Candidate’s records important

Alan Fine called for a retraction of a story, but the Star Tribune stuck by it.

On Saturday, the Star Tribune published an article exposing a 1995 domestic violence charge against Minneapolis congressional candidate Alan Fine.

According to expunged reports obtained by the newspaper, Fine was arrested and booked in Hennepin County Jail after a domestic abuse call from his then-wife.

Weeks later, she dropped the charge and Fine was later able to remove the case from Hennepin County Court and police records.

Fine said he never struck his then-wife and wanted his record expunged because he was innocent. His then-wife said he pressured her to drop the charges.

On Saturday, Fine demanded a retraction of the entire article, saying the Star Tribune had misled the public. The newspaper stood by the story, saying the article was accurate and straightforward.

Fine’s Web site includes a personal statement about the newspaper’s refusal to print a retraction: “I think that issues of character are important in assessing who we will choose to be our leaders. That is what I have been doing all along and will continue to do.”

The statement says the article assessed Fine’s character “on the basis of a nasty divorce where false accusations are common, and they should know that given the 50 percent divorce rate in America.”

Fine wrote that he has never hidden anything and gave his word that he is a person of good character.

Isn’t it a journalist’s responsibility to unearth these types of histories of public officials or those who could potentially become them?

Furthermore, the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics states journalists are above all else responsible for seeking the truth and reporting it.

One of Minneapolis’ congressional candidates used to have a criminal record.

If the Star Tribune had not sought out this information and published it accurately and completely, would anyone have ever known?