Dayton v. Kennedy

Returning Senator Mark Dayton to the Ranks of the Idle Rich in 2006


A Tale of Two Newspapers

Both Gary and I had some rather harsh words for a recent Saint Paul Pioneer Press editorial lauding Senator Dayton as a courageous truth-teller for calling Condoleeza Rice a liar.

Writing at his blog, Pioneer Press columnist Craig Westover begged readers to give his newspaper another chance, noting:

Word on the street is that circumstances left but two of the editorial board members on duty Tuesday, and the Dayton editorial was somewhat of a “mice will play effort.”

I beg my paper a little slack until the “A” team is back on the field.
Respecting Craig's request, let's followup to see how the two papers compared on that topic in the next phase: letters to the editor responding to the story. Examining these shows a striking contrast:

The Star Tribune ran four letters gushing with praise for Senator Dayton’s behavior, and only one letter – consisting of a single line – critical of the Senator.

By contrast the Pioneer Press ran five letters critical of Senator Dayton personally, and another critical of Democrats in general which did not single out Dayton by name. Zero letters in support of the Pioneer Press’ own editorial incidentally. One hopes this was a gesture intending to balance their prior incredibly unbalanced editorial. Hat-tip to MDE for pointing to these letters.

In the upcoming 2006 Senate race, Twin Cities newspaper readers should keep a sharp eye on both papers as the election draws near. By tradition, the Star Tribune is likely to show tremendous bias in favor of the Democratic candidate. It certainly would be nice to have a reliable alternative voice to counter that bias from the other major paper. Let's hope more readers will continue to pressure them for balance.

-posted by Doug


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