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KSTP’s Hubbard: Fellow MnForward donor Target Corp. ‘may have overreacted’ to critics

Media Matters for America’s Joe Strupp takes a look at Hubbard Broadcasting, Inc.’s donation to MnForward, the big business group trying to elect Tom Emmer. Strupp, who spent years on the media beat at Editor & Publisher, talks to a number of analysts, including yours truly, about the ethical complications of HBI’s newly legal $100,000 corporate donation.

Hubbard owns KSTP, among other Minnesota stations. Media Matters, by its own description, monitors “conservative disinformation.”

There are a couple of interesting quotes at the end of the piece from HBI patriarch (and frequent GOP donor) Stanley Hubbard, including one about the leadership of fellow MnForward donors Target Corp.:

Hubbard Broadcasting CEO Stanley Hubbard told me his corporation’s donations have no impact on news coverage. “We are taking advantage of our right to have our opinion,” he told me. “It has no impact on our newsroom. I never influence anything in the newsroom.”

Asked if just the perception of conflict is bad enough, Hubbard said: “We have never had that show up in any (audience) research that it creates a conflict.” He added that, “I think Target may have overreacted.”

I don’t agree; unlike Hubbard, Target has marketed itself as a progressive alternative to a troglodyte rival (Wal-Mart), and a retailer comes in much closer contact with flesh-and-blood customers than a broadcaster. Plus, Target’s proudly diverse workforce and expansion plans in Left Coast areas like San Francisco were factors.

Still, Stanley Hubbard is nothing if not hard-headed, so I can understand him questioning those who flail.

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Comments (8)

  1. Submitted by Stan Daniels on 08/10/2010 - 04:55 pm.

    I agree with Hubbard that Target overreacted. It’s not uncommon for businesses to donate to multiple candidates on both sides of the aisle (and Target did). I question the groups that put every donation under a microscope and look for reasons to complain.

    I do have more of a problem with Hubbard donating since they run a news organization and are obviously only leaning right with the donation. Unless they want to hang a sign of their news set noting the donation, I would prefer they stay out of politics.

    This topic should generate some interesting opinions.

  2. Submitted by Bill Gleason on 08/10/2010 - 08:08 pm.

    I hate to admit some sympathy for Stanley. Correct me if I am wrong, but he DOES seem to have kept his nose out of the newsroom.

    He’s a well-known heavy GOP donor. I don’t think anyone questions his right to use his own money for whatever political purposes he wishes. Dayton and Entenza are doing this and it seems unfair to the candidates with less disposable income, but that’s the way it goes.

    Unfortunately, allowing corporations to make direct political donations is going to hurt some companies, as Target is finding out. For a company like Target – wishing to project a squeaky clean progressive image – it might be wisest to divvy up the kitty among all the major candidates.

    Executives at Target can still donate their own money to people like Emmer without legitimate criticism.

  3. Submitted by John Jordan on 08/10/2010 - 08:11 pm.

    Target did overreact, as did the bigoted woman who went after them and still calls them “anti-gay” for their donation. Please.

    Also, love the assumption by liberals that anyone who believes that marriage has a definition and has for six thousand years (and believed in by the vast majority of people including Barack Obama) is a “bigot”. Like the term “racist”, throwing around terms like this to disparage anyone you disagree with dilutes the term from when it’s really needed. This isn’t one of those times. Neither Target NOR Tom Emmer are “bigots”.

  4. Submitted by Dodd Demas on 08/10/2010 - 09:35 pm.

    “Still, Stanley Hubbard is nothing if not hard-headed, so I can understand him questioning those who flail.”

    LOL

  5. Submitted by Tony George on 08/11/2010 - 07:09 am.

    Yes, Target, stick to your extreme right wing principles! What’s a few hundred million dollars in sales?

  6. Submitted by Paul Scott on 08/11/2010 - 08:12 am.

    I don’t know why anyone interviews Hubbard. KSTP is a dinosaur.

  7. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/11/2010 - 08:40 am.

    Now the DFL has a candidate I predict today’s the day, or maybe tomorrow, that Target makes a nice donation to the DFL and hopes this all goes away. Did Target overreact? The question is moot, Target has long since lost control of this situation, Target’s reaction is no longer important. The question now is if and when the people Target offended and even harmed (one can argue that the denial of civil rights prop 8 represents transcends mere offense and constitutes actual harm) will satisfied with Target’s attempts to resolve this.

  8. Anonymous Submitted by Anonymous on 08/11/2010 - 09:57 am.

    Is that some kind of joke from Hubbard about his station not being partisan? It is subtle, but KSTP is anything but neutral in its coverage. To cite just one example, its meteorologist is a prominent climate change denier.

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