Tuesday lawyers for Alpha News asked a Hennepin County Family Court referee to unseal the divorce records of Keith Ellison. We made some news when we initially filed this request and then some news all over again when the Star Tribune joined our efforts in transparency. When the actual day of the hearing came, I was amused at how local media treated the two different outlets, including those that reported as though the Star Tribune initiated, rather than joined, the legal effort.
MPR said that the effort was brought by “the Star Tribune and Alpha News, a conservative online news site.” I suppose that is a fine characterization although we report, and often break stories, that don’t fall along the typical left/right divide. The question I kept asking myself, though, was why, if we’re going to be labeled as conservative, wouldn’t the Star Tribune be classified as liberal? Can anyone outside of local media say with a straight face that they are anything but?
The Star Tribune itself referred to us as a “right leaning online news and opinion site.” That was pretty fair, I thought, and the paper itself could hardly be expected to refer to itself as a “left leaning newspaper,” so thanks Star Tribune. You’re welcome to join us in our future investigatory projects where we take the heat for going first and you can ride in behind the wake of outraged liberal public opinion.
Joe Concha, media writer for The Hill, to which I’m an occasional contributor (when local squishes don’t like a tweet of mine they tag The Hill & encourage it to fire me), ran with the same characterization and used the Star Tribune reporting as the basis for his story. Again, fine.
KMSP referred to Alpha News as a “conservative website,” which, while that doesn’t quite do us justice, also refused to label the ideology of the Star Tribune. Are you noticing a pattern? You’ll be punished for noticing patterns, believe me.
KSTP characterized us as a “conservative website” as well, though it went on to quote Ellison’s attorney that “Alpha News is not an objective entity, the attorney said, arguing they sponsored an anti-Ellison rally Monday.” In fact I spoke to a group in Little Falls on Monday night, an event on my own time which had no connection with Alpha News but was sponsored by Action For Liberty. I even had my own tracker at the event. Have I arrived?
Again, the politics of the Star Tribune was left unreported. No, I’m not surprised, I’m simply examining a recent, high profile event where the gaslighting of the public is on obvious display: only Alpha News has a political point of view, none of these other outlets. Right.
We’ll learn the court’s decision after this is published but regardless of the outcome, seeking the divorce records of the Keith Ellison was the right thing to do. Are you divorced? The odds are overwhelming that your proceedings are public. When running for the highest law enforcement position in the state, his should be too.
It’s not a matter of left or right but of transparency. That in covering our efforts to unseal these records we discover more evidence of local media bias is an added bonus.