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.


Saturday, January 03, 2004  

ED SCHULTZ WATCH: The High Plains Reader, a Fargo, ND alternative weekly, has a cover story on Ed Schultz, the liberal answer to Rush Limbaugh. Er, that is, it's more of a transcript of an interview than a story. Interesting excerpt:


HPR: How do people here hear you in your new program?

ES: XM Satellite on the talk channel. They've got over two million subscribers around the country. They're going to be announcing here probably the first of January, maybe a little after that, how many stations we're going to launch on. Syndication's tough. It takes time. Rush Limbaugh launched on two stations and he was on two stations for a long time. Then he got on three, then four. When it takes off, it takes off. What we've got to do is get into a big market. Get on a station somewhere, knock down some ratings, do some good industry advertising, get some people believing, and then grow it from there. We'll see where it goes.

In other words, no local station in North Dakota will be carrying Ed Schultz's nationally syndicated show. Schultz's show begins on Monday. I dislike making predictions, but I would be surprised if this show will exist this time next year.

posted by Jason | 3:17 PM


Friday, January 02, 2004  

CNN has a report headlined "Thune edges closer to challenging Daschle."

posted by Jason | 9:21 PM
 

As the new year begins, it's worth reviewing some of the criticism in the past year of the Argus Leader's biased political reporting.

Since the pattern of liberal bias at the Argus Leader goes back a number of years, it was necessary to do some historical research to determine how far back the pattern went, and how far-reaching it was. This research uncovered, among other things, two stories written in 1990. One story appeared in Roll Call, which described the AL's bias as "hysterical." The other story appeared in a post election-day roundup by the New York Times, which labeled the AL's bias "vituperative." David Kranz, now the "dean of South Dakota political reporters" was the AL's managing editor at the time. I commented on this research last May. Interestingly, Senator Larry Pressler, the subject of the AL's vituperative and hysterical bias in the 1990 race, wrote in a 1999 letter to the editor of the AL, published on June 19, that "David Kranz is my longtime nemesis, but I consider him a friend. He is a good writer, but intellectually flawed in that he lets his biases show through."

In response to accusations of bias in the AL by a prospective Senate candidate, Talon News launched an investigation of the AL that yielded over a half-dozen stories, which you can find chronologically linked on the right side of this blog. One of the more poignant stories is headlined "South Dakota Reporter Key to Daschle Strategy" which discusses an article written for Campaigns and Elections magazine by Karl Struble, a media consultant for Tom Daschle, and how it relates to bias at the AL.

As this blog gained more readers due to links from Instapundit, Powerline, etc., an academic named Andrew Clem, originally from South Dakota and now a professor at James Madison University, stumbled upon SDP and commented on his own blog that "we prairie folk used to call it, the 'Argus Liar.'" John Hinderaker at the Powerline blog, who is originally from South Dakota, weighed in on the bias of the AL in general and David Kranz in particular.

Throughout the year, it has been observed that the AL and particularly Kranz often engage in the bias of omission. What is NOT reported is just as important as what IS reported. The AL usually ignores or downplays stories that reflect negatively on Tom Daschle, and highlight stories that reflect positively on Tom Daschle. One example is the coverage (or more accurately, non-coverage) of Tom Daschle's polling and focus-grouping activities last spring. Even ABC's "The Note" took notice of Kranz's willful refusal to report the story.

Finally, Congressman Bill Janklow, on trial for his role in the death of motorcyclist Randy Scott, criticized the "cunning" bias of the AL's leadership.

Through the past year, as I have observed and commented on the reporting of the Argus Leader and its star political reporter, much has been learned and much is open to question. Through systematic inquiry, we've been able to discover that the past is littered with criticism of the AL's bias. Much of it has been documented on this blog, and any glance through the archives will bear out that much of this criticism is warranted. As we begin a new year, an election year, with potentially one of the most closely watched Senate races in the country right here in South Dakota, will we see the same pattern of bias at the AL emerge as it has in the past? Will we see the AL trying to influence voters rather than report the news to voters? The smart money says that we will.

As the year progresses, SDP will continue to observe and comment on the reporting of the Argus Leader. Thanks to all of my readers for a great 2003. When I started this blog a year ago, I had no idea it would take off like it has. It began with a readership of about two or three of my friends, and these days there's more like 200 readers a day. I started on a whim, mostly because I was tired of reading the biased political reporting of the AL, and wanted to do something about it. Now that we've got their attention, it's time to take it to the next level. Here's to a wild ride in 2004!

posted by Jason | 8:42 PM


Thursday, January 01, 2004  

DASCHLE LEADERSHIP IN JEOPARDY?: The Boston Globe carries a story today headlined "Minority party eyes a boost in discipline; Democrats urged to stand firmer" which has more rumblings that the Democratic rank-and-file are dissatisfied with Tom Daschle's leadership. Excerpt:


Daschle, facing a potentially tough reelection campaign in South Dakota, has been reluctant to alienate any in-state supporters, some of whom would benefit from the energy bill. While there is no official challenger to Daschle's leadership, some in the party worry that he's been more of a manager than a leader.

Meanwhile, the liberal website "Buzzflash" carries an editorial by Senator Ted Kennedy responding to Buzzflash's editorial position that Tom Daschle should step down as the Democratic leader. Interesting excerpt:

When Congress returns in late January, Republicans will try to muscle through an obscene omnibus appropriations bill that they wrote in a backroom to reward their supporters. Among other outrages, it would end overtime pay for 8 million American workers and gut reasonable restrictions on media ownership agreed to, over White House objections, by both the House and the Senate.

Gee, I guess a bill that gives millions of dollars to South Dakota Indian tribes is "obscene." The omnibus bill contains the following items that advance Native American interests in South Dakota:

- $2,000,000 for Wakpa Sica Historical Society in Fort Pierre, South Dakota for the Wakpa Sica Reconciliation Center

- $275,000 is available for Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in Eagle Butte, South Dakota to establish a nursing home

- $100,000 to InterTribal Bison Cooperative in Rapid City, South Dakota for member training.

- $400,000 to Aberdeen Area Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board in Rapid City, South Dakota for Northern Plains Healthy Start.

- $250,000 to Rosebud Sioux Tribe in Rosebud, South Dakota for rural ambulance service operations .

- $225,000 to Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in Eagle Butte, South Dakota for mental health services.

- $200,000 to Yankton Sioux Tribe in Marty, South Dakota for substance abuse treatment at Canku Teca.

- $200,000 to Children’s Village in Pine Ridge, South Dakota for foster care services.

- $60,000 to Kids Voting South Dakota in Pierre, SD to expand programming in tribal schools

- $3,000,000 to BIA Route 27 Reconstruction, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota

- $2,250,000 to Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe public buses and bus facilities, South Dakota

- $250,000 to Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Public Bus System, South Dakota

Tom Daschle and his party plan to block the bill that contains these provisions when the Senate reconvenes on January 20. Particularly ripe for criticism is the fact that Tom Daschle visited the Wakpa Sica Reconciliation Center last summer as part of a reconciliation effort put forth by Governor Rounds. Now, Tom Daschle is using his clout to block the $2 million that will go to the center. Somehow, this is an obscene bill that rewards Republican supporters. Am I missing something?

posted by Jason | 7:32 PM


Wednesday, December 31, 2003  

ED SCHULTZ WATCH: The New York Times recently carried a story about what Tom Daschle labels the Republican "infrastructure of attack," a story you can access HERE. Stories like these make Tom Daschle seethe. Of course, it shouldn't be forgotten that NPR has long been the Democratic "infrastructure of attack." In response, Tom Daschle has pitched the emergence of a liberal Rush Limbaugh, a man by the name of Ed Schultz, a radio talk-show host from Fargo, North Dakota. Ed Schultz's nationally broadcast show, syndicated by Democracy Radio, is set to begin January 5.

posted by Jason | 5:14 PM


Tuesday, December 30, 2003  

Today's edition of USA Today has a piece headlined "Freewheeling 'bloggers' are rewriting rules of journalism" which mentions GOPUSA, the parent company of Talon News.

UPDATE: Speaking of Talon News, Jeff Gannon, resident DC expert on South Dakota politics, has a new piece headlined "Senate Dems Pressure DOJ on CIA Leak Probe." This report comes on the heels of a report in the Washington Post citing a Talon News interview of Ambassador Joseph Wilson, whose wife was allegedly outed as a CIA agent by the Bush administration.

posted by Jason | 2:33 PM


Monday, December 29, 2003  

Eugene Volokh skewers online polling. I wonder what Mr. Volokh and Julian Sanchez think about Tom Daschle recently citing the results of an online poll to make a point during debate on the Senate floor?

posted by Jason | 11:09 PM


Sunday, December 28, 2003  

The Argus Leader's editorial board has put out editorials twice in the last 12 days (12/15 and 12/27) promoting an early special election for the House seat that will be open due to Congressman Janklow's resignation. In the latest such editorial the AL posits the following:


Forget the cost of a special election. Without someone to represent us in the House, South Dakota could lose millions of dollars. Who would represent us on ethanol and the Lewis and Clark pipeline and who knows what else? No one.

The AL editorial board is seemingly unconcerned about the fact that South Dakota "lost" $43 million of federal funding earlier this month when Tom Daschle objected to unanimous consent approval of the FY04 omnibus spending bill. Nor have they upbraided Tom Daschle for going to a book signing rather than get the extra Democratic votes needed to pass the energy bill, which would have been good for ethanol.

I've done some research on what South Dakota earmarks are contained in the FY04 omnibus spending bill. As far as I'm aware, SDP is the only place where you'll find the detailed list of South Dakota projects funded by this bill. To my knowledge, the AP hasn't done a report, nor has the AL, nor has the Rapid City Journal. These local publications would be well advised to fashion a report like the report in the Salt Lake Tribune headlined "Omnibus breakdown in Utah."

Anyway, the FY04 omnibus bill is H.R. 2673, and you can read the text of conference report, printed in the 11/25/2003 Congressional Record, beginning at page H12323 and ending at page H12746. The South Dakota earmarks are as follows (SDP exclusive-must credit SDP):

- A north-central sun grant center at South Dakota State University for the region composed of the States of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. - $5 million, pg H12334

- $500,000 shall be available for Northeast South Dakota Tech-Based Skills Development- pg H12348

- $275,000 is available for Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in Eagle Butte, South Dakota to establish a nursing home – pg H12388 and H12573

- The conferees are aware of current efforts to begin a study of the use of conservation cropping techniques in southeastern North Dakota, northeastern South Dakota and western Minnesota. The goal of this study would be to identify conservation rotations, cover crops, seeding techniques, and residue management practices that would make conservation tillage acceptable and profitable in these climate transition areas. The conferees encourage the Secretary to support efforts begin this study, as appropriate. – [seems to only be precatory language-ed.] – pg H12446

-The conference agreement provides $71,422,000 for the Risk Management Agency as proposed by the Senate instead of $71,509,000 as proposed by the House. The conferees are aware that certain additional states have been approved for participation in the Livestock Risk Protection Pilots for swine and other livestock categories, but that this expansion was limited to ten states. The conferees urge the Department to expand the program during fiscal year 2004 to the maximum extent possible, including the states of Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. – pg H12462

- Edward Byrne Grants to States.—The conference agreement includes $659,117,000 for the Edward Byrne Memorial State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance Program, of which $159,117,000 is for discretionary grants and $500,000,000 is for formula grants. Within the amount provided for Byrne formula grants, the conferees ask Governors and relevant State and local officials to review the following proposals and provide a grant if warranted: Oglala, South Dakota Youth Court/Court Systems – pg H12475

- $100,000 to the South Dakota Association of County Commissioners for law enforcement communications equipment – pg H12476

- $750,000 to Prairie View Prevention Services in Sioux Falls, SD, to continue methamphetamine use prevention programs in South Dakota, and to facilitate integration of prevention and treatment services for at risk youth – pg H12479

- $250,000 to the South Dakota Police Chiefs’Association and South Dakota Sheriffs’ Association for technology and equipment - H12480

- $250,000 to Our Home, Inc. in Huron South Dakota for programming and equipment at its Parkston, SD, juvenile group care facility – H12483

- $245,000 to South Dakota Coalition for Children – H12484

- The managers note that a proposal by the University of South Dakota to develop international mental health programs was inadvertently omitted from the list of university proposals on pages 20 to 23 of the Senate report. – H12534

- $100,000 to InterTribal Bison Cooperative in Rapid City, South Dakota for member training. – H12549

- $400,000 to Aberdeen Area Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board in Rapid City, South Dakota for Northern Plains Healthy Start. – H12553

- $250,000 to Community HealthCare Association of the Dakotas in Sioux Falls, South Dakota to integrate information systems of CHCs and FQHCs in the Dakotas. – H12554

- $200,000 to Delta Dental Plan of South Dakota in Pierre, SD for equipment for a dental care mobile van. - H12555

- $2,000,000 to Graduate Education and Applied Research Foundation in Sioux Falls, South Dakota to construct the Center for Graduate Education and Applied Research - H12555

- $50,000 to Hand County Memorial Hospital in Miller, South Dakota for renovation and equipment - H12556

- $250,000 to Rosebud Sioux Tribe in Rosebud, South Dakota for rural ambulance service operations – H12559

- $900,000 to the University of South Dakota School of Medicine in Vermillion, SD for construction. – H12561

- $200,000 to Black Hills State University in Spearfish, South Dakota for the West River Task Force on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome/Effect – H12566

- $60,000 to South Dakota State University College of Pharmacy in Brookings, SD to support pharmacist immunization training – H12568

- $225,000 to Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in Eagle Butte, South Dakota for mental health services - H12571

- $200,000 to Yankton Sioux Tribe in Marty, South Dakota for substance abuse treatment at Canku Teca – H12572

- $250,000 to Behavior Management Systems in Rapid City, South Dakota for substance abuse treatment – H12572

- $475,000 to the University of South Dakota School of Medicine Center for Disabilities in Sioux Falls, SD to continue the work of the Consortium of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome - H12573

- $200,000 to Children’s Village in Pine Ridge, South Dakota for foster care services – H12576

- $60,000 to Kids Voting South Dakota in Pierre, SD to expand programming in tribal schools – H12588

- $480,000 to Mitchell Technical Institute in Mitchell, South Dakota for technology center equipment – H12599

- $150,000 to Mount Marty College in Yankton, South Dakota for forensic science lab equipment – H12599

- $200,000 to Western Governors University in Salt Lake City, Utah for workforce development in South Dakota via distance education - H12602

- $5,000,000 to construct Madison Street Interchange I–29 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota - H12671

- $5,100,000 to Reconstruct Exit 60—I–90 in Rapid City, South Dakota – H12674

- $3,000,000 to BIA Route 27 Reconstruction, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota – H12675

- $250,000 to Extend 4-Lane Highway from Maverick Junction to Nebraska in Fall River County, South Dakota – H12676

- $2,000,000 to Meridian Bridge Replacement, Yankton, South Dakota – H12678

- $1,000,000 to Replace Meridan Bridge at Yankton, South Dakota - H12679

- $2,000,000 to Reconstruct Allen Road, Bennett County, South Dakota – H12680

- $2,250,000 to Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe public buses and bus facilities, South Dakota – H12688

- $2,000,000 to South Dakota Statewide buses and bus facilities – H12692

- $250,000 to Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Public Bus System, South Dakota – H12694

- $2,000,000 for Wakpa Sica Historical Society in Fort Pierre, South Dakota for the Wakpa Sica Reconciliation Center- H12719

- $400,000 for the City of Parker, South Dakota for the development of a community center- H12719

- $400,000 for the City of Beresford, South Dakota for the Beresford Industrial Infrastructure Development project- H12719

- $200,000 for the Aberdeen Workforce Development Council, Aberdeen South Dakota for costs associated with the Workforce Development Center- H12719

- $50,000 for the Canton Economic Development Corporation, Canton, South Dakota for infrastructure development- H12719

- $1,000,000 for Dakota Wesleyan University, Mitchell, South Dakota for facilities construction for the McGovern Library and Center for Public Service- H12719

- $350,000 for the City of Sioux Falls, South Dakota for the expansion and rehabilitation of the Orpheum Theatre- H12719

- $200,000 for the City of Vermillion, South Dakota for the expansion of the Center for Children and Families- H12719

- $100,000 for the City of Redfield, South Dakota for renovations and improvements to the Carnegie Library- H12719

- $1,000,000 for the City of Corsica, South Dakota for water infrastructure improvements- H12737

- $1,000,000 for the City of Lennox, South Dakota for water infrastructure improvements- H12737

- $200,000 for the City of Sisseton, South Dakota for water infrastructure improvements- H12737

- $1,000,000 for the City of Hartford, South Dakota for drinking water infrastructure
improvements- H12737

- $100,000 for the City of DeSmet, South Dakota for water infrastructure improvements- H12737

Tom Daschle blocked these provisions from becoming law, and hence South Dakota has lost the money. With this kind of representation, we might as well not have any. Yet there's no peep from the AL. This leads one to to the conclusion that the AL's "South Dakota will lose money" argument is a pretextual one, and the real reason the AL is pushing an early special election is because the AL believes that Stephanie Herseth will benefit from it.

A Senate cloture vote to end conference report debate is scheduled for January 20, 2004. It will be interesting to see if Tom Daschle votes against cloture.

posted by Jason | 11:35 PM
 

A letter to the editor that appeared in today's edition of the New York Times, headlined "Journalistic Ethics," makes the argument better than I ever could that David Kranz, the dean of South Dakota political reporters, should reveal his past ties to Tom Daschle whenever he writes about Tom Daschle. For a recap of Kranz's ties to Daschle, read the Talon News links on the right side of this blog. Excerpt from the cited letter:


The code of ethics of the National Conference of Editorial Writers, the organization of editorial page editors and writers, puts it plainly: "The writer should be constantly alert to conflicts of interest, real or apparent, including those that may arise from financial holdings, secondary employment, holding public office or involvement in political, civic or other organizations. Timely public disclosure can minimize suspicion. Editors should seek to hold syndicates to these standards."


posted by Jason | 5:47 PM
 

The AP is reporting the top stories of the year in South Dakota, and Congressman Janklow's conviction tops the list: "S.D.: Crash, Conviction, Resignation No. 1 Story."

posted by Jason | 1:37 PM
 

Talon News' crack reporting makes the pages of the Washington Post, in a story headlined "Leaks Probe Is Gathering Momentum."

posted by Jason | 12:11 PM
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