On the heels of Kersten, MinnPost gives Bachmann a free pass

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Last month we reported on MinnPost's decision to give controversial conservative columnist Katherine Kersten a free pass to hold forth on her views in a Q&A-syle interview with writer Michael Bonafield. This month, MinnPost is repeating its template with U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann.

Managing editor Roger Buoen defended the Kersten piece by saying that it was important for MinnPost's readers to hear from a prominent voice from the right -- and that his readers would understand. He's betting they'll understand today, too, but he's penned a lengthy column to head off an anticipated flood of complaints.

"The Q&A format has a wonderful strength: It allows the interviewee to fully express his or her views, mostly unfiltered. Its goal is to tell you what the subject thinks and believes," he writes today.

I think Mike succeeded at letting us all know what Katherine Kersten (and Michele Bachmann) believe and how they think.

This can be maddening for liberal readers. But at MinnPost we believe it's important that the range of views in our political universe are reflected on the site. And these views should be fully expressed -- not just sound bites -- and the arguments fully engaged. And that's what so many of our readers are doing in the comments under Mike's articles.

Buoen says the Kersten piece generated more than 100 comments, many if them angry that Kersten's views were allowed to go unchallenged in a publication that calls itself a home for "thoughtful" journalism. He says he even got a heads-up from his boss: "MinnPost CEO and Editor Joel Kramer told me he found one of Mike's questions -- the one suggesting that the liberal mind 'opens itself so readily' to 'totalitarian impulse' -- inappropriate."

Buoen says he's ready for a second round of criticism today for the Bachmann piece, in which she calls herself a "lovable little fuzz ball" with no current aspirations for higher office.


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