Looks like KSTP is dealing with more fallout from political contributions.
MPR’s Tom Scheck reports that Fourth District Congresswoman Betty McCollum has rejected a Sept. 19 League of Women Voters’ debate at the station because owner Stanley Hubbard gave two grand to the DFLer’s Republican opponent, Teresa Collett.
McCollum’s aide says it’s a long-time policy and that the congresswoman has accepted two other debates, including one sponsored by the League.
KSTP has gotten a lot of attention this cycle because its parent corporation, Hubbard Broadcasting, gave $100,000 to MnForward, a new state-level business group supporting GOP gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer (and a bipartisan slate of legislators). The Supreme Court made such corporate donations legal earlier this year.
A couple of points:
The Hubbard donation is a personal, not corporate one. He’s been making them (mostly but not exclusively to Republicans) for years, and KSTP and the League have sponsored debates for years. From everything I’ve heard, the station and its reporter/moderators have played these events absolutely straight.
For all the criticism — some of which I’ve delivered in this space — Hubbard is the last locally based TV news operation and has a long record of non-partisan civic work. I can understand some Dems wanting to deliver a little payback; Hubbard raised the stakes when it opened up the corporate checkbook. But I think given KSTP’s long debate record, this is an over-reaction.