Star Tribune Bachmann coverage slammed by watchdog

Sometimes you've got to call a liar a liar.

Sometimes you've got to call a liar a liar.

Minnesota's paper of record is giving the state's most flagrantly deceptive politician a free pass.

That's the conclusion of a harshly worded critique of the Star Tribune posted this week by the Columbia Journalism Review, a major journalism trade magazine.

Specifically, the piece, entitled "What Not to Do in Campaign Reporting," criticizes the Strib's Saturday coverage of Michele Bachmann's expedition to Iowa.


Bachmann may or may not have been back in her original home state to lay the groundwork for what would surely be the most spectacularly unhinged presidential campaign in history. But she was definitely there to do what she does best: tell some whoppers.

Not that you'd know that from the Strib's handling of it:

"[Bachmann] did throw out some strong opinions, saying that the federal government owns half of the country's mortgages, that the Medicare trust fund will go "flat broke" in six years and that Barack Obama has accumulated more debt in one year than all past presidents combined."

Bullshit, says the CJR--those aren't opinions, they're factual claims, and you can't just reprint them without letting your readers know that two out of three of them are patently untrue. (The government does own about 44 percent of mortgages--nearly half.)

So far the Strib isn't commenting on this public upbraiding. Rachel Stassen-Berger, the author of the article, declined to comment on the CJR article. So did the Strib's political editor, Patricia Lopez, who referred questions to Deputy Managing Editor Rene Sanchez. Sanchez did not return calls for comment by the time of this posting.

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