The Curious Case of the Coleman Camp and the UpTake

by Devin Henry

As you probably heard from pretty much everybody, Norm Coleman conceded the U.S. Senate race yesterday after the Minnesota Supreme Court shot down his appeal of the recount results. Early in the afternoon he called a press conference at his St. Paul home to make his closing statements to a years-long campaign, but when online citizen journalism news source The UpTake showed up, they were shown the proverbial door almost immediately.

Media blogger David Brauer has the complete tale, but here it is in shorted fashion:

Coleman staffer Tom Erickson asked UpTake reporter Noah Kunin to take down his equipment as soon as he began setting up in Coleman’s backyard. Erickson called Kunin a liberal blogger (which he was at one point), and since the campaign was holding the presser on Coleman’s personal property, they could ask anyone they wanted to leave.

Kunin, who has State Capitol-issued press credentials, eventually met up with KARE11 news director Tom Lindner, who let The UpTake use KARE’s feed of the press conference for their site. 

The UpTake, meanwhile, filmed from Coleman’s neighbor’s yard:

Brauer has harsher words for the Coleman camp than I’ll throw out here, but the main crux of his argument is that The UpTake has become something more than just a liberal blog like the one Kunin used to run. I personally used the site’s live video feeds during the original Senate trial and the Legislative session to watch what was happening when I couldn’t attend in person. And while Brauer notes that the comments posted to the site have spoken out against Coleman (and sometimes Republican lawmakers in general), it’s hard to deny that it has become a staple of the political coverage in Minnesota.

This isn’t the first time this has happened to The UpTake (or other online news outlets) either. Brauer does note that the tension between The UpTake and the Coleman camp has eased in recent months, which is why Erickson’s maneuver came out of nowhere for Kunin. 

So what is there to explain this? Frustration perhaps. But that certainly doesn’t make what happened Tuesday any more excusable.