A small Minnesota news outlet called Alpha News has gone to court to try to unseal the records of Keith Ellison’s divorce. Normally I find the idea of unsealing divorce records repugnant, but Alpha News makes what seems a pretty good case in its press release:
Keith Ellison is running to be Minnesota’s next Attorney General. As is common knowledge by now, two women have credibly accused him of domestic violence. We at Alpha News believe that the voting public of Minnesota should know the contents of his sealed divorce proceedings in order to make the most informed choice possible. That is why we instructed our attorneys to file a motion this afternoon in Hennepin County District Court seeking their unsealing.
Minnesota media are usually not shy about asking for such things. For example, the Star Tribune expended time and money to get the Prince divorce records unsealed and were successful. Apart from clicks, we didn’t see much news value to the effort but it’s telling that even there, where only prurient interest could be said to exist, the court granted the newspaper’s request.
Several Minnesota media outlets joined forces to compel the public release of documents relating to the tragic disappearance and murder of Jacob Wetterling. This coalition included the Pioneer Press, the Star Tribune, MPR, the Minnesota Newspaper Association, the Minnesota Broadcasters Association and others. The documents include materials about the family’s inner life and dynamics, information Jacob’s parents were assured would be kept confidential but which are now being overridden by the media in the interest of internet traffic. The material is set for public release two days from now.
Surely, then, local media platforms much larger than Alpha News would take the logical step of asking for Ellison’s divorce records to be unsealed? Except they have not and appear likely never to. Would they have refrained from unsealing these records if Republican candidate Doug Wardlow had credibly been accused of domestic violence by not one but two women? It strains credulity to think they would and this sort of manifest political preference by Minnesota media is regrettable. Like sin, media bias exists through acts of commission and omission.
We do not know at this early stage if our request will be granted. Nor, of course, do we know if there will be any information relevant specifically to domestic abuse or more generally to issues in the race for Minnesota Attorney General.
We do know that we’ve been lectured of late that “democracy dies in darkness.” While other media outlets prefer to let Minnesotans remain in the dark, we at Alpha News are glad to try and shine some light.
I doubt that there is anything relevant in the divorce records, but given the prevailing news blackout on Ellison, the effort seems worth making.
While multiple, recent claims of domestic violence (complete with a 911 call) are certainly relevant, they shouldn’t be Ellison’s biggest problem. His enthusiastic, years-long support for murderers of police officers, more than anything else, disqualifies him from being a law enforcement officer of any sort, let alone attorney general.
Then there are his stands on the issues. Do voters want Minnesota to be a sanctuary state, no doubt a top priority for Ellison as attorney general? Do they want to abolish ICE, the Democrats’ 2018 battle cry?
No. My organization, Center of the American Experiment, conducts a quarterly poll of Minnesota voters in conjunction with our magazine, Thinking Minnesota. Our most recent poll, which will be unveiled in the Fall issue of the magazine that goes to the printer tomorrow, sampled these issues among others. The results? By 60% to 36%–note that hardly anyone is undecided–voters reject the idea that Minnesota should be a sanctuary state. Even more decisively, only 29% support the Democrats’ demand to abolish ICE, with 62% opposed.
If Minnesota voters know who Keith Ellison is, and where he stands on the issues, he has no chance of being elected. The job of the state’s news media from now until November is to try to prevent that from happening.