Uncovering Minnesota politics

The Star Tribune dominates news coverage in Minnesota and the surrounding area. We can’t ignore it, but it’s not because it does a good job. Its failures can be a source of humor, however, if you achieve a certain level of detachment (which I find difficult to do).

Consider that the paper has a staff of reporters whose full-time job is the coverage of Minnesota politics. Ditto for the paper’s editorial staff. The paper even has a Washington bureau. And yet, something is seriously lacking in its coverage of big local political stories. What could it be? We won’t find the answer to that question from the Star Tribune.

This struck me in connection with the recent Star Tribune story by Patrick Condon and Torey Van Oot reporting Amy Klobuchar’s persistent abuse of her staff. She clearly has serious anger management issues. This is a story that has been out there for the taking in the Star Tribune’s front yard, but the Star Tribune was scooped by the New York Times and other out-of-state outlets.

Lagging behind, the Star Tribune has now confirmed the reporting of the other outlets: “Former employees of [Klobuchar’s] Senate office and previous political campaigns have anonymously described to BuzzFeed, the New York Times and now the Star Tribune, many examples of behavior by Klobuchar they considered abusive, bullying and demeaning.” I guess some kind of congratulations are in order.

This is not exactly a one-off. Substantial local stories broken by others than the Star Tribune include Keith Ellison’s long membership in the Nation of Islam. Mother Jones’s Tim Murphy nailed that down in 2017.

Put Ilhan Omar’s mysterious marital situation and anti-Semitism (the Star Tribune gives us that Omar’s comments are “viewed as” anti-Semitic by many of her colleagues) in this category as well. The story of Omar’s anti-Semitism has become a huge national story in the past 60 days. We got to each of those stories on Power Line before the Star Tribune. (The Star Tribune let Omrar’s marital story rest, shall we say, while Preya Samsundar and David Steinberg picked up the trail.)

Is there any professional introspection over there? The editors think they are doing quite a fine job in each of these cases. They hold out the paper’s mediocrity (at best) and nonfeasance as excellence. See my correspondence with Star Tribune editor Rene Sanchez here and editorial editor Scott Gillespie disparaging a reader’s criticism of the paper’s Omar coverage here along with my response here.

If not actually funny, we’re getting there.

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