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Jim Knoblach didn’t waste time correcting the St. Cloud Times’ misstatements about him. Here’s what Jim said:

I was puzzled by one line in the recent St. Cloud Times endorsement editorial. It said I sometimes provided “minimal support for measures that directly benefited his district.”

During my time in the Legislature, I successfully authored more than $100 million in bonding projects for the St. Cloud area. This is far more than any representative in local history. St. Cloud State University and St. Cloud Technical & Community College each received tens of millions of dollars from my efforts. Other projects like Quarry Park, the Beaver Islands Trail and various transportation projects also benefited.

Unlike past years, the Times Editorial Board never gave me the courtesy of an interview before announcing its endorsement. I was thus unable to respond to whatever concerns it had on this subject. Many other local candidates were granted interviews.

I hope in the future the Times gives the courtesy of an interview to all local candidates for endorsements.

Jim Knoblach is a House 14B candidate from St. Cloud.

Jim Knoblach is running for the state legislature, though you wouldn’t know it based on the Times’ reporting. The average citizen wouldn’t have known that Jim Knoblach wasn’t even asked if he’d like to be interviewed for the Times endorsement. I wrote here that the Times decided that they were endorsing Jim’s opponent long before they conducted a single candidate interview.

This year’s Times endorsements were utterly unprofessional. The Times endorsed Joe Perske to replace Michele Bachmann in Congress. Fortunately, he’ll get beaten like a drum next Tuesday. Here’s one of the Times’ rationalizations for endorsing him:

Voters need to elect the person who can begin to restore district credibility while improving the return district residents get on the tax dollars they send to Washington.

Here’s another:

While Emmer is the likely favorite because of the district’s conservative demographics, voters need to seriously consider whether his political persona will help the district. He’s similarly conservative to Bachmann and he is known as a political bully, which makes his House strategy is “building relationships” a tough sell.

Summarizing, the Times endorsed Joe Perske because they think he’d bring home the pork the district is losing out on and because Tom Emmer is a political bully.

At this point, it’s difficult picturing the Times Editorial Board as anything more than gossip columnists. They aren’t professional. They didn’t do their due diligence. They didn’t even treat one of the major party candidates with respect. That isn’t just shameful. It’s disgusting.

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In Part I of this series, I highlighted the Times’ sloppiness with basic facts. In this post, I hope to highlight the wishful thinking found in the Times’ article. Here’s the first bit of wishful thinking in the Times’ article:

In addition to leading the Legislature to shore up transportation funding, Dayton should give serious consideration to tax reforms aimed at making Minnesota’s business climate more competitive with other Upper Midwest states.

That’s pure fantasy. The last 2 years, we were afflicted with a DFL legislature and a DFL governor. They could’ve done anything they wanted to do. They chose not to implement “tax reforms aimed at making Minnesota’s business climate more competitive with other Upper Midwest states.” Instead, the DFL legislature and Gov. Dayton worked together to pass tax increases on “the rich” because, in their own words, “the rich” weren’t “paying their fair share.”

With the Times explicitly stating that they want Gov. Dayton to continue and with the Times implicitly stating that they’d prefer keeping a DFL legislature, why would anyone think that the DFL would repeal the tax policies the DFL governor and the DFL legislature just implemented?

This statement is frightening:

The past four years leave little doubt that under his leadership, the state’s budget situation has stabilized.

While government is fat and happy, families that don’t live in southeastern Minnesota are getting hit with skyrocketing health insurance premiums and unaffordable deductibles. The Times’ preference that government funding is stable while families struggle is perplexing. Government’s first priority should be to put in place policies that get government out of the way so businesses can do what they do best: create prosperity. Gov. Dayton’s administration and the DFL have specialized in telling families they know what’s best for them.

When the DFL legislature passed the bill forcing unionization on child care providers and Gov. Dayton signed it into law, Gov. Dayton and the DFL told those small business ladies that they knew what was best for them. When the DFL legislature passed the legislation enabling the creation of MNsure and Gov. Dayton enthusiastically signed it into law, Gov. Dayton and the DFL told Minnesota families that Minnesota families weren’t smart enough to make informed decisions on what they needed for health insurance.

The Times’ endorsements this year have emphatically stated, albeit implicitly at times, that they believe government knows best. It’s apparent that the Times thinks its readers aren’t that bright:

Plus, while he’s certainly been aided by DFL majorities, he’s also demonstrated an ability to compromise. Look no further than scuttling proposals involving major sales tax reform along with repealing the minor ones that did pass in 2012.

The only reason why the DFL repealed the tax increases they enthusiastically passed is because not repealing them would’ve led to a political bloodbath this election. Their decision didn’t have anything to do with compromising. It had everything to do with saving their political hides after they’d overreached.

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In the St. Cloud Times’ endorsement article where they endorsed Mark Dayton, they made some sloppy statements that simply aren’t factual. Here’s one of the Times’ sloppy statements:

Republican challenger Jeff Johnson’s strongest arguments seem rooted more in attacking Dayton than detailing exactly what government programs and priorities he would change and cut.

The Times apparently didn’t interview Commissioner Johnson. In fact, it isn’t clear that they even visited Commissioner Johnson’s campaign website. If they had, they would’ve gotten this important insight into Commissioner Johnson’s agenda:

I will initiate a top-to-bottom audit of the programs that Minnesota taxpayers fund. We will celebrate those that can prove they produce the results we claim to want; we will end those that cannot. From the first day I am in office to the day I leave, I will work to put government back into its place as a servant of the citizens, not their master.

Apparently, the Times hasn’t figured it out that you can’t list programs and departments that will be dramatically changed until you’ve initiated “a top-to-bottom audit” of state government programs and departments. Finding out which programs and departments are working and important is the essential first step. Apparently, the Times didn’t grasp the importance of that first step. Either that or they just weren’t interested because they’d already decided that they were endorsing Gov. Dayton. This statement is laughable:

Yet those details are important amid his broad push for lower taxes and less regulations.

Actually, those details aren’t important at this point. It’s only important to tell voters that government won’t waste their money like the Dayton administration has. It’s only important to highlight the ways that the Dayton administration has spent money foolishly. This statement is driven either by total ignorance or blind partisanship:

Plus, unlike Dayton, it’s hard to see compromise emerging from his rhetoric and record.

At last week’s debate, the candidates were asked by Don Davis how they could work with the other party. Gov. Dayton’s answer was highlighted in several articles as essentially being ‘I can work with the other side as long as I have a DFL legislature.’ During his answer, Gov. Dayton launched into a lengthy diatribe about how Republicans’ ideas were unreasonable, which forced him to work only with the DFL.

How is that proof that Gov. Dayton will work out compromises with the GOP? In fact, we have proof that he won’t work with Republicans. Gov. Dayton intentionally shut state government down while rejecting Republicans’ lights-on bills that would’ve kept government open. Gov. Dayton wouldn’t even keep transportation projects going even though those projects have little or nothing to do with general fund revenues.

Check back later today for Part II.

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Proving that they’re most interested in pumping up the DFL, the St. Cloud Times didn’t even bother interviewing Jim Knoblach, the GOP-endorsed candidate for HD-14B. Meanwhile, they positively gushed about “impressive DFL challenger Emily Jensen.” Ms. Jensen is still a student at St. Ben’s while running for Jeff Howe’s seat.

Saying that the Times lack of professionalism is showing is understatement. This afternoon, I confirmed with Jim Knoblach wasn’t contacted by the Times. Consequently, he wasn’t interviewed about the Times’ endorsement. Here’s what they wrote about the candidates for HD-14B:

Two very strong candidates, DFLer Dorholt and former GOP Rep. Jim Knoblach, are vying in a marquee race to represent a diverse district that covers mostly the eastern half of the St. Cloud metro area. Through his personal, business and community experiences, Dorholt is best positioned to represent a district that’s home to a diverse mix of young people, new residents, and deep-rooted homeowners and businesses.

Reflective of that constituency, Dorholt has been part of a DFL legislative majority that has enacted many changes benefiting most of those constituents. Look no further than the minimum wage hike, expanded health coverage, and investing more in B-12 education while curbing the costs of higher education.

Challenger Knoblach served in the House from 1995-2006, including as chair of the powerful House Capital Investment and House Ways and Means Committees. In those roles, he proved himself to be a business-minded fiscal conservative, even when it sometimes meant minimal support for measures that directly benefited his district and the St. Cloud area.

Again, both candidates are well-qualified. Dorholt gets the nod, though, because his priorities better match the diverse needs of this district.

The Times didn’t just refuse to interview Jim Knoblach. When they published their endorsement, they threw in this cheap shot, too:

In those roles, he proved himself to be a business-minded fiscal conservative, even when it sometimes meant minimal support for measures that directly benefited his district and the St. Cloud area.

Never mind the fact that Dorholt did nothing to question St. Cloud State’s questionable financial decisions while he was the Vice-Chair of the House Higher Ed Committee. That isn’t setting the right priorities for his district. Dorholt’s willingness to ignore what’s happening at SCSU while he’s vice-chair of the House Higher Ed Committee stinks of irresponsibility.

Further, Dorholt’s vote for sales taxes on warehousing services and farm equipment repairs weren’t in the interests of his district or St. Cloud. Dorholt’s vote for the Senate Office Building definitely wasn’t a vote for this district’s priorities. His silence during this year’s session on fixing Minnesota’s roads and bridges and the DFL legislature’s refusal to fix Minnesota’s potholes was disgraceful.

Simply put, Zach Dorholt didn’t show leadership during this session despite his being a vice-chair of an important committee.

Finally, the Times calls this “a marquee race.” If that’s true, why didn’t they even bother interviewing one of the candidates? From what I’ve seen, and I can only base this on the Times’ actions, the Times decided long ago who they were endorsing. That’s likely why they didn’t bother interviewing Jim Knoblach, the most qualified candidate for the job.

The Times has a history of doing this type of thing. In 2008, the Times endorsed Rob Jacobs when he ran for Dan Severson’s seat. That year, Jacobs said he wasn’t an expert on transportation issues or health care. The Times endorsed him anyway. 2008 was a strong year for the DFL. Dan Severson defeated Jacobs by 10 points.

The Times has a bigger readership. I just wish that they were professionals.

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To the surprise of nobody, the St. Cloud Times in endorsing Joe Perske and Al Franken. What’s surprising is that the Times admits they’re biased:

Central Minnesotans should back Sartell Mayor Joe Perske in the 6th District House race and incumbent Al Franken in the race for U.S. Senate.

Republicans will immediately call “liberal bias” with the endorsement of two Democrats. The truth, though, in both these races is no matter which major-party candidate wins, the victor is going to seldom cross party lines and compromise on major issues.

Before anyone gets their undies in a bunch, it’s clear that the St. Cloud Times thinks they’re fairly impartial. The truth is that they aren’t impartial. Here’s proof:

Voters need to elect the person who can begin to restore district credibility while improving the return district residents get on the tax dollars they send to Washington.

The soft-spoken, blue-collar-leaning Perske is a better choice than Republican Tom Emmer. While Emmer is the likely favorite because of the district’s conservative demographics, voters need to seriously consider whether his political persona will help the district. He’s similarly conservative to Bachmann and he is known as a political bully, which makes his House strategy is “building relationships” a tough sell.

The Times’ logic behind endorsing Joe Perske is that he’s a “blue-collar-leaning” kind of guy and that Tom Emmer’s a “political bully.” That’s stunning in its lack of seriousness. There’s this though:

Voters need to elect the person who can begin to restore district credibility while improving the return district residents get on the tax dollars they send to Washington.

I won’t insist that the Sixth District’s credibility is untattered. That said, the Times Editorial Board’s animosity towards Michele Bachmann is extensive and well documented. Another thing I’ll say is that it isn’t just about “improving the return district residents get on the tax dollars they send to Washington.” It’s about whose policies will strengthen central Minnesota’s economy and Minnesota’s economy.

One of the things Tom Emmer will jump right into is cutting the federal government’s wasteful spending. He’s spoken frequently about his admiration of Sen. Tom Coborn, the man who put together a series of videos on sequestration.

Franken

In not endorsing Al Franken in 2008, this board cited Independence candidate Dean Barkley as being most in touch with local, middle-class voters. Franken objected immediately and vowed to show it. In six years, and in a highly polarized Capitol, he has, and he deserves re-election.

Again, noting neither he nor Republican challenger Mike McFadden will stray far from their respective party’s line, Franken still stood up for Main Street over Wall Street, for a reasonable farm bill, and for better matching people with employers through education.

That’s insulting. The Times didn’t mention the fact that Sen. Franken signed onto letters that oppressed his president’s political opponents while ignoring the Bill of Rights protections of citizens. The Times ignored the fact that Sen. Franken signed onto a letter to the IRS directing the IRS to apply additional scrutiny to TEA Party organizations.

As for Sen. Franken staying in touch with Main Street, he’d pass with flying colors if Main Street was defined as a union hall. If staying in touch with Main Street is defined by holding town halls in profitable businesses, Franken would get a D-.

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During his interview with Esme Murphy, Rick Nolan reiterated his support for overturning the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Citizens United vs. the FEC lawsuit:

The Supreme Court ruled against BCRA, aka McCain-Feingold:

Independent Expenditures by Corporations

The Court overruled Austin, striking down § 441b’s ban on corporate independent expenditures. It also struck down the part of McConnell that upheld BCRA § 203’s extension of § 441b’s restrictions on independent corporate expenditures. The Court held that the “government may not suppress political speech on the basis of the speaker’s corporate identity. No sufficient governmental interest justifies limits on the political speech of nonprofit or for-profit corporations.” An analysis of this holding follows.

As Applied Challenge. First, the Court held that the case could not be resolved on an as applied basis without chilling political speech. Under an “as applied” challenge, the Court’s review of the law’s constitutionality is limited to the set of facts in the case before it. The Court therefore broadened the case from Citizens United’s initial narrower arguments, focusing only on Hillary, to reconsider both the validity of its prior decisions in Austin and McConnell and the facial validity of § 441b.

In reaching this decision, the Court reasoned that among other things:

1. Citizen United’s narrower arguments, including that Hillary is not an “electioneering communication,” are not sustainable under a fair reading of § 441b, and

2. it must therefore consider the statute’s facial validity or risk prolonging its substantial chilling effect.

The First Amendment’s protections apply to all political speech. The argument that ‘corporations aren’t people’ is laughable at best. Nowhere in the First Amendment does it say that the First Amendment protects only individuals. Does the Fourth Amendment protect only individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures? Of course it doesn’t.

But I digress.

Nolan said that he’s “the lead sponsor of new legislation in Washington to reverse Citizens United.” That means, according to the Supreme Court’s ruling, Nolan wants to reverse the chilling effect McCain-Feingold had on political speech. For those asking why that’s a bad thing, I’ll answer with a question. Do you want the government to say what’s acceptable speech and what isn’t? Before answering that question, think about this: Lois Lerner “served as associate general counsel and head of the enforcement office at the FEC“:

One of Lerner’s former colleagues tells National Review Online that her political ideology was evident during her tenure at the FEC, where, he says, she routinely subjected groups seeking to expand the influence of money in politics, including, in her view, conservatives and Republicans, to the sort of heightened scrutiny we now know they came under at the IRS.

Before the IRS, Lerner served as associate general counsel and head of the enforcement office at the FEC, which she joined in 1986. Working under FEC general counsel Lawrence Noble, Lerner drafted legal recommendations to the agency’s commissioners intended to guide their actions on the complaints brought before them.

Isn’t it frightening that a corrupt bureaucrat like Lois Lerner could be the final arbiter of what’s acceptable speech and what isn’t? If Nolan’s legislation passed, it’s possible a corrupt, hyperpartisan bureaucrat could determine which speech is acceptable and what speech isn’t.

Nolan’s legislation would make it illegal for unions to advocate for their endorsed candidates. Nolan’s legislation might be used to shut down ABM, Nancy Pelosi’s superPAC and the DCCC. Is that what Nolan wants?

I’d bet it isn’t. He’s been silent while the DCCC ran its disgusting ads. He’s been silent while Nancy Pelosi’s superPAC ran disgustingly dishonest ads. Apparently, Nolan only opposes money in politics when he’s in front of a camera. That isn’t a principled position. It’s a political position.

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I’ll risk saying this but the professional political punditry needs to get start seeing things through a policy impact perspective, not through a ‘will it play politically’ perspective. During this morning’s gubernatorial debate, Gov. Dayton said that he’s long advocated for a single-payer health care system.

What was the collective reaction from the professional political punditry? Crickets. No big deal. Keep moving.

The government, whether we’re talking about the Obama administration or the Dayton administration, is incapable of handling anything that complex. In too many instances, it’s incapable of handling fundamental responsibilities.

That professional political pundits think it isn’t a big deal to advocate for a system that’s never worked anywhere because that’s been his standard answer is shameful. Style points seem to matter more than character, policy impacts and what’s best for Minnesota.

It’s time to tune out the professional political pundits because they’re too interested in election outcomes. Unfortunately, they aren’t interested enough in policy outcomes. Jeff Johnson’s policies will make life better in Minnesota. Unlike Gov. Dayton, Jeff Johnson will fight to build the Sandpiper Pipeline because that’ll free up railcar space so farmers can get their crops to market. That makes life better for hard-working Minnesota farmers. Unlike Gov. Dayton, Jeff Johnson will fight to open PolyMet because that’ll create hundreds of good-paying jobs. That’d make life significantly better for miners and mining communities.

Apparently, these things don’t matter to the professional political punditry from both sides of the aisle. Their tweets didn’t speak to what’s best for Minnesota. They just spoke to who won or lost based on game-changing moments and style points. That isn’t responsible journalism. That’s the type of partisanship that’s rotted our institutions and corrupted the political process.

If Republicans retake the House of Representatives and Gov. Dayton gets re-elected, Republicans will have a mandate because they spoke about issues. Gov. Dayton will have retained his title but he won’t have a mandate because he hasn’t spoken about what he’d do in his second term.

The DFL isn’t the party of no. They’re the party that won’t say no to their special interests that are driving Minnesota’s economy into the ground. Ask an Iron Ranger if they’re better off now than when Gov. Dayton took office. If they’re honest, they’ll say they aren’t. Their median household income has increased marginally. The percentage of people living below the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) grew by roughly 50%.

Health insurance premiums have skyrocketed. It’s virtually impossible to get changes made to policies to include or drop people from coverage. Still, Gov. Dayton insists that “it isn’t perfect” but that it’s getting better. Once a month, if not more often, we hear of another MNsure-related disaster.

Meanwhile, the professional political punditry insist that Gov. Dayton is winning because Jeff Johnson didn’t have that big game-changing moment. With all due respect, these political junkies are missing the point. Jeff Johnson has been solid. He’s provided sensible solutions to Minnesota’s biggest problems. Gov. Dayton has been dismissive, arrogant and utterly incompetent. He’s Minnesota’s version of Jimmy Carter.

It’s time to ignore the political junkies because they’re worried more about gamesmanship than doing what’s right for Minnesota. While we’re at it, it’d be great to get rid of the incompetent in the Governor’s Mansion, too.

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Pat Kessler’s Reality Check on Jeff Johnson’s latest ad is a step down for Kessler. On the positive side, he got this part mostly right:

The ad takes some tough shots at Gov. Mark Dayton and, unexpectedly, the owners of the Minnesota Vikings.

It’s classic political mudslinging, but there is some truth to it, as it counts down the missteps of a Governor who Johnson says is “incompetent” and who the new ad calls “unaware.”

“Unaware of bonuses for his failed Obamacare bureaucrats,” says the ad, as the words “Unaware Mark Dayton” appear on the screen. “Not even knowing what’s in the bills he signed.”

The ad accurately quotes Dayton saying he was unaware of MNsure bonuses, unaware of a farm equipment tax in a 2013 tax bill and unaware that personal seat licenses were included in the Vikings stadium bill.

It’s offensive to hear Kessler characterize the ad as mudslinging. It isn’t a stretch whatsoever to say that Gov. Dayton is incompetent. It’s verifiable that he’s admitted that he wasn’t aware of major provisions in the biggest bills Gov. Dayton has signed.

It isn’t mudslinging if the ad uses verifiable information. It’s hard-hitting but it isn’t mudslinging. If Gov. Dayton didn’t want to see these things highlighted, then he shouldn’t have made these dramatic admissions. Gov. Dayton made some major mistakes. Jeff Johnson’s ad just highlights that.

That wasn’t the worst of Kessler’s segment. Check this out:

But the ad strays from the truth when it smears Dayton and team owners Mark and Zygi Wilf, linking the Vikings stadium deal and the Wilf’s legal troubles. “Half a billion taxpayer dollars to the Wilfs after they committed civil fraud and racketeering,” says the ad, with grainy black and white video of Dayton and Vikings team owner Zygi Wilf.

That’s at least MISLEADING and borders on false.

Approximately $500 million is the amount taxpayers forked over to build the $1 billion stadium after the Minnesota legislature passed and Dayton signed the bill into law. The Wilfs put up the other $500 million.

What’s misleading, Mr. Kessler? Did the state of Minnesota commit to paying approximately $500,000,000 of taxpayer money to build the stadium? That’s easily verifiable. It’s in the bill. This isn’t difficult to verify it. The state of Minnesota committed to paying that money while the Wilfs were defending themselves in a New Jersey court on charges of civil fraud and racketeering. That statement is also accurate.

If both those statements are accurate, how could they border on being false? The simple answer is they can’t. True statements can’t border on being false. Still, that wasn’t the low point of the segment. This is:

The Minnesota Vikings strongly objected to the use of their team owners in the Johnson ad.

“We’re extremely disappointed that Jeff Johnson would stoop to this level,” said Vikings Vice President Lester Bagley. “The ad is reckless. The Wilfs have made substantial contributions to this community and this state. What Jeff Johnson has done is not consistent with Minnesota values.”

Mr. Kessler, Reality Check is about checking facts, not about sharing opinions. Quoting Lester Bagley in the article is totally inappropriate, especially considering the fact that he contributed to Gov. Dayton’s campaign. Furthermore, Bagley serves the Wilfs, nobody else. What qualifies him to speak on what Minnesota values are?

Finally, this was disgraceful, too:

A spokesman from Dayton campaign Linden Zakula said, “It’s not surprising to see a desperate attack from a candidate so far behind. Commissioner Johnson offers no real ideas to improve education, create jobs, or help Minnesota families. It’s easy for Commissioner Johnson to be against everything when he, himself, proposes nothing.”

My question for Mr. Kessler is straightforward. Did the Dayton campaign pay for this campaign ad? Inviting the Dayton campaign spokesman to take a cheap shot at Commissioner Johnson during a factchecking segment is totally unprofessional.

Calling accurate statements “bordering on false is disgusting. Allowing outsiders to level cheap shots at a political candidate during that factchecking segment is utterly unprofessional. Kessler should be ashamed of himself.

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Despite Poligraph’s opinion about a recent DCCC attack against Stewart Mills, the DCCC’s attack is mostly BS. Here’s what the DCCC press release said:

“Millionaire Stewart Mills III has taken thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the health insurance industry, and now he wants to put the insurance companies back in charge to deny care to people with-pre-existing conditions and kick kids off their parents’ plans,” a DCCC press release states.

PoliGraph admitted that the DCCC’s first claim is BS:

According to Mills’ campaign finance records, he’s gotten $1,000 from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association PAC, and that’s it.

Apparently, the DCCC needs to return to grade school English. Apparently, they didn’t learn that thousands is plural for 1,000. Apparently, the DCCC didn’t learn that 1,000 is singular for thousands. Either that or they’re just lying through their teeth, which is a distinct possibility.

Here’s the part where PoliGraph is wrong:

The DCCC also claims that Mills wants to scrap popular parts of the Affordable Care Act, including a provision that prevents insurance companies from rejecting patients with pre-existing conditions and another provision that allows children to stay on their parents’ plans until they turn 26.

Here, the DCCC is on stronger footing.

First, saying that the DCCC “is on stronger footing” isn’t saying much considering the fact that they were totally wrong about the DCCC’s first statement. Further, the DCCC’s claim is false. Here’s why:

Campaign spokeswoman Chloe Rockow says Mills isn’t opposed to making sure young adults and those with pre-existing conditions have access to health insurance; he just thinks there are better ways of doing it.

For instance, Mills wants to strengthen privacy rules for people with pre-existing conditions and to reinstate the Minnesota Comprehensive Health Association, which is a special health insurance program for people with pre-existing conditions who can’t get insurance elsewhere.

In other words, Stewart Mills wants people with pre-existing conditions to get insurance. He just prefers a different method of getting people with PECs that coverage.

The DCCC said that Mills wants “to deny care to people with-pre-existing conditions.” That’s verifiably false. Period.

The title to PoliGraph’s article is “DCCC Mills claim half wrong, half right”. The article’s accurate title should be “DCCC Mills claim almost entirely wrong.” Mills didn’t take thousands of dollars from health insurance companies and he doesn’t want to deny health insurance to people with pre-existing conditions.

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This weekend, I wrote this article about another dishonest ad by the Alliance for a Better Minnesota. It’s important to remember that ABM has a lengthy history of running intentionally dishonest ads against Republicans.

Two years ago, ABM ran a series of TV ads that featured nearly identical scripts against 5 Republican senators and 4 Republican representatives. Here’s one of the transcripts:

How we solve our state’s budget problem will say a lot about our values. Rep. Woodard is choosing to balance the budget on the backs of the middle class with drastic cuts in education and health care and his plan will eliminate jobs and increase our property taxes, all just so the richest 2% don’t have to chip in. Gov. Dayton’s plan will protect the middle class and 98% of Minnesotans will have no tax increase.

That’s a blatantly dishonest ad. It makes a series of allegations without citing proof for any of their allegations.

The budget passed by Republicans and signed by Gov. Dayton increased per student spending, which means ABM’s statement about “drastic cuts in education” was intentionally dishonest. They know what was in the 2011 budget because ABM lobbied against it in the summer of 2011.

It isn’t a stretch to say that dishonesty is ABM’s specialty. Similarly, it isn’t a stretch to think of ABM as tightly connected with the DFL. In fact, Alida Messinger, the woman that writes the biggest annual checks to the DFL, writes similar sized checks to ABM.

While it hasn’t been documented that ABM and the DFL communicate and coordinate with each other, it’s clear that they operate seamlessly with each other. Their smears are often identical in their dishonesty.

What’s galling is that the Twin Cities media hasn’t put the pieces of the puzzle together, at least not in an article. I suspect they’ve personally figured it out. I’m certain, though, that they haven’t done a feature article about it.

For instance, I wrote this post showing how much influence Alida Messinger has within the DFL:

Most of the criticism of DFL state party chair Brian Melendez in the wake of Election Day has been confined to the liberal blogosphere. The three-term incumbent could likely survive those barbs.

But a much more important DFL supporter, wealthy donor Alida Messinger, is also apparently opposed to Melendez remaining as party chair. According to a reliable DFL source, there won’t be any checks arriving in DFL coffers from the Rockefeller heir if Melendez remains in the post.

Of course, Ken Martin, the person most often cited as a potential rival for state party chair, is closely aligned with Messinger. He chaired the Win Minnesota Political Action Fund, which played a key role in the governor’s race. The group’s largest individual donor: Messinger.

While it’s true that the Twin Cities media reported that story, I’m wondering why it didn’t tell people that ABM’s messaging is almost identical to the DFL’s messaging. Why didn’t they report that Alida Messinger’s influence on ABM is as great as her influence on the DFL?

Why haven’t Rachel Stassen-Berger, Brianna Bierschbach, Tom Scheck, Tom Hauser and Pat Kessler done articles showing ABM as having a lengthy history of intentionally smearing Republicans? The information isn’t difficult to find. A short trip to FactCheck.org would give any of these reporters the proof they need that ABM’s ads consistently received failing grades.

We’ve already seen how willing liberal organizations have started smearing Republicans. TakeAction Minnesota already is teaming up with AFSCME PEOPLE to smear Stewart Mills. If we had political reporters interested in connecting the dots in their reporting, Mark Dayton wouldn’t get away with his nice guy act. Instead, we’d see that he’s a willing participant in ABM’s vicious smear campaign.