Tough night at Augsburg for Stanley Hubbard

An unusual moment in a long career for Mr. Hubbard. Libor Jany at the Strib says, “About 30 protesters, some waggling large red foam fingers typical at sporting events, stood up and roared at Hubbard, whose television station, KSTP-TV, had come under fire for airing a story claiming that Mayor Betsy Hodges was making a gang sign in a photograph with a young, black canvasser. … Hubbard, whose responses were at times drowned out by the protesters, refused to apologize, defending KSTP’s decision to air the story after being approached by ‘multiple law enforcement’ officials. At one point, he told the protesters that they had been ‘been sucked in’ by media coverage of the fallout from the original story.” Stanley’s a decent guy, but he should drop the second half of that explanation.

For MPR, Peter Cox writes, “While Hubbard took questions from the audience, a protester interrupted and asked if the station would give an on-air apology. ‘No, of course not, that’s ridiculous,’ Hubbard responded. Hubbard said the station reached out to the mayor’s office and the community group Neighborhoods Organizing for Change two days before the story aired.” And what did you ask them?

Also at MPR, Laura Yuen says of the FBI probe for “terrorist recruiters,” “FBI officials won’t share everything they know about who they are looking for. That is standard procedure, but it’s created a vacuum in which suspicions and speculation flourish. Some local Muslims say they’re struggling to understand who might be dangerous and who’s simply opinionated. They warn of a hyper-vigilant environment where even innocent people are creating unease in their community.”

The latest in the “congested railroads” saga. Dan Gunderson at MPR says, “Minnesota’s agricultural exporters are having a hard time moving their products to the international market. Labor contract disputes at West Coast seaports are compounding shipping delays for farmers already hampered by railroad congestion. Nothing is moving. … Complicating matters for farmers is the perennial lack of empty shipping containers in Minnesota. The region exports far more than it imports, and it is costly for railroads to transport empty containers back to the Midwest. But the situation has dramatically worsened in recent weeks.”

According to my thesaurus, this is pretty much like “unanimous.” MPR’s Alex Friedrich reports, “Faculty at Metropolitan State University passed a vote of “no confidence” in Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system Chancellor Steven Rosenstone Thursday — meaning all seven state universities have now formally questioned his leadership. … Students at Winona State University and Metropolitan State also questioned Rosenstone’s leadership earlier this month.”

So, sort of like abandon ship? Kelly Smith at the Strib says, “City leaders in Maple Plain have determined that their mayor ‘abandoned office’ and appointed a replacement. The small west metro town named a new mayor this week after Mayor Roger Hackbarth stopped attending city meetings in July, just before the City Council censured him a second time for his behavior.”

The GleanXcel is calling someone’s bluff. Says Dave Shaffer in the Strib, “One of the nation’s top power plant contractors is alleging $45 million in unpaid cost overruns during Xcel Energy Inc.’s 18-month overhaul of its Prairie Island nuclear power plant in Red Wing, Minn. Babcock & Wilcox Nuclear Energy, a Charlotte, N.C.-based contractor, says in a lawsuit filed Wednesday that Xcel has refused to pay the full cost for the complex job of replacing a pair of massive steam generators. … Spokeswoman Mary Sandok … said the Prairie Island lawsuit is solely about claims for additional payment that the company considers without merit. Xcel will file a response within 20 days, she said.”

Pretty good on that giving thing. The PiPress says of Give to the Max Day: “As of midnight Thursday, the 24-hour online donation drive had netted $18.2 million for thousands of Minnesota nonprofits and schools. Last year, donors gave a record $17.1 million; in 2012, the total was $16.4 million, the previous record.”

Finally, the Strib … excuse me, Mother Strib, is quite upset about cynicism in public life. These are some of the self-inflicted wounds that continue to spread cynicism among potential candidates and voters:  “Failure to value public service. The many blank ballots for local offices and high proportion of uncontested elections in Minnesota, including for the Legislature, suggest that those jobs aren’t as appealing as they once were. In some cases, low compensation is part of the problem. Public-sector salaries that were frozen during the Great Recession should now thaw. But we suspect that a lack of respect engendered by years of government-bashing is also taking a toll. Even when compensation is reasonable, service in elective office requires personal sacrifice. It deserves appreciation, not scorn.” Hmm. So here’s a thought, how about pointing out, specifically, who is practicing this government-bashing. If it’s an offense, say so.

Comments (7)

  1. Submitted by Eric Snyder on 11/14/2014 - 08:57 am.

    Speaking of “Mother Strib” and cynicism

    Hasn’t the Strib. officially come out in support of any number of candidates of the “the government is the problem, not the solution” variety?

    And having done that the Strib has the brass to list as one of its hypothesized reasons for cynicism, “Failure to control money. Nationwide, candidates and interest groups spent a record $4 billion this midterm to generate the lowest voter turnout since 1942. The unmistakable message: More money equals less democracy. Undisclosed cash has been a problem in politics since the days of the brown paper bag, but two Supreme Court rulings have made matters far worse.”

    Perhaps if the paper stopped endorsing candidates who support the Citizens United decision that would indicate seriousness about the problem of money in politics.

    Lastly, unmentioned in their list of reasons is the hypocrisy of public institutions that complain about a problem while directly contributing to it.

    • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 11/14/2014 - 11:33 am.

      Strib

      Very well said. Thanks for connecting the dots, Eric.

    • Submitted by Daniel Shaw on 11/14/2014 - 01:11 pm.

      On the Money about Mother

      Thanks for hitting the nail on the head, Eric. The Strib appears to like to enter the fray while trying (unsuccessfully) to remain above it. Not a Strib subscriber, but would not be surprised if they recognize and advocate addressing climate change, while bemoaning the lack of “bipartisan” action.

    • Submitted by Daniel Shaw on 11/14/2014 - 01:31 pm.

      Mother knows best?

      Thanks for hitting the nail on the head, Eric. The Strib appears to want to have it both ways, supporting a largely centrist or conservative philosophy but remaining above the fray by ignoring a favored party’s or candidate’s specific stands on critical issues. Not a Strib subscriber, but I would not be surprised that while acknowledging the importance of climate change, the Strib bemoans the lack of “bipartisan” action on the issue.

  2. Submitted by Logan Foreman on 11/14/2014 - 02:44 pm.

    Let’s see the full line-up

    Of “multiple law enforcement officials” that Hubbard references. Is it a surprise the approach was to this station? Hardly. Still waiting to hear about the great job on polls this election, too.

  3. Submitted by Jason Walker on 11/14/2014 - 03:20 pm.

    Hubbard

    I certainly don’t agree with KSTP or Hubbard and believe that even by the more loosey-goosey standards of TV journalism this was an especially egregious display of poor judgment and downright gutter journalism.
    However, at the very least, to this former journalist it is nice to see a CEO standing up for his reporters and editors, no matter how misguided that support. Many of my old bosses would throw reporters under the bus at every chance.

  4. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 11/14/2014 - 04:01 pm.

    One of the hardest things children must learn to do is apologize when they’ve done something wrong or hurt someone. We’re looking at a man who never was asked to learn that lesson in childhood. Never had to admit wrongdoing in his life.

    Mr. Hubbard was not so much defending his reporter as reacting negatively to a demand that HE apologize–maybe for one of the first times in his privileged life that he’s been challenged.

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