Across the great divide

In Minnesota the state government may have shut down, but the the Minneapolis Star Tribune remains hard at work. The Strib is working overtime to portray Republican legislators as hardline ideologues responsible for the shutdown and as divided in their commitment to holding the line on spending. Consider Baird Helgeson’s “In GOP, a deep divide over hard line on budget.” (Did Rachel Stassen-Berger have the weekend off?)

There are many things wrong with this story, but correcting the Star Tribune’s coverage is a full-time job and my time is limited. Here are three notes for those who might care:

1. Helgeson cites Republican former Rep. Jim Ramstad as his lead witness. Ramstad is a liberal Republican who has been out of office for several years. He has no hand in the current budget issues. Calling him as a witness is farcical, but the Star Tribune has already used former Republican Governor Arne Carlson (emphasis on former Republican) and former United States Senator Dave Durenberger (emphasis on former Republican), so they have moved on to Ramstad. They must be getting desperate.

2. How many current Republican officeholders does Helgeson cite to support the thesis of his story? I count maybe two. Give me a break.

3. Lacking substantial evidence from Republicans involved in the issues, Helgeson cites Democratic Governor Mark Dayton to support the thesis of his story. Sorry, guys, but this is cheating.

This is only the most recent of several Star Tribune stories with the same theme and paucity of evidence. What about the Democrats? If there are any Democrats who have qualms about the box that Governor Dayton has placed them in, we will apparently have to find out about it from some source other than the Star Tribune.