That Was Then, This Is Now

On Monday, we did this post about the fact that the Minneapolis Star Tribune was fervently anti-filibuster during the Clinton administration (“the putrid flood of verbiage known as a filibuster”), but has changed its tune now that the Democrats are using the filibuster to block President Bush and the Senate’s Republicans. Our post drew an outraged respose from the Strib’s Deputy Editor, Jim Boyd, who claimed that the paper had never advocated changing the filibuster rule. We responded that this was plainly untrue, inasmuch as, in our original post, we quoted a Strib editorial dated September 30, 1994, which said: “[Reformers] should crusade for changes in Senate procedures that would prevent an obstructionist minority from delaying action indefinitely.”
Today we got an email from Jim Boyd, titled “Oops.” It said:

John: Re. the filibuster: I was looking only at the one 1993 editorial about filibusters. There was a second editorial in 1994, in which we endorsed a Don Fraser proposal for revising senate rules. We’d missed the second one in a search we did before running our Sunday editorial. We found it about half an hour ago. I think you actually have caught us in a contradiction. We can change our mind, as we did on light rail, but in this case, we really didn’t. We simply missed the precedent and, like a court, if we make such a shift, we owe readers an explanation for why we did it.

They would have found the 1994 editorial a lot quicker, of course, if they’d actually read our post before attacking it so vociferously. We not only quoted from the 1994 editorial, but reproduced it in full. But that’s OK. To err is human, and we’ve made a mistake or two ourselves. We appreciate Jim’s candid communication. We have good friends at the Star Tribune, and cordial relationships with many reporters and editors there. We’re happy to accept his acknowledgement in that spirit.
I really do wonder, though: is the Star Tribune’s editorial board actually going to try to explain why it advocated terminating the filibuster when the Republicans were in the minority, but considers it a bulwark of democracy now that the Democrats are using it? If so, it should be interesting.


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