This series has as its subject the intersection of press and politics in Minnesota. The politician is Ilhan Omar; the press is the Star Tribune.
Yesterday I addressed a few basic questions to Star Tribune editor Rene Sanchez. Here is the message I sent, lightly edited to correct errors and add a page citation:
Dear Rene: As of this afternoon, the Star Tribune has yet to run a single follow-up story to the June 8 Condon/Coolican story on Ilhan Omar’s 2014-2015 joint tax returns filed with a guy she wasn’t married to while she was married to another man. Is it conceivable to you that the Star Tribune would have left a story like this about a state Republican star after the initial report? It’s not to me.
Have your reporters asked what other years Omar filed jointly with Hirsi? If so, what was her response? If not, why not?
I have written ten pieces on Power Line about the campaign finance board file on Omar’s campaign. The Star Tribune has yet to run one. Why not?
The Omar “crisis committee” emails appear in the file under docket number 35 [PDF omitted]. They show Omar’s crisis manager Ben Goldfarb getting a handle on the “crisis,” i.e., Power Line’s exposure of Omar’s plural marriages and related issues. Speaking privately among his friends, Goldfarb commented that “Someone should reach out to talk off the record [with Blois Olson] and shut it down [i.e., the story reported by Power Line] with [Olson] as we do with the Strib” (page 19). I ask that you comment on this. Have you ascertained what other stories Goldfarb might have been referring to?
Goldfarb reports to the crisis committee members that he has “talked to the Strib and they are generally in a good place (they get that there are not 2 legal marriages and are not pursuing the brother angle), but have pieced together that the person she is legally married to is not the father of [her] children, on the website, etc. They are asking for confirmation of that” [(page 38)]. I wonder if you might want to comment on why the Star Tribune was not “pursuing the brother angle.” When Patrick Coolican contacted me for his first story on the issues that week, I asked him who they said Ahmed Nur Said Elmi (Omar’s then legal husband) was. “They won’t tell me,” he said.
I would appreciate your comments.
Thank you, as always, for your courtesies.
My comments about the Star Tribune are not directed personally at Star Tribune reporter Patrick Coolican. He commented on Goldfarb last week in the tweet below. I am happy to add his tweet to this post for the record.
I knew literally none of these people. it's SOP to call a reporter and try to soften or kill a story. But i wrote up the powerline post in hotdish and we ran a story about the allegations the next day or two. we were the first local news outlet after powerline to do so. https://t.co/VttHQVwqXk
— j. patrick coolican (@jpcoolican) June 13, 2019