Daily partakes in smear campaign

Setting the record straight: Alan Fine never attacked race or religion.

I hope everyone agrees that those who support or have supported racists or racism should be shunned from politics. So, you may find it ironic that Alan Fine, the Republican-endorsed candidate running in Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District, has become the target of slanted journalism since his Sept. 13 news conference in which he condemned DFL-endorsed candidate Keith Ellison’s support of and affiliation with known racists. Media are lambasting Alan with the claim that he attacks race and religion when Fine is condemning Ellison for having supported those who are racist. It begs the question: Is the media afraid of a mainstream Republican candidate in their midst? As an intern with the Fine campaign since nearly its beginning, I can tell you, the campaign has gone out of its way to make sure everybody knows we are not attacking race or religion.

Yet the Daily has published claims that Alan Fine has attacked Keith Ellison’s race and religion along with other glaringly false information. For example, the Sept. 15 issue contained a political cartoon depicting Alan Fine pointing at Keith Ellison calling him a Muslim despite the fact that Fine has never attacked Ellison’s religion.

A Daily staffer displayed journalistic incompetence on the front page of the Sept. 22 issue when he gravely misquotes Fine and then used the quote as the clincher. This misquote led the reader to believe that Fine said Keith Ellison “believes Jews are the scourge of the earth” among other things when, in fact, Fine was referring to Louis Farrakhan – an individual that Ellison has supported. They had to issue a correction.

Finally, in the Sept. 28 issue of the Daily, in the article “Third-party candidates hope for political shift,” the author quotes Independence Party candidate Tammy Lee: “It’s OK to contrast on issues where there’s been an irresponsible past … but that’s different than personal attacks on race and religion.”

The news conference audio is hosted online by Minnesota Public Radio. Search for “Alan Fine” at mpr.org and you will find the blog Polinaut with a link to the audio. Go hear for yourself and you will have done more thorough research than some of the staff at the Daily. After all, regarding those individuals who have supported racists, we know it is wise not to give them our support (I hope).

Grant Hagstrom is a University

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