Nick Coleman accuses Ron Rosenbaum of "freelance character assassination"

Categories: Media beefs
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And you thought any triangle of relationships involving Amy Koch and two men also had to include Michael Brodkorb...
One interesting new tidbit from the Strib's Amy Koch exposé has to do with how news of Koch's affair with then-staffer Michael Brodkorb circulated back in December 2011.

SEE ALSO: Amy Koch owns bowling alley, offers up unfortunate quote while talking about it

Turns out news was spoon-fed to WCCO by local attorney and radio personality Ron Rosenbaum, of all people, who was informed of the Koch-Brodkorb affair by a man named Tom Rapp via then-Senator Geoff Michel.

Equally interesting was the way in which Koch came to find out it was Rosenbaum who informed local media of a scandal that until then had been contained to MNGOP Senate caucus insiders. From the Strib:
Left with a legal and public relations mess, Koch moved [in early 2011] to hire lawyer and public relations guru Ron Rosenbaum.

At their first meeting, Rosenbaum made a stunning disclosure: While Koch had been releasing her resignation announcement, he -- at Michel's behest -- had been calling a reporter at WCCO to leak news of the affair.

"You could have knocked me over with a feather," Koch said.

The day before the confrontative meeting with Koch, Michel had met privately with Todd Rapp, a longtime friend and president of the public relations group Himle, Rapp & Co.

Rapp, a DFLer and onetime House staffer, said Michel wanted media relations advice on how to handle Koch's likely departure from leadership.

"It was pretty clear he had an idea what he was going to do," Rapp said of Michel in an interview.

But even after Koch agreed to resign, Rapp said, Michel was concerned that she was not going to address the affair and worried that the news would dribble out over time, drawing out the political impact.

He said he and Michel decided that the best course would be to leak a fuller story to the media and then hold a news conference.

Rapp quickly called Rosenbaum, who had worked with him on several projects, and they agreed to leak the story to WCCO.

"I knew it was a political bomb," Rosenbaum said.
The revelation that Rosenbaum played a key role in orchestrating Koch's political downfall didn't sit well with Nick Coleman, who got into a bitter Twitter war with Rosenbaum after characterizing his December 2011 behavior as falling somewhere between unethical and odious. Here's the blow by blow:

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Coleman blogs independently these days but has been out of the Twin Cities media limelight since taking a buyout from the Star Tribune back in early 2009, so Rosenbaum's "Been away from work too long" line might be a bit of a low blow. Then again, Coleman did put Rosenbaum on blast first, so this might be one of those proverbial instances where  you have to expect some heat if you're going to hang out in the kitchen.

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Also, I'm curious, Nick -- you say Brodkorb deserved to be fired. But Mrs. Family Values shouldn't have been "taken down" (your words on Twitter, I believe)? Kind of a sexist attitude, wouldn't you say?


Kind of hard to see how Ron Rosenbaum "played a key role in orchestrating" the downfall of Amy Koch, since Rapp didn't even contact him for Michel until the day after Koch resigned. I have never seen reports so full of holes that so many people drew incorrect inferences about the facts and crucial points in the timeline. For that, I guess I'd have to fault the Star Tribune article first. Far too much criticism and too little critical thinking going on here. Full disclosure: I live with Ron. Twoputttommy, aren't you the author of this post? Why the pseudonym?


A few comments:

1) I didn't take a buyout from the Strib. I was forced out.

2) I AM still working as a journalist. I am Executive Editor of The UpTake (

3) Contrary to Mr Rosenbaum's implication, lots of journalists have problems with the use of anonymous sources, especially sources with unseen motivations and conflicts of interest who are knowingly or unknowingly used by inside players to carry out a scheme aimed at taking power or unhorsing someone from power (See Cohen v. Cowles Media Co.)

4) Any resemblance between what Mr. Rosenbaum did and "journalism" is purely imaginary.

5) Koch got forced out by frauds and hypocrites in the MN GOP not because of her affair with Brodkorb (who deserved to be fired) but because of their worries that THEY looked like wienies.

6) The media have not told THAT story. Just the titillating one.


@nickcolemanmn I think Nick is right about the use of anonymous sources. I understand anonymity when the source is a whisteblower at risk of retaliation, but when it's just manipulating the press to keep your fingerprints off, the reporter should say no. Let the backstabbers go to the press directly.

MicheleBachmann topcommenter

@nickcolemanmnJust curious though.  Why exactly is it bad Ron was the hatchet man?  He's a radio personality.  It's his job to have gossip like that and report it.   All I see with Ron is that he is a radio jackal who had good sources.  I think most radio people would do the same.   You make great points that GOP leadership and the media should be blasted for their actions.   Why not use your media power to report the real story.  I have no doubt that the GOP leadership is a bunch of hypocrite scum on this. 


@nickcolemanmn I agree with Nick, re: #6.  This is a scandal not because of the sex - it's a scandal because Koch & Brodkorb were sacked and 4 GOP State Senators (Michel, Gerlack, Senjem & Hann) held a Press Conference the very next day and at least one of these four - Michel - proceeded to smile at the assembled reporters and lie through his teeth.  And Hann has never come clean on his role in this sordid affair; in yesterday's Strib his comment was "no comment." 


@webcelt @nickcolemanmn If Nick's concern is anonymous sources, Ron is not his problem. Ron wasn't a source because he didn't have knowledge of the affair or the circumstances of Koch having stepped down. And I'm sure that in 30=plus years working in newspapers, Nick never took a tip from somebody who said, "You didn't hear this from me, but ..." Because that's how we journalists work. No gossip, no sirree. Everything always above-board an in the light of day. Jeezus, grow up.


@webcelt @lquinlivan1 @nickcolemanmn Attaboy, don't let any facts -- including the fact that you clearly don't understand anyone's role in this drama -- get in the way of a good opinion! "The guy" did not stay anonymous, and did not let anyone "use" him. He gave someone the name of a reporter. Period.


@lquinlivan1 @nickcolemanmn Of course the guy wasn't the source. He let someone stay anonymous and use him. You might want to work on your reading comprehension, and reconsider starting flame wars.

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