In his Washington Times column yesterday, Joel Mowbray postulates that Minnesota Fifth District congressional candidate Keith Ellison raises the “Democrats’ dilemma.” Joel writes:
Only learned recently and far more troubling [than Ellison’s history with the Nation of Islam] is Mr. Ellison’s seemingly tight connection with Nihad Awad, co-founder of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), whom he met almost two decades ago at the University of Minnesota.
Mr. Ellison’s campaign obviously has downplayed the affiliation with Mr. Awad. But here are the facts: Mr. Awad headlined a fundraiser last month that the campaign estimates netted $15,000 to $20,000, and in July, and it appears that CAIR’s co-founder bundled contributions totaling just over $10,000. (The campaign issued a terse denial on the latter point, though it refused to explain away overwhelming evidence to the contrary.) The campaign has gone so far as to suggest that Mr. Awad did all this without having any contact with someone he’s known since the late 1980s.
The Democrat’s supporters have taken a different tack. Rather than defend Mr. Awad or downplay his connections to the candidate, Ellison partisans have attempted to paint attacks on the candidate as overtly partisan or even bigoted. A Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist, for example, recently suggested that Mr. Ellison is under attack solely for being Muslim.
With the exception of Katherine Kersten’s Star Tribune columns on Ellison, there is more straight information in Mowbray’s single column than in the entirety of the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s coverage of Ellison over the past four months. While its reporters have been unable either to dig up the basic facts regarding Ellison’s public career, or to keep them straight, the Star Tribune editorial board and its lefty columnists have instead undertaken instruction in manners and attitude. The Star Tribune, to take just one example, has failed to discover or report that Ellison’s adult (and apparently Nation of Islam) aliases include Keith Hakim, Keith X Ellison and Keith Ellison-Muhammad. Ellison-Muhammad is in fact the name under which Ellison first ran for public office in 1998. Yet yesterday’s Star Tribune editorial (with the distinctive proud-to-be-ignorant bullying that is the hallmark of Jim Boyd) judges that when Ellison’s Republican opponent referred to Ellison by these names, he did so “in guttersnipe fashion.”
Following the September 12 primary from which Ellison emerged the winner the Star Tribune erroneously reported that Ellison had used his various aliases “when he was a law student in the early 1990s.” Perhaps the Star Tribune editorial is relying on the Star Tribune’s erroneous reportage in objecting to the behavior of Ellison’s opponent. Or perhaps the Star Tribune thinks it is implicitly bigoted to associate Ellison with aliases such as “Muhammad.” The editorial doesn’t bother with an explanation; the offense is apparently self-explanatory in Stribland. I don’t know why referring to Ellison by reference to these aliases is beyond the bounds of civil discourse, but I do know that a newspaper incapable of getting the facts straight is something worse than worthless.