Michele Bachmann's Keith Ellison comments: Media criticized for "unconscionable" headlines

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How can journos write about the crazy things coming out of Bachmann's mouth without doing her bidding?
SEE ALSO: Michele Bachmann on Ellison: 'He has long record of association with Muslim Brotherhood'

It's one thing to report that "Bachmann alleges Ellison has ties to Muslim Brotherhood." It's quite another to go with "Bachmann ties Ellison to Muslim Brotherhood."

Two respected elders of the Twin Cities media scene -- MPR's Bob Collins and MinnPost's David Brauer -- have spent part of their respective mornings criticizing major Minnesota news sources for writing sloppy headlines about Michele Bachmann's sensational, unsubstantiated claim that Keith Ellison "has a long record of being associated... with the Muslim Brotherhood."

Collins framed the issue nicely in a series of tweets: "For those who think journos should just 'report the facts,' the Bachmann story challenges that ill-considered advice... Because a 'fact' can be 'Bachmann says Ellison member of Muslim Brotherhood,' an allegation w/o substantiated facts."

Here's a sampling of some of the blurring-the-line-between-fact-and-allegation Bachmann-Ellison headlines published by the local media today:

From MPR:

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From the Star Tribune:

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From the St. Cloud Times:

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From WCCO:

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And finally, from us (though we expect regular readers of our Bachmann coverage fully understand that we take everything Our Favorite Congresswoman says with two crazy-sized grains of salt):

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In response to the blurry distinction between facts and allegations apparent in the above headlines, Brauer wrote: "[H]eadlines that state 'Bachmann ties Ellison to Muslim Brotherhood' are just unconscionable, and just what she wants."

Apparently, the Star Tribune took Brauer's criticism to heart:

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Personally, I think the media should quit writing any more stories about Mickey (Mouse) Bachmann's mindless drivel.  All she is doing is throwing red meat to her base in return for campaign contributions and votes.  Ignoring her would be better than encouraging more of the same behavior.

Besides, Mickey's outlandish claims cease being "news" at some point and merely fall into the category of "same sh!t; different day".

My recommendation would solve the noted headline problem as well.  No story; no headline.  It's as simple as that!


I live in Arizona (moved from St. Paul 30 years ago) and it's nice to see that other states have Loony-Tunes like Bachman too. I though Arizona had cornered the market.


Except the headline on your front page reads, "Bachmann: Ellison is associated with Muslim Brotherhood."  So there's that.


Unless Rep. Bachmann has proof to back up those statements, they are nothing but claims or allegations.  A quick scan of the headlines above shows neither of those two words.  Imagine a headline that says "Bachmann Claims Ellison Has Ties to Muslim Brotherhood - Offers No Substantiation for Allegation".   Sadly, modern journalism is so dumbed down that there is probably too many big words in that sentence

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