Twilight of the newspapers (local edition), part 2

David Brauer reports that the Star Tribune is terminating the column of my friend Katherine Kersten. Brauer also reports that the Strib is terminating the column of Nick Coleman, who found a new way to criticize Governor Pawlenty last week. He noted that Governor Pawlenty’s trade promotion trip to Israel this week wouldn’t do much for Minnesota’s pork producers. Coleman’s subtraction from the roster of columnists strengthens the paper.

Despite the apparent symmetry, the termination of Kersten’s column is something else entirely. Her voice plays a crucial role in the state. She speaks for many in Minnesota who now are voiceless in the mainstream media. I have seen her speak before several audiences whose members testified that she was the sole reason they hadn’t cancelled their subscriptions. Unlike Coleman’s mindless left-wing pap, Kersten’s perspective is otherwise absent from the Star Tribune.

She has also broken major stories in her column. For example, she broke and has doggedly reported the scandal of suburban St. Paul’s Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy charter school in several columns that have attracted national attention. Kersten’s series of columns on TIZA have blown the whistle on taxpayer support of what is in reality an Islamic public school and in so doing exposed a major flaw in Minnesota’s charter school movement. Her reporting also revealed the campaign finance violations of then Fifth District congressional candidate (now Fifth District Rep.) Keith Ellison.

In addition, Kersten has introduced a culturally conservative perspective to the paper, opposing attempts to remake society through political correctness. She has highlighted the importance of sexuality, marriage and the family, and the influence of degraded entertainment on the young.

Star Tribune management is apparently getting an early start on the age of Obama, clearing the decks and removing the remaining voice of dissent at the paper. I have long thought that the Star Tribune treated Kersten like a foreign agent that needed to be expelled from its body. Yesterday they formalized the treatment.

If you are a local reader of the Star Tribune, you might want to let the paper know what you think about this. We know they won’t print your letters or messages, but write them anyway. Call publisher Chris Harte. And, oh, yes, please consider cancelling your subscription if you haven’t already.

UPDATE: Ed Morrissey provides somewhat fuller commentary. The reflections of former Star Tribune reporter Eric Black are also deserving of consideration. David Brauer specifically addresses my comments and adds some of his own.

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