MN Sun-Post: The 281 Referendum Cheerleaders

If you haven’t seen the latest issue of the MN Sun-Post, you will have saved yourself the most biased edition ever for passing the referendum, and oddest placement of the Robbinsdale Schools’ declining enrollment and Stam Mack’s departure stories.

I wasn’t the only one who noticed two important stories buried in the middle of the paper. FreedomDogs highlights the story and another “adults behaving badly” quote from our departing Superintendent:

In the October 30 issue of our local Sun-Post a story about a Metro Transit re-route and a inconsequential story about a Section 1 Crystal City Council candidate were the Page One stories.

On pages 12 and 13 there were two stories a stinky cynic might view as slightly misplaced, given the tenor of the upcoming referendum.  On page 12, the local paper did a thorough analysis of District 281’s declining enrollment – with no mention, whatsoever, of the irony of a steadily declining enrollment needing more and more money.  On page 13, the very consequential story of Stan Mack’s resignation as Superintendent was covered with some juicy quotes in the middle.

Now, I don’t claim to be an editor (though I’ve played one on TV), but if I were in charge of selling newspapers I might want to run the most interesting, consequential and meaty stories on the FRONT page of the paper!?  So, why are the very relevant and timely stories of declining enrollment and the superintendent’s resignation “buried” in the bowels of the paper?  Why weren’t Stan Mack’s meaty quotes highlighted or bracketed as a way of drawing the reader into the story?  Why, too, was the declining enrollment story concerned so heavily on the racial demographics of the district instead of the larger, more germane question of why local taxpayers are being asked to spend more money to educate fewer students?

Here’s what we know without being told:  The Sun Post is a cheerleader for public schools.  These stories were purposely buried as a means of denying any wind into the sails of the ‘Vote No’ initiative being waged against the district’s latest trip to the taxpayer ATM.

And, as I read the Stan Mack resignation story I found a quote that was truly unbelievable – one that a responsible editor or reporter (am I asking too much here?) might have actually probed, and/or written a companion, a sidebar piece.  In the article Mack said:

“There is nothing in the world I like more than this job, except for the behavior of people when you’re asking them to vote on a referendum.”

This was a peek into the soul of a defeated government educrat – a man who had been beaten down by a system that he had been hired, handsomely, to conquer on behalf of a legion of administrators, public servants, bureaucrats, educators, union leaders and parents.  A thesis could be written on this quote if a reporter or editor actually had an imagination!

Were I an intrepid reporter or editor I might have asked Mack to elaborate on this thought – expand, elaborate, amplify, enumerate – to clarify.  I might even go so far as to ask one of the ‘Vote No’ people for their comments/impressions as a sort of Point/Counterpoint.

When I went to college they called this practice ‘journalism.’

Media bias?  It’s not even subtle anymore.  It’s where they place the story, it’s what they choose to cover, what they don’t cover, how they cover it or – if they cover it at all.

Or, if they just bury it on Page 12 and 13.

Two things about the Sun-Post that we can take comfort in: we don’t pay for it, and hardly anyone reads it. If the referendum fails, that story will most likely be on page 20 — so as not to depress the school board and Yes 281 (who paid for that well-placed ad next to all of their Vote Yes letters to the editor).

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One Response to “MN Sun-Post: The 281 Referendum Cheerleaders”

  1. maryjanedoh Says:

    The full page advertisement made up to look like letters to the editor was a repugnant piece of propaganda. The editors were complicit in the scam by printing the note that it was an advertisement so small that it took a magnifying glass to read it. That’s deceptive. The Yes Mafia bought the election with help from the staff of the newspaper.

    Every other week when the 281 Mouthpiece lady calls me to ask for a donation to their sad little rag I tell them “can’t afford it, taxes too high”.

    Then they send an envelope begging for donations. I send it back with a note: “can’t afford it, taxes too high”.

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