Home Field Advantage

Why the Star Tribune is cheerleading for a taxpayer-financed ballpark

"A big part of the problem here is that opposition to public financing for a new ballpark has been so heedless of the consequences of losing the Twins that proponents haven't been able to put the issue on the table for rational public-policy analysis and discussion," the Strib editorialized. "So they've found themselves backed into a corner on how to pay for a stadium--going for now with what seems the funding source of least resistance rather than what might make the most sense."

That doesn't mean, according to the Strib, looking at private financing, or at whether the Twins really will leave. When it says "creative financing," the paper means a public funding instrument other than new cigarette taxes or slot machines at the race track.

"You invariably end up with the press accepting the premises put forward by the team," explains deMause. "Professional sports teams are an urban necessity, and the need of owners to make unlimited amounts of money, often straight from the public coffers, is just part of the game.

"Regardless of whether a newspaper as a corporation is involved in stadium development, pretty much all corporate media tend to have an ideological involvement with official sources and official power. Basically, what it comes down to is that if you want to get quoted by the paper, you have to have an official position or money," he concludes. "Just the fact that you're a taxpayer concerned about where your money is going isn't enough."

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