Rochelle Olson: Reckless and feckless

During the fourth hour of Saturday’s Northern Alliance Radio show, Mitch Berg of Shot in the Dark and Ed Morrissey of Captain’s Quarters interviewed Star Tribune reporter Rochelle Olson. Yesterday both Mitch (here) and Ed (here) commented on the interview. Audio of the interview should be available here later today. The interview focused on Olson’s appalling Star Tribune story (with Paul McEnroe) on the expunged arrest of Republican Fifth District congressional candidate Alan Fine. I commented on the story here, here, here and here.
McEnroe and Olson left a few things out of their story on Fine’s expunged 1995 arrest such as the fact that Fine was never prosecuted or convicted of the charge, that there was no physical evidence to support the charge, that the physical evidence tended to belie the charge, that the Star Tribune had known of the arrest since July and previously deemed it an unworthy story because of doubts concerning the charge, and that Fine’s ex-wife has had a history of assault, abuse and mental health issues for which she herself has been arrested, placed under a child protection order, and had child custody restricted.
All in all, the McEnroe and Olson story on Fine’s expunged 1995 arrest may be the shoddiest story ever published in the Star Tribune. Mitch gently asked Olson why she and McEnroe left out the fact that Fine wasn’t prosecuted or convicted of the charge on which he was arrested in 1995. Limited to 35 column inches, space prevented recitation of all relevant facts. Why did they leave out the fact that Fine’s ex-wife was subsequently arrested for domestic assault? Olson denied that Fine’s ex-wife was ever arrested for domestic assault. (She was prosecuted for domestic assault twice.)
Olson is also partly responsible for the Star Tribune’s pitiful coverage of Fine’s Democratic opponent Keith Ellison. The Star Tribune has never gotten around to reporting the extent of Ellison’s work on behalf of the Nation of Islam. Rather, in every story touching on the subject, the Star Triibune has simply repeated Ellison’s demonstrably false statements regarding his limited involvement with the Nation.
According to Ellison, for example, Ellison was never a member of the Nation of Islam. Ed asked Olson why the Star Tribune has never reported that Ellison ran for office in 1998 — years after his involvement with the Nation was allegedly terminated — as a self-identified member of the Nation of Islam. Well, said Olson, Ellison has said otherwise. And that, I guess, is good enough for her.
Last week I called Olson to ask her a question concerning her story on Fine’s expunged 1995 arrest. She responded: “Why should I tell you? You won’t believe me anyway.” In retrospect, I can see that is the answer Alan Fine should have given the Star Tribune when asked to comment on his expunged 1995 arrest.

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