Joel Heitkamp Is Not Very Good At Telling The Truth


Apparently Joel Heitkamp took exception to a post I wrote yesterday and took to Facebook this morning, as the kids do these days, to chastise me while simultaneously pretending that he doesn’t read the blog. A pretty neat trick, really.


The post Heitkamp is referring to is this one from yesterday about polling he promoted on his show that morning in which I wrote, “I’m pretty sure KFGO and/or Joel Heitkamp paid for the polling.”

More on that in a moment.

First, let’s address the whole “someone sent comments to me in a blog” thing. Heitkamp likes to do this when he talks about SAB. He doesn’t mention the blog by name, nor me by name, instead alluding to “some blog” or a “fait, hairy blogger” or whatever. As if he were above reading blogs generally, or this blog specifically. It’s about belittling me and the blog, because that’s what people do when they are insecure (maybe about declining ratings?).

Confidence is quiet. Insecurity is loud. But it always makes me laugh because Heitkamp does it when he wants to pretend as though the blog is irrelevant, but also does it with the full knowledge that everyone will know exactly which blog he’s talking about. It’s a tacit acknowledgement of the blog’s success, I think, that Heitkamp knows his vague allusions to some blog will lead people here.

Anyway, Heitkamp’s claim is a lie, and I can prove it. Every afternoon at 2:00pm central time I send out an email blast linking to the latest posts here on SAB ( you can subscribe if you like). The email service I use, MailChimp, tracks the people who open those emails and click the links within them.

Joel Heitkamp is a subscriber to my email list (so are a lot of other people with KFGO email accounts). In fact, he’s a very good subscriber, earning a five-star rating according to MailChimp because he opens my emails and clicks links a lot.


As a matter of fact, while Heitkamp claims in his Facebook post written at about 7:30 this morning that “someone sent” him my comments, he actually visited the blog himself at 6:41 am. Here’s the log for the latest email opens and clicks for


Nobody just sent Heitkamp my comments. He read them himself while he was laying in bed or something this morning and then decided to get on Facebook and pretend like someone had just sent him the comments because he would never, ever condescend to read the state’s most popular political blog.

That’s the sort of thing people with more ego than sense do. Or maybe people still in high school.

Which brings me to Heitkamp’s other claim, that he didn’t pay for the polling. Is this true? Could be. I suspect it isn’t. But sure, maybe some other partisan interest paid for the polling.  What is beyond belief is that Telos Associates, which apparently can’t afford a real looking business website and allegedly rents space in this dumpy office building in West Fargo, spent thousands and thousands of dollars on polling and gave Joel Heitkamp and KFGO exclusive first access to it just because.

Polling that has now made statewide headlines despite the fact that Telos still isn’t providing their full polling data to the non-Joel Heitkamp public. “Full results will be released to statewide media later this week,” reports Mike Nowatzki, who also has someone from Telos claiming the firm paid for the polling themselves.

Yeah, right. Polling costs a lot of money. You have to hire a call center, for one thing, and paying people to make the thousands of calls from which you can draw a sample of 500 or so citizens is really, really expensive. I know, because I’ve paid for it in the past. And Telos has pulled this trick before, pushing polling results to the media and then claiming they’ll produce a polling report later. As I noted in my post yesterday, I spoke with Forum reporter Tu-Uyen Tran yesterday who told me that Telos never produced a report about polling they did on the Fargo flood diversion project despite a promise that they would. UPDATE: Tu-Uyen clarified his interactions with Telos to me, more here.

It’s clear to me, as I wrote in the post yesterday, that the Telos polling is about manufacturing certain narratives which Democrats want to promote. If this were a straight up poll, the people behind it would be shooting straight about who paid for it. And they’d be providing with a full polling report including details about methodology and results.