Minneapolis Paper Under Fire for Printing GOP House Candidate's Expunged Arrest Record

Ted Kennedy can get away with leaving a campaign staffer to die in his car in the eyes of the media, but apparently a disputed and expunged arrest record of a Republican congressional candidate is worth blasting to the public. At least according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Scott Johnson at Power Line has the details:

I find Sunday's Star Tribune story
by Paul McEnroe and Rochelle Olson on the expunged 1995 arrest of
Republican Fifth District congressional candidate Alan Fine to be
reprehensible. We posted the rationale offered by Star Tribune
"reader's representative" Kate Parry for the Star Tribune's publication
of the story here.
Parry conteded that the story had "news value" because "Fine was
arrested by the police, charged with domestic assault and spent a few
hours in jail" and that "the allegations raised in the court documents
were corroborated by the ex-wife in interviews with Star Tribune
reporters." Parry did not mention or comment on the expungement of the
arrest.

At the Star Tribune's online site, editor Anders Gyllenhaal has also offered his rationale
for the publication of the story. Anyone who suspects that the Star
Tribune offices are something of an echo chamber won't be disabused of
the notion by Gyllenhaal's comments:

Several elements
contributed to the decision to run the story: The officers who answered
the domestic call decided to pursue the arrest and sent Fine to jail;
the candidate’s former wife told reporters last week that the assault
occurred even though she ended up withdrawing the charge; Fine’s former
father-in-law, a local judge, backed up his daughter and said he’d been
told of other instances of domestic abuse.

Gyllenhaal
concludes by asserting that Fine's 1995 arrest and domestic dispute is
part of its "full portrait" of Fine. Like Parry, Gyllenhaal omits any
mention of the fact that Fine's arrest was expunged and, like McEnroe
and Olson, Gyllenhaal fails to reveal whether the Star Tribune's source
for the document obtained or released it legally to the Star Tribune.

It is difficult to overstate the vacuity of Parry's and
Gyllenhaal's comments. Alan Fine was arrested in 1995 based on his
wife's charge. His wife repeated the charge in 2006. Also in 2006, the
ex-wife's father "backed up his daughter" -- i.e., repeats what his
daughter allegedly told him in 1995. Despite all the huffing and
puffing, the Star Tribune's story rests on the word of Alan Fine's
wife.

Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield, creator of NewsBusters and president of Dialog New Media, an internet marketing and design firm, left NewsBusters at the end of 2013