There are so many unanswered questions about Mark Dayton.
Now, if we had an institution in our state whose job it was to ask tough questions of those who would tax our earnings and spend our money and run the free association of equals that We The People call our government – say, a big organization with a long tradition of asking questions, with Codes of Ethics and printing presses and TV and radio transmitters, for example – perhaps some of these questions might have been asked or, at the very least, asked consistently and clearly after, say Labor Day, when the vast majority of non-political junkies tune in to the subject of politics.
But we apparently have no such institutions in Minnesota. So nobody was able to ask…
- Why did Mark Dayton quit his teaching job in mid-year, after working about 1/3 of the time a real teacher would have? And let’s be clear -0 when I say “nobody” was able to ask, I mean Sheila Kihne, housewife and mom and blogger, asked. She asked questions about Dayton’s resume, his education, and his many breaks from his rigorous teaching schedule in NYC to participate in protest rallies in the Twin Cities. The rest of the media? Not quite so much.
- Who Is Financing All Those Attack Ads: It was all right there in plain sight; “Alliance for a Better Minnesota” the group behind most of Mark Dayton’s attack ads, was financed largely by friends of Mark Dayton, and Mark Dayton himself. Curious? It was, briefly, to Tom Scheck of MPR, who was nearly alone among the Twin Cities media in covering ABM’s background at all, and even that long before the vast majority of Minnesotans cared.
- How About All That Erratic Behavior?: Emmer’s two “DUIs” – actually “Careless Driving” convictions in 1980 and 1990 – received slavering coverage. But Dayton’s apparently meltdown in office, culminating in his departure from the 2006 Senate campaign, apparently weren’t something the public had a “right to know”. Not even given reports that he’d had alcoholic relapses in office and at least once since leaving office. And rumors of his battle with mental illness continue to go unexamined, except via the most collegial sort of questions from the media – and again, this started and ended long before the voting public really started caring about this campaign, so even the tiny wedges of perfunctory coverage – a Rachel Stassen-Berger/Baird Helgeson piece that ran on the Sunday after Christmas of last year – if not the least-read news weekend of the year, certainly a contender. Given that this is the extent of any recent coverage in Minnesota’s “newspaper of record”, it’d be charitable to say the Strib “buried” the story by giving it the most ludicrous possible minimum exposure possible while actually writing anything at all.
- Dayton’s serial budget shortfalls: The Twin Cities’ media questioned Dayton about the serial shortcomings in his various budget plans in only the most cursory, perfunctory way possible. There were certainly questions – I’ve had a couple dozen myself, and I’m just a lowly blogger. And yet the questions about Dayton’s plans – the racist gutting of charter schools, the illlusory reliance on halving state contractors for $425 million of savings that can not be realized, the simple fact that the entire plan is dead on arrival at the new, likely much-more-conservative legislature – none of these questions got any serious examination from a Twin Cities media that seems more intent on breaking the DFL’s generation long losing streak than in the public’s “right to know” any but the most cursory, trivial and meaningless factoids about Dayton’s plan.
If you were a banker, and Dayton sat before you peddling his record as collateral for a loan, you’d tell him to come back in a year when he’d built up some decent credit.
He shouldn’t get to build that credit on our time and with our money.
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