joins Tim Miller on the anniversary of the Nashville school shooting. Plus, an update on the bridge disaster from Baltimore Banner reporter Justin Fenton.

show notes:

The Tennessee Holler
The Baltimore Banner
Baltimore bridge collapse (around 5:40)
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, as a high school student, dressed in drag

This transcript was generated automatically and may contain errors and omissions. Ironically, the transcription service has particular problems with the word “bulwark,” so you may see it mangled as “Bullard,” “Boulart,” or even “bull word.” Enjoy!
  • Speaker 1

    Hey, guys. We have a double header today coming from two state based journalists who I really respect and are doing great work Justin Kenu at the Tennessee Holler. He’s gonna talk about the anniversary of the covenant shooting and, the follow-up from the Tennessee three that happened in the days and weeks after that. And then we have Justin Fenton from the Baltimore banner talking about the bridge collapse. Local journalism is being hollowed out.
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:23

    And I want in this episode for us to discuss both of those very important issues, but also the state of local journalism and models for fixing it. If you want political chop shop talk, if you wanna hear what might take my rant on the RNC’s new litmus test for staffers. That they need to believe that the twenty twenty election was fraudulent. Head on over to the next level. I’m taping that next.
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:44

    It’ll be out this evening. If you wanna hear the latest legal news, Sarah Longwell and George Conway are up with a new episode of George Conway explains it all. Go check out both of those on your Apple or Spotify or Substack feed. Up next Justin canoe from the Tennessee hotline. Alright.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:07

    At long last, been wanting to do this for a while. I’m here with, my friend Justin Canoe, founder of the Tennessee Holler, a digital news site. He was also two time contested on the amazing race. I don’t know if we’re enough time to talk about that. We’re on the one year anniversary today of the tragic shooting of the covenant school in Nashville, And so I wanted to talk about that, fallout for that, what happened with the Tennessee three.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:31

    But first, I really just wanna kind of talk about your origin story, the origin story of the Tennessee holler I think is probably the best local activism oriented journalism. I don’t know how you describe it. Journalism. How do you define what you’re what you’re up to at the Tennessee holler?
  • Speaker 2
    0:01:47

    I like the phrase accountability journalism, but, sure, activism journalism, a hybrid.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:53

    Hybrid. Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:01:55

    The origin story is, you know, it goes back to when I ran for Congress in two thousand eighteen. Had jumped in the race to challenge Marsha Blackburn, who I know a lot of people have strong feelings about. I certainly did. She ended up running for Senate. I ran for Congress.
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:09

    I lost to Mark Green. And while I ran, I just felt like there was this kind of lack of a presentation of whatever you wanna call it, the progressive side of the argument here in Tennessee, you know, the only way to get your voice heard as somebody on the progressive side was to just hope the Tennessee and let you write an op ed. So it felt like we needed something to counter the Tennessee star, which is a conservative outlet here in Tennessee, kinda like Tennessee’s Brightbark So we started the holler in two thousand nineteen, really video based because that’s kind of my background. I used to be in the entertainment world. I’m not like a traditional text based journalist.
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:48

    It’s just not what I do. And, we started in two thousand nineteen. And one of the first things that happened was we helped get rid of this really corrupt speaker, Glenn Caseda, who was the speaker at the time, and my state rep. And that kind of put us on the map. Phil Williams really lit the match, but we pour gasoline all over it.
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:07

    And we’ve become this kind of dog with a bone group of accountability journalists across Tennessee. There’s ten hollers holler, and now I spend a lot of time up at the Capitol trying to hold Republicans accountable because they’re the ones with the power. Democrats too when they do stuff we disagree with. But, you know, it’s kind of a weird hybrid, like you said, of journalism and activism and you know, we’re openly progressive. We don’t hide what we’re about, and that’s what we are.
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:33

    Yeah. I think that candor’s important and that authenticity is what people want. And you know, look, as, we’re gonna have a reporter on or a straight news reporter from the Baltimore banner later to talk about the bridge collapse. And as local news has been hollowed out, you know, across the country everywhere. There is just this big gap where people are not getting information.
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:53

    It’s being filled by national news sites, and and conservatives on the right they filled that gap with a lot of misinformation, a lot of bullshit from these national outlets. Right? Either it used to be talk radio, and now it is the Bright Barts that you mentioned Secret Podcast world, Steve Vanons, the Candice Owens, like, there’s just this huge ecosystem of right wing news And, you know, I think particularly in red states, you know, which is why you said they’re ten dollars. I think they’re all in Tennessee. I’ve I’ve been pushing you to, you know, kinda take it national, but can be another conversation.
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:22

    But, you know, in in these red states, like, folks are not getting the straight news. They’re also not really getting a different perspective, from the mega perspective, whether it be progressive, liberal, or just kind of centrist pro democracy, it’s hard to find that a lot of times. In these local markets. And so I I think having both is so is so critical. And when you guys are out there, have you felt like there there was just a just a thirst for this among, you know, folks that you’re talking to in the state?
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:51

    Absolutely. Absolutely. You know, Even just in the time we’ve existed, we’ve seen a lot of the reporters that have that knowledge of what’s gone on here over the years go away. You know, a lot of the publications have less reporters at the capital. And like you said, into that void comes.
  • Speaker 2
    0:05:10

    This disinformation comes, you know, outlets that really all they do is act as stenographers for the people in power. They don’t challenge them. They don’t push back. And so it’s been a real problem. And it’s helped facilitate the drift to the extremes, I think, in a state like ours because people aren’t getting the other side of the story.
  • Speaker 2
    0:05:30

    What I call the truth You know, who was it? It was Christian. I’m on poor recently said, be truthful, not neutral. And I think a lot of the outlets that exist are trying to find that middle ground trying to be neutral, and it’s really detrimental. And it’s in a lot of ways, it’s put us where we are.
  • Speaker 2
    0:05:47

    So we try to do what the holler. We don’t lie. If we get something wrong, we fix it. But we frame things in a more, I guess, aggressive way that lets you know what’s actually going on here. The example that I always go to is there was a statue in our capital of Nathan Bedford Forest in a place of honor in our capital.
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:06

    Well, Nathan Bedford Forest is the first Grand Wizard of the KK. And so people were showing up to protest it, and the articles about it were people protesting Nathan Bedford Forest. Well, our headlines were protesting the first Grand Wizard of the KK. It’s true, and it tells people what’s actually going on in a way that people can understand or resonate. And sure enough, after two years of headlines like that, it’s gone.
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:32

    So I think you have to tell people what’s really going on and framing is really important. So that’s what we’ve tried to bring.
  • Speaker 1
    0:06:38

    Yeah. Hell, yeah. I love the statue arguing. It’s like, oh, we need to respect three. It’s like, no.
  • Speaker 1
    0:06:42

    Like, this guy, we can learn about Nathan Bulwark Forest and learn how he’s a racist piece of shit. We can learn about it in the history books. He doesn’t need to have a statue of honor. Okay. Another example of how aggressive you guys are.
  • Speaker 1
    0:06:52

    I pulled a little audio from press conference with Governor Lee. Let’s just take a listen to this exchange on on the Drag Queen bill that they were putting forth, to ban Drag shows in Tennessee. What a
  • Speaker 3
    0:07:08

    ridiculous, ridiculous question that is? Conflating something like that to sexualized entertainment in front of children, which is a very serious subject. Andy, what you got? Remember?
  • Speaker 4
    0:07:23

    Is this you? Andy, I was just wondering if you’re aware of any specific cases or instances that this bill will do so. Boy, what’s are you aware of specifics?
  • Speaker 3
    0:07:36

    I I think the the concern is, what’s right there in that in that building, children. That are potentially exposed to sexualize entertainment to obscenity, and we need to make sure that they’re not. I think that’s something that should happen in Tennessee and him
  • Speaker 4
    0:07:53

    will because of this. Would you be okay
  • Speaker 5
    0:07:55

    with driveway? Thank you for your time today. Appreciate it all. Thank you. Is it
  • Speaker 4
    0:07:57

    okay if driveway’s coming this morning? Because this is you. This is you at a high school governor, this right here is you at a high school. Yeah. Is it only illegal when gay people it.
  • Speaker 4
    0:08:10

    Have you talked to your sister about the bill going?
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:14

    Oh, you left that part in. Good. I’m glad you did. Yeah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:16

    That’s a shame. What was the deal? What about I love that egg because I wanted to know. What’s the deal with his sister? Is his sister a drag king?
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:21

    Or I don’t I don’t know the story of the Lee family.
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:24

    Governor Lee’s sister is married to a woman. And it’s something that he doesn’t like to talk about, and he is signing more anti lgbtq bills than any governor never talks about it. And so we talk about it. We mentioned it. I think it’s important for people to understand the hypocrisy of this man and how even when it’s someone in his own family and immediate family member, he’s still willing to do this stuff that attacks that community.
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:50

    And, actually and I’ll say this. I haven’t really said this publicly, but, like, the one call that I ever got from the governor’s office to say, hey, don’t do that. Was about that when I mentioned his sister, and I told them, absolutely not. I’m still gonna mention it, and I’m still mentioning it right now. I think it’s an important detail.
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:07

    But thank you for that trip down memory lane. That was a that was a fun day. And the one time that I brought some visual aid to the presser,
  • Speaker 1
    0:09:14

    we are the for the YouTube fans, we’ll put up we’ll put up a picture. It it does lose a little bit in the audio format without the picture of governor Lee with pearls on. There are kind of some nice pearls. I wonder if he still has them. I could I could wear on MSMDC.
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:26

    There were great pearls. And also, I should point out that, there was a group that took out billboards in Tennessee and put that picture of him in Dragon his yearbook photo up when that was happening. You know, it’s just important to under stand how hypocritical these people are, and it really flustered him. Although, I will say speaker Sexton and Lieutenant Governor mentality do not let me in their pressors. Governor Lee, to his credit, I still go to his pressures, and he still takes a question from me.
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:53

    So, you know, after all that, he still lets me into his pressors, and I I do wanna give him credit for that.
  • Speaker 1
    0:09:59

    I guess. Sure. We’ll give him a little bit of credit, but, and I guess, I don’t have to do it. It’s, yeah, it’s of like a, double edged sword on the free speech. Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:06

    It’s like, okay. Well, I will let the Tennessee Haller know my press conference, but I won’t let people, you know, do drag shows, do drag story hour or parents decide. Parents rights unless a parent wants to take their kid to a drag drag queen story hour, then that parent doesn’t have rights anymore.
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:20

    All true. It’s disgusting.
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:22

    The other thing on the sister, I just I feel like I should mention because I’ve been looking for an excuse to mention it. The same story in Louisiana, Governor Landry’s brother’s guy, and has been an outspoken advocate for gay rights, and and the whole situation is tragic. And he’s advancing anti gay legislation in the state now twenty twenty four anyway, and it’s gross. You mentioned lieutenant governor McNeli. I wanted to go to the I wanted to go to the anniversary, but We can have one more moment of of jolliness.
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:48

    Can we have one more look? Can we have one more chuckle before we get to the sad? The
  • Speaker 6
    0:10:52

    sad story. And
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:53

    we sure can.
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:53

    One of the other things Tennessee Holler has spoken. I I sure this is when I mean, I’d seen your guys’ stuff, but when I was like, I need to talk to this guy. Like, I was like, I need to hang out with whoever’s running this was when it was outed that the lieutenant governor, Randy McNally, and not very attractive, older gentleman. If we’re just gonna be candid, I guess I can say that you away in on the looks of your lieutenant governor, but, kind of a yucky older man was putting very. I don’t I don’t I don’t let you describe the types of comments he is putting the Instagram page of a young, supportive.
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:28

    Supportive, very incur flirtatiously encouraging comments on the page of a nineteen eighteen, like, very young. Maybe even younger than eight younger than eighteen. Okay. Very young. Gay, obviously gay, young man named Franklin, who, by the way, would also help me discover Franklin’s Instagram page.
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:50

    He’s a artist in his own right. Yeah. He’s putting out a lot of interesting content. But, you know, not the type of content usually is straight seventy year old man would be commenting on. And so you guys talk to folks about the the saga of Randy McNaley.
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:04

    I gotta tell you when I first saw what this was. It took me about six hours to believe what I was looking at. Yeah. Somebody mentioned to us that Lieutenant Governor McNality was commenting on Franklin’s Instagram page, which, if anybody seen it, I mean, he’s basically naked in every picture, dancing around in, you know, G strings and flamboyant, like you said, and, you know, proud of his body. Totally.
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:30

    And there is lieutenant governor McNali with, you know, fire emojis and heart eyes and something about, like, you can be the rain in my rainbow, you know, obviously flirting with this guy who was very young and, you know, I messaged him and started to talk to him before we posted about this because I didn’t wanna make him uncomfortable.
  • Speaker 1
    0:12:54

    Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:54

    And Franklin’s response to me was no please include my handle and, you know, tag me and, you know, blow me up as much as you possibly can.
  • Speaker 1
    0:13:04

    I wanna move to Big City.
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:07

    Great. So we posted about it and I made sure to, like, screen shots. You know, screen recording because I knew the minute I did this, it’s gonna go away, and they’re gonna tell me that this wasn’t true. So we had all the receipts posted about it, it blew up, you know, apparently Lieutenant Governor McNalities handlers didn’t tell him about burner accounts. Because he was doing this on his Lieutenant Governor McNali handle.
  • Speaker 1
    0:13:31

    Lieutenant governor come with a blue check.
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:33

    Didn’t he have a check mark? And the and his profile pick with his suit on. I mean, it was just unreal. And so, of course, it took off. His excuse was that he’s just supportive of the local community.
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:44

    There was some question about how young Franklin was when he started to talk to him, and that kind of never really got delved into, but I have a feeling it wasn’t a great look. And, yes, you know, it became a big thing, especially on the right, but everybody apparently has moved on. He’s still Lieutenant Governor McNali. And, I guess that’s just in the past now.
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:04

    This is though. Again, I mean, even though he didn’t end up resigning, another example of why, like, you got this as needed. Right? Like, this is the kind of thing that he was not gonna get called out for?
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:13

    Probably not. I don’t know. I mean, it was so crazy, but I think the important thing about it, and this is what Franklin harped on too, was that he is leading this Senate chamber that is one of the most conservative in the entire country, attacking gay people, constantly. I mean, the amount of bills that come through that chamber and this legislature, it’s just an endless stream of hate. And here he is, flirting with a young gay man while he’s, you know, leading the the charge to attack gay people in Tennessee.
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:43

    So the hypocrisy of it all you know, it’s worth more than just whatever one article might have come out. We, you know, we’re dogs with a bone about it, and, you know, we made sure that it got the national attention that it deserved.
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:56

    Yeah. And there’s so many outrageous, GPG bills. We could go through them. All of them. But the one just that is the most galling that’s happening right now is thus we’re banning the pride flag from the classrooms, but the confederate flag we’re keeping.
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:09

    Right? Right? Because we we need to respect our heritage. Okay. But so you can’t you’re a gay teacher, you know, that wants to put up a pride flag or for a gay pride month, you wanna support the students in your class and put up a rainbow.
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:23

    Flag that would be banned in the free speech state of Tennessee.
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:26

    Not just a flag, a cup on your desk or a tattoo or a necklace I mean, this is what we’re talking about here. So, yes, it’s led by this guy, Gino Bolso, who is pretty new to the legislature, but has very quickly become one of the most hateful people ever to go through this building. And he has this pride flag ban that explicitly carves out the confederate flag and allows that to stand, which is actually on the county seal of his county, Williamson County, which is where I live. But, yes, to ban this pride flag while claiming to be you know, free speech advocates and all about freedom. And it just it’s just another way that they’re attacking our teachers, our public schools, and it’s just so hypocritical.
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:12

    Let’s get back to the anniversary. So it was a year ago that a shooter went into the covenant school six dead, three nine year old kids, the most deadly mass shooting in the history of Tennessee. Sadly, it’s like it wouldn’t even be top. I don’t think four in my home state of Colorado. Couldn’t be even lower than that.
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:28

    And the response to this though was, you know, for a red state, pretty overwhelming. Right? And there’s sounds to people that wanted action. And that kind of led to this series of events that ends up with the expulsion of the Tennessee three. So and you’re there kind of documenting this minute by minute, Let’s refresh everybody’s memory on kind of the play by play and how, you know, beginning with the shooting and then the protests and the follow-up.
  • Speaker 2
    0:16:52

    Sure. So the shooting happened a year ago today. Just absolutely devastating day in Tennessee history. I remember learning about it, watching it unfold, you know, the faces of kids on school buses, the kids coming out of the school, you know, as people start to realize what had happened, you know, it’s impossible to even put into words how devastating that day was. The next day at the legislature, because they were in session when that happened I was there.
  • Speaker 2
    0:17:22

    And it was really business as usual in a way that was stomach churning. You know, they were going about their business. They did some moments of silence, but nobody was really talking about, okay, what are we gonna do to keep this from happening again? I actually went around and asked probably thirty of them in a video that went pretty viral the next day. You know, what are you gonna do to keep this from happening again?
  • Speaker 2
    0:17:46

    And they would just be silent and walk away from me. And so there was a real hunger for something to be done to make sure that those six people didn’t die in vain, kids. And at the next session, which I believe was a Thursday, thousands of people descended on the capital saying do something. They were chanting outside. There were speeches given.
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:12

    You know, parents, kids, came out of school, teachers, they all wanted something done. And on the house floor, yet again, it was kind of business as usual. There was a moment of silence, but then when a few of the members, Pearson Jones, Gloria, and I think there were maybe some others that tried to talk. They just wouldn’t even let them really talk about what had happened. It wasn’t, like, a processing moment.
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:38

    It was, Let’s move on. We don’t wanna talk about guns. Gun are taboo in this state, which has more than our share of gun violence and is actually loosening gun laws. And so when they were cut off, they had their mics cut off, which happened a lot here. The Justin’s and Gloria at their side, they went into the well to go say, we need to do something banging on the well in the legislature.
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:02

    And they immediately cut that mic gabbled into session after, like, five minutes. And for about fifteen minutes or so, the Justin’s and Gloria stayed in the well, basically, like, we need to do something Jones had a Bulwark. And it was a cathartic moment because the thousands of people that had shown up asking for something to be done, that was the an extension of them. And if that hadn’t happened, those people that showed up would have felt completely unheard. So they were doing that to sort of be an outlet for the anger and, you know, desperation, frankly, of the people who showed up that day, and it was much needed.
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:42

    And The Republicans in charge absolutely lost it over that. They started saying it was an insurrection. They started saying it was a violent. They sent out robo calls saying that there were pipe bombs that day. I was there.
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:57

    None of that happened. The students were completely peaceful. There was a an edited video of troopers grabbing a student that they made it look like. The student was rushing the chamber, never happened. It was all peaceful, hundred percent peaceful as some of the articles written about it afterwards say.
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:14

    And they took that and the reason they started calling it in instruction is because they knew right in that moment, we’re gonna use this as an excuse to expel these three. And so the expulsion proceeding started within a couple weeks. And, very quickly, they expelled the two young black men and not the older white woman.
  • Speaker 1
    0:20:33

    Yeah. And, you guys broke another news story in response to that, which was, inside the Republican conference. They’re pissed at each other because the situation that, you know, the way that that ended up happening, expelling Justin Jones and Pearson and not Gloria, and, you know, shown a light on what was already, you know, pretty racist actions and silencing these two legislators that had the right to speak out in the wake of a tragedy. And so they had an internal discussion and you guys got some audio of that. I wanna play a little bit of that right now.
  • Speaker 6
    0:21:05

    I’ve been called a racist a misogynist, a white supremacist, more than the last two months of my life that had my entire life. Bye, golly. I’m biting my thoughts. But I’m telling you, mister speaker, all due respect, days are rare and thin right now. And I’m gonna have to swallow this to see mister Jones back up here walking these Alan Halls, that the great the Tennessee stood it and watched them disrespect this up to state that I chose to move to.
  • Speaker 6
    0:21:30

    My golly has gotta stop I’m sorry for getting angry here. My father was V. A plus four, and he fought for this freaking country and limited his friends out. You gotta do what’s right. Even if you think it might be wrong, you gotta do what’s right.
  • Speaker 6
    0:21:44

    And you gotta protect this freaking republic here in Tennessee. You know what? I’ll go to hell home. I’m getting freaking gray hair sitting here. Listen to the pool.
  • Speaker 1
    0:21:52

    Yeah. Okay. Alright. Alright. I’ve had enough of this fucking Hehaw Bulwark.
  • Speaker 1
    0:21:57

    So just if you missed that, you gotta do what’s right for the party, even if it’s wrong. That was one statement there. The other one, the one that kinda grossed me out even more. I know it’s the big headline away. The one that grows out even more is this guy who admits to being a transplant to Tennessee, by the way.
  • Speaker 1
    0:22:11

    I moved to Tennessee. And these hallowed halls, he’s like, now I have to swallow. Watching Justin Jones walk through these halls. An elected representative, a black man, this guy could not even bring himself to to see him walk through the halls to see him have the same privileges that he does as a white legislator to hear him speak his mind about what should be done in a democracy when kids are being slaughtered. I and these guys are like, we we can’t even let these young black representatives progressives speak and walk in here.
  • Speaker 1
    0:22:48

    They’re not worthy to walk amongst us. And it was fucking sickening. It’s sickening. And when Gloria, we had Gloria on this podcast last year in response to that, I mean, she said that know, that audio that you guys had was pretty representative of the conversation she was hearing for, you know, in private for a long time.
  • Speaker 2
    0:23:06

    For sure. First of all, that’s Scott Sippicky. So let’s give him his proper due out of Murray County.
  • Speaker 1
    0:23:12

    Thank you.
  • Speaker 2
    0:23:12

    Yeah. I mean, I think it really is representative of how they actually feel, even though it’s, you know, leaked audio hidden mic situation, I’ve asked to picky about that since he doesn’t regret a word out of his mouth. He says, you know, if the Southeast falls. It’s game over for the Republic, where war for the Republic, he he believes all that stuff. And, you know, for him to say that we have to do what’s right, even if you think it might be wrong.
  • Speaker 2
    0:23:37

    I mean, I think that really sums up so much of what we’re seeing from Republicans across the country these days, you know, that that’s really, really succinct summation of, you know, the way that a lot of people are acting and how how we got here as a country. They couldn’t believe that they looked racist because they only expelled the the black dudes. These are the same people that kept a Kkk Grand Wizard, our capital for years. You know, they’ve made fried chicken jokes. And there’s all kinds of racist stuff that has gone on here.
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:06

    For them to be like, oh my god. How could people think we’re racist? Is laughable. And, you know, Jody Barrett is the guy that cast the vote that kept Gloria Johnson there. And so they’re really mad at him in that clip, and they’re mad at him for making them look racist, not realizing that they do it to themselves.
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:24

    All the damn time. Thankfully, both Justin’s were sent back unanimously by their districts. They’re still up there. Speaking their their minds, speaking up right now as we speak. And and so as a reaction to that, what Republicans are doing now, they’re passing a law that says that if you get expelled, your community can’t send you back here.
  • Speaker 1
    0:24:46

    Really? It’s going to the legislature right now.
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:49

    That’s happening now. Yeah. They actually had three bills to do it in three different ways. One was a constitutional amendment. And the others were doing it in other ways.
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:58

    And, yes, this guy Johnny Garrett is passing it. So when something happens that they feel like goes against their agenda, they just change the law. And that’s the threat to democracy that people need to understand is happening in Tennessee. And and I said this to you, you know, off podcasts, and I wanna say it to you on here, The reason that people outside of Tennessee need to pay attention to what’s going on in Tennessee is not because we’re a swing state, we’re not a swing state, but we are the tip of the spear when it comes to the, quote, unquote, culture war that’s happening in this country. This is a laboratory of theocracy where Republicans figure out what they can get away with and export it to the rest of the country, and that’s why you need to pay attention to what’s going on here.
  • Speaker 1
    0:25:36

    These guys think and act like they are representing America, the American tradition, and that those that are against them are the un American ones, the heathens, the ones that are threatening the republic. When it’s, like, the opposite is true. I mean, like, every action that they have taken in this Tennessee legislature goes against the fundamental principles of what the country is supposed to be about. The fact that we are a representative of democracy, you know, as we were discussing before free speech with these drag bans and the ban on fried flags. I mean, it’s these guys, instead of the ones that are trying to turn the country into a Hungarian style autocracy.
  • Speaker 1
    0:26:12

    It’s not the Democrats who have no power in Tennessee because they’re gerrymandered actually don’t I kind of think Jaymondry is sometime overrated. It’s not overrated in Tennessee. Nashville. You guys don’t even have a rep. You guys don’t even have a congressman in Nashville, the biggest city in the state because they carved it all up?
  • Speaker 2
    0:26:26

    It’s an important point to make, and it’s also important to point out that a lot of the things that they support, just from a policy standpoint, are not popular. Right. So they have carved themselves into this strength position, but their draconian abortion ban, which is the strictest in the whole country, That’s not popular.
  • Speaker 1
    0:26:44

    What are the details on the Tennessee abortion?
  • Speaker 2
    0:26:47

    Zero days. So, you know, life begins a conception, no exceptions, no real exceptions for life of the mother. Rape kids are forced to carry the term. I mean, all the stuff that you they voted down an amendment just to let rape kids have abortions. They unanimously killed that.
  • Speaker 1
    0:27:03

    Jesus.
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:03

    So there’s that. There’s all these, you know, anti lgbtq bills. On guns. Most of the state wants some sort of gun safety laws. They won’t let any of that pass.
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:14

    So you’re right that they do not represent America in the sense of democracy, but also just even from a policy standpoint, if you drill down to it, they’re not representing the majority of even the state. And it’s just a challenge to get the state to understand what’s really happening up here, and that’s kinda why we started the holler.
  • Speaker 1
    0:27:32

    It’s usually people that are asking me this question. It’s like liberals are saying to me, Tim, help me get inside these Republicans brains. And so I’m gonna ask you to do that though because you’re, you know, you’re seeing them out there. But, I mean, you see the evidence of it. You’re talking about a laboratory of theocracy.
  • Speaker 1
    0:27:46

    They’re talking about how this is a threat to the republic. There’s a lot of civil war talk there. So there’s a hint of secession type talk. What do you think that they see as the thing they’re defending? What are they trying to defend?
  • Speaker 1
    0:27:59

    What is the system of government that they want implemented?
  • Speaker 2
    0:28:03

    I don’t think it’s a system of government that they’re defending. I think, first and foremost, it’s it’s Christianity. You know, it’s their version of Christianity.
  • Speaker 1
    0:28:14

    Basternized Trump Bible, American version
  • Speaker 2
    0:28:16

    of Christianity. It’s like, you know, Gino also said seventeen century values or seventeen hundred values from when when this country was conceived, you know, that I think is in their mind. It’s you know, the the two parent household where the the wife stays home, you know, it’s it’s I I have to say white supremacy. You know, I mean, it would be an incomplete answer without talking about that aspect of what they’re defending, you know, but it’s really, at the end of the day, it’s their own power you know, it’s their own power and personal ambition, and I don’t think it’s much more complicated than that. I think there’s really a selfishness versus community aspect to all this, and they’re just willing to do a lot to maintain what they believe they’re entitled to.
  • Speaker 1
    0:29:01

    So We’re year out now. We’re talking in the green room. You said that they were on the one year anniversary today, like, kind of honoring the rifle or something. I’ve there’ve been no No gun laws, no have there even been school safety type things? Has that have they done anything in response to this?
  • Speaker 2
    0:29:18

    The one thing that they did to make themselves feel better was they passed a law
  • Speaker 7
    0:29:23

    about fire
  • Speaker 5
    0:29:23

    alarms, where you have
  • Speaker 2
    0:29:23

    to have like, a different fire alarm process. If there’s a shooter in the building, then you do if it’s a fire.
  • Speaker 1
    0:29:32

    Oh, that’ll do it.
  • Speaker 2
    0:29:33

    Yeah. Right. Because when covenant happened. I mean, in a serious way, when covenant happened, you know, I think there were some kids that ran out into trouble because they thought it was a fire. And so you know, there is something to that, you know, as far as maybe it’s something that needs to happen, but it does not get at the root of the problem.
  • Speaker 2
    0:29:51

    Which is, you know, a proliferation of of guns throughout our state as evidenced by the amount of people that are dying here every single day.
  • Speaker 1
    0:29:59

    And and we’re honoring the Tennessee rifle today?
  • Speaker 2
    0:30:02

    Yeah. The Tennessee rifle is being honored in, state government committee by rep Mark Cochran. Who, you know, his defense was. Well, I scheduled it for last week, and they rolled it a week. Today is their final calendar.
  • Speaker 2
    0:30:15

    It’ll be interesting to see if he actually goes through with
  • Speaker 1
    0:30:17

    it. I get this question. So I I get to give it to you. Could you think about leaving? You worried about being in Tennessee?
  • Speaker 1
    0:30:24

    What I mean, what what’s your How do you kind of process all that?
  • Speaker 2
    0:30:29

    I mean, I’d be lying if I said it hadn’t crossed my mind or other people’s mind. You know, it’s constantly a conversation that I’m hearing about here in Tennessee. Part of me worries that, you know, by telling people what’s happening here, we’re chasing away a lot of good people. But I I just think This is a fight that has to be fought. You know, I I do love Tennessee.
  • Speaker 2
    0:30:48

    I love living here. We’ve lived here for seven years.
  • Speaker 1
    0:30:50

    There’s a lot of great stuff about Tennessee. Great food, great music. Beautiful. Great people. A lot
  • Speaker 2
    0:30:54

    of great people.
  • Speaker 6
    0:30:55

    My
  • Speaker 1
    0:30:55

    friend Amanda Shires was on this podcast. If you haven’t heard her, she’s the best so much.
  • Speaker 2
    0:30:59

    So I would say Tennessee’s worth fighting for, and that’s why we’re here doing what we do. So we’re not going anywhere. My kids are growing up here, going to public schools. You know, we’ve met a lot of great people, a lot of people that, you know, are fighting the good fight. And I think that’s kinda one of the things that happens in these red states.
  • Speaker 2
    0:31:15

    It’s you know, you find people who, when they’re standing ten toes down, as people say, on this stuff, you know, it’s sort of a different attitude and and you kind of find a new respect for people. Like, when I lived in LA in New York, these weren’t fights that I needed to fight. You know, I just took it for granted that you know, the people in charge kind of agree with me, and I didn’t need to show up every day. But here, the people that believe in this stuff and wanna fight for democracy and wanna fight for equality and for people to be welcomed. They’re showing up every day, and and those are the people that were standing shoulder to shoulder with, and I don’t wanna leave them behind.
  • Speaker 1
    0:31:50

    Alright. I said to you and promised listeners, like, if we have a big progressive on, we have to, you know, we can we can argue. We can pretend, like, We can just do five minutes and pretend like it’s twenty eleven. Right? For ten, like, we’re not on the cusp of an autocracy.
  • Speaker 1
    0:32:03

    For ten, like, we just like met at a bar. And for some reason, school vouchers came up start talking about it. So Tennessee’s pushing for school vouchers right now.
  • Speaker 2
    0:32:09

    You’re gonna do to me what Al Franken did to you.
  • Speaker 1
    0:32:11

    Yeah. I’m gonna flip it. I’m flipping it. Alan is obsessed with trying to get me to sound like a conservative when I come on the podcast. He’s like, fight with me about something.
  • Speaker 1
    0:32:19

    And I’m like, okay. I’m fine with you. What do you wanna fight about? Environmental regulations, sequa. Let’s find out sequa.
  • Speaker 1
    0:32:25

    Okay. I don’t really wanna fight about much, but I I I do wanna hash this out because I wanna acknowledge up top that these fucking Christian Jonathan Last bastards we’ve been talking about. I don’t really want them in charge of anything with regards to schools. And I I would rather that they not, you know, be making these decisions at all. But In a vacuum, you know, if you’re a lower income person in Tennessee and the public schools are being hollowed out or the public school in your area is shitty, wouldn’t it be better on net for those families to have access to a voucher, access, and ability to you know, maybe take their kid, a parent, to take their kid to a school, to charter school, to a religious school, to a school that better prepared them for life, better fit their values.
  • Speaker 1
    0:33:11

    What’s wrong with that?
  • Speaker 2
    0:33:12

    Okay. So this would probably be an entire podcast on its own, but I’m I’m gonna try to get to it in in the time you’ve
  • Speaker 1
    0:33:20

    given We’ll do four minutes. Okay. And then we have to argue about TikTok for four minutes. So we have eight minutes. Alright?
  • Speaker 2
    0:33:24

    Okay. We’re not in a vacuum. We’re in Tennessee, and Governor Lee is
  • Speaker 1
    0:33:29

    in charge. And and and Betsy Divasse came
  • Speaker 2
    0:33:34

    here help him start his voucher push. And she has openly said that her agenda with public education in Tennessee is to advance god’s kingdom. So let’s start there. That that’s where I believe Governor Lee is coming from. Now what you presented yes.
  • Speaker 2
    0:33:49

    That is kind of the logical excuse for what vouchers are. The problem is in implementation, they’re not really putting any income limits on this stuff. They’re not limiting it to kids that are in struggling schools. It’s now going to the entire state. Their goal is universal vouchers, and it’s impossible to take seriously people who underfund education in Tennessee by billions of dollars when they turn around and say, well, public education isn’t doing what it’s supposed to do.
  • Speaker 2
    0:34:20

    So the argument that I would make is we need to fund public schools and not be in the bottom forties in public per pupil spending. We need to make sure that the public education is able to do what it’s supposed to do in Tennessee and not, you know, leave kids behind. Because what vouchers end up doing is, yes, maybe for a few kids, they help them get to a better place. But public education has to educate the kids with disabilities, the kids with learning disabilities and everybody that’s left behind. Taking money away from schools that are already struggling to do that is not the way to take us in in a good direction.
  • Speaker 2
    0:34:54

    And then as a last thing, I’ll just say before you grill me on this, we’ve seen in the states that have done this is eighty percent give or take of the kids that use these vouchers are already in private schools. So what they end up being is coupons for the wealthy that take away resources from our public schools that are undefended.
  • Speaker 1
    0:35:14

    We don’t need to grill. We basically agree. That’s fine. That’s great. Let’s put income limits on it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:35:19

    See, this is how democracy should work. You know, we’ve got progressive, Justin, and, you know, moderate class Cllee Liberal Tim, and it’s like that. We’ve already have we already have a deal. We do have vouchers for the bottom twenty percent. A vouchers for kids in the bottom twenty percent vouchers for kids and districts with that have graded schools that are failing, and we should fund those schools to try to get them better.
  • Speaker 1
    0:35:37

    But in the meantime, kids should have an option if they
  • Speaker 2
    0:35:39

    if they need it. Well, gonna reject the deal. I don’t You
  • Speaker 1
    0:35:42

    reject my deal. No. You’re rejecting my deal?
  • Speaker 2
    0:35:45

    I’m I’m using that as a way to show you that they don’t actually mean what they say they
  • Speaker 1
    0:35:49

    mean. Okay.
  • Speaker 2
    0:35:50

    I’m not offering to accept your deal on vouchers.
  • Speaker 1
    0:35:53

    Alright. That’s fine. Okay. We have a we have the outline.
  • Speaker 2
    0:35:55

    I’m like the AOC here. I’m not here to, you know, I’m not Joaquin Jeffrey.
  • Speaker 1
    0:35:59

    Here’s the outlines of a potential deal. We’ll continue in the future. Alright. Here’s here’s how the one that we wanna argue about because we’re texting about this. You don’t like to TikTok ban.
  • Speaker 1
    0:36:07

    No. I do. So tell me why you don’t like it, and then we’ll we’ll go from there.
  • Speaker 2
    0:36:11

    I just think the whole thing is disingenuous. First of all, What are they doing that these other platforms are not doing? Do we trust Elon Musk and
  • Speaker 1
    0:36:18

    What’s the Chinese?
  • Speaker 5
    0:36:19

    Oh, yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:36:19

    It’s the Chinese thing. Well, actually don’t believe this is coming from the Chinese, and I think this is where we disagree, you know, and this gets into a whole other topic. I’m not gonna try to open up. But I think what people are upset about is that young people are learning about topics like Gaza and Israel, especially in a way that they don’t want them to. And so, you know, we saw the head of the ADL, Jonathan Greenblatt say we have a TikTok problem.
  • Speaker 2
    0:36:43

    And then three weeks later, we see a fifty to zero vote in committee to potentially ban TikTok. I don’t think banning TikTok is the answer. I think TikTok informs kids. Young people, especially keeps them politically engaged. I think Democrats especially are wrong for supporting this politically.
  • Speaker 2
    0:37:01

    And I just don’t think anything is happening there that’s not happening on the other platform.
  • Speaker 1
    0:37:04

    There’s a lot of lack of information happening. I mean, not just taking gauze as an example. I was scrolling through TikTok the other day, and there was a picture of something that was happening in Syria three years ago. The young person that’s doing the citizen journalism is acting like this is happening in Gaza and it has a million views. And I okay.
  • Speaker 1
    0:37:22

    This obviously happening other places. There there’s Fox. There’s plenty of places where there’s so I’m not saying this is a unique thing to TikTok, but I also think that we probably shouldn’t be encouraging kids to only receive their news from the TikTok algorithm. In TikTok also, if you’re on it and you use it frequently, you know, I don’t like Elon either. But my Twitter feed is mostly things that I’ve opted into.
  • Speaker 4
    0:37:43

    Have you looked at the for you feed lately?
  • Speaker 1
    0:37:45

    I have you looked at the feed feed, and it’s fucking it’s garbage. But it’s pretty a bit, but, like, but my Instagram feed is mostly people that I’ve opted into. My TikTok feed is all random you know, I’ll I’ll be scrolling through and and it’ll be, like, you know, some some twenty two year old in Arizona who’s doing, like, a shirtless news report about what was happening. And then then I’ll scroll up and it’ll be like somebody, some basketball report from Serbia, and it’s like, I have no idea where these are coming from it. I think it’s easy for a foreign government.
  • Speaker 1
    0:38:15

    We’re not saying get rid of TikTok altogether. It’s like let’s not let a foreign government, you know, put their put their finger on the scale. Of a this kind of black box algorithm where we don’t know why things are being served to certain people. We don’t know why things are being surfaced versus not surfaced. Know, I just think that’s a different animal than a opt in social media.
  • Speaker 2
    0:38:33

    I see what you’re saying. I just, you know, I think maybe open up the algorithm or something like that, saying it’s not a ban. It feels like it is a ban because, you know, who knows We’re
  • Speaker 1
    0:38:42

    just making them sell it. We’re making them sell it to an American. What if
  • Speaker 2
    0:38:44

    they don’t? Then it’s a ban. Right? I mean, that’s Then they’re gonna ban. That’s the whole point.
  • Speaker 2
    0:38:49

    But, you know, and and again, I I don’t I’m not saying unregulated social media. I just don’t necessarily think that they’re doing anything that isn’t happening on I mean, there’s plenty of disinformation on Twitter. Sure. When it comes to social media, you either have to trust that it’s on balance a good thing, a positive thing, and those things are gonna self correct, or you don’t. And I don’t trust that this is coming from you know, we don’t trust China.
  • Speaker 2
    0:39:13

    I do think it’s coming from. Kids are getting information. They’re not getting elsewhere. We need to make that stop.
  • Speaker 1
    0:39:18

    I think it’s about China. I will say that probably the Gaza thing did spur action that people have long gone. And I think that there have been long concerns about the China thing. And, frankly, Biden should have done this earlier, so this was not an election year issue because I do see how I already has trouble with young voters, and I do see that it’s a potential risk with them. But, I I I don’t know, man.
  • Speaker 1
    0:39:40

    The Chinese
  • Speaker 2
    0:39:41

    I think he’s in big trouble with young voters. I really do. What do you
  • Speaker 4
    0:39:44

    think he should do? What would you do?
  • Speaker 1
    0:39:46

    If you if Joe Biden called you to the West Wing tomorrow and is like Justin, how can I help improve my numbers with young progressives?
  • Speaker 2
    0:39:53

    I think he needs to do everything he possibly can to make the situation in Gaza stop. I think humanitarian aid needs to be let in there. I think we need to, you know, absolutely put conditions on our help to Israel. We need to stop sending them weapons. I mean, it’s it’s it’s long been way too much already.
  • Speaker 2
    0:40:11

    And I’ve been saying this, you know, for months. I was even late to the party. I mean, what’s going on there is horrific The images coming out of there are horrific. And that’s why his numbers are suppressed with young people is because they’re seeing this on social media in a way that my mother and my parents are not seeing it on CNN and MSNBC. I don’t think Joe Biden wants it to happen.
  • Speaker 2
    0:40:35

    But I also think that his bear hug of Israel has taken us to the place that we are now.
  • Speaker 1
    0:40:39

    I’m gonna have the opposite view of this on tomorrow. People this is dicey. I’m a classic just middle of the road squishy, Tim. I just can’t. I think Joe Biden’s in a really tough situation.
  • Speaker 1
    0:40:49

    I think he’s been handling it. Oh, hundred percent of this. Think that a lot of the young progressives, I think that the expect patience of a crazy there was a it’s a good article, Peter Baker and Susan Glasser’s kid wrote for the Atlantic about what’s happening at Stanford. And and I was watching the the Twitter discussion about this from some of the left folks on Stanford’s campus. And when one of the kids that Theo Baker had wrote about had said that, you know, he thinks Joe Biden should be killed.
  • Speaker 1
    0:41:12

    Know you don’t agree with this. He’s defending himself on Twitter by saying, well, would it have been wrong to say Hitler should be killed or or bin Laden should be killed? He’s doing a genocide. And this is where I’m like, these young people are not getting good information. Alright?
  • Speaker 1
    0:41:24

    Like, Joe Biden is not Hitler, and he’s not bin laden. He’s trying to navigate a very challenging situation. He’s been distancing himself from BB at times. And at other times, he’s been supportive. I think they’re legitimate right to defend themselves from a terrorist group that wanted to wipe them off the face of the planet.
  • Speaker 1
    0:41:39

    And it’s like, if you really thought that, I don’t think anybody’s trying to get through to these young people saying, if you really thought that Joe Biden was a genocidal maniac, which was this guy’s quote in the vein of Hitler. It’s like, well, then you wouldn’t be saying that on Twitter. Because people who live in countries that are run by genocidal maniacs are very scared to mention that they think that they’re genocidal being there. Right? Like, it’s not a logical.
  • Speaker 1
    0:41:59

    It’s not a logical statement.
  • Speaker 2
    0:42:01

    I completely agree. Of course, he’s not. I think that’s an awful thing to say. You know, I think and there are absolutely people out there that are pro Hamas that are happy that October seventh happened. I think that’s disgusting too.
  • Speaker 2
    0:42:12

    We can’t argue about the fringes like that. I I just think generally speaking, you know, I I do understand where these young people coming from when they say, like, they might not be able to bring themselves to go vote in November. And I I understand that uncommitted vote was encouraging Biden to, you know, change course. Like, I think people are trying to help him, help himself. And I have this fight with my parents and, you know, my my siblings and, you know, they say, well, your Trump is worse.
  • Speaker 2
    0:42:41

    And I agree.
  • Speaker 1
    0:42:41

    Trump is worse.
  • Speaker 2
    0:42:42

    Like, of course, Trump is worse. That’s the reason that we need this to stop. And I’m not saying that I’m gonna not, you know, support a president and and let Trump win, but I do understand when you have these images in your mind every single day. I mean, even this week, it’s still happening. They’re facing famine.
  • Speaker 2
    0:42:59

    Like, we have to make this stop. Period full stop. And so, you know, I think that’s the way to keep Trump out of office. That’s the way to help Biden correct his numbers. And, you know, I can’t get behind this idea that, like, you know, we just need to let this go on because we have to support Israel.
  • Speaker 2
    0:43:15

    Netanyahu is not a good guy.
  • Speaker 1
    0:43:16

    Thank you for opening up that can of worms because
  • Speaker 2
    0:43:19

    Sorry. I don’t know how do we get to that. I know.
  • Speaker 1
    0:43:21

    I appreciate you opened up the can of it was my I brought up TikTok. It was I’m glad you opened up it up though because that view, I don’t know has been represented on this podcast, and it should be, because we need to have an open dialogue about about tough issues. And that’s that’s what we’re trying to do here, not of people. People that wanna get good news, real news, have real discussions about what’s happening in Tennessee, Gaza, everywhere. Tennessee Holler, check it out.
  • Speaker 1
    0:43:43

    Be here at the Bulwark, Justin Canoe.
  • Speaker 2
    0:43:44

    And follow the bulwark and support the bulwark. I don’t tell you this enough, Tim, but, you know, I do listen to you. I follow you. I know that we don’t agree on every single thing, but I really appreciate what you do. I think you do it in a way that more people need to.
  • Speaker 2
    0:43:56

    And so I appreciate you too
  • Speaker 1
    0:43:58

    man, back at you, brother. I hope we can, see each other have a beer soon. I wanna thank Justin Kenu, as one year anniversary of the covenant shooting. Wanna remember the victims, Katherine Coontz, Mike Hill, Cynthia Peak, Evelyn Deekhouse, Halley Scruggs, and Will Saletan, three nine year old kids, and they’re just not doing anything about it in Tennessee. It’s pretty pretty devastating and disappointing.
  • Speaker 1
    0:44:19

    On the other side of the break, we’ll have Justin Fenton with the Baltimore banner on the bridge collapse. Alright. We are back with another Justin Justin Fenton investigative reporter for the Baltimore banner. He was at the Baltimore Sun for team years. He’s the author of We own the city, which became an HBO mini series developed by David Simon.
  • Speaker 1
    0:45:00

    Justin, thanks for, jumping on to talk about this really tragic incident of Baltimore.
  • Speaker 7
    0:45:05

    Yeah. Of course. Thank you.
  • Speaker 1
    0:45:07

    I wanted to just point out first before we get into the bridge collapse. The new owner of your former outlet, the Baltimore son wrote a column this week saying I’m no longer certain Putin is the bad guy and Biden is the good guy in Ukraine. It’s complicated. This goes to the theme of our episode today. It shows the need for, you know, real local journalism, truth.
  • Speaker 1
    0:45:25

    So talk to us about the kind of origin of the the banner, the new outlet that you’re working at.
  • Speaker 7
    0:45:30

    The Baltimore’s son had been, treated ownership many times over the years I was there, and then it was taken over by a hedge fund that had a really bad a reputation for gutting newsrooms. So there was an effort to it was called save our son, where we were trying to get a local ownership group to take it over. And it failed. And one of the buyers who was considering buying the sun said, even though I wasn’t able to buy the sun, I I still think that there’s a need for a nonprofit newsroom in Baltimore. And so they approached me.
  • Speaker 7
    0:45:56

    It was the right time. It was a great project and I jumped over. And as as you pointed out, since The hedge fund sold the sun, and they’ve since been taken over by the the chairman of Sinclair broadcasting, which is headquartered, just Northern Baltimore, now now owns the paper. As implementing some changes, including inserting the co owner Armstrong Williams, who now writes frequent op eds for them.
  • Speaker 1
    0:46:16

    Do you think everybody was aware that this was an actual plot from the wire? And they and that was supposed to be a spoof in the final season of the wire. The horrible owners taking over a newspaper and gutting it and ruining it. It’s a a a little bit too close to a little bit too close to home.
  • Speaker 7
    0:46:32

    I mean, it was quite a surprise I remember where I was when the news came in. I just think I was watching the Buffalo Bills playoff game and it was like, wow. David Smith has bought the sun. So far, I think, I I’d still know a lot of people over there. And they’re still doing the same coverage that they’ve been doing.
  • Speaker 1
    0:46:46

    Okay.
  • Speaker 7
    0:46:46

    There’s little ways that they’ve been sort of inserting themselves and changing things, but I know that the editorial product is has has not changed, but, you know, we’ll see because they certainly have a reputation on the TV side.
  • Speaker 1
    0:46:57

    And so the main mission of the banner talk to us about that. Like, what you got, what holes you guys are trying to fill. You know, I mean, it’s not just the sun. My local media everywhere has been pretty devastated.
  • Speaker 7
    0:47:07

    Yeah. I think that again, the effort was to create a sustainable model. The idea was that the for profit journals and model was not sustainable. And if we could create using this seed money from our founder, a Stuart Bingham. If we could sort of create an environment where news can last, that’s our goal.
  • Speaker 7
    0:47:23

    We are we’re getting there. We are not there yet, but we things are really positive. Yeah. We’re really hopeful for the future. We’re trying to cover the city, but also the region.
  • Speaker 7
    0:47:30

    And we’ve been growing and growing, which is something I’ve never experienced in my journalism career, a a newsroom that is growing instead of contracting. Really proud of the work we’re doing.
  • Speaker 1
    0:47:38

    Alright. We’ll keep monitoring this. Thank you for doing it. And this is a moment where you can tell the importance of it. You know, so is because Monday night into Tuesday morning just after one AM was a container ship crashed into that Francis Scott Key Bridge, which I’ve driven over many a time.
  • Speaker 1
    0:47:53

    I’m sure you have as well. Just a really tragic incident. We had six deaths, from, I guess, construction workers, that Bulwark working on the bridge to rescue. And I guess the rescue operation is over. Why don’t you kind of just walk us through the basics of what happened and where we are right now
  • Speaker 7
    0:48:09

    I got a call from a source at two thirty in the morning. I’d slept through the first call that the key bridge had collapsed, and I’m kinda groggy and out of it. And I’m like, what do you mean collapse? Like, a piece of it fell. And he’s like, no.
  • Speaker 7
    0:48:19

    The whole thing collapsed. Check it out online, and there was this video showing the ship hitting it, and it just toppling into the water. And as you mentioned, having seen that. I mean, it not just driven across it, but it’s in our skyline. It’s something you see all the time.
  • Speaker 7
    0:48:30

    You see it from Fort McHenry. It’s a great point. It’s iconic. In many ways. And, it’s just just stunning, but the fallout is incredible.
  • Speaker 7
    0:48:37

    I mean, obviously, there’s six lives that have been lost economic impact on the port, the transportation impacts. This is something that we’ve mobilized like our entire newsroom, to cover. And I know we’re gonna be covering it for not just months, but years to come.
  • Speaker 1
    0:48:51

    Yeah. On the end of the impacts, but first, I I mean, the one element of this that is I guess someone inspiring or or hopeful is, I guess the the ship itself when it ran out of power and kind of anticipated that it might be crashing into the bridge sent out a warning signal. And, I guess, in enough time to stop traffic from crossing the bridge, and, and, I guess, one thirty in the morning, ton of traffic, but there will should have been some cars going over that bridge. Had they not done that. Right?
  • Speaker 7
    0:49:18

    Absolutely. The video shows cars traveling over the bridge as this is happening. And the initial reports from emergency personnel was that up to twenty people were being sought. And then as you look a little close from the video, you can see the the traffic had stopped, that there weren’t cars crossing over it. And then we got the word that, yeah, the word had been put out.
  • Speaker 7
    0:49:34

    I guess just in time, I can’t even understand how they were able to do that. But as tragic as the six lives that have been lost, it really could have been a lot worse especially if this had happened not at one thirty in the morning. So, yeah, pretty incredible.
  • Speaker 1
    0:49:46

    Think about the impacts for Baltimore. I mean, you know, the hollowing out of the ports and the jobs on the port. I mean, this is like a tale as old as time in Baltimore. Well, is are there concerns that while the cleanup is happening, folks are gonna adapt, and there might be a long term negative impact on Baltimore. Like, but what are officials saying about how long the cleanup’s gonna be?
  • Speaker 1
    0:50:07

    Talk to us about that kind of economic on the city.
  • Speaker 7
    0:50:09

    Yeah. I mean, right now, the the channel into the inner harbor into the Patabsco River on that side is just cut off. There’s there’s mangled metal in the water. And I think, you know, because this is such a stunning sort of event of a of a bridge just giving way because a ship hit it on the way out, and there’s gonna be a really serious investigation of this. So think what we’re hearing is that they’re gonna keep that intact because they wanna study it, they wanna understand it.
  • Speaker 7
    0:50:31

    And what that means is no one’s coming in or out.
  • Speaker 1
    0:50:33

    Keep what intact? I’m sorry.
  • Speaker 7
    0:50:35

    The bridge. The the the bridge It will remain.
  • Speaker 1
    0:50:37

    Oh, man. Okay.
  • Speaker 7
    0:50:38

    Exactly. So it’s impassable right now. I know there’s a there’s a strong urge to get it cleared. But, you know, that that’s gonna take some time. I think not only the investigation’s gonna take time, but the simple act of removing this this enormous structure from the deep waters, it’s gonna be very difficult.
  • Speaker 7
    0:50:53

    So, yeah, I saw a figure yesterday that said the port is expecting to lose fifteen million dollars a day. Things are being rerouted. We have a cruise terminal that they’re diverting returning cruises to Norfolk, Virginia. So we’re just starting to wrap our arms around what this is gonna look like, but it’s definitely gonna impact jobs. It’s gonna impact commerce.
  • Speaker 1
    0:51:10

    You have, you know, West Moore who is kind of a rising Democratic started a profile on him a while back. A governor, a new governor of Maryland from Baltimore. First really major crisis challenge from him. Like, what what have we been hearing out of out of him? And I he’s also, you know, a Democrat that’s very interested in economic development.
  • Speaker 1
    0:51:28

    So I I assume that this is gonna be something that he’s, you know, super engaged on.
  • Speaker 7
    0:51:34

    Yeah. He was, he was in Boston at the time that this happened and, headed back. I think that, by all assessments he’s been, you know, just leading with poised and trying to reassure people, but this is gonna be very complicated. And you saw I feel like you saw I’m not a political reporter, but I feel you saw a little bit of politics creeping into things today when president Biden was talking about covering the full cost and he expected Congress, we’d make sure that that happened. It was sort of, like, it almost sounded like a bit like a challenge that he didn’t expect that to be that easy.
  • Speaker 7
    0:52:02

    People are saying, listen, this isn’t about politics. This is about, you know, making this region a whole again, being able to reestablish a major transportation channel, a major port, establish jobs, and we’ll see how that progresses in this climate.
  • Speaker 1
    0:52:17

    Yeah, I’ve got bad news for you, Justin. Pontix is gonna be involved in that You had, online yesterday on the right. I mean, we have to talk about this. It’s just absurd, but the mayor of Baltimore Ron DeSantis Scott, younger Bulwark eye online. Someone on the right, we’re calling him a deI mayor saying he’s not capable of this.
  • Speaker 1
    0:52:33

    We have Sarah Longwell, was on the abandoned podcast yesterday talking about how this was actually a terrorist attack, and these guys are covering it up.
  • Speaker 7
    0:52:40

    Alex Jones called it World War three. Yeah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:52:42

    Okay. Do we have any evidence of a terrorist attack? What’s the actual reporting on that No.
  • Speaker 7
    0:52:46

    I mean, you know, again, this ship had just taken off. We can see in the videos that there’s a electrical power failure of some sort You know, I I personally do have questions of what could have happened that early into its journey, but authorities are saying there’s no evidence of any anything of the terrorist or intentional nature. I saw those memes, the things going around. I saw a tweet saying that he was a deI mayor. Like, I clicked on the clip thinking he must have slipped up.
  • Speaker 7
    0:53:09

    He must have said something stupid, and that’s why they were making fun of him. And it it was as poised as I’ve ever seen him. So, I mean, there’s really just coded racism and really unfortunate to see. But really, really widespread. What’s next for both of them?
  • Speaker 1
    0:53:20

    What are you guys gonna be focusing on? What are you looking at in the coming days?
  • Speaker 7
    0:53:24

    Oh, man. We’re all getting crap courses in engineering. You know, we’ve got people talking. We have one of our reporters used to work at the Miami Harold and was first on the scene at surfside. So we’re talking engineers.
  • Speaker 7
    0:53:32

    We’re trying to figure out those economic impacts. And again, still a recovery operation underway. So a lot of angles, but thankfully, we’re a nonprofit newsroom that has the resources to cover them. I think a lot of nonprofits across the country, and I’ve been getting crash course in this myself. I’m a legacy media guy.
  • Speaker 7
    0:53:47

    I’ve followed mostly legacy media. There’s so many interesting newsrooms, but a lot of them tend to be smaller know, they have a handful of reporters. They they they try to put out some impact stories a couple times a week. We aspire to cover everything, and we have got the staff to do it. So we are chipping away.
  • Speaker 1
    0:54:01

    Alright. Well, if you’re in Baltimore, care about Baltimore, care about the region, make sure to check out the Baltimore banner, Justin Fenton. Taking the time to come talk to us about this, in the in the wake of something that’s really tragic and devastating. So, yeah, I love I love Baltimore. I got, you know, we’d go out to their bunch when I need a weekend away when I was living in DC, and it’s been a city that’s been hard hit already.
  • Speaker 1
    0:54:20

    And and I think this is probably just gonna make things even more challenging for you guys.
  • Speaker 7
    0:54:24

    Yeah. But thank you ever
  • Speaker 1
    0:54:26

    I appreciate it, Justin. Thanks so much.
  • Speaker 5
    0:54:34

    I remember a night, and the time, see what I must I’ve heard it a thousand times. And it wasn’t now that I come to see the view from behind those We were singing too and old. Familiar saw when she came,
  • Speaker 6
    0:55:17

    all seeing through the
  • Speaker 5
    0:55:45

    I remember the night and the
  • Speaker 1
    0:55:52

    The Secret Podcast is produced by Katie Cooper with audio engineering and editing by Jason Brown.
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