The Mark Kennedy campaign has either come unhinged (for reasons about which I shall not speculate), or has decided that to beat Amy Klobuchar, Kennedy has to run against the Star Tribune.
In a June 28 e-mail to supporters, Kennedy Campaign Manager Pat Shortridge urgently requests campaign donations by tomorrow (so they can be included in the June 30 reporting period), because only by raising buckets of dough-re-mi can Kennedy hope to overcome the disadvantages of being covered by a newspaper that is little more than the publicity arm of the Amy Klobuchar campaign.
According to the e-mail , the Star Tribune has Ã¢â‚¬Å“decided that Mark Kennedy is such a threat to win our Senate seat with a fair and square campaign, that they need to do something about it.Ã¯Â¿Â½?
Why is the Strib willing to risk all for Klobuchar? According to the e-mail itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s because her father, Jim Klobuchar, was a long-time columnist for the Minneapolis Star.
According to the e-mail, the Strib has Ã¢â‚¬Å“decided that they’ll publish most any Democrat attack, no matter the facts. They’ll repeat the strangest liberal lies, even if they know the truth.Ã¯Â¿Â½?
This is an apparent reference to an eight-paragraph news article that was published on page 4B on Tuesday. The brief, balanced piece was a classic he-said-she-said covering the same matter about which I posted yesterday, namely whether the website of KennedyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s congressional office had been Ã¢â‚¬Å“scrubbedÃ¯Â¿Â½? of references to President Bush.
You can read yesterdayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s post or settle for this quick recap:
The pro-DFL website MN Publius said pictures of and references to Bush had been scrubbed from the website. Sentences that used to say that Kennedy-backed bills had been “signed into law by President Bush” now said that the bills merely “became law.”
The staffer who runs the website said the changes were part of ordinary Ã¢â‚¬Å“updatingÃ¯Â¿Â½? to make it more Ã¢â‚¬Å“current.Ã¯Â¿Â½?
Minnesota Republican Chair Ron Carey said that actually, if you searched the site there were still 72 mentions of Bush.
Publius replied that this included many references that were double-counted by the search engine, some that were merely links to outside articles that mentioned Bush, some that were critical of Bush. So the actual number of warm Kennedy comments about Bush, saith Publius, was in the low teens.
Powerline weighed in on (gasp) KennedyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s behalf, by interviewing KennedyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s campaign spokesman who said there was nothing to any of it.
The Big Question, if you donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t take the time to look below, said that the whole thing was silly. Of course, in the current climate, Kennedy is deemphasizing his Bushiness and you would too if you were him.
And if you were part of Team Klobuchar you would try to call attention to it. But this counting of changes on the website was not energy well spent.
I still think that, by the way. And I would never have returned to the subject of The Incredible Changing Kennedy Website if Shortridge hadnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t decided that the Star TribuneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s demonic coverage of it had become one of the best reasons to support Mark Kennedy.
If itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s that important then by jingo letÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s at least spend another minute on the coverage.
Did I mention that the one and only Strib story about it consisted of 12-inches of type on page 4B?
Utilizing the highlyl-evolved techniques of scientific journalism, my esteemed colleague Conrad deFiebre crammed into those 12 inches the basic back-and-forth over the kerfluffle, quoted from the DFL and GOP chairmenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s press releases, and actually endorsed the pro-Kennedy spin that:
Ã¢â‚¬Å“the claims by MN Publius, picked up by national blogs … Politicalwire and Dailykos, that Kennedy’s site had been “scrubbed” practically clean of the president appear to be exaggerated.Ã¯Â¿Â½?
Here is where we deviated from fairness and balance. We failed to label another apparent exaggeration, namely the GOP line that only a Democratic stooge could suggest that the website was de-Bushified at all.
But actually, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not the choice of words and facts that went into ConradÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s story that extinguished the last shred of Team KennedyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s patience with the StribÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s transparently false claim to be able to cover the race fairly. It was the fact that we did the story at all which, according to them, the Strib knew to be based on liberal lies.
Even if Conrad quoted the GOP chair calling them lies, even if we call the claims exaggerations, even if we donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t label the Republican exaggerations as exaggerations why write about it at all except to advance the favorite Dem talking point that Kennedy is a Bush lap dog?
Good question. Personally, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m past the point where I think journalists can always give a good explanation for what makes kerfluffle X a story (albeit, 12 inches on page B4) and kerfluffle Y not a story.
But I will mention one last point that some (undoubtedly biased) observers might think makes it slightly hypocritical for Team Kennedy to argue that anyone who thinks this particular kerfluffle is worth a story (B4, 12 inches) must be working for Klobuchar.
Before Conrad wrote, the Minnesota GOP issued a press release, and sent it to the Strib, giving chairman Ron CareyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s side (did I mention it may have been slightly exaggerated) of the kerfluffle. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a press release. As in, we, the state party, invite you to write about, nay, encourage, nay, suggest that you write about this matter.
It begins with the words Ã¢â‚¬Å“for immediate release.Ã¯Â¿Â½?