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Saturday, July 15, 2006

Flag on the Play

Eric Black from the Strib goes after the NRSC's latest press release on his blog the Big Question and in the strib.

In a press release last week, the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) quoted three politically prominent Democrats and one Republican -- attacking the crime-fighting record of Hennepin County Attorney Amy Klobuchar, the DFL candidate for the U.S. Senate.

Slight problem: None of the four was talking about Klobuchar, although the NRSC said they were.

The author of the press release doesn't dispute that those he quoted weren't referring specifically to Klobuchar when they described criminal justice problems. But he said that since Klobuchar emphasizes that her job is to hold people accountable for crimes, it's fair to hold her accountable for crime problems.

If there were rules of straightforwardness in political discourse, the referee would throw a flag on this press release and penalize the NRSC for context fabrication.

There is no such referee. But as the 2006 campaign season heats up, the Star Tribune will scrutinize the candor and honesty of political communications. This story is the kickoff of an occasional series named "Is That A Fact?"

From the Big Question blog:

I’ll just start with a comment of mine own: I don’t get why anyone thought it necessary to do the context fabrication gag. If the NRSC had simply said something like:

Klobuchar is a prosecutor, running on her record. Yet all of these people, including her party friends and allies, seem to think there are problems with the crime picture in Hennepin County. So she needs to take accountability for the recent increase in crime.

Wouldn't that have done just as much good for the Republican cause as the press release did, without risking getting slammed for context fabrication?

Well duh!

Eric Black's blog is getting better over time, and I think this is a good example of how a reporter can use his blog and reporting to compliment each other.