Photo from City Pages

Photo from City Pages

When I first heard the other day that there was a scandal brewing over Facebook photos showing underage drinking by Thomas “Tripp” Emmer III, the son and campaign employee of Minnesota Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer Jr., who you may remember from his War on the Waitstaff and being Bad for and at Business, I didn’t think too much of it, other than to idly wonder how it would affect Emmer in the race.

But then I actually read the City Pages article that triggered the scandal.

The scandal here is not the underage drinking — to which Tripp and his dad freely admit.

No, the real scandal here is what’s shown in the Facebook photo they’re not talking about. This is the photo that shows Tripp Emmer posing with a young woman who is apparently passed out due to intoxication of some sort (whether through booze, roofie-spiked booze or some other agency), and proudly pointing to the crude drawings of spurting penises that cover her face and body — drawings that have every appearance of having been placed there without her knowledge or consent.

Aaron Klemz and Steve Timmer of The Cucking Stool saw that photo, and here’s some of what they had to say about it (emphases mine):

Let’s be direct: this is assault.

[...]

The Emmer campaign has mostly avoided talking about traditional family values issues in this campaign, supposedly focusing on bread-and-butter economic issues. It can do this by using the Emmer family as an enthymeme. Look at Tom Emmer’s fecundity! He’s pro-life! Just a big, good old fashioned heterosexual family here! Just like his patron Sarah Palin, Emmer’s learned that you don’t [have] to say a word about these issues; you just need to use your family as a prop. And like Bristol Palin, Tripp Emmer’s demonstrating that when you use your family as a symbol, their conduct becomes relevant.

And yet, the only people locally that are talking about this particular photo, as opposed to the boozing and “good clean fun” in the other photos, are the City Pages staff and a few local bloggers. The AP actually spiked the story rather than run with it, because they claimed it was just about underage drinking and nothing else. So did the StarTribune. Here’s Kate Parry of the StarTrib explaining their spiking rationale to MinnPost’s David Brauer:

Pat Lopez, the Star Tribune’s political editor, says that before she went on vacation late last week, the paper was unaware of the Emmer family allegations. Her boss, assistant managing editor Kate Parry, won’t say if the paper learned of the allegations between then and City Pages’ publication, explaining, “We just don’t talk about stories we haven’t published. … What I can tell you, as of this moment, this does not meet the bar of when a candidate’s children is news.”

Where is that bar? Parry says the circumstances are complex. If the arrest had been for a DUI, it would’ve been more serious and upped the chances of seeing print; had there been damage to property, same thing.

As Spotty of The Cucking Stool tartly replied in his comments section: “So, Kate, if Tripp and his buddies drew penises on the wall, rather than a girl, you would have published the story?” Considering that both the wall and the girl would likely have been equally incapable of giving consent, it’s a reasonable question.

About all I have left to say after this is that you all know full well if this had been a Democrat’s son who had done this to an unconscious woman, it would be nationwide by now. Drudge would have picked it up from any one of the local conservative blogs, it would be on Morning Joe, FOX and Friends would be on Red Alert, and Luke Hellier would be flogging it as assiduously as he’s doing this current ginned-up non-scandal involving Mark Dayton. But instead, it involved Republican Tom Emmer’s son, so the mainstream press will pretend it’s just about underage drinking and go back to hanging on Glenn Beck’s every word.

Speaking of drinking: I think I need a drink right now, after all of this.