Monday, May 19, 2008

Mindy Greiling, Please Pick Up the White Courtesy Phone

Speaking of high dudgeon, there's the matter of Representative Mindy Greiling, who represents my neighbors in St. Anthony and Roseville.

Representative Greiling recently called on the Star Tribune to dismiss metro columnist Katherine Kersten for a piece she wrote about about the Tarik ibn Zayad Academy TiZA), an Inver Grove Heights charter school. Kersten used her column to report on activities at the school that were explicitly religious in nature and included an eyewitness account from a substitute teacher. Rep. Greiling's response:

Kersten’s reckless journalistic standards have diminished this paper’s
credibility. Worse, they have threatened the safety of the children and staff at
the school, which has been forced to take extra security measures in the wake of
recent death threats. While I value a broad range of opinions from a variety of
perspectives, I value the facts even more. Kersten’s gross distortion of the
facts in this case should compel Star Tribune management to ask for her

In other words, shut up, she explained.

So far, Kersten's job is safe. Meanwhile, the story continues and KSTP-TV kept digging on the story. And today it got really interesting.

First, the Department of Education ordered changes at TiZA because it was offering religious instruction, which is a no-no for charter schools. This is what Kersten's column said. So, apparently, Kersten didn't grossly distort the facts after all.

Then, something even more important happened. A KSTP crew went to the school looking for a response to the ruling from the Department of Education. And the cameraman was attacked.

I was planning to light Rep. Greiling up for abusing her authority. No need to do that any more. The dude who knocked the KSTP cameraman to the ground makes my case more eloquently than I could. Congratulations, Representative Greiling. You may slink away now.


Anonymous said...

About the KSTP crew, this is what Kare11 reported. You be the judge.

"School administrators, including Zaman, confronted the crew and appeared to try to pull a photojournalist's TV camera out of his hands.

The school said the crew did not ask for permission to come onto school property and had been told by police to stay across the street.

Zaman said the crew did not identify itself.

"I did not ask police not to let Channel 5 on the property," Zaman said. "I asked police to tell those unidentified individuals to leave the property."

KARE 11 had phoned in advance to request permission to videotape on school grounds and was recording video when the confrontation took place.

Inver Grove Heights Police Officer Steve Her confirmed to KARE 11 he told the KSTP crew not to come on the school property before the confrontation happened.

KSTP reporter Chris O'Connell said he and his photographer were not told to stay off the school property.

The police are now looking into possible trespassing charges against KSTP and possible assault charges against school officials."

Mark Heuring said...

Hey anonymous,

I watched the KARE report. It was deeply shameful. I don't think they'd be so sanguine about it if their camera guy was the one getting accosted. KSTP said they had no such conversation with the police and I'm inclined to believe them.

The point is this -- the report from the Department of Education substantiates Kersten's reporting. And if what the school said is true, all they would have had to do is wait for the police to arrive and let the police escort the KSTP crew off the site. The plain fact is that they didn't.

My guess - the school is in a heck of a lot more trouble than KSTP is on this one. And rightly so.

Right Hook said...

Go ahead an light up Grieling anyway as she deserves any and all derision she gets. She is an embarrassment to her constituents and a menace to all Minnesota residents.

What's with the North Suburbs and sending socialists to Saint Paul?

Daria said...

As politically correct as Grieling is I don't think she would risk picking up any "white" phone in public. : )

- D