New York Times goes soft on Bradlee Dean
This weekend, the Times published a story on Dean's relationship to presidential candidate Michele Bachmann. They even sprung to send reporter Serge F. Kolvaleski all the way out to Annandale to get an in-person interview.
Unfortunately, the story was buried on the Style & Fashion page and doesn't offer much new information for those who have been following the Dean coverage for years. It's a light overview of what's already known about Dean, amounting to only a broad introduction of the controversial minister.
It's a shame. When we heard the Times was doing a piece on Dean, we were looking forward to seeing what they turned up. Here's an email we received from the Times earlier this month:
Hope your day's going well! This is Celina Fang at the National photo desk at the New York Times. We were wondering if you guys happen to have any photos of the conservative minister Bradlee Dean? We're working on a story about his relationship with Michele Bachmann.
Like the email suggests, the focus of the article is Dean's ties to Bachmann.
Though Dean says they don't have much of a personal relationship, he's a big supporter of Bachmann's presidential candidacy. Bachmann has also appeared at Dean's events in the past.
Kolvaleski asserts that both parties benefit from being linked together:
Mr. Dean raises his profile with an association with a brand-name politician, and Mrs. Bachmann gets grass-roots followers who have been charged up on issues by Mr. Dean.
Bachmann wouldn't comment for the story, so we don't know whether she actually agrees that it's a good thing.
To his credit, Kolvaleski did manage to land an interview with one of Dean's former street team members, a group that has spurred some controversy itself. From the story:
The tandem has won over people like Nate Kowalik, 35, of Plymouth, Minn., who is a big supporter of them both.
"When Bradlee says something on his show, it reinforces the message that she is trying to get out to the American voting public," he said. "I just love it when one says something, and the other reiterates it."
And he is such a fan of Mr. Dean's ministry and radio show that he worked as a volunteer in summer 2009 on You Can Run's street teams. "I like the fact that Bradlee and the others are so pro-family and that they reinforce purity and a healthy lifestyle," Mr. Kowalik said.
The Times story doesn't mention it, but people like Kowalik have been essential to the financial success of Dean's ministry, You Can Run But you Cannot Hide International.
In 2009, street team members raked in more than $444,000 in donations, according to tax records filed with the IRS.
For the whole Times story, click here.