Skip to comments.Argus Leader Breaks Silence, Admits Daschle Link
Posted on 06/20/2003 6:27:28 AM PDT by bedolido
WASHINGTON (Talon News) -- After two weeks of stonewalling, Randell Beck, Executive Editor of South Dakota's largest newspaper, the Argus Leader, finally acknowledged the relationship of its political reporter to Sen. Tom Daschle (D-SD). Wednesday's admission of David Kranz's 35-year friendship with the Senate Minority Leader came during a Sioux Falls radio talk show hosted by Greg Belfrage on station KELO AM.
Kranz and the Argus Leader have been at the center of a controversy that began when potential Senate candidate Neal Tapio revealed the ties in a press release. Tapio implied that the newspaper's reporting has been excessively favorable to Daschle and the Democrats and unusually harsh to their critics and Republican candidates. The New York Times and Washington-based Roll Call criticized the Argus Leader's biased reporting in the 1990 South Dakota senate race.
Wednesday's interview with Beck came after the resumption of the regular KELO segment called "Argus on the Air." The segment had been abruptly cancelled by Beck two weeks ago due to Tapio's appearance on the program during which he made his allegations about Kranz and Daschle. A meeting on Monday between Beck and KELO management paved the way for the return of "Argus on the Air."
The first caller to the program confronted Beck about the stories that have appeared in the national news and on South Dakota-based web sites that alleged bias and a cover-up of the Kranz-Daschle link. The Argus Leader editor took no other calls as he spoke for nearly 20 minutes defending his publication's reporting and lashing out at its critics.
Beck began by telling the caller that it is not reporters who are "spreading" stories about the Argus Leader, but Neal Tapio and a "cabal" of politically-motivated web site operators. He confirmed the facts that had gone undisclosed for many years about Kranz and Daschle but dismissed the notion that this link was evidence that Kranz's reporting was unduly influenced. Beck said, "He's my guy, and I'm going to defend him."
"He's not in bed with Tom Daschle," Beck continued.
Beck reserved his most strident criticism for Talon News. He likened Talon News's ethics investigation of the Argus Leader to President Lyndon Johnson's attacks on newspapers "when the Vietnam War began to go badly" and Richard Nixon's similar conduct during Watergate.
"It is a well known political ploy, when you have nothing important to say, attack the media," Beck said.
Beck suggested the illegitimacy of the Talon News reports saying, "There is no credibility there, there is no commitment to the facts, there is no sense of fair play."
Ironically, that same day, David Kranz used a quote in a story about judicial nominees from White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer. The quote was a response to a question asked by Talon News's Washington Bureau Chief at Tuesday's White House press briefing.
KELO's Belfrage declined Talon News request for a representative to appear on the program. He wrote, "Midcontinent Radio considers this to be a dispute between Talon News and the Argus Leader." A call to KELO's General Manager Mike Costanzo with the same request was not returned.
Copyright © 2003 Talon News -- All rights reserved.
But gave no more info about how it might have affected political coverage.... hmmmm....
They could have left that quote out of the article. Yuck!
It Rat circles, it no longer "goes without saying" (unfortunately).
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