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.