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McCollum bags KSTP debate because owner gave to her opponent

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.

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Comments (13)

  1. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 09/09/2010 - 10:09 pm.

    Hey Betty: You’re a coward. You’ve got a congressional seat for life because of your government-dependent constituency and you can’t even muster up the courage to debate your token republican opponent. Lame.

  2. Submitted by Joseph Skar on 09/10/2010 - 08:06 am.

    Weak. Do we know if she is dodging this debate because it’s the only one that’s televised?

  3. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 09/10/2010 - 09:22 am.

    This is no surprise at all.

    Betty(!) never, ever appears at a venue that is not under the direct control of her attendants. She almost never appears in public as the featured speaker, and if you’ve ever heard her speak, you know why.

    A televised debate is simply out of the question for Betty(!); there is no back door to scurry out of a television studio unnoticed.

    My fellow unrepresented neighbors and I in the 4th CD know it’s fruitless to complain; we are inured to our wretched condition. The district is controlled by leftists who are getting the leadership they want…

    Just look at the condition of the city of St. Paul; its failing schools; its crumbling streets; its unmowed parks and boulevards.

    Observe the tumbleweeds blowing in the streets downtown; the fields of “For Sale” and “For Lease” signs festooning the city’s empty commercial properties.

    Marvel at the 42% increase in property taxes that is fueling the leftist leadership’s massive failure; and prepare to be happy to pay even more next year.

    That friends, is liberalism in action. That is Betty(!)’s ilk in action.

    McCollum can scurry away from the questions we want answered, but she cannot scurry away from the fact that she will be returning to an office the house GOP majority will re-locate to the Capital basement. She may not do anything right, but at least she will be powerless to cause us any further harm and embaressment.

  4. Submitted by Tucker Wayan on 09/10/2010 - 10:07 am.

    David – those are token debates at best. The League of Women is firmly within Betty’s court – should Collett not show for that since the sponsor is a supporter of Betty’s?

    Betty’s excuse is weak. She’s always hidden from her constituents (as I can attest to firsthand). She’ll agree to debates only when the audience is stacked in her favor.

    Does she really think Channel 5 is going to be hostile to her? That they’ll stack the odds against her?

    We shouldn’t be surprised. She’s just your regular politician who really doesn’t care about facing her district.

  5. Submitted by David Dempsey on 09/10/2010 - 11:20 am.

    To those who are calling McCollum a coward, please reflect on what you’d be saying if the station had contributed to Alliance for a Better Minnesota and Al Franken. No — I mean really reflect. Not a disclaimer that you would never be tempted to cry “bias.” Too many people can’t see the reflection of themselves in the mirror.

  6. Submitted by Tucker Wayan on 09/10/2010 - 11:32 am.

    David – I’d cry bias if after the debate it was obvious there was bias. Even so, I would hope that my representative (Republican, Democrat, or Independent) would still be out there letting us know what they are doing and what they want to do. Congress has made some big changes in the last 2 years – I want to know if Betty wants to continue these changes moving forward or if she would prefer to take a step back.

    Debates let us see beyond the glossy literature that gets mailed to us. Maybe Betty can suggest another venue for the debate?

  7. Submitted by Lyn Crosby on 09/10/2010 - 12:01 pm.

    WOW, a candidate doesn’t attend ONE debate and we’ve got (obvious non supporters anyway…) crying “foul” and “lame”. Lots of negativity and hot words from folks I am glad are not MY elected representative!!

  8. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 09/10/2010 - 12:37 pm.

    So, Thomas, Betty McCollum is even to blame for what PAWLENTY has done to the state of St. Paul’s streets and schools?

    You apparently did not hear Betty M. speak before more than one crowd of health-care plan opponents, some of them hostile, who were responded to with politeness and diplomacy after being given time to express themselves fully.

    Your comments have no basis in reality – “scary smart” or not.

  9. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 09/10/2010 - 04:31 pm.

    No, Bernice, I was unable to get into the Macalister chapel to hear Betty speak.

    As I said, her appearances are carefully orchistrated by her handlers. This is the announcement that appeared on “Democratic Underground” prior to the appearance you’re referring to:

    What: Health Care Town Hall with
    Rep. Betty McCollum

    Where: Macalester College
    Weyerhauser Chapel

    When: Monday, August 31st 2009
    Arrival Time: 6:00 p.m.
    Start Time: 7:00 p.m.

    Please arrive as early as possible to the town hall, and make sure that the most powerful voices in this debate are those calling for real reform, not angrily clamoring for the status quo.

    Jenn Brown
    Minnesota State Director
    Organizing for America

    Ironicly enough, I’ve just received an announcement from Organizing for America (I had since signed up for their e-mail list) announcing Betty’s appearance at a meeting at the same venue next Monday.

    I’ll be arriving *very* early.

    BTW, I was completely unaware that Governor Pawlenty managed the Saint Paul public works department and the school district…busy man.

  10. Submitted by Jean Anderson on 09/10/2010 - 07:07 pm.

    There is certainly some interesting and some good discussion here. I live in Betty’s CD4 district, and am proud that she is my Congresswoman. Betty works for all of her constituents. She is thoughtful, dedicated, and works tirelessly for us. I have watched Betty speak, and she does want to “move forward”, and get the needed changes our country and state needs – with education, health care, etc. I see Betty as someone who will do well in any debate – and as was stated previously, she will be debating in debates.

    OK, now for a word about Teresa Collett – I received a phone survey – which I do not think could be even remotely termed a “thinly-veiled” survey. It was a male voice – but taped, and I think it was voice-activated by my answers to questions. It was just a Collett propaganda piece. The questions were slanted to wanting the person taking the “survey”, in this case me, to agree with their views. Well, they were not pleased with my responses, I am sure. And such lies being said about Betty. I welcome a survey with a real person, not a taped person. I am helping with surveys for the DFL, and we don’t intimidate persons, if they disagree, we know that persons have differing opinions. In my doing the surveys, I have never been anything but pleasant to the persons I call and treating them with respect, and I can hearing the other callers doing the same. What is wrong with Collette, that she cannot have “real” persons call. Hmmm. I wonder.

  11. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 09/11/2010 - 09:55 am.

    Thomas: You must have missed Betty’s earlier town hall at the pavilion in Highland Park, which was attended by at least two hundred people. All who wished to speak were give two minutes apiece. All with questions had them answered. Many attendees were virulent opponents who were treated with the same respect give to those who were there in support of health care reform.

  12. Submitted by B Maginnis on 09/14/2010 - 09:20 pm.

    C’mon Bets, face your public.

    You can do it!

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