The Minneapolis Star Tribun’e Readers’ Representative is Kate Parry. We have had a number of exchanges with her, and have written about her from time to time. She is probably a nice lady, and I have no wish to take her to task at the moment. But her wrap-up column about the upcoming election and her paper’s role in it is, as so often happens with Ms. Parry, unintentionally revealing.
Focus on this paragraph about two local Congressional races, both of which we have written about extensively. It comes in the context of Ms. Parry’s cataloging of “sideshow issues” that distracted from the campaign’s main events:
How involved was Fifth Congressional District DFL candidate Keith Ellison years ago in the Nation of Islam — a group whose anti-Semitism he now repudiates? Does Sixth Congressional District Republican candidate Michele Bachmann ascribe to tenets of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, to which her church belongs, that labels the papacy “the Antichrist”? (Her spokesperson said “that’s ridiculous.”)
Keith Ellison’s involvement in the Nation of Islam is a subject we’ve written about extensively; it was, perhaps, “years ago,” extending over a decade from Ellison’s student days at least to 1998, when he ran for the Minnesota legislature under the name “Keith Ellison Muhammad” as an acknolwedged member of the Nation. Ms. Parry doesn’t mention, in addition to Ellison’s longstanding ties to the racist NOI, his repeated support for, and advocacy of, cop-killers and gang members; his association with the leader of the local Vice Lords gang; or his lesser offenses involving unpaid speeding tickets and unfiled FEC reports. All of this, Parry implies, is a “sideshow.”
A similar “sideshow,” in Parry’s opinion, is the absurd claim, asserted late in the campaign, that Michele Bachmann considers the Pope to be the Antichrist. This assertion came as a surprise to Bachmann, a Lutheran. Generally speaking, conflicts between Lutherans and Catholics ended some centuries ago, and Michele has not been found asserting the righteousness of those who murder Catholics, denouncing the Pope, organizing demonstrations against Catholics, or otherwise engaging in any conduct whatsoever that could support a suspicion that she considers Pope Benedict to be “the Antichrist.” In fact, I would lay a small wager that Michelle holds the Pope in considerably higher regard than does Ms. Parry.
This asserted equivalence between Keith Ellison’s long record of association with a bigoted organization, and his own personal advocacy on behalf of a number of gang leaders and convicted and accused cop-killers, and Michele Bachmann’s record of, what?–being a Wisconsin Synod Lutheran–typifies the frivolous nature of the Star Tribune’s coverage of political issues. And the Strib is not alone; most of the country’s major newspapers have acquitted themselves little better in the current election cycle.