Bachmann doesn’t talk to PiPress; paper rewards her

A bit of weirdness in this morning’s Pioneer Press print version.

Reporter Dennis Lien did a front-page feature on U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann’s “anti-American” controversy. Lien didn’t speak to Bachmann, making do with quotes from Bachmann’s  communications director Michele Marston.

Lien’s longish story jumped to page 4A — where it shared the page with a story bearing this headline: “Bachmann fires back.”

Byline? Michele Bachmann.

Turns out D.C. political site Politico — to whom the PiPress has outsourced D.C. coverage — let the congresswoman write her own piece alleging “lies” from “liberal special interests.”

In other words, the PiPress placed a Bachmann op-ed in their news pages — next to a story in which she wasn’t made available for questions.

All over town, (non-fluorescent) light bulbs must be brightening above campaign managers’ heads: Don’t make your boss available, but do call D.C. for that unfettered pipeline into the news pages.

To be fair, Bachmann’s piece has the tiny “Comment” flag above the headline. But that’s the smallest of fig leaves. Her piece should’ve run with the PiPress editorials, and news editor Thom Fladung needs to make sure that reportorial journalism and self-serving puffery remain clearly separated.

Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by John Lovejoy on 10/21/2008 - 12:57 pm.

    “Making due”? Mon dieu!

  2. Submitted by Robert Moffitt on 10/21/2008 - 01:08 pm.

    “Her piece should’ve run with the PiPress editorials, and news editor Thom Fladung needs to make sure that reportorial journalism and self-serving puffery remain clearly separated.”

    As you may have noticed, the editorial/opinion section of the Pioneer Press has all but disapeared in most daily editions. If you remove all “self-serving puffery” from any newspaper, you would have no paper at all!

    I’m surprised you are not instead taking Fladung to the Virtual Woodshed for wimping out of making an endorsement choice for President this year.

    Personally, I don’t think ANT news media should endorse candidates. Bad relic from news.01 Hard to say you are “fair and unbiased” journalist one moment, then “Vote for (fill in blank)” the next.

  3. Submitted by David Brauer on 10/21/2008 - 01:43 pm.

    #1 – John: Fixed, with a red face “due” to bad self-copyediting.

    #2 – Robert: Fladung has no role in the PiPress’ presidential non-endorsement. That was the publisher’s and editorial page editor’s call. But I think it was ultimately Thom’s call to keep Bachmann’s self-penned piece out of the news pages.

  4. Submitted by Robert Moffitt on 10/22/2008 - 08:31 am.

    I stand corrected. You’re off the hook, Fladung!

  5. Submitted by Robert Moffitt on 10/22/2008 - 03:03 pm.

    This story can also be found on Editor & Publisher:

    http://tinyurl.com/5gra8b

    Hat tip to the City Pages Blotter:

    http://tinyurl.com/56unyc

Leave a Reply