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Star Tribune blasted for "puff" Michele Bachmann coverage

Normally, the Star Tribune and Fox News wouldn't be mentioned in the same sentence...
Normally, the Star Tribune and Fox News wouldn't be mentioned in the same sentence...

The Daily Kos' Bill Prendergast has put the Star Tribune on blast for going soft on Michele Bachmann.

SEE ALSO: Michele Bachmann's Keith Ellison comments: Media criticized for "unconscionable" headlines

In a column entitled "Bachmann update: why this nut wins her district," Prendergast characterizes a September 28 Strib report on Bachmann's recent swing through her congressional district as "outright distortion" and as "free political advertising for Bachmann courtesy of the Minneapolis Star Tribune."

Here's how the Strib report, entitled "Bachmann on the move in her toughest race yet" and written by Jennifer Brooks, begins:

The baby knocked over a glass of water. Without missing a beat, Rep. Michele Bachmann crouched down to mop up the mess.

"I'm used to it," said Bachmann, who is facing an unexpectedly tough re-election campaign for her fourth term in Congress. "Just like I'm cleaning up the mess in Washington. How many times have I cleaned up spilled milk at home? I was fully prepared to do what I do in D.C."

Bachmann dealt with the puddle, then ran a wet wipe across the baby's cake-covered face for good measure, all while answering a constituent's question about the medical device tax in the president's health care bill. It was Thursday afternoon in Forest Lake, and Bachmann was on the third stop of a daylong swing through the Sixth District.

The reader is left with the impression that Bachmann is some sort of "supermom/policy whiz" (to use Prendergast's words), but the report avoids substantial issues, like exactly what question about the medical device tax Bachmann was attempting to answer while "cleaning up the mess."

More from Prendergast:

That's reporting from the Minneapolis Star Tribune ("the Strib"), the most important daily paper in Minnesota. It's also widely considered to be the "liberal" paper. And that's the imagery they're using to sum up Michele Bachmann for Minnesota voters these days.

This newspaper story doesn't go on to report "the question about the medical device tax or Bachmann's answer." Reporting Bachmann's position on that issue (or any other) is not the aim of this kind of reporting. The aim of this kind of "reporting" is to present Michele Bachmann as some kind supermom/policy whiz. It's not objective or even-handed reporting.

The Strib reporters and editors read the political media. So they're all waaaaay past the the point where anyone familiar with the facts would sum up Michele Bachmann as a "supermom/policy whiz."

That means the imagery employed amounts to outright distortion--since there's nothing in the article to counter it. There's no reporting that acquaints the readers with Bachmann's record with the truth--or her positions on issues--or her actual record in the legislature. Bachmann's charge that the US government has been infiltrated by Islamic extremists? That is presented as if it's a legitimate difference of opinion.So this a piece to puff Michele Bachmann, and that's all it is.

This morning, Brooks took to Twitter to respond to the Daily Kos' criticism:


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