Here's the most controversial TV interview in the Twin Cities from this week's election.
Last night, Heidi Collins -- a former CNN anchor -- at KMSP battled Secretary of State Mark Ritchie.
Did she go too far, not far enough, or was it just right? (Update: The view has been removed by Fox)
For the record, I am not in any way related to Heidi Collins.
(h/t: David Brauer, MinnPost)
This was an incredibly awful interview bordering on a frontal assault.
The innuendo about Ritchie's ties to ACORN was off-putting and completely unnecessary.
Her condescending attitude throughout, especially during the "I ask questions, you answer" outburst was unprofessional.
Why try to set up Ritchie as the person to blame for these tight vote counts? How is he responsible for it?
And how can she be so incredulous about his office being prepared for this sort of thing? It's not like this was planned in some secret Bilderberger session.
This was even worse than Passolt's bickering interview with the Lake Elmo mayor Dean Johnston over libraries.
Certainly a low point in Minnesota media.
Bob, it's too bad you aren't related. Then you would have been able to discuss how dumb the whole interview was during Thanksgiving Dinner.
I think Ms Collins has been watching too much O'Reilly Factor.
Totally unprofessional. Embarrassing. Not to mention pathetic. Greg's right - a low point in Minnesota media. An all-time low, in my opinion. Shame on Fox 9 News, shame on Heidi Collins.
I don't get audio on my pc. However what's up with her hair?
After watching this, and reading the comments, I'd have to agree with the three above. I believe that this is emblematic of the state of our political discourse today, sad as it is. What is distressing, is that this will probably only get worse, given the vitriol that passes as debate in our various legislative bodies.
Really - Shes didn't like his ACORN answer, took him to the mat on it. OK I like that. But clearly it was not an impartial interview.
I'm sick of Tony Sutton already.
What does ACORN have to do with anything here? It was Tony Sutton who threw out the ACORN charge. It is not Heidi Collins' duty to act as a full-on mouthpiece for the spurious voter-fraud charges leveled by the GOP Chairman. One question about ACORN would be OK. Instead, she made it the engine of her entire "interview." And that is not "aggressive" questioning - at a certain point, one has to just call that what it is: rude and unprofessional.
I'm also still trying to figure out how the Secretary of State of Minnesota can be blamed for the fact that we are a "purple" state with very close elections. Somebody please let me know if you have a good answer for that one. I didn't realize that Mark Ritchie could control stuff like that, but maybe Heidi Collins, political journalist extraordinaire that she is, has greater insight into this than a simple man like myself does.
If i was a news producer, I would want to get Mr. Suton on the air to explain/clarify his statements, and to provide some evidence to support his claims.
I would ask Mr. Ritchie to explain the process we can expect, how this is or is not different from the last recount, and what safeguards are in place against errors and fraud at the polls.
The way Collins treated the Secretary of State was pretty over-the-top, and not the sort of news coverage we have come to expect from Fox9.
I think it's exactly the sort of coverage to expect from Fox News, even locally.
Wow, that interview technique was an exact duplicate of their parent company's cable news outlet. Talking over the person you're interviewing does nothing to boost your credibility. It's obvious why Heidi Collins fell so far, going from the national platform of CNN to Fox9.
At first glance Tony Sutton looks like a younger Louie Anderson.
Maybe she's looking to get fired and hired by FOXNEWS national.
Call if the Juan-effect.
Won't someone think of her Free Speech?
Good luck to the next KMSP reporter who is trying to cover a story at the Secretary of State's office.
Ahh, I was just coming to the blog to email Bob the link to this interview and see what his thoughts were! Nice to see that he was on top of it already.
I happened to catch it live while flipping through the channels last night, and as soon as it was over I emailed the producers to let them know how cringing-ly awful I thought it was. It's certainly possible to conduct a pointed interview in a professional manner, and it is not necessary to talk over your guest, particularly when he is in studio with you and there is no delay on the audio. I found Ms. Collins' talking-over and condescending demeanor to be ridiculous. Perhaps she should return to cable news where that kind of approach is expected.
I wonder how many complaints FOX 9 received.
I think Heidi Collins was over the top and grandstanding. She clearly owes Mr. Ritchie an apology for her lack of respect. This was not kind interview; Heidi Collins acted like an attack dog.
She cuts her own throat by treating public officials so disrespectfully. It's one thing to politely disagree with an interviewee or pursue holes or logic gaps in their reasoning; but to completely lose control of oneself and the interview, as she did, will drive future interviewees to reconsider talking to her. Apparently she has a great future at FOX national.
BTW Sutton needs to go on a diet. But thats pretty obvious, n'est pas? I wonder when the rightees will realize the obvious incongruence between their wide bodied spokesperson and criticizing obese poor people for driving up health care costs. Maybe Heidi Collins could take up that issue in the future. She seems capable...
We loved the interview. But of course neither my wife or I voted for this tool.
Regardless of who you voted for, this is reprehensible. No one in the media should be treating elected officials this way. The media is supposed to be impartial, not stooping to the partisan hackery of idiots like Glenn Beck and his ilk on both sides of the political spectrum.
If this country is ever going to get back to being great, it is going to take a dynamic shift away from the fringes that are taking over politics in the country, and having people with common sense and more towards the middle of both sides of the aisle to figure this out. The ultra-conservative and ultra-liberal fighting makes the U.S. look more like a schoolyard brawl than a world leader. And the majority of Americans would agree with me that we need more middle of the road than any one side of the issues.
According to wikipedia, Tony Sutton is the CEO of Baja Sol. Fascinating.
Boycott Fox 9 News. Seriously. Not because you're a liberal or a conservative but because you believe in responsible journalism, not garbage like this.
I do believe David Brauer just completely nailed it:
You know, I heard someone tell me once that firefighters are often prepared to go out and fight fires, ready almost before the fire even breaks out, and my first thought was 'What? Are you kidding me? You knew this was going to happen again? You were prepared for it?"
News coverage is not a debate! This is disgusting.
The accusations of why this "continues to happen in Minnesota" are ridiculous. We have passionate voters on both sides of the spectrum, and good candidates that yield close races. There isn't anything more to it than that. Secretary Richie isn't responsible for close races in MN - he's responsible for running the recount process which is the result of a close election.
Tony Sutton's comments are terrible. It looks like a bunch of sore losers who are already complaining because they lost.
I haven't had much respect for cable or network TV news in the past decade, due to their frequent partisanship and sensationalism. However, this interview is a new low on both counts. Local newspeople should stick to informing the public, not attacking duly elected public officials, the democratic process, nor spreading rumors and misinformation.
I echo Justin's comments on how ill-represented we seem, with most of the people being generally in the middle, while many of the politicians (and news sources) have fallen off the left or right edge.
Jon Stewarts "Rally to Restore Sanity" is the closest thing to good politics we have at this point, so it seems...
I don't have a problem with her being aggressive, though the "I ask the questions, you answer them" section was over the line. My biggest issue with this interview was all the innuendo and insinuation.
"Do you understand the criticism and the questions being asked about those associations [presumably with ACORN]?"
"Interesting that someone from Hennepin County is on the panel, given their issues on election night." [referencing the Hennepin County judge on the canvassing board]
There isn't a specific point to refute, nor even a specific allegation. She's smearing by innuendo, and it's really disturbing.
"There isn't a specific point to refute, nor even a specific allegation. She's smearing by innuendo, and it's really disturbing."
Just another reason not to watch Fox news. CNN to KMSP? I think that explains it.
Ben, that is almost like the firefighters are going out and starting the fires themselves!
Have you seen ACORN start any fires lately? How about mention the word fire?
Like the commenter above, I'm puzzled as to why she's attacking the Secretary of State for there being a close election. I wonder if our perception of the interview would be different if she'd been a member of the community for more than a month or so. Feels like an outsider coming in and trying to make a mark.
Did KMSP take the video down?
I get a connection error here and on the KMSP web sit.
Tony Sutton sounds like a sore loser already, and he hasn't even lost .. yet.
Ms Collins is just plain rude. I hope for your sake Bob, that she isn't THE Mrs. Collins.
Heidi Collins is a Reporter/Anchor. I work at the Capitol, she should be fimilar with "F#$%ing media" as I am very fimilar with "f*#^ing Lobbyist"
But she was over the top, un professional and pushy. She could have accomplished the same goal with different jargon, different word choice, just a different approach.
She wants to make a name, now she has one.
No relation to Bob Collins (just for FYI)
@Ryan: I wonder if our perception of the interview would be different if she'd been a member of the community for more than a month or so. Feels like an outsider coming in and trying to make a mark.
I don't think this is any sort of "One of Us" situation. This is merely a hatchet job of an interview. If this was Passolt instead I hope it would bring the same amount of scrutiny.
Americans are increasingly--and willfully--ignorant about the way our government works and the processes by which laws are created and legislators are elected. This interview certainly didn't help the matter. Ugh.
Collins was disrespectful and unprofessional.
Collins is an embarrassment. Her attitude about the need for recounts is insulting to Minnesotans, or if she simply doesn't understand that it's due to a close vote, she is dumb as a post.
I'd consider this interview a firing offense. I wish I were a Fox9 viewer so I could start a boycott. Alas, I've never tuned in.
She wanted to discuss the potential for outside influence and he wanted to present the process. She pressed when he directed the discussion away from the topic she wanted.
I found the most inappropriate part to be the innuendo about Hennepin County as it clearly displayed a bias and did not provide any facts.
If those two were both in the Fox 9 studio, why were they pretending to do a satellite interview with the split screen thing?
@Mitch: see what Neal Justin over at the Strib staff blogs had to say about the in-studio interview thing:
Coming from the east coast, many have found me to be a bit too straight to the point (i.e. BRASH), but I am seriously considering changing my last name back to birth name just to make it very clear that I am not related by marriage or any other way to Heidi Collins (much less her). Mr. Newscut would not be attracted to an unprofessional, disrespectful "broadcast journalist" of Ms. Collins' ilk.
She was obnoxious!!! Not impressed with the new anchor at all. I will not watch that kind of TV news show....
I know the real Mrs. News Cut and--Ms Heidi. Collins--that's not you. Mrs. News Cut is informed, kind and respectful to all.
Please go back to wherever you came from and leave our Secretary of State alone.
Sad, just sad...I saw the interview last night and was shocked, shocked at how horrible it was. I will no longer watch Fox9 News again...
GAH! That was HORRIBLE! Her tone was condescending and her approach was just plain rude. She's not being blunt; she's strongly implying that Mark Ritchie is responsible for the need for a recount, and that Hennepin county is crooked.
I don't know why she's so bewildered by the close vote. Didn't she see that "12%" withHorner's photo in their graphics? It was pretty big. Gee, I wonder where all those other Emmer votes went...
I read this entry and the first half of the comments earlier today. (I also watched the interview.) I was going to make a comment, but wanted to check some information first. This relates to the insinuation that Mark Ritchie is somehow responsible for the close elections and the recount in 2008 and the pending recount in 2010. It also addresses Tony Sutton's outrage over the current state of the Governor's race.
To answer both of these questions I returned to the 2006 election. In that race Governor Pawlenty won re-election during what was arguably a strong "Democratic wave". In fact if I remember correctly he made light of "going against the tide". His margin of victory was less than 1%. There were 4 other statewide elections on that night. All of them won by DFLers with the closest margin being just under 5% in the Ritchie-Kiffmeyer Secretary of State race. You also had Tim Walz taking the 1st CD from Gill Gutknecht by more than 5%. I'll admit to not following it that closely but I don't think anyone on the DFL side even hinted at any kind of vote fraud/rigging in that case.
I could understand Sutton's "outrage" if his candidates had won the other statewide races, but they didn't. Why is he surprised that Mr Emmer is behind? All the other GOP candidates went down to defeat, even former State Auditor Pat Anderson who lost her rematch with Rebecca Otto. It was much closer this time around, 1.25% (25,000 votes) instead of 10% (140,000 votes) but more than twice the margin in the Governor's race and it was the closest of the other races. My opinion is that all of this outrage is to lay a trail of "suspicious activity" around the certification process and the potential recount. A story I heard yesterday mentioned that the vote swing in 2008 was 900 or so votes. If you double that to 2000 votes to Emmer, he still looses by more than 6000 votes.
Watch the interview again, but this time use your imagination to replace Heidi Collins with Stephen Colbert, and suddenly the entire conversation makes sense, even becomes some of his best material.
The only minor problem is that Colbert actually, really, deep down, knows what he is talking about and is able to use that to draw out the real news nuggets. In this case, the intelligence is all Mark Ritchie's.
Plus, Colbert's delivery is more polished, and I'm sure Secretary of State Ritchie would have had more fun with it.
Heidi Collins has got to go. Bring back Robyn Robinson. Heidi is rude, condesending and obnoxious. Her political ties certaininly came out in this interview. I thought reporters were suppose to be impartial when reporting the news. I will no longer watch Channel 9 as long as she remains.
That was not very Minnesota Nice, but then again none of that election stuff is. I foresee several long years of non-accomplishment and bickering. We live in sad times. (Those statements will be interpreted differently by each side, but it is meant for both). One thing I think most will agree on is the fairness of Mark Ritchie to the process of a recount.
I always watch FOX 9 news at 9:00, but not anymore as long as Heidi Collins is the anchor woman. I thought she was "reporting" the news, not analyzing it or giving her obviously "Republican" opinion. I hope Fox replaces her with someone kinder and a lot less judgemental!
Why is it Mark Richie's fault the election is so close????? (She should do a story on how he has that power!)
Who does this Heidi Collins person think she is? Terry Gross interviewing Bill O'Reilly?
Heidi Collins ambushed Mr. Ritchie! She played the role of an attack dog! Where was the respect?
My vote is to fire Ms. Collins!
The interview that Heidi Collins had with Mark Ritchie was not really an interview. It was a time for her to show us how she is going to conduct her business. I didn't know that channel 9 was changing their format from "NEWS" to entertainment like the other FOX entertainment stations... I was looking for real news, so I wont be watching channel 9 any more and I hope to convince many others.
I think the comments on this story illustrate the reality of our country right now. There are actually a few people who felt this was good journalism--attacking someone on spurious grounds, maligning their character based on past associations and basically being a rude and hateful person. This is not journalism--or at least it didn't used to be.
Tough questioning of elected officials is great. This was not tough questioning--it was coming into an interview with a preconceived notion and an agenda to try to score ratings points or boost support for a political party or both. It was tacky and unprofessional at the very least and sadly brings us one step closer to idiocracy, which won't help any of us. Why would anyone support it?
Heidi Collins is completely unprofessional, biased, angry, and seemingly unable to ask an intelligent question of Mr. Ritchie.
Hat's off to Mark for keeping calm and turning the tables on her Right-wing punditry.
This is not "news" and most viewers know it.