The Sioux Falls Argus Leader's assault on the Governor - Many unhappy returns

At the end of the year in 2005, I offered my opinion that the #6 story of 2005 was the Argus Leader's assault on the Governor. Let's take a look at this little blast from the past:
6. Argus Leader’s Assault on the Governor

The Associated Press considered the Argus Leader’s series of stories of the use of the State Airplane by the Governor as one of its top ten stories. Should that be one of the top ten political stories? Some would argue, yes. But there’s something that has come up since that blurs the focus of that issue for me.

After that series of stories, there have been editorials from the Argus Leader’s editor, Randall Beck. (here, here and here) A story is a story, and that’s fine. But in those editorials from the editor, it’s at least apparent to me that he doesn’t care for our state’s chief executive.

One editorial from Mr. Beck blasted a local group for giving the Governor an award. Another took an additional swipe at him. The tone of these editorials comes off as… well, it certainly seems that he has an ax to grind.

And it takes those stories that they consider serious journalism and places them in a light that some would characterize as partisan.
And it hasn't let up. The personalized and mean-spirited assaults have contined since. If anything, it's intensified even further.

Hardly a Sunday goes by without a swipe at our State's chief executive by the State's largest newspaper, either in Randall Beck's column or as part of an editorial. The biggest salvo in the war came when the Argus sued the Governor for information on Governor's hunt invitees. And after Judge Max Gors (a Democrat, no less) recently shot the Argus' arguments down, they've continued unbowed.

I look at it this way. If I knew someone was going to walk up to me on a weekly basis and punch me in the nose, why would I go out of my way to talk to them?

As far as I understand it, open records and similar public information are available according to law. Don't think records are open or available enough? It's easy - change the laws. But in reference to interviews, I don't know that a state or federal law that exists that says "You must make yourself available to reporters as they see fit."

So nobody wants to talk to the Argus because they're tired of getting punched in the nose. Why should they be suprised? There are many old sayings about how one shall reap what they sow.


Haggs said…
And that's fine for stuff like the airplane thing, which I have trouble caring about. But when it's a serious issue like this mumps epidemic, then "gag" order or not the government needs to keep the people informed. When they won't even give interviews about mumps stuff, that's why this whole thing seems petty.
Anonymous said…
Actually, the Argus' efforts are in the interest open government. They blast anyone and everyone that aims to keep public information secret, and they are free flowing critics of all levels.

And, in a way, they are right. There isn't much the Government should be able to keep away from the press.

What I don't like is cutting off access. There is no merit to having to screen comments through a lawyer. It is a vindictive, payback type of thing to do.

You're trivializing it, PP, as the Governor has to protect himself. Not true.

What I don't like is that you seem to be endorsing a cut-and-run tactic. To be accountable to the people, answer the tough questions. We should be glad, at least, that we have ONE paper in the state that is ready to not simply be a mouth piece for the Governor. A paper that will raise the debate and challenge ideas. Society is made healthier in such ways.
Anonymous said…
We just came from Mitchell and were confronted with a man in front of Cabela's wanting signatures on two different petitions. I did sign one, as did the guy ahead of me, but when we asked what the second petition was for, it was to put the governor's use of the state airplane on the ballot. I didn't even know that petition issue was out there. The man ahead of me said he wouldn't sign it as it wasn't an issue. And I repeated the same argument and refused to sign that one. Said it was a lot of noise about nothing.

I still think the Argus is trying its best to create negative images of Rounds in people's minds for the next gubernatorial election and in case Rounds decides to challenge Tim Johnson someday. I have nothing against a reporter digging for a story, but to create one where none exists and keep harping on it and then suing over it, well like was said, the Argus is reaping the results of what they started.

Honestly, I couldn't believe the cry-baby tone of the two editorials in today's Argus. It isn't only Rounds who people should be accusing of using juvenile tactics.

Besides, if this whole thing is over the Governor's hunt, I'm sure there would be some participant who would be glad to "leak" the list of attendees to the Argus. Why not go that route to get the info? After all, this hunt had to have been conducted in the open, not behind some locked doors somewhere.
Douglas said…
I don't have any sympathy with Mikey on this, but the ARGUS might try finding records of hunting licenses purchased in the days or hours before the hunt for a few areas. Now, if these hunters also did not have to buy licenses, then that is another matter.

That data is apparently available since one of the hunting resorts got reports back from hunters at his place that they were getting soliciations to hunt elsewhere by mail and the only place that data could have come from was the license data.
Anonymous said…
That post by anonymous... has Randall Beck learned how to check out the DWC?
Anonymous said…
Actually, I do think that Rounds shouldn't be able to use his position for his own financial gain politically.

This might sound like a conspiracy, but I already have my reservations about a insurance man who won't challenge the rising costs of healthcare, but, using the state plane for personal reasons is an abuse. Even if he pays back for costs of fuel, there's still an issue about the wear and tear, or depreciation, of the plan while he is flying it for personal reasons.

As for the Governor's hunt... there's a blurred line between it serving the people of South Dakota and it serving the interests of his reelection. Any records of that nature should be open.

The judge in this case said it would be irresponsible to suggest that state government keep records and make them available for everyone who calls or visits the Governor. I agree. But, in this case, the list is developed, invites are sent out, and I am sure there are other perks.

The way I see it, any requests should be granted. I don't think the Argus, or any paper, would go so far as the abuse the power.

I love that the Argus challenges our government. So many people in South Dakota don't care what happens once officials are elected. Voters will never be able to hold anyone accountable as long as we rely on the government-sponsored mouth pieces. We need an independent information source thats asks the tough questions for us. They look at is as a sense of duty.
Anonymous said…
Rounds needs to show us his professed leadership and cooperation, now! An eye for an eye leaves all of us blind. This is very childish behavior on his part. What does he think he will gain by such immature behavior?
Anonymous said…
One example of why many South Dakotans have a problem with the Argus Leader can be seen during the series of stories about Gov. Rounds use of the state aircraft last fall. That story was splashed all over the front pages of the Argus for multiple days. My issue with the Argus is not the printing of the story, but what followed afterwards.
Once Rounds was cleared of any wrongdoing by the FAA, the Argus Leader didn't run any prominent story about Rounds being vindicated of any wrong doing. The Argus just wanted to drag the Gov. through the mud. South Dakotans see through the bias.

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