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Fox9’s Robinson good-bye ‘will someday be taught in journalism schools as an example of how not to do it’

I have to admit, I spent last night watching the Yankees pull out the Twins’ toenails twice, so I didn’t get to Fox9’s lachrymose Robyne Robinson good-bye until this morning.

However, City Pages’ Kevin Hoffman has obsessively followed this escapade (sometimes to a fault) and pretty much nailed Wednesday night’s politico-journalistic ethical crack-up in a post Thursday, especially with the killer “endorsement video.” (Though geez, somebody buy that FlipCam a tripod!)

Since the lieutenant governor talk broke, I’ve trained most of my fire on Fox9 itself, not Robinson. I haven’t taken a position on her ability to be lieutenant governor or governor, because I’m still learning about her life history and work.

But I’ll say this: Matt Entenza’s new running mate has not acquitted herself with honor here.

It is, perhaps, corny to expect politicians to hold themselves to higher standards. Robinson, instead, has shown a politician’s grasp of rationalization. As the Strib’s Neal Justin noted in a tartly written post Wednesday:

She and her station say there’s no conflict of interest until she officially announces she’s a candidate. Bull. The minute she said openly that she’d think about it should have been the minute Fox officials thanked her for her service and showed her the door.

Right diagnosis, but why only hold Fox responsible for acting? Someone with honor would’ve taken herself off the air (or loudly tried to) the moment she seriously considered an offer to become a politician. 

Robinson has maximized attention as Fox9 has maximized sweeps-month ratings. Both can probably laugh off the ethics ankle-biters. But rather than beginning her political life with a Profile in Courage, Robinson has debuted with a Sketch of Self-Interest.

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Comments (23)

  1. Submitted by Brian Simon on 05/27/2010 - 12:29 pm.

    A valid criticism, perhaps, but its unlikely voters will give it a thought.

  2. Submitted by David Brauer on 05/27/2010 - 12:45 pm.

    Brian – as I acknowledge, you may well be right. But it remains to be seen if voters give Entenza’s campaign a thought … it will take more than RR for that.

  3. Submitted by Paul Walker on 05/27/2010 - 12:58 pm.

    I am totally confused at what the “conflict of interest” is here? So what she was asked before her last day. She didn’t openly promote Etenza or herself! The votes will not care becuase there is nothing to get upset about. Secondly hI watched every second of her goodbye speech last night and thought it was one of the most touching, personal and classy godobye I have ever seen a TV personality give. I understand the need to talk about nonsense since there is nothing else in the world to talk about or other issues to resolve. Good look to her!

  4. Submitted by Tom Oszman on 05/27/2010 - 12:59 pm.

    We can assume Mr. Entenza did his homework. No one does more thorough background investigations.

  5. Submitted by David Brauer on 05/27/2010 - 01:11 pm.

    Paul – if you don’t think Robinson wasn’t openly promoting herself, perhaps we were watching different broadcasts.

    If you’re falling back on the fact that she didn’t explicitly link herself to Entenza, she didn’t really have to given all the recent chatter and today’s announcement.

    As for the other news of the world, that’s why we run other stuff besides my media column!

  6. Submitted by Jeremy Powers on 05/27/2010 - 01:18 pm.


    Do you really think there will be journalism schools in the future? And if there are, what are they going to teach? Ethics? As a former journalist, my professors are now in full horizontal high-speed spin and have been for more than a decade.

  7. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 05/27/2010 - 01:32 pm.

    “Sketch of Self-Interest…” I like that phrase a LOT!! Thanks, David.

  8. Submitted by David Brauer on 05/27/2010 - 01:46 pm.

    Jeremy –

    Remember, p.r. is part of most journalism schools.

  9. Submitted by Hal Sanders on 05/27/2010 - 02:03 pm.

    David: You nailed this one. I wanted to comment on your “Sketch of self-Interest” statement, but Mr. Schoch beat me to eat. That was great.

  10. Submitted by Michael Hunt on 05/27/2010 - 03:07 pm.

    Imagine that….a Fox station being an example of “how not to do journalism”…. who woulda thunk it?

  11. Submitted by Brian Simon on 05/27/2010 - 03:20 pm.

    Braublog writes
    “it remains to be seen if voters give Entenza’s campaign a thought … it will take more than RR for that.”

    Agreed. This rollout could have been handled better; the whole thing smacks of a desperate stunt anyway… “I’m going to announce on Twitter! Look how hip this campaign is!” then “I’m selecting a political outsider as a running mate – watch me capitalize on the anti-incumbency, anti-establishment feelings of voters!”

    My expectation is the Emmer campaign has seen it’s polling ceiling already.

  12. Submitted by Brian Simon on 05/27/2010 - 03:21 pm.

    How Freudian. Said Emmer, meant Entenza. Could be true for Emmer too though.

  13. Submitted by Jeremy Powers on 05/27/2010 - 04:07 pm.


    Oh, great. What the world needs more of — flacks.

    And I have a degree in public relations.

  14. Submitted by Hal Sanders on 05/27/2010 - 07:00 pm.

    STUPIDITY ALERT: In item #9, my comment should have read, “beat me to it.” Everyone needs a copy editor.

  15. Submitted by Tim McNeill on 05/27/2010 - 09:37 pm.

    I might add that Jeff Passolt also made mention of her possible try at politics during her last broadcast. If that is not a sign of P.R., I don’t what is. FOX 9 should be upset with how they made this nothing more than a ratings stunt. I would love to know through all the crying Robin Robbinson did during her farewell speech, what the real reason for her decision to leave her anchor post!! There has to be more to this story we are not aware of. Keep digging David. The gun is only starting to smoke on this one. Also, Pat Kessler made it clear during The 6 (a really dumb new idea on ‘CCO’s part) that she never covered Minnesota politcs. She only read copy from the FOX 9 news desk. If that qualifies her for office, then we have real problems ahead. I just love political spin.

  16. Submitted by Jeff Michaels on 05/28/2010 - 09:26 am.

    Breaking news . . . . another member of the establishment media has teamed up with another DFLer. What a surprise!

  17. Submitted by Jim Roth on 05/28/2010 - 11:27 am.

    I don’t really have anything for or against her. She’s a television personality. What are her qualifications for public office and what are her views?

  18. Submitted by John Edwards on 05/28/2010 - 11:39 am.

    Congratulations to #4 Tom Oszman for the funniest and most insightful post, at least for those of us who remember Mr. Entenza releasing a private investigator on Mike Hatch during the last gubernatorial race.

  19. Submitted by Hannah on 05/28/2010 - 12:12 pm.

    Somewhere I saw Entenza referred to as Mr. Lois Quam.

  20. Submitted by Joel Jensen on 05/28/2010 - 03:56 pm.

    @Jeff: FOX = Establishment Media?

    Neither FOX nor whomever constitutes the ‘Establishment Media’ will ever, ever forgive you.

  21. Submitted by Joel Jensen on 05/28/2010 - 04:00 pm.

    Anyone heard of ‘political alzheimer’s’ – where you forget everything but the grudge?

  22. Submitted by Paul Gustafson on 05/29/2010 - 02:32 pm.

    Ms. Robinson may surprise. Yet, I believe she read the news more than she covered it.

    Which brings to mind a Hunter S. Thompson quote about journalists:

    “A group photo of the top ten journalists in America on any given day would be a momument to human ugliness.”

    Ms. Robinson does not qualify….

  23. Submitted by David Koski on 05/29/2010 - 09:15 pm.

    I had to pinch myself and fall back asleep. There was this image that Entenza and Emmer were two birch trees in a wind storm, knocking each others limbs off. But then I realized that impressions of mimicking the GOP were only reality based. It was just the DFL supplying more options than Coca-Cola slots at the supermarket. Caffeine free, diet Coke, may be wet and bubbly, but it won’t keep me awake.

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