Independence of Duluth News Tribune Political Endorsements

The recent DNT endorsement of Chip Cravaack, a conservative Republican who enjoys a lot of Tea Party support, made me want to tap the PDD community for information and discussion of the DNT endorsements over the years. The Fargo-based, private company Forum Communications became owner of the DNT in 2006. Since then, the DNT and the many other Forum newspapers overwhelmingly tend to endorse conservatives and Republicans as a bloc.

This calls into question whether the DNT editorial staff is independent of its Republican ownership, headed by wealthy Republican donor and Forum CEO William C. Marcil. There is evidence that all Forum newspapers tend to endorse the same conservative candidates as a bloc and are influenced by Republican owners.

MinnPost: “Duluth, Bemidji, Fargo newspapers endorse Horner for governor
Eyeteeth: “One man, many votes: On owner-driven endorsements
UMD Media Law and Ethics: “Editorial endorsements raise questions of transparency, independence at Duluth News Tribune

If the Forum newspaper editorials were indeed independent, one would expect there to be many differences in the endorsements across the years and the many newspapers they own. If there are essentially little or no differences among the endorsements, and the endorsements reflect the Republican ownership views, then it appears like there is little editorial independence.

Since the Forum takeover, the DNT has endorsed:
1. Republican Pawlenty over Hatch for Governor.
2. Republican Coleman over Franken for Senate.
3. Republican Cravaack over Oberstar for Congress.
4. Republicans McCain/Palin for President/Vice-President.
5. Lifelong Republican Horner (recently turned independent) over Dayton for Governor.
6. Republican Mary Kiffmeyer over Mark Ritchie for Secretary of State.

Here are some questions:
1. What were the endorsements like before Forum took over the DNT?
2. Is there a comprehensive list of endorsements since Forum took over the DNT?
3. Is there any further evidence of editorial independence or lack thereof since the takeover? For example, is there evidence from people who have sat in on the meetings with or have received communications from William C. Marcil (who seems to have pushed editorial staff to endorse Republicans)?
4. Was there an immediate shift in endorsements after Forum took over the DNT? Was there a gradual shift? Have any liberals been endorsed by the DNT since the Forum Comm takeover?

78 Comments

Teos

about 10 years ago

The DNT endorsed Oberstar in 06 and 08.

edgeways

about 10 years ago

My unscientific thought is that when it comes to purely local endorsements Forum seems to not really care, but endorsements for Federal level elections seems to go universally to Republicans, which does raise the specter of outside influence. It amuses me that they endorse Cravaack on one hand and Reinert on the other.

adam

about 10 years ago

No date on this by Chris Olwell, but I think it's relevant:

"When Forum bought the Duluth News Tribune last June, the paper ran two front-page stories about how the newsroom staff was relieved to be working for a family-owned company that was dedicated to journalism, their future having been uncertain before the sale. Marcil wasn't going to "upset the apple cart," by making drastic changes, one said. In both stories there were a couple paragraphs explaining how Marcil influenced the editorial endorsements of his other papers. It was made clear to Washington and the editorial board during the transition that decisions in state and national elections would be made by the new owner*. Marcil would not interfere with the editorial endorsement process at the local level. These paragraphs were the only hints of the changes that would take place at the paper." *emphasis added

Also:

In 2006, Marcil was presented with the state of North Dakota's highest honor — the Roughrider Award.

On September 14, 2010, Marcil announced that he will be stepping down as the publisher of the Fargo Forum on December 01, 2010. Marcil is relinquishing his role as publisher and CEO but will remain chairman of the board of Forum Communications Co., the Forum's parent company.

Dave Sorensen

about 10 years ago

I believe they endorsed McCain and Caribou Barbie in '08.

exDNTer

about 10 years ago

When Bill and Jane Marcil bought the Duluth News Tribune and papers in Superior, Cloquet and Two Harbors, they made several changes that eroded editorial independence.

They cut newsroom staffing levels severely, laid off the best of the newspaper's independent-minded and ethical editors, and instructed top editors to "take care of" any stories DNT reporters wrote about Forum Communications or any of the newspapers the company owns. 

They also began making the editorial endorsement decisions at the state and national level as Chris Olwell outlined above.

Claire

about 10 years ago

My understanding is that when it comes to endorsements, the members of the editorial board each get 1/2 vote and the publisher gets 5 votes. And, as I recall, the DNT was one of only a small number of newspapers that endorsed McCain/Palin in 2008. If people don't think that Fargo is calling the shots on the endorsements the publisher cares about, they're not paying attention.

carla

about 10 years ago

Local Race: DNT endorsed Mark Rubin (whose signs appear in the same yards as Cravaack and Emmer) over Melanie Ford (whose signs appear in DFL yards).

Paul Lundgren

about 10 years ago

It's pretty unlikely that Forum dictated who was endorsed in the Rubin/Ford race, but, since the News Tribune hasn't made any statement this year (that I've seen) about which endorsements come from its editorial board and which come from higher up, we are left to speculate, aren't we?

David

about 10 years ago

Comments by an editorial board member on FB insist that the decision was local and independent, though I suppose that raises another question:  how is that board constituted?

The Supreme Court decision about Bush v. Gore was independently reached, after all.

Claire

about 10 years ago

The Rubin/Ford endorsement editorial was the most schizophrenic piece I've read yet in the DNT. It basically said that Ford has done a good job, she's done this, she's done that -- but let's endorse Mark Rubin anyway. That's why we readers are left to speculate on who's calling the shots over there anyway when it comes to even local races.

Tony D.

about 10 years ago

As much as I'd like to blame Forum for the Cravaack endorsement, it could well have been a DNT editorial board decision. When the DNT endorsed McCain/Palin, Chuck Frederick included a note explaining that the endorsement came from the powers that be at Forum Communications. No such note this time around. Just a guess, though: I have no facts to back this up.

Carla, I noticed that too. My worry about Rubin is not that he is a Republican/conservative or that his professional experience is in any way lacking, but that he has long been a crony of former County Attorney Al Mitchell. Mitchell lost the race to Ford four year ago in part because he was so arrogant about winning he went on a motorcycle trip instead of running a campaign. Once out, the County Commissioners quickly hired him as County Administrator. So I fear that if Rubin wins, it will serve to bolster the "Good Old Boy Club" mentality of many of the the St. Louis County Commissioners -- whose opponents the DNT endorsed.

I just don't understand how you can endorse Rubin if your commissioner endorsements are designed to clean house in the county, or how you can both endorse Roger Reinert and Cravaack -- whose political ideals seem diametrically opposed -- during the same election cycle.

Walter Noze

about 10 years ago

The same thing has happened across the land, including the Brainerd Dispatch, owned by conservative-ladened Morris family of Georgia (along with countless banks) that emerged unscathed from near bankruptcy with skilled self-promotion and pity. But Brainerd Dispatch was fairly conservative under McCollough family, so it runs pretty deep and fits the nature of the redneck region. Duluth and NE Minnesota are a bit broader in political flavor. Progressive compared with the backwoods. Oh, for a shot of Wellstone passion!

Sam

about 10 years ago

Interesting discussion!  Does anyone know who was on the editorial board when the DNT endorsed Oberstar in 06 and 08, versus who is on the board now?

Anonymous

about 10 years ago



FWIW, Chuck Frederick from the DNT editorial board told  The Uptake about the endorsement process. He "insists his papers endorsement of Tea Party Republican Chip Craavack has nothing to do with its right-leaning owners."

Claire

about 10 years ago

The editorial board is made up of Frederick, the Publisher, an employee representative and two "citizen" representatives -- Beth Olson and Bob Hansen.  Someone very knowledgeable about the process told me the publisher has five votes and everyone else has 1/2 vote. The publisher doesn't need to tell Chuck Frederick what to do, b/c the publisher's already got the advantage in the vote! Ridiculous. I miss Knight-Ridder.

Sam

about 10 years ago

So does that mean we have a "Tea Party-leaning" editorial board for the DNT?  That strikes me as unlikely.  But on the other hand, maybe we do.  I really don't know much about the editorial board, which in part prompted my question.  Who is on the board now?

I just listened to The Uptake interview at http://blip.tv/file/4289614.  It is interesting the Oberstar suggested that the conservative Forum Comm has "undue influence" on the DNT endorsement.  It certainly appears to be that way, given the consistent conservative endorsements across all the Forum Newspapers (is the DNT the exception to the rule?).  If all the Forum Comm papers lean heavily conservative, then it is likely due to their ownership.  It seems bizarre to think otherwise.

Also, how is it possible to maintain "a balance of liberal and conservative views" on the board, as Chuck Frederick insists, and still endorse a Tea Party beloved?  There must be some very conservative people on the board.  So then the question is who the Forum Comm is hiring, and whether the influence is at that stage of the game.

Chuck Frederick insisted that his boss did not influence the endorsement, but didn't he say that his boss sits on the board itself?  Or was he referring to another boss in the interview?

Also, we know that a boss can influence indirectly, since people generally want to please their boss even if their boss doesn't tell them directly to do something.  People have families to provide for, and they want to make their boss happy (for obvious reasons).

(And as an aside, it drives me crazy every time I hear the word "balanced" in this context, as if something is more fair if it has a mix of conservative and liberal views.  This is about as crazy as having a medical team balanced with science and anti-science members, or a religious group balanced with theists and atheists.  It is not as if one is more likely to get "the truth" by having people who radically disagree about the truth in the same room together!)

Paul Lundgren

about 10 years ago

I would take Chuck Frederick's word that Forum did not influence the Cravaack endorsement.

What I don't like is that I haven't seen a similar statement about the DNT's endorsement of Tom Horner for governor. I don't like that readers have to guess which endorsements come from where. I think the paper should feel obligated to make that clear.

I do think the DNT has been up front about who is on the editorial board. It's printed in every issue. You don't have to look hard to find it.

Ken Browall, publisher
Chuck Frederick, editorial page editor
JoLissa Kowalik, employee representative
Bob Hansen, citizen representative
Beth Olson, citizen representative

When the paper is directed by Forum to endorse a particular candidate, that's bad enough, but to not indicate when it happens is even worse. In the past, it has been clearly noted. This time it has not been.

Paul Lundgren

about 10 years ago

So here's the low-down. Bear with me, it's a little confusing, but not that confusing.

I spoke with Chuck Frederick, Duluth News Tribune editorial page editor, today. He stated clearly that all of the DNT endorsements this year were strictly made by the editorial board (members listed in the previous comment).

There was a directive from Forum to endorse Tom Horner for governor, but it came after the DNT's editorial board had already decided to endorse Horner. 

In the case of Cravaack/Oberstar, Frederick said Forum did not push an endorsement at all.

Connie Wanek

about 10 years ago

Because I have so much respect for Robin Washington (and some of the other staff), I kept my subscription to the paper.  After the endorsement of Cravaack, I canceled my subscription for good.  It was the last straw.  When will people start a new Duluth newspaper that doesn't function like a poke in the eye with a sharp stick every morning?  Honestly, what are their circulation figures?  All the worse if the Cravaack endorsement came from Frederick. 

Paul Lundgren

about 10 years ago

To repeat, the endorsements were from the editorial board, which Chuck Frederick is 1/5 of. The decision was not unanimous, so Frederick may not have wanted to endorse Cravaack. But he may have. We don't know.

Jim

about 10 years ago

Mmmmmm. Finally I can smell some fresh air coming out of the DNT after years of painful bias. It's so funny to hear you whiny libs cry in your granola when someone other than your own is endorsed. By the looks of things the tide is turning in northern Minnesota, as well as many other areas of the US. Feingold -- gone. Jimmy-gone. The black tie liberal elites are fleeing the ship like the rats that they are. Yup, the union ether is finally wearing off after years of blabble from the likes of Jimmy and Co. I'm so damn happy that our once proud nation has sniffed out the real agenda behind the socialist minions -- from Hussein Obama (That's his name, right?) to the evil Pelosi all the way to Jimmy-the one who can't lose. For each of you libs who cancel their script (can't be that many) there will be a dozen who start a subscription. Congrats DNT for standing up to the bullies. Just like on the playground, when the libs realize that they're no longer accepted, they'll shrink away. And I, as well as many others, will toast a new era of prosperity and normality.

Sam

about 10 years ago

Jim,

Thank you for the Cravaack perspective on things.  Now I know what we have to look forward to if Cravaack does win.

Sam

PS- Thanks for pointing out President Obama's middle name.  FYI, McCain's middle name is "Sidney," and we all know that the middle name defines the man!

Claire

about 10 years ago

Jim, if I were you, I wouldn't count my poops until they were laid. The newspaper endorsed John McCain. He lost. The newspaper endorsed Norm Coleman. He lost. Endorsements mean little if most people --rightly or wrongly --are speculating there was some arm-twisting done by the publisher on the editorial board. 

I'm not even voting for Oberstar as much as I'm voting against Cravaack. As far as I am concerned, the kinds of people supporting a candidate tells me a lot about that candidate.

zra

about 10 years ago

Don'tcha just luv this time of year? Election season, I mean.

Politiks brings out the very worst in people.

Danny G

about 10 years ago

"I wouldn't count my poops until they were laid."


Gross.

Claire

about 10 years ago

But Zra, the parties are fun.

The Friendly Old Knifey

about 10 years ago

People get really upset when you talk about which candidate you support on election day, but they're even worse when you tell them that you are not going to vote.

Sam

about 10 years ago

I wonder what the DNT procedure for appointing a citizen rep is.  Beth Olsen is famous for being a super-duper progressive (and was arrested at a George W Bush rally at the DECC in 2004; the changes were dropped).  Bob Hansen is famous for being a super-duper conservative Tea Party organizer (and recently called climate change research "arbitrary" and "wasteful").  

Do they look for extremes for the citizen reps?  Is this how we get "fair and balanced"?  

Should we also get Christian Scientists (who believe the bible prohibits modern medicine) to sit on Medical Review Boards with medical doctors to balance things out?  If one extreme is right (medical doctors, for example), doesn't that make the opposite extreme (and even the middle) wrong?  

Doesn't appointing extremes like that more or less guarantee at least one person is going to be extremely wrong?

Sam

about 10 years ago

When Knight Ridder owned the DNT, were there more Democratic endorsements?  I would assume so, but I am curious.

Jim

about 10 years ago

Sorry Sam, I have no clue as to why you  relate my perspective to Cravaack. Because Jimmy's a lifer and Cravaack is running against him? Maybe I wasn't clear enough for you. I'll spell it out so you can better understand. 

The socialist democratic progressives, who are in a vast minority, are losing ground. They did a good job of fooling some of the people who don't research their opinion. These ordinary people bought into the lies that you spewed. Now the truth is emerging, and these same people who were cajoled into voting for Jimmy year after year, or Hussein on the message of change, have finally realized what your true agenda is. 

The incompetence of Hussein makes Bush look like a genius! The Republican neocrats are laughing their ass off because now, thanks to people like you, they will have their monkeys regain control of Congress. 

See, the truth is that I'm just as disgusted with the entrenched Pubs as much as the likes of Jimmy. I can't stand either of them. And it's because of people like you Sam, who continually put them in office. 

Cravaack, in my opinion, is a constitutionalist, or at least close to one. That's a bad thing to socialists, but a good thing to those of us who believe that it was a timeless document that is as effective today as it was 200+ years ago. The more we stray from its intent, the more we will be in trouble. If I have to choose, I'll err on the side of Republican, as the left-leaning progressives will destroy this country more quickly than the likes of McCain or Palin.

Oh, and yes, the middle name, in this case, has a lot to do with the character of the man. Fact: He's changed his name. Fact: He considered himself a Muslim at one point in his life. Fact: He has denied that, which makes him a liar. Fact: He followed religious radicals, and quoted them in his own book as those who had a great positive influence on his life. Fact: He had 143 days of experience before bamboozling the public into putting him into the most important position on the globe. I've had cereal sitting in my cupboard longer than that. 

Fact: Jimmy has been in Washington for over 45 years. Opinion: Close to 50 years in Washington is about 32 years too much. He's gotten rich off on the public's dime. He's completely lost touch with reality, and his constituents. Watching him on television made me cringe. He's a bitter old man that needs to retire gracefully, and hand over the reigns to someone who has fresh energy and the willingness to return the seat to the people. And that doesn't mean his choice, much like Blatnik did, or what wonderboy Donny is hoping to do when it's time to cash in his chips (pun intended).

Paul Lundgren

about 10 years ago

It's hard to tell whether Jim is baiting the rest of the commenters, or if the rest of the commenters baited Jim. Either way, it smells like a minnow bucket in here.

Patsy

about 10 years ago

I've tried to ignore Jim's ignorant comments, but I lost that fight, so here goes.  First of all: where is this "fact" that Obama considered himself a Muslim at one time, and has denied that recently?  He did attend a Muslim school when he was a child and lived briefly in Indonesia.  Does that mean he converted?  I don't think there's any evidence of that.  However, the real point is: so what?  If he was Muslim or is Muslim (which he's not, so calm down) so what?  How is that an issue any more than someone who claims to be a born-again Christian, a Catholic, a Jew, or a Hindu?  What about someone who does not believe in God at all?  What possible difference can that make?  

Most of the self-proclaimed Christians running around in Washington and St. Paul sure don't seem to follow the teachings of Christ when it comes to feeding the poor, loving the sinner, and turning the other cheek.  So, regardless of what religion, or none at all, it doesn't seem to impact anyone's political decisions.

Drifter

about 10 years ago

I think at least half of the nominally pro-tea party comments on internet boards are actually stealth progressives trying to make conservatives look like idiots.  "Jim" is obviously campaigning for Oberstar (whether he realizes it or not).

Claire

about 10 years ago

Jim's rant makes me think of the LTE in today's DNT, in which the writer points out that the Tea Partiers are all for free speech -- except when they disagree with the speaker. Then they'll do anything to shut that person down, because they can't stand dissent.

Olwell

about 10 years ago

I think my story was published in Spring 2007. Nice to see it getting some attention years later.

Bob

about 10 years ago

With the proliferation of media and information, I am less concerned about the DNT's editorial endorsements, their process or the composition of their board.

Forum is a business, and they will endorse candidates that they believe are good for their bottom line. If people will stop reading DNT in significant numbers because of their political leanings, then I guarantee DNT/Forum would endorse different candidates.

As a wise politico told me, "in politics, red and blue do not matter. Green matter$."

Chad

about 10 years ago

Jim- since you believe it is appropriate to address someone by their middle name, please provide us with yours.  That way we can address you as such, since that is that way to do it, apparently.

Voula Heffernan

about 10 years ago

I have it from a very good source that the Knight-Ridder run newspapers virtually NEVER dictated an editorial board endorsement, although many (on all sides of the fence) thought so. 

The important consideration for me in this is in Oberstar's response to the DNT endorsement (that was not published in the DNT). He referred to the changes in the selection process that disturbed him. The DNT has chosen to not continue the KR format of individual interviews of all candidates prior to making endorsements. This was an attempt to be open from the start and use, in the privacy of the editorial offices, a planned interview session for each candidate, with a subsequent evaluation based on answers to those questions. It took time but it was a wonderful system.  

Now they choose to use methods that seem unclear (no real rubric) for decision-making that seems destined toward weighted decisions. The chaos of the DECC debate was no way to get good information in which decisions are made. And... a question to ask that board is if the publisher has a stronger vote in the mix, especially when employees are part of the board decisions? 

I think they all are probably good people, but they need to make their process more open and even and at least try to be objective or forget about it and just come out and be clear so we know. If Fargo isn't calling the shots directly, then are they putting forth indirect pressure when they've been so obvious about past partisan support of candidates? I give credit to the DNT though for a very complete and well-done voter summary to prepare voters and I recommend voters take a look at that.

Jim

about 10 years ago

1. Your hypocrisy is rich! I love the way you libs try to bully those of a different opinion by calling them "ignorant" or "stupid". Whatever.

2. Obama lied. He wouldn't have been elected if he would have been truthful about his past. Documents provided by the AP showed that students attending the Fransiskus Assisis Catholic school were registered under one of five different religions: Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Catholic or Protestant. Obama, then known as Barry, attended the school from 1st through 3rd grade as student 203. He later enrolled in Public Elementary School Menteng No. 1, written as a Muslim. Yes, Patsy, a Muslim. He "converted" to the religion you libs seem to love to bash, a Christian, in the 1980s. A matter of opportunity? Connect the dots. 

3. My middle name- does Kahn work for you?

4. Lastly, about the DNT. Again, the tide has changed. I'm sure it will change again. Thank goodness they aren't controlled by the granola munchers anymore. A little common sense seems to be a burr in your saddle. Get used to it -- I think it's the beginning of a lot more to come.

Kabhi alvida na kehna.

zra

about 10 years ago

@ Jim: supporting links, please. Otherwise, you're just another Orly Taitz.

Sam

about 10 years ago

Voula,  Thanks.  That was very helpful.

Paul Lundgren

about 10 years ago

I suppose I better confess before Jim learns my secret and outs me:

I was a Lutheran in elementary school.

Guess I won't be running for president now.

Claire

about 10 years ago

I was brought up Catholic, married a Jew, and am bringing up my daughter as a Pagan. I'm hoping this doesn't bite her in the ass 40 years from now, if she ever runs for office. Or wants to become a nun. Or wants to become a Rabbi.

Voula, are you saying the DNT editorial board did not even interview Oberstar or Cravaack in person, one-on-one, but, rather, made the endorsement based on that debacle of a debate? If so, for shame, that is the height of carelessness. I hope I am just misinterpreting your comment.

Jim

about 10 years ago

Zra, I'm assuming you are asking for links referring to Hussein's school records. Barry Soetoro, AKA Barry Obama, AKA Barack Hussein Obama is a flim flam artist of the highest order. Feel free to throw the likes of Orly under the bus. Bottom line is that there is way too much smoke to blame it on the gas coming out of some Pubs. Here's a link to a quality image of one of his school records, back when he was Barry. I know it's tough to admit to something that you had believed in so strongly, so I won't hold it against any of you. He's put it in print himself, and has been quoted. He's done some switcheroos before, and I'm sure they will continue, as long as it can keep him in office... 

http://mcnorman.wordpress.com/obama-hussein-barack-birth-certificate-forgery/

zra

about 10 years ago

@ Jim: I could give two shits either way. I just like facts and links supporting what you're saying.

Claire

about 10 years ago

Sorry, Jim, I really don't give a shit if Obama said he was a Wiccan or even a Martian way back when. My college roommate was Muslim -- so, unlike you, I get it that not all Muslims are wild-eyed terrorists. Just like I know that not all Christians are proselytizing hypocrites.

eco eco

about 10 years ago

I'm fine with the fact that having a low opinion of folks like Jim makes me an elitist.

Katy

about 10 years ago

Jim,
When was the last time you heard of a child enrolling themselves in elementary school?
I'm pretty sure it's a parent that does that and fills in the paperwork. 

It would actually be kind of hard to figure out how Obama would/could even practice the Muslim religion as a child. Clearly his mother wasn't Muslim and even though his step-father was born a Muslim, the fact that he drank alcohol and married an American woman would pretty much indicate that he wasn't practicing that religion as an adult. 

As far as name changes, aren't your claims/accusations kind of silly?
A lot of children take the last name of a step-parent, even if they aren't legally adopted by them. 
And the fact that someone named Barack used Barry isn't any more strange than a Harold using Harry or a Robert using Bobby.

Katy

about 10 years ago

Too Priceless. Did you even read the contents of that page you posted as a reference?
It was pretty amusing, especially toward the end. ;)

Voula Heffernan

about 10 years ago

Claire... I don't know for sure that Oberstar or Kravaack were not interviewed personally by the DNT but Oberstar claims, in his response to their endorsement, that he was not. Oberstar indicates that he misses those old KR candidate interviews. Someone would have to check it out with Chuck Frederick if they do those any more. It's my impression they gave those up.  They likely ask candidates to fill out questionnaires or determine the questions and asked at debates will give them the information they need... but no more of those interviews for any candidates. Guess it would need checking out. 

And additionally.. the tenor of the conversation with Jim is lowering the  standard set at the beginning of this conversation. We might as well be at that crazy debate at the DECC.  I vote for sanity!

The Big E

about 10 years ago

[img]http://i412.photobucket.com/albums/pp209/maxt384/trollsfeed1.jpg[/img]

Claire

about 10 years ago

Voula, I'd be interested if the DNT would explain exactly how they go about the endorsement process these days -- easy enough to find out....  I wish someone like Bob Boone or Jennifer Taylor-Romme would explore it in their newspapers. It'd make for a great story, since the DNT's endorsement is so high-profile and has been so wacky the last few years.

Sam

about 10 years ago

Claire and Voula, I too am interested in the endorsement procedure.  Do they just get together and vote, or do they first interview the candidates, or what?  

How the endorsement committee is formed is also of interest. This year it is made up of two community activists (one on the liberal left, one on the conservative right), a business management student, the publisher (hired by the conservative Forum Comm), and the editorial page editor.  

It seems that it would be very easy to get the outcome you want if the two upper-level employees vote together, since they easily get the third vote from one of the community reps (one will always vote far left, the other far right).  It would also be easy to hand pick the employee rep based on his or her political beliefs (which are often likely known by the bosses).

So it seems to me that it would be very easy to 
jerry-rig it so there are three votes out of five for a candidate.  They start out with the community rep vote automatically split to begin with (since they put on extremists from opposite sides).  So it is just a matter of getting two out of three votes (say, for Cravaack) from the employees who are hired by the conservative Forum Comm.

Sam

about 10 years ago

Here is more than two hours of video of the DNT candidate forums, in which the endorsement board asks some of the candidates questions (but neither Cravaack nor Oberstar are included in the videos)...
http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/pages/ironrange

Voula Heffernan

about 10 years ago

Claire, In reading all the endorsements, it does appear that some interviews did take place. And I'm sure a lot of work goes into gathering information from the candidates by the DNT. But I'm not really sure if there is a true "standard" protocol followed for each election as there was with the KR regime. I'm not against their using other methods of searching for information though and I don't really know exactly what they do. It does require some fact checking. Oberstar, however, implies in his responses that he was not interviewed and that makes me wonder.

My point in this is that when an editorial board works together to make decisions, they all need to listen to the same standard of questioning and hear the same information so they are all equally informed before coming out with consensus to support candidates. And... with the Forum's strong conservative stance and their known directives with some elections in the past, they surely must indirectly sway those decision-makers working for them at the DNT. But what do I know? None of us has all the facts in this. Your idea of calling for a public disclosure of those methods would help us all understand.

Tony D.

about 10 years ago

Thanks, Voula, for this info  (and Claire for asking the questions).

Has anyone noticed that with all the endorsements the DNT made, 17 of 19 were for Democrats, yet the only two candidates shown with their photo on the website's opinion page are Republicans Cravaak and Rubin? I wonder why that is?

Piglet

about 10 years ago

Interesting too that right after the DNT endorsement, Mr. Oberstar comes out with a whiny ad on TV about it. Apparently he forgot that they endorsed him the last time. Not sure where I stand yet but I do think it's time for Mr. Oberstar to go. We need new blood regardless of it's color. JMHO.

Can't wait for November 2nd to be over and the endless analysis begins.

Voula Heffernan

about 10 years ago

Tony, Good to point out that party affiliation has not predominated DNT endorsements. And Paul, thank you for the earlier DNT fact checking feedback about Fargo directives in this election. As has been pointed out to me, the DNT has the right to cast opinion and favor on the editorial page. That's where they can and should give opinion. But... whether or not you support Oberstar in this race, you have to give him some credit for what he's done for our area. I'd think he deserved an interview. It's a respect thing. Thankfully, on Nov. 2, it will all be over. So all we have to do is get out and vote.

Connie Wanek

about 10 years ago

Thanks to Perfect Duluth Day for providing such good information, not just on this subject but on many others.  So many thoughtful people!  Also, I'd like to say that I didn't mean people should boycott the DNT--not at all.  Honestly, the paper has improved dramatically since Robin Washington became editor, in many small and large ways.  I don't want news I agree with (or disagree with!)--I want news straight, as unbiased as humanly possible.  I have often wondered about the whole tradition of paper endorsements, and actually, I think they may be a bit counterproductive.   But I could be wrong.  Maybe they actually improve circulation figures.   

I can't wait for November 2nd to be here, as I love to vote!  I only have the one vote, but to me, it's always very satisfying!

Sam

about 10 years ago

More controversy over the DNT Cravaack endorsement... 

http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/event/article/id/182424/

It seems that Don Ness sent an email to the editorial board suggesting that endorsing Cravaack was a bad idea, and someone on the board (Bob Hansen) forwarded it to other fellow conservatives (who were told to keep it confidential).  It eventually got forwarded to a conservative blog.

The content of the Ness email seems accurate enough.  He largely pointed out some of the features of the unruly debate.  But the article questions whether it is appropriate for a politician to email his opinion about an endorsement to an editorial board.  

Ness' opinion was probably obvious long before the email, and his opinion about the unruly debate is hardly controversial.  The question is whether putting his opinions down in an email to the board is appropriate.

Jim

about 10 years ago

That shouldn't surprise you Sam. Donny has always been a bootlicker for Jimmy. He's the heir apparent, and he'll do anything to support him. Look at the press conference he orchestrated yesterday. 

See, I believe the left is morally "schewed" (I don't want to say what I really mean with the fears of getting yanked, like some of my other posts, as this blog is all about being left, not "right"). That's why this election, like so many others, is so important- more so than any other time in our recent history. Here's a link. I invite all of you who have the courage to watch it to really think about what you are supporting when you crow about your liberal philosophy. When you brag about raising your child as a pagan. When you brag that you protest our involvement in fighting murderous muslims. When you castrate the moral values that this country was founded on...
http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=XNUc8nuo7HI

Claire

about 10 years ago

Don Ness did not make any inappropriate demands or threats in his email to the DNT editors. He heard a rumor (we all did, I knew about the endorsement before it ran) and voiced his opinions to the two DNT editors. I actually admire Don more since reading his defense of Congressman Oberstar against the Tea Party guy. It's an excellent opinion piece, I am all for the DNT running it as an op-ed. Much, much better written and more articulate than Dennis "KY-Jelly" Fink's inarticulate rant against his opponent in today's DNT.

BTW, if anyone thinks somebody other than Bob Hansen leaked this email to a conservative blog, they're just not paying attention.  But Mayor Ness has nothing to apologize for. It's called free speech, and it's guaranteed him in the Constitution -- even if he is the Mayor.

Danny G

about 10 years ago

C, did anyone say that Don Donny didn't have the right to free speech?  The answer is "no".  That's one of my favorite moves of yours, C.  Make the argument about something that nobody else is arguing about.

Sam

about 10 years ago

Claire, No one thinks Bob Hansen leaked it directly to the conservative blog.  According to the DNT article, however, Hansen was the only person who admitted to forwarding the email to friends, friends who likely shared his conservative views.  A reasonable hypothesis is that one of those conservative friends forwarded it to other conservatives (despite Hansen telling them to keep it confidential, as the DNT article states), and that it eventually made it to the conservative blog this way.  Generally, one should not forward a confidential email to friends, if one wants to keep it confidential.

And I too think the DNT should publish Ness's email as a letter to the editor.  It is a great piece of writing, and is right on the mark.  It shows how intelligent Ness is (and how goofy the DNT endorsement is).

Claire

about 10 years ago

Sam, I agree with you, Don's letter is well-written and makes an excellent argument for why Oberstar should have been endorsed by the DNT and should be re-elected. I'm rather tempted to re-post it on listserves I belong to.

It's just unbelievable to me that the DNT endorsed Cow Chip on the basis of a public forum that turned into an ambush of Congressman Oberstar. I notice today's Reader has an article about the DNT endorsement process. Way to go, Bob Boone!

Claire

about 10 years ago

I recommend that people pick up a copy of this week's Reader and read Bob Boone's excellent report on the DNT's endorsement of Cow Chip over Congressman Oberstar, as well as his explanation for why the Reader no longer endorses candidates. Bob, when you're on, you're good.
  
Thanks for trying to provide us with some enlightenment regarding a highly flawed process at the DNT. 

BTW, if the DNT did not bother to interview Congressman Oberstar during the endorsement process because they've met with him before and "we know what's he's thinking" as Chuck Frederick explained to Minnpost, does that mean they talked one-on-one to Cow Chip before making their endorsement? After all, this is the first time he's run for public office, and I doubt they know what he's thinking. 

The DECC forum was a disaster, and the DNT completely failed its readers if they endorsed Cow Chip on the basis of that debacle.

jim

about 10 years ago

Claire, please get over it! The Reader won't help - only women with hairy legs reads that rag. And the guys that do aren't the voting type- they're busy knitting their girlfriends leghair into warm sweaters. Mr. Cravaack was endorsed because he is the best candidate for the job. Jimmy isn't. Jimmy is a has-been. Jimmy's losing support from his core supporters. Jimmy comes off as being angry. Jimmy doesn't live here. Jimmy's confused. Jimmy doesn't want to play in someone elses sandbox. Jimmy's should fire his campaign manager for his incompetency. The citizens of the 8th should give Jimmy's campaign manager an award thanking him for his incompetency. Jimmy's commercials are of the same quality as Arrowhead Autobody. Jimmy is going bye-bye...

Claire

about 10 years ago

Excuse me, Jim, but the Reader has influence. People read it. A few years ago, President Bush came to town. The Secret Service posted photographs of three local men of interest -- two of whom were clearly identified as Joel Sipress and Joel Kilgour -- with orders to arrest upon sight. Not only did Salon.com pick up the story and run with it, the New York Times mentioned the incident in an editorial (calling Joel S a pointy-headed college professor, which made me laugh)  and the Washington Post reported on it. Other media did so as well. If you want to think no one reads the Reader, that's your prerogative -- but like many of your other assertions, there is no basis in fact. You seem to live in your own little dream world.

Danny

about 10 years ago

The irony of bringing that story up on a topic where the people were "acting up" at the Oberstar/Cravaak debate is hilarious.

jim

about 10 years ago

Oh, Claire, I didn't say no one read it. I was just claire-ifying their audience. Please, be accurate in your lies! (Thanks Yogi!)

Claire

about 10 years ago

Jim you *wrote* only women with hairy legs and their boyfriends read the Reader. I beg to differ and pointed out that major national media picked up a story that broke in the Reader about the Secret Service targeting local activists. Sheez.

jim

about 10 years ago

Sheez, how do you know they didn't have hairy legs??

Danny

about 10 years ago

Does nobody else find it hilarious that these local activists screaming at a politician is being brought up by someone complaining about people screaming at a politician?

Paul Lundgren

about 10 years ago

So, against my better judgment, I actually picked up a copy of the Reader and read the story about the News Tribune's endorsement process, as recommended by Claire.

I'm left wondering what she thought was so "excellent" about it. It begins with a sort of apology for how the deadline crept up on the author and "the hour is late."

Then the rest of the first half of the story is reprinted material from a 2008 article. The second half mostly quotes from a blog and from MinnPost.

The story concludes with information gleaned from what appears to be the only actual interview conducted for the story. But the entire story fails to mention the only new and remotely interesting information about this topic -- that there was no directive from Fargo to endorse Cravaack, and that there was a directive to endorse Horner, but it came after the DNT editorial board had already endorsed Horner.

Claire

about 10 years ago

But you read it Paul! Suckah.

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