The Strib has a new publisher, Mike Klingensmith.
David Brauer at the MinnPost checked up on the guy’s financial donations, as well as the new board chair Mike Sweeney’s – which ranged from “moderate Republicans” to “very liberal Democrats” over the course of the past decade and change. Brauer’s summary:
All in all, bipartisan, big-business-like, skewed toward the D.C. Establishment, with a whiff of fashionable Democratic insurgency late. (Obama was not yet a favorite when Klingensmith started giving.)
But here’s the part that caught my attention; Brauer says the previous publisher, Chris Harte, “pushed the page in a conservative direction” – defined by chair Sweeney and quoted by Brauer, as “My understanding of Chris’s view was that he wanted to be fair to both sides”, which media people seem to think is a radical departure, since they don’t tend to think the current media has any bias.
I mean, in his piece Brauer says the Strib is ever so slightly conservative these days.
But I’m putting words in Brauer’s mouth. I’ll let him speak for himself – here, writing about the new guard’s rap sheet:
I don’t expect conservatives to be pleased with this record, but many seem happiest ripping the Strib as the Red Star. Harte’s push toward the middle, or further, yielded few dividends with that crowd.
So let’s run down a summary of what conservatives would make of a sober look at what the Strib has done over Harte’s term:
- Hired a single, solitary conservative columnist, Katherine Kersten
- Promptly caved in to the whinging of a staff that believed that adding a single conservative to a stable that included DFL stenographers Lori Sturdevant, Nick Coleman and his replacement Jon Tevlin made the paper “too conservative”
- Made the “Minnesota Poll” arguably less comically biased, with the dumping of the internal pollsters, the firing of Princeton, and the hiring of Mason Dixon (we’ll know in a cycle or two)
“More conservative?” I’d run with “marginally less North Korean”. It was a start, and a very slow one at that – one fought at every turn by people who think the Strib is juuuuust fine the way it’s always been.
I’d love to know from David Brauer – on precisely what grounds was he expecting “dividends” from the right?
While the Strib has some capable reporters (who have historically had an amazing and I’m sure coincidental propensity to go to work for liberal PACs, PR firms or the DFL after leaving the paper), at the editorial board level the paper has been since the Cowles era nothing but a glorified DFL PR firm.