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KSTP: Newscast should have disclosed corporate ties to pro-Emmer ad

KSTP-TV News Director Lindsay Radford isn’t mincing any words: her newsroom “should have disclosed” owner Hubbard Broadcasting Inc.’s ties in stories about MnForward’s pro-Tom Emmer ads.
HBI has contributed $100,000 to MnForward, a business group

KSTP-TV News Director Lindsay Radford isn’t mincing any words: her newsroom “should have disclosed” owner Hubbard Broadcasting Inc.’s ties in stories about MnForward’s pro-Tom Emmer ads.

HBI has contributed $100,000 to MnForward, a business group that released a TV ads supporting Emmer, out of the $450,000 the group has raised so far. Initially, a KSTP web story did not include the link; now it does.

Radford notes the TV side did a roughly 15-second story on the campaign’s debut that also didn’t mention the connection. That, too, was a mistake, she says, and all future stories involving MnForward will include the HBI-donation disclaimer.

While HBI patriarch Stanley Hubbard is a longtime GOP donor, the Supreme Court’s recent Citizens United decision gave corporations the right to directly advocate for a candidate’s election. Radford says HBI officials did not tell her they’d made the donation. Asked if corporate will tell the newsroom the next time they pony up, Radford says, “Yes.” 

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Because of the Hubbard family’s frequent donations, she says KSTP “gets painted with a broad brush” as being a GOP station; however, if the station wants to be perceived as presenting “unbiased news, we have to set the bar higher. We have to disclose [donor ties].”

Radford says the MnForward ad will undergo a “Truth Test,” a regular fact-checking segment by political reporter Tom Hauser, and the HBI-MnForward link will definitely be included.