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On-air date: 
Mon, 11/12/2012
Listen to or download this episode here: 

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This week, it’s the community-based media’s turn to react to the billions spent in campaign bucks and in PAC money, freed from all constraints by Citizens United, which was merely the crown on top of a series of rulings removing limits on how much campaigns and outside groups could raise and spend on electing people to office – not to mention the millions thrown into the ring on behalf of the now-failed amendment proposals to the Minnesota state constitution.

The presidential campaign and those amendments really sucked most of the air out of the room – so much so that, yet again this year, as in 2010, the all-important legislative majority switched parties – from Republican to DFL control. And again, the surprise was the Minnesota House of Representatives, which now sports a 12-vote majority of DFLers headed by newly elected Speaker of the House Paul Thissen and Majority Leader Erin Murphy (my rep).

The Senate was less a surprise, since those with political ears to the ground were predicting a majority turnover there. Sure as hell – it came – and for the first time in 20-odd years, DFLers are driving all three governing entities – both houses and the Governor’s office.

Some attention was given to the heavy races in the 6th and 8th Congressional Districts, but the other incumbents generally sailed through and were ignored. We do that. We pay little attention to races with token or no opposition, many of the local races and a ballot question or two, and almost none of the judicial races, including the state Supreme Court, and certainly the most invisible of all – Watershed District Commissioners. What’s that? Watershed District what?

What about the St. Paul Schools Levy Referendum? It passed, 2 to 1, even though voters could have confused it with yet another Amendment and voted NO.

We try to get a handle on all this and examine the entire commercial nature of political campaigns and why this commerciality represents a conflict of interest for media who cover those campaigns with one penciled hand while taking the massive campaign dollars with the other. What happened in this country to turn campaigns for public office into just another advertising scheme for used cars and detergent?

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI these questions and more to a panel of local and community-based media outlets rarely heard from in the campaign cacophony consuming our airwaves and the printed page for over two years running.

On-air guests: 

 BETH HAWKINS – Reporter,, covering primarily the Constitutional Amendments and Education this year

 MARY TURCK – Editor, Twin Cities Daily Planet



 CHARLES HALLMAN – Reporter, Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

 PAUL DEMKO – Reporter, Dolan Media Company (Politics in Minnesota and the Legal Ledger, etc.)

 MILA KOUMPILOVA – Education Writer, St. Paul Pioneer Press