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Sheletta Brundidge’s Pressure Campaign Results In Major Ad Buy with BIPOC Media

Plus CenturyLink redlines, the Strib's cringe headline, and Jensen's cringe existence in today's Flyover.

Sheletta Brundidge
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Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily midday digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.

Solidarity Works!

Last week, Racket brought you an in-depth feature on Sheletta Brundidge’s campaign to call out both political parties for not investing in Black-owned media companies. The popular broadcaster/podcaster even urged leaders of Black churches to not provide free pulpit time to politicians who ignore buying ads with diverse news outlets. Guess what? It worked!

Earlier today, DFL-affiliated nonprofit Alliance for a Better Minnesota announced a statewide ad buy that’ll include Univision, Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, North News, and Brundidge’s Sheletta Makes Me Laugh podcasting network; the spots will, predictably, focus on the “the extreme threat that Republican candidates” present to Minnesotans. (The group’s PR rep declined to tell us the total dollar amount.) But make no mistake: “That’s a win, boo,” Brundidge tells Racket. We’ll give her the last word:

“It shouldn’t take all of that. The fighting, the calling out, the battle to get people to be fair when they’re asking you for your vote. This is not a shakedown; it’s an accountability thing. We have the hearts, the eyes, and the ears of the Black community. We need to be in the same consideration as the KARE 11s, WCCOs, Star Tribunes. We can absolutely be rest assured that they did not do the right thing because it was the right thing to do… we’re still getting the scraps, the leftovers, but guess what? We’re in the conversation. I have to give credit to these pastors for asking the question: Do you support Black media? The pressure is not effective if I’m the only one applying pressure. That’s just what Black people do! It’s like the Montgomery bus boycott. We stick together, and we’re bringing systems down.”

CenturyLink Redlines, Too

A nationwide study revealed that internet providers have been charging lower income neighborhoods the same amount as wealthier ones while giving them much worse service, and CenturyLink in Minneapolis is one of the worst offenders. The Markup recently published a very thorough investigation, analyzing more than 800,000 offers from AT&T, CenturyLink, Earthlink, and Verizon. It found that lower-income, often mostly Black neighborhoods were getting bullshit deals. “CenturyLink, which showed the most extreme disparities, offered some customers service of 200 Mbps, amounting to as little as $0.25 per Mbps, but offered others living in the same city only 0.5 Mbps for 400 times as much—$100 per Mbps,” the report explains. These practices affected old redline areas in Minneapolis disproportionately. “Formerly redlined addresses were offered the worst deals almost eight times as often as formerly better-rated areas,” the report continues.

A coalition of 39 groups are urging the FCC to investigate these companies for discrimination in hopes of rectifying the issue. AT&T, a company that had a consolidated revenue of $168.9 billion in 2021, says the discrepancies aren’t malicious; the company says it just needs government subsidies to build better broadband in the poor areas they’re already making bank off of. Meanwhile, CenturyLink is deeply outraged—for the wrong reasons. “We do not engage in discriminatory practices like redlining and find the accusation offensive,” a CenturyLink spokesperson emailed the Markup. An article for a different day: Ever look at USI’s coverage map? Notice which half of the city is 100% excluded?

That Sure Is a Headline!

Last week, Minnesota Reformer’s Chris Ingraham tweeted a not very good health update. Unfortunately, he’s being treated for bile duct cancer—“a bad one”—at the Mayo Clinic. (Ingraham joined the nonprofit newsroom’s staff in July, and noted further down in the thread that the Reformer “happen[s] to offer the only ‘good’ health insurance I’ve ever had,” so that’s something!) Today, the Star Tribune reported on Ingraham’s diagnosis, using a headline so Minnesota passive-aggressive it basically reads as aggressive: “Reporter who moved to the Minnesota county he called the worst place to live says he has cancer.” Jesus!

We did enjoy editor-in-chief J. Patrick Coolican’s equally passive-aggressive note about the story in today’s Reformer newsletter, though: “It only took Chris’ recent cancer diagnosis to get the Star Tribune to write about us.” And Ingraham’s being a good sport about it, as he has been throughout the whole ordeal:

We wish him the best! (And Chris, if you’re looking for a website that would happily run that headline… look no further.)

Jensen to Walz: Nice Smile 🙂

For blow-by-blow rundowns of how gubernatorial candidates Tim Walz and Scott Jensen “clashed,” “sparred,” and/or “faced off” (choose your favorite low-effort combat verb), consult these news outlets. For last night’s lone interesting moment, we’ll yield to the Twitter caption of DFL comms guy Tim Hogan:

The depths of Dr. Jensen’s weirdness are a true gift, purely in terms of entertainment value. The squirmy body language, the space-alien approach to human connection, the WTF compliment you might hear during a malt shop date in the ’50s—truly the stuff of Tim & Eric. At this point, we’ve said a lot on the strange compliment, but Walz’s befuddled hand gesture really encapsulates the exchange.