In today’s New York Times Matt Flegenheimer and Sydney Ember perform the proverbial deep dive on the experience of working for Minnesota’s own presidential candidate, Amy Klobuchar (accessible here on MSN and here on Outline). The The Amy Klobucahr Experience is not pleasant. Klobucahr’s Minnesota nice thing is a facade. You probably wouldn’t want to work as a direct report for Klobuchar.
The story does not come as a great shock. It has been out there for a while. The Times adds depth and specificity to previous reports.
I think the story raises a few questions. Does Klobuchar’s mistreatment of her staff matter? It undercuts the image she is trying to project. In that sense, it has same bearing on the campaign.
Is Klobuchar’s treatment of her staff different in kind from that of the other current or prospective candidates? It’s hard to believe that the Amy Klobuchar Experience is much different than the experience of working for the other current or prospective candidates who have jumped into the race. In any event, Klobuchar is a distinctly secondary candidate in the Democratic field. Why is the Times doing its thing on her now?
Klobuchar’s treatment of her staff may differ in kind from the other candidates and reflect a poor character, but it is probably less relevant than Bernie Sanders’s love of the former Soviet Union or Cory Booker’s fabulations or Kamala Harris’s means of ascent, to take three prominent examples of cases that warrant a close look. Will the Times get around to them some time soon?
The Times’s Klobuchar story leads with an anecdote I first heard from a reporter by email in June 2018. It has been out there for a long time. Klobuchar is a notoriously difficult boss. Why hasn’t the Star Tribune performed this kind of investigation of Klobuchar?
In his February 9 Morning Hot Dish newsletter, Star Tribune political reporter Patrick Coolican called Klobuchar’s bad reputation as a boss “the worst-kept secret in DFL politics.” The Star Tribune has nevertheless been good about keeping the secret. He added that “no one is a closer reader of her own clips.” On that point one can reasonably infer that he speaks from personal knowledge.
The Star Tribune’s nonperformance in the case of Amy Klobuchar case does not stand alone. In 2017 Mother Jones published the best account yet of former Fifth District Rep. Keith Ellison’s long agitation on behalf of the Nation of Islam. Murphy’s findings still haven’t seen the light of day in the Star Tribune.
We also have the matter of the mysterious marriages of current Fifth District Rep. Ilhan Omar. PJ Media’s David Steinberg has provided serious investigative reporting of the story. The Star Tribune has left the field to Steinberg.
And that’s not all. We’ve been on top of Omar’s anti-Semitic hatred of Israel, a story that broke into the open in the past month. The Pioneer Press’s Dave Orrick goes where the Star Tribune has yet to tread in “MN Jewish leaders talked with Ilhan Omar about anti-Semitism last year. Why they remain frustrated.” It’s a contribution to a story that will be with us for a long time.
The editors of the Star Tribune think the paper is doing a good job. If I worked for the Star Tribune, I would be embarrassed. If I owned the paper, I would do something about it.