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Arne Carlson blasts Politico after receiving ‘backstabber’ label

Somehow, I didn’t realize Gov. Arne Carlson blogged until Pioneer Press editorialist Jim Ragsdale tweeted about it.

Somehow, I didn’t realize Gov. Arne Carlson blogged until Pioneer Press editorialist Jim Ragsdale tweeted about it. But Carlson — never known to mince words — might be one to bookmark.

In his latest post, the former governor blasts Politico, the D.C. site that recently labeled him Tim Pawlenty’s “backyard backstabber.” In truth, Carlson is more of a front-stabber, since he declared to Politico reporter Molly Ball, “I will go to Iowa and New Hampshire and have press conferences, if it comes to that,” to derail Pawlenty’s 2012 presidential bid.

In his post, Carlson writes:

One of my recent blogs dealt with the need for the national media to pay more attention to the actual records of Governors seeking the Presidency and less on what the candidates advance as their version. …

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Surprisingly, Molly Ball of Politico takes exception to this scrutiny of candidates.  It seems she has made the examination and concluded that they all merit a passing grade and anyone who disagrees is a “backstabber”.  How novel?  And here I thought journalism was all about free inquiry and truth.

Anyone who covered Carlson knows his skin isn’t the thickest, and Ball doesn’t really object to scrutinizing records; she mostly ignores them. Like most Politico pieces, hers was about the horse race, the campaign trail and the food fight; less about fact-vetting than scorecard-keeping.

It’s a big reason I removed Politico from my RSS feed; it’s too much about “winning the morning” with political fast food. While the site is a news ticker for the 2012-obsessed, I rely on my social networks to tip me to the occasional worthwhile piece.

So far in 2011, Politico has mentioned Pawlenty over 140 times, mostly minutiae, occasionally simplistic recitations of simplistic positions, or uncritical recapitulations of his campaign persona.

It’s not beyond the staff’s capability to fully vet Pawlenty or other candidates — the site was started by two Washington Post veterans — but doing so at this point in the race seems to be too taxing for reporters skittering furiously on their hamster wheels.

Fortunately, there are top-quality reporters out there who have and will give TPaw the twice-over, and Carlson vows to set an example, concluding with a vow that might even lure Politico’s catfight chroniclers back:

It is no secret that I have serious qualms about the candidacy of Governor Pawlenty and do not believe his claims of prudent financial management come anywhere close to the truth.   Hence, the scrutiny will continue……….