There is an art to burying a story.
Most have heard about the “Minnetrista-gate” judgment against the mayor, several councilmembers and the shadow political committee “Our Minnetrista” led by David Kolb that has been illegally influencing Minnetrista elections since 2014. But it probably wasn’t through the local newspaper. There is an art to burying a story and The Laker has perfected it:
Step 1: When violations are filed, put it on page 12 in small type hoping no one sees it.
Step 2: Don’t cover the trial, Respondents’ dismissed pleadings or testimony that could be embarrassing to the public officials charged.
Step 3: When the court hands down a judgment and everyone charged is found to have participated in illegal activity, don’t report on it for weeks hoping it will go away or become old news.
Step 4: When it doesn’t go away, write the obligatory story and bury it, again, on page 9.
Step 5: Use a headline in small type that won’t attract readers. “Minnetrista campaign finance imbroglio comes to an end.” What does “imbroglio” mean anyway?
Step 6: Knowing most people only read the first paragraph of a story, take care not to mention any of the Respondents by name or position. And make absolutely sure the leader of “Our Minnetrista,” David Kolb, isn’t mentioned at all…anywhere…despite being a Respondent and fined for his involvement:
Laker Opening Paragraph: “After more than a month of evidentiary hearings, the Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings ruled June 21 on a complaint brought by Minnetrista councilmember Shannon Bruce last fall when she alleged possible breaches of campaign finance law by four local candidates and one local committee during the 2014 and 2018 election.”
Step 7: Put the judges’ statement that Respondents’ actions “corrupted the political process and created an unfair advantage for the candidates they supported.” in the last paragraph.
Step 8: Insert excuses for the illegally concocted scheme: “Danielson sought advice from a variety of sources to learn the appropriate way” to report contributions and expenditures, when the trial testimony showed absolutely NO evidence that she did, other than her fellow Respondents’ repeating her unsubstantiated assertions. No emails, phone records, witnesses…nothing. Danielson’s own sworn declaration stated: “None of the entities I consulted with was able to provide clear and direct advice regarding the reporting requirements.”
Translation: The scheme was illegal and no one would tell her it wasn’t.
Step 9: Don’t contact the Complainant or her attorney in the case to get their side of the story.
The Laker’s mission (bold added for emphasis): “The Laker Pioneer serves as the trusted community news source for the western area of Lake Minnetonka.” I’d love to hear your thoughts.