Normal people probably don't care much, but it's a big issue for us in the radio business--politicians seeking statewide office who won't take questions from reporters. It happened yesterday as noted here by Mr. Scheck when journalists tried to ask legitimate questions of the two top DFL endorsed candidates in the state.
Instead of answering the questions Mike Hatch and Matt Entenza tried to manage the news by issuing written statements. Written statements may have some usefulness in the print media, but for broadcasters they're pretty much useless. It would seem the primary reason for such a strategy is to keep the story off TV.
DFLers are not alone in using such tools. Remember a few weeks ago when the Pawlenty administration announced there were no bidders for the crosstown highway project? They did it on a Friday afternoon with a written statement and made no one available to answer reporters' questions.
It happens all the time, but somehow seems more cynical during campaign season. These people are, after all, asking the public to accept their message. They invite the media to any number of inane photo ops and statements on policy. But when the news is bad they head to the bunker. Shouldn't the voters and the media be entitled to wonder what would happen if they're in office and things take a turn for the worse? Should we expect four years of hide and seek with the press?
Posted at 11:57 AM on July 13, 2006
by Mike Mulcahy
I'm told that the dearly departed (at least temporarily from this page) Bob Collins will be taking part in an event tonight at the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis.
It's about money and politics and also features Jeff Blodgett and Judy Blaseg.
It's sponsored by the Citizens League and The Current. Doors open at 5:30, program starts at 6:30. Here's the release from The Current:
We all know that politics and money "go together." The conventional wisdom says that it takes money to get elected.. But does more money always mean a better chance of winning? Is it just about advertising? And is this how we really want things to be, anyway? Join 89.3 The Current and The Citizens League at our next Policy and a Pint when we'll delve into the relationship between money and elections in America, and look at Minnesota's own unique history.
Varsity Theater, 1308 4th St. SE, in Minneapolis' Dinkytown
Cost: $10; $5 for students with valid ID.
Reserved tickets not picked up by 6:20 may be given away.
Shouldn't they say the "air-conditioned Varsity Theater?"
Posted at 2:19 PM on July 13, 2006
by Tom Scheck
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee released its second batch of Red to Blue candidates and Patty Wetterling made the list. The DCCC says it hopes their campaign will switch some of the GOP seats (red) to Democratic seats (blue). Wetterling is running against Republican Michele Bachmann in Minnesota's Sixth. The endorsement means Wetterling will receive structural and financial help from the DCCC.
Notably absent from this list is Democrat Tim Walz who is challenging Republican incumbent Gil Gutknecht in Minnesota's First District. Walz mentioned the Red to Blue program when I asked him a few days ago if he was going to get any help from the national party. An official with the DCCC says Walz didn't make the list this time but they will continue to watch the race..
Posted at 5:26 PM on July 13, 2006
by Tom Scheck
Minnesota House Speaker Steve Sviggum held a news conference touting the candidates for the Minnesota House. He says they'll focus on education and keeping taxes and government spending low. DFL House Minority Leader Margaret Anderson Kelliher held a different news conference saying voters are tired of the same thing and aren't happy with rising property taxes. Control of the Minnesota House will be in play throughout the campaign since the Republicans have a two vote margin of control.
Posted at 5:28 PM on July 13, 2006
by Tom Scheck
Minneapolis City Council member Paul Ostrow got the endorsement of the Minneapolis Fire Fighters today. Ostrow also released his public safety plan which calls for a restoration of the Clinton Cops program. Ostrow also ripped DFL endorsed candidate Keith Ellison for authoring a bill that would mandate probation for first time drug offenses. Ostrow says that sends the wrong message to kids and ties the hands of judges. Ellison says he supported the bill because drug treatment is a better alternative than prison. He also said he called for a restoration of the Clinton COPS program last month.
Former State Senator Ember Reichgott Junge held a news conference saying she supports a bill that would provide federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. So does Ellison and former DFL State Party Chair Mike Erlandson.
The candidates will debate the issues tomorrow (FRIDAY) night on public television's Almanac.
Posted at 5:31 PM on July 13, 2006
by Tom Scheck
Entenza is currently doing a teleconfence with reporters right now. He says he takes full responsibility of the investigation but says the the private research company was not authorized to research Hatch's personal parking tickets (see MDE post).
Entenza's apology comes less than two hours after his campaign released the documents it got from the FOIA investigation of Hatch's office. He also held a teleconference a few minutes later with reporters insisting that he wanted to know the inner workings of the office since he didn't work there for ten years. All of that changed when Brodkorb with MDE posted this...
Posted at 5:41 PM on July 13, 2006
by Tom Scheck
Statement from Matt Entenza
"In 2005, I asked Gragert Research to request and assemble the public documents of the Office of the Minnesota Attorney General. The firm delivered those to me.
I have just learned that the firm made a much larger series of public document requests than I requested, including the recently released Dakota County parking ticket file.
This is not the information that I requested. However, I take full responsibility for the firm's actions and I apologize to Attorney General Hatch."
We'll try to get the audio up soon along with the statement from the Gragert Research firm.
Posted at 6:35 PM on July 13, 2006
by Tom Scheck
This is the statement from Dennis A. Gragert. Entenza said earlier that Gragert would be available for interviews. Gragert's office now says he won't be able to comment until Friday. We're encoding the audio of the two Entenza teleconferences and should have them on the website later.
Here's the Gragert statement:
"Last year, Matt Entenza asked my firm to assemble the public documents of the Minnesota Attorney General's Office. In the course of our work, we collected a larger scope of public documents that Mr. Entenza requested. We engaged our standard research model, gathering all public documents about the Attorney General. We only delivered to him the public records provided by the Office of the Minnesota Attorney General in compliance with his clarified request.
I apologize to Representative Entenza for the confusion resulting from our work."