South Dakota Politics
A University of South Dakota law student's blog dedicated primarily to shining light (either a harsh, unyielding spotlight or a soft, warm glow) on figures and institutions in South Dakota.

Friday, August 22, 2003  

HEADS UP: A NBC News reporter was on campus here at USD today to interview Dr. Bill Richardson of the Political Science Department about the Janklow accident. Watch for her report on tonight's national broadcast at 5:30.

DOH!: There was no report about the Janklow accident on the nationwide broadcast of the NBC Nightly News last night. The story must have been nixed, or it will run at a later time. Sorry about that.

posted by Jason | 3:31 PM

JANKLOW ACCIDENT UPDATE: Radio talk-show host Greg Belfrage has an update on the wacko claiming to be "investigating" last Saturday's tragedy.

The AP is reporting that the Moody County States Attorney has contacted the South Dakota Office of Attorney General regarding the accident.

In Slate's news round-up for Friday's papers, Emily Biuso discusses the boo-boo by the Washington Post's T.R. Reid regarding the false report that Janklow had hired a private investigator. You can see the Washington Post correction by clicking HERE.

The Los Angeles Times has an article entitled Fatal Accident Could Be Undoing of Lawmaker.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune has an editorial entitled Janklow's crash / It speaks to many drivers.

Finally, as if things haven't gotten bizarre enough, there is this report that a guy tried to steal the KSFY satellite truck as local news anchor Mitch Krebs was preparing to talk live with Charlie Gibson on ABC's "Good Morning America."

posted by Jason | 3:17 PM

Thursday, August 21, 2003  

T.R. REID ISSUES "CORRECTION": The Washington Post's T.R. Reid glibly glosses over his major boo-boo in the Thursday edition of the Washington Post in another article in Friday's Post entitled Parties Expect Janklow's Collision to End His Career. Key excerpt in Reid's latest piece:

Today, Janklow's lawyers were besieged by reporters after The Washington Post reported that a Viborg, S.D., man, Jim Wainscoat, said the congressman had hired him to investigate the accident and the victim. Janklow's lawyer, Brent Wilbur, said Janklow had no connection with Wainscoat. "Nobody has asked him to look into the background of Mr. Scott," Wilbur said.

Wainscoat told the AP today that he made up his story and that he thought news accounts about the incident had been slanted against Janklow.

The thing is, T.R. Reid drew the conclusion that Janklow was preparing for a criminal trial from what Wainscoat said. Reid didn't just report what Wainscoat told him. And obviously, Reid didn't corroborate what Wainscoat told him. I wonder if Howard Kurtz, the Washington Post's media critic, will comment on all of this.

posted by Jason | 11:22 PM

CORRECTION: According to a Washington Post story published today, and also posted below, Bill Janklow has hired a private investigator to, among other things, investigate the background of the victim in Saturday's tragedy. But Janklow is strongly denying this story according to a recent AP report. Apparently, some moron named Jim Wainscoat from Viborg, SD has pulled a fast one on Washington Post reporter T.R. Reid, who must be even more of a moron for not corroborating the story.

UPDATE: The AP is now reporting that Jim Wainscoat has admitted to making up the story.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Local television station KELO had a report on this development during the 6:00 news. According to the report, KELO contacted the Washington Post, and an editor stated that they will be running a correction. Apparently, the reporter tried to contact Janklow about the hiring of a private investigator, and Janklow refused to talk to him. So that's what it takes to run a story? I thought professional reporters were supposed to corroborate stories with at least two other sources before they can be published. I guess T.R. Reid and his editors couldn't be bothered with calling the DC Metropolitan police to see if a fellow by the name of Jim Wainscot had ever worked there.

posted by Jason | 5:22 PM

Wednesday, August 20, 2003  

SPOTTED ON CNN: David Kranz, the dean of South Dakota political reporters, was on Aaron Brown's show on CNN earlier this evening discussing the Janklow accident.

posted by Jason | 10:49 PM

JANKLOW HAS HIRED PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: The Washington Post is reporting that Congressman Janklow has hired a former Washington, DC police officer to gather information about the accident and the victim, Randolph Scott. Excerpt:

Janklow, recovering from head and hand injuries he suffered in the crash, is apparently preparing to face a criminal trial. Private investigator Jim Wainscot, a former Metropolitan Police Department officer from the District of Columbia, said he has been hired by the congressman to gather information about the accident and the cyclist.

"Even if you run a stop sign and somebody is killed, there can be mitigating factors that help your defense," Wainscot said today as he conducted an inch-by-inch search of the crash scene, camera in hand. "My job is to find those factors."

Wainscot said he was also investigating the background of the cyclist, "to see if there might have been alcohol involved." The highway patrol report, released late today, said that neither man involved had been drinking.

UPDATE: The New York Times has just published a report on Congressman Janklow: South Dakota Congressman's Driving History Clouds Future.

ANOTHER UPDATE: The Washington Post will be running a correction to the story of Janklow hiring a private investigator, because it's not true.

posted by Jason | 10:30 PM

"AMENDMENT E" IS DEAD: One of the most asinine constitutional amendments ever passed through South Dakota's initiative and referendum process, the anti-corporate farming law, has been struck down unanimously by a three-judge panel on the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Amendment E was a typical populist provision, rhetorically effective and ultimately disastrous to sorely needed economic activity. In its opinion, the court even noted that the "pro statement" on the ballot for Amendment E was "brimming with protectionist rhetoric." Aside from the cost of lost economic activity, an additional cost is the amount of time and money spent by the state government to defend the provision in the federal court system. Even though this is a "win" for economic activity in South Dakota, the cost in wealth and manpower to achieve it should have been unnecessary.

To read the 8th Circuit's opinion, click HERE. (Via Howard Bashman at his excellent blog How Appealing.)

posted by Jason | 8:55 PM

JANKLOW WAS DOING ESTIMATED 70-75 THROUGH STOP SIGN: According to the most recent AP report, Congressman Janklow blew through a stop sign at a terrific rate of speed when he collided with a motorcycle and killed its rider, Randolph Scott. To see the local television news report on the accident, click HERE. (AP link via Sibby Online).

posted by Jason | 7:55 PM

JANKLOW ACCIDENT UPDATE: Drudge is reporting that the Moody County State's Attorney is contemplating 2nd degree manslaughter charges against Congressman Janklow. Drudge also has a link to an AP report: Victim of Janklow Accident Remembered.

posted by Jason | 12:02 PM

Tuesday, August 19, 2003  

NEW DASCHLE AD: Tom Daschle has a new ad running West River. You can read the script of the ad by clicking HERE. The ad was produced by Struble Eichenbaum Communications. According to the magazine Campaigns & Elections, Karl Struble is the "hottest Democratic media consultant."

posted by Jason | 8:06 PM

JANKLOW ACCIDENT UPDATE: The Moody County State's Attorney is now saying that Congressman Janklow ran a stop sign prior to the accident that killed a motorcyclist, according to a recent AP report.

ANOTHER UPDATE: The AP is reporting that investigators believe the "black box" in Janklow's car is unlikely to provide useful information.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Another AP report includes some interesting quotes from various South Dakotans.

posted by Jason | 1:26 PM

Monday, August 18, 2003  

THE DASCHLES' HOMESTEAD DEDUCTION: According to a report in today's edition of Roll Call, Tom Daschle can take advantage of the "homestead deduction" on his $1.9 million home apparently because his wife, Linda Daschle, is a principal resident of Washington, DC, and not a principal resident of South Dakota. Key excerpts from Roll Call:

Earlier this month, the anti-tax group known as the Club for Growth made Daschle’s “very, very, very nice house” a focal point of television ads in South Dakota, suggesting the Senate’s top Democrat had fallen out of touch with the people of his state.

Last week, the same critics shifted their focus to the decision of Daschle and his wife, a prominent Washington lobbyist, to claim the District’s “homestead deduction.”

Public records show that Daschle is in fact receiving the $30,000 tax deduction that reduces his property tax bill by a few hundred dollars annually as long as the property is the principal residence of the owner....

Talon News, a conservative Web-based publication that first reported the charges last week, suggested in its story that Daschle “may not even qualify for the tax credit, since one of the requirements is that the property must be the owner’s primary residence.”

But both Daschle aides and a spokesman for [Democratic Washington, DC Mayor Anthony] Williams dismissed the charges as baseless, partisan attacks and said the South Dakota Democrat is in complete compliance with the law because his wife, Linda, qualifies for the tax break.

It's not a matter of whether the Daschles are in compliance with the law, it's a matter of whether Tom Daschle has lost touch with South Dakota. The "compliance with the law" bit is a red herring. Washington, DC public records show that Tom Daschle, and only Tom Daschle, is the owner of the $1.9 million home. You can view the public record of Tom Daschle's property purchase by clicking HERE and then typing "2830 FOXHALL RD NW" into the address box. The record clearly shows that Tom Daschle is "[c]urrently receiving the Homestead Deduction." Perhaps if the Daschles wouldn't hide their tax returns from the public, there wouldn't be all of this confusion.

Finally, isn't it a bit unseemly for someone so adamantly opposed to "tax breaks for the rich" to be gaming the system for a few hundred dollars? By one account, Linda Daschle makes six million dollars a year as a lobbyist. I think the Daschles could get by without taking advantage of the homestead deduction. But that's just me.

UPDATE: To see the the actual statute for the "homestead deduction" in the District of Columbia Code, click here.

posted by Jason | 9:04 PM

Roll Call has a report on Tom Daschle's claiming of the "homestead" tax deduction. Developing...

posted by Jason | 2:59 PM

Sunday, August 17, 2003  

KRANZ WATCH: Today's edition of the Chicago Sun-Times contains Bob Novak's report on Tom Daschle's claiming of the "homestead deduction" for his $1.9 million home in Washington, a tax exemption that is available only to those who list their home as their "principal" residence. Novak also published the same report yesterday on Novak's report followed up Jeff Gannon's scoop.

In his Sunday column today, David Kranz, the dean of South Dakota political reporters, ignores this news item regarding Tom Daschle, but does manage to plug Tom Daschle's new book, "Like No Other Time," due out this fall.

David Kranz's pro-Daschle bias, despite holding himself out as an objective observer of South Dakota politics, has long been a topic on this blog. Kranz has a few clearly defined ways of exhibiting bias in his writing, what I call "bias characteristics." The three "bias characteristics" I have been able to distinguish so far in my study of David Kranz's writing are the following:

1) The "omit or barely report negative news about liberal figures/report positive news about liberal figures" bias characteristic. There are many variations of this overriding characteristic.
2) The "point out conservative publications but fail to point out liberal publications" bias characteristic. For an example, see my August 3 post in the archives on the right-hand side of this website.
3) The "zinger" bias characteristic. Kranz often adds a final devastating sentence or phrase to an otherwise straightforward report. An example is a report last February which misleadingly implied that John Thune was lobbying for pharmaceutical companies against a prescription drug benefit for Medicare.

Kranz's pro-Daschle bias is often characterized by the omission or downplaying of negative news items about Tom Daschle, while actively reporting and even highlighting news items that place Daschle in a positive light. The reverse is true regarding Kranz's reporting on conservative figures in South Dakota politics. Negative news items on conservatives are actively reported, while positive news items on conservatives are downplayed or ignored.

David Kranz's report today regarding Tom Daschle is clear evidence of this bias characteristic. Kranz ignores the Novak report, but actively reports, in saccharine phrases, the positive news about Tom Daschle and his new book.

Finally, David Kranz has cited Robert Novak's reports on South Dakota figures on multiple occasions. A Google search yields at least three occasions. What's stopping Kranz from citing Novak's most recent report on a South Dakota political figure now? Given Kranz's well-documented pro-Daschle bias, it is safe to conclude that Kranz is not reporting this news item because it reflects negatively on Tom Daschle.

posted by Jason | 6:22 PM

The Argus Leader is reporting that Congressman Bill Janklow was involved in an accident that killed a motorcyclist. It happened Saturday afternoon. Drudge also has a link to this report.

posted by Jason | 4:26 PM
Ungarnered Praise
Talon News Series on Argus Leader Bias