I’m not going to lie – because I have no reason to. I used to be a bit of a fan of former Minnesota Public radio journalist/personality Bob Collins.
We always got along relatively cordially, back during the glory days of blogging. I invited him to an MLB party, he accepted, and was photographed at least once sitting at a table of style with Republicans, seemingly enjoying himself.
And he’s giving me two of the better compliments I’ve ever been given, ever, during my career as a dealer list pundit – about my music writing and, at least once, about my chops as a political journo. And call me a pollyanna – only God can judge me – but for that I am grateful.
Bob retired last year. In honor of his last day on the job, governor waltz proclaimed an entire state wide day in Collins’ honor.
But all is apparently not well. Maybe retirement doesn’t agree with Bob? I don’t know.
But something seems to have snapped in the intervening time:
We’re not done yet:
This, on top of an ongoing string of fairly vile and tone-deaf tweeting over the past year or so – one of which referring to the “Center of the American Experiment” as the “Klan Robe Crowd”, which I’m sure must have been a surprise to Mitch Perlstein).
I started out by asking two questions. One was pretty concrete – “did MPR know about this sort of bias and bigotry when he was working there?” I’d have to say “of course” – because it’s part of their organization’s track record (and by “organization”, I mean that whole building, not the newsroom). Garrison Keillor’s behavior was the worst-kept secret in Twin Cities radio…in the 1980s. And yet they tolerated it because it didn’t hurt them until #MeToo made complacency too costly among MPR’s key demographic group, virtue-signaling white middle class progressives. I’m going to guess (and feel free to set me straight, if you’re an MPR employee) that his views may have been regarded as aggressive but codgerly by the management, and likely a sizeable and vocal majority of MPR donors.
My other question – “how common are these views in the newsroom?” They’re not. MPR’s newsroom is one of the least objectionably biased in town. They’re not perfect, and that is very much as distinct from the rest of MPR (Keri Miller is as obvious a DFL PR flak as there is in town), and they’ve certainly done less reaching out to conservatives outside elective office in recent years than they were, say, ten years ago. While I have little doubt most MPR reporters are fashionably left of center in their personal lives, most of them do an acceptable job of covering the whole story and sticking to the facts.
(Title Reference, just because it’s not universally known…)