1.JPGThe Minneapolis StarTribune has for decades had a national reputation (enhanced by the never-ending attacks of racist right-wing activists) as an ultra-ultra-liberal paper. The truth, however, is that it’s really never been all that liberal, and became even less so when they were purchased by the right-wing-appeasing, union-hating McClatchy — who recently sold them to the conservative-minded strip-and-flippers of Avista.

The Strib has for at least a decade been the reverse image of the (pre-Murdoch) Wall Street Journal. While the WSJ’s editorial staff was and is a group of utterly bonkers knuckle-dragging fascist swine, the WSJ’s news operations were (until Murdoch took over) first-rate. Contrast that with the Strib, where the editorial staff is generally good, but whose fluff-obsessed management is so cowed by the local Republican Party screechers that they’ve not only hired utter jokes like Katherine Kersten and James Lileks, but turned control of the political newsroom over to longtime archconservative Doug Tice. Frankly, I’d rather have it the way that the old WSJ used to be.

Here’s an example of the sort of product the Strib’s political unit puts out now, courtesy of Bluestem Prairie, concerning the race in Minnesota’s First Congressional District between newly-minted Democratic incumbent Tim Walz and state Republican fixture Dick Day:

Day said his journey to the border was inspired after he attended a series of town meetings on immigration issues in Austin. About a month afterward, he got a call from the head of the Minuteman Project inviting him to the border. The weekend before Thanksgiving, Day flew to Tucson and drove a rented car to what is known as the Sasabe Corridor in Arizona, a roughly 10-mile-wide stretch of land between the San Luis and Baboquivari mountain

Except that, as BSP points out, Day was banging the anti-immigrant and pro-Minuteman drum well before that:

Does no one at the Star Tribune conduct the most rudimentary fact checking these days? Surely, a stroll with Mr. Google would turn up that Day was already talking about going to the Minuteman’s operation at those town hall meetings back in September.

BSP then provides a passage from the September 18, 2007 edition of the Austin, Minnesota Daily Herald:

Late in the two-hour meeting, state Sen. Dick Day, R-Owatonna, spoke to the reformists and was interrupted by cheers and applause.

Day, a candidate for the 1st Congressional District seat held by Democrat Rep. Tim Walz, has called for immigration reform and a physical border barrier in high-density population areas such as urban California.

Day also said he is going to the same Arizona ranch area where Branstner served to observe a Minuteman Project first-hand.

But hey, why do actual fact-checking when it’s just easier to retype and edit GOP press releases (like this one) and submit them under your own byline? Heck, Joe Klein takes dictation from Pete Hoekstra, so it must be OK!

Funny thing: While the DougTiceTribune treats Republican press releases as the Word of God, it doesn’t give quite the same amount of attention or respect to Democratic ones. When Minnesota’s Republican Governor, Tim Pawlenty, decided to play "let’s depress voter turnout" by setting the dates for a special election for a state senate seat right smack dab in the holiday season (when many of the most progressive voters in that district — namely, the college students and their professors at St. Olaf and Carleton colleges — would be on winter break and far away from voting booths), the DFL (the Minnesota branch of the Democratic Party) put out a press release on T-Paw’s efforts to game the election this way.

But, as a Google search shows, the TiceTribune has as of this Saturday morning, December 1, 2007, yet to write any story focusing strictly on this special election, much less pay much if any attention to the DFL press release on Pawlenty’s gaming thereof. The one time the Strib seems to have so much as mentioned this special election in passing is when Mark Brunswick — the same Strib guy who apparently dutifully posts rewritten GOP press releases under his own namejust gave us another piece of Republican dictation, wherein various state Republicans use the special election as a vehicle to criticize current Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie over a relatively minor (and legal, and commonly-done) issue. In fact, Ritchie’s only real "crime" is to have defeated his Republican predecessor, the astoundingly corrupt, bizarre, vote-suppressing, partisan and crazily, crazily incompetent Mary Kiffmeyer in a fair fight last year.

Bottom line: The next time you hear some conservative ding-doing ranting about "The liberal Red Star Tribune", feel free to laugh in his or her face. But please, try to refrain from spitting in it.