A report of an alleged assault that took place on Saturday, Oct. 20 at 5:22 p.m., at the Northland Arboretum in Baxter was published in the Tuesday, Oct. 23 Brainerd Dispatch has caused a firestorm of controversy.
First, it has been the policy of the Dispatch to publish only gross misdemeanors and felonies. Then only if a person has been charged by police and or prosecuting attorneys. The information in Tuesday’s blotter does not fall within the parameters of this newspaper’s policy.
Second, two videos were placed on the Dispatch website as part of comments made by a viewer identifying him or herself only as “twilight.” The headline of the comment: “Cravaack’s staff manhandles journalists.” There is no mention of the “journalist’s” name or the media he or she was representing.
No Dispatch journalist was present at the event.
What is interesting is that this “assault complaint” turned up on the Daily Kos, and later sent to the Dispatch by Kate Monson, communications director for the Minnesota Democratic Farmer Labor (DFL) Party. How did the DFL communications director handle the matter?
“At least one 8th (sic.) district resident has had enough of the strong arm (sic.) tactics employed by Rep. Chip Cravaack’s staffers and supporters, and has filed an assault complaint against one of those working on the Cravaack for Congress campaign,” said Monson in a copy of the Kos story. (A video of the alleged altercation is posted on the Daily Kos website.)
Monson’s report of the alleged altercation fails to mention the disruptive nature of the person taking the video.
A person at the event noted that at least two persons showed up at the Cravaack frundraiser in clothing that was “inappropriate” and sporting a hat with tea bags attached to the hat’s rim. This entire incident is a case of partisan politics out of control. Debate the issues. Disagree. Then engage in civil discourse. Do not stoop to cheap underhanded trickery.
If Baxter City Attorney Matt Mallie decides to charge anyone, including those individuals who showed up at the Cravaack fundraiser to disrupt the event, the Dispatch will publish those charges with the names of each individual, only if the charges rise to the level of a gross misdemeanor or felony.