Honey, I Shrunk the Story

Sweeps madness, and a husband's thoughtful gesture

Kupchella totally ignored the LGA issue, suggesting instead that the only explanation for the MPD's depletion is incompetence on the part of politicians in Minneapolis. "I've wondered if it's ultimately not a question of the management of the money in the city," he says to Olson during their on-air interview. "Here we seem to manage it in a way where the Minneapolis police department really gets kicked." This exchange was particularly galling to downtown bureaucrats who, after viewing KARE's investigative report, could be heard grumbling about Kupchella's marital ties.

Though he never says so, the seven-year period Kupchella chose to focus on conveniently coincides with a period in which the city received federal dollars to hire more officers, known as "Clinton Cops," then lost that funding. In a throwaway line at the end of the first night's segment, Kupchella does acknowledge that those Clinton Cops account for half of the 160 positions used to tease the story, but then tells Magers that those cuts don't excuse the force's overall depletion rate. When Magers asks if city officials gave Kupchella any other explanation for reducing the size of its force, the reporter says no.

Of course, if Kupchella had bothered to interview a few folks in the city's finance department or a City Council member, he would have gleaned a very different picture of the cuts. The only sources quoted in the piece, however, are Olson (who passes the buck), police union head John Delmonico (a political ally of Pawlenty), and a handful of beat cops. Kupchella failed to contact the city's finance director, Pat Born, and, according to Rybak's spokeswoman, Laura Sether, he never contacted the mayor's office for comment. A conspicuous oversight, since Kupchella repeatedly infers during his sweeps story that it's Rybak, not his wife's boss, who has left the MPD in a shambles.

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