Saturday, September 29, 2007

Craig Cox Attacks Liz McLemore in Harvard Nieman Reports

During the Zimmermann trial, the editor of the Twin Cities Daily Planet, Craig Cox asked if he could re-publish Liz McLemore's notes on all 8 days of the Zimmermann trial (Liz McLemore's notes are linked on the sidebar).

I was shocked to learn many months later that Craig Cox attacked Liz McLemore by name in a journalism review as an example of what had gone wrong with the TCDP's experiment in citizen journalism.

You can read Craig Cox's article in Harvard's Nieman Reports.

It starts off this way:

Late in July, when a former member of the Minneapolis City Council went on trial in a high-profile bribery case, I received an e-mail from a local community activist alerting me to a woman who was determined to sit through the entire proceedings and describe the finer points of a trial that was headline news in the Twin Cities media.

The former member of the Mpls City Council was Dean Zimmermann. The "activist' is me and Cox fails to mention that I was an "editor" at the TCDP. Failing to mention Zimmermann and myself by name, Cox goes on to name Liz McLemore:

I dashed off an e-mail to the blogger, a south Minneapolis political activist named Liz McLemore, and asked her if she would allow me to publish her courtroom chronicles for our Daily Planet readers.

...what follows is a bizarre, vicious attack on Liz McLemore:

The McLemore "scoop" is an object lesson in the way citizen journalists can captivate and confound editors trying to build and maintain the credibility of their publications while encouraging ordinary citizens to tell their story. Captive to the vagaries of personal schedules, political biases, and reportorial limitations, these amateur reporters can require delicate handling even as they bring greater passion than many veterans.

... Cox didn't contact either me or Liz McLemore before he wrote his screed. Liz McLemore and I contacted the editor of the Nieman Reports and she apologized for allowing Cox to slime Liz McLemore and posted McLemore's response on the Nieman Report site. McLemore sets the record straight and concludes with this:

But what of Cox's own lapses in the very article in which he reports mine? Cox explains that for many people, "the media remains a monolithic, authoritarian machine that holds little interest or importance in their daily lives." Perhaps this is one reason that so many have turned to bloggers. To regain a position of importance in our lives, the media must earn it. At the very least, the public has a right to demand that professional journalists adhere to the standards of truth, accuracy, objectivity, impartiality, and fairness. I expect nothing less from Craig Cox. Too bad he has failed to deliver it.

Craig Cox is no longer the editor at the TCDP. The new editor Mary Turck has taken over Cox's job of recruiting citizen journalists for TCDP. Turck recently yanked and re-wrote an article (after it was criticized by Mayor Rybak's flak-catcher).

Cox continues to cross-post political gossip from his Minneapolis Observer Ballot Box blog to his TCDP blog.

Craig Cox got himself into some hot water when he penned a nasty political hit piece on his Mpls Observer blog and cross-posted it to the TCDP blog. Shortly afterward, Cox's name was scrubbed from 6 CD candidate Bob Hill's web site.

Apparently, TCDP editor Mary Turck forwarded some e-mails complaining about Cox's attack piece and Cox promptly published excerpts from the private e-mails with caustic commentary on his blog:

“There are three parts to this allegation, none of which are true,” Carlson wrote in an e-mail that landed in our e-mail box this afternoon. It had been forwarded by Mary Turck, editor of the Twin Cities Daily Planet, which also carries our commentary. Carlson did not elaborate.

That was followed by a more emphatic rant by another Olson volunteer, Tom Beckfeld (another refugee from the Hill campaign), who called our analysis of the situation “false to the point of slander” and added that he was “personally involved in this story and helped recruit Olson for the 6th.”

I wrote an e-mail on the 26th to Mary Turck asking if the TCDP would continue to publish Craig Cox... no reply yet.

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Rachel Paulose Flunks Internal Justice Department Audit

WaPo: internal Justice Department audit completed last month said her employees gave her very low marks, alleging that she treats subordinates harshly and lacks the requisite experience for the job, said several sources familiar with the audit. Her performance review was so poor that Kenneth E. Melson, head of the department's Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, took the unusual step of meeting with her in Minnesota several weeks ago, two sources said.


"It's just one thing after another," said one Minneapolis lawyer and former federal prosecutor, who did not want to be identified because of regular dealings with Paulose's office. "I think a lot of people in the office were hoping for some oversight to change things. But right now people are just hunkering down and hoping they can survive another year or so and salvage their careers."


David Schultz, who teaches law at the University of Minnesota and business administration at Hamline University in St. Paul, said: "A lot of this stuff appears to go beyond the U.S. attorneys' issue and is just about her unprofessionalism. The real complaint may just be that she's a political hack who just isn't qualified to manage the office."

...this is awful, embarrassing... Rachel Paulose should resign as soon as possible.

But, before she does, Paulose should release the Zimmermann tapes.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Ellison, Conyers Demand Documents About Paulose and Heffelfinger

Eric Black:

U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison of Minneapolis and House Judiciary Chair John Conyers have moments ago sent a letter to the acting U.S. attorney general demanding all communications from the staff of the Minnesota U.S. attorneys office to the Justice Department about Rachel Paulose’s management of the office, documents relating to the evaluations of her predecessor, Tom Heffelfinger that might shed light on why he was on a list of U.S. attorneys to be fired, and all documents reflecting the search for Heffelfinger’s replacement, which led to the appointment of Paulose.

Goodling gone... Gonzo gone... Paulose going soon?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Gary Carlson Sued by Star Tribune Reporter

Rochelle Olson in the Strib:

Star Tribune reporter sues, says man he tried to interview nearly ran him over

Star Tribune reporter Paul McEnroe filed a lawsuit in Hennepin County District Court seeking more than $50,000 from a man he says nearly ran him down as he tried to interview him in 2005 about a Minneapolis City Hall bribery investigation.

As McEnroe approached Gary A. Carlson, who was in a pickup truck, Carlson accelerated and "caused the outside mirror" to "violently collide" with McEnroe's body. Carlson left the scene and failed to provide any assistance, the lawsuit said.

The matter was investigated by police, but no charges were filed, according to McEnroe's lawyer Fred Pritzker.

The reporter, who was out of the country and unavailable for comment Wednesday, suffered injuries to his left shoulder and arm as well as "emotional distress," the suit said.

At the time of the incident, Carlson was the CEO of the Chicago Commons Corp. and was involved in the investigation of Dean Zimmermann, a Minneapolis City Council member at the time.

Zimmermann, a Green Party member, is serving 2½ years in prison for bribery. He was convicted of taking three bribes totaling $7,200 from Carlson, who testified at the trial that the FBI had wired him with sound and video equipment.

The Strib published many puff pieces about Zimmermann and his bogus Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) boondoggle. After Zimmermann was convicted, the Strib ran an editorial asking the judge not to send Zimmermann to jail.

On the eve of the trial, the Strib published an article that painted an unflattering portrait of Gary Carlson.

Now, he is being harrassed with this lawsuit.

What did Gary Carlson do to deserve this treatment?

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Rachel Paulose Investigated by Office of Special Counsel

Another Eric Black scoop :

The federal Office of Special Counsel is investigating allegations that Rachel Paulose, U.S. attorney for Minnesota, mishandled classified information, decided to fire the subordinate who called it to her attention, retaliated against others in the office who crossed her, and made racist remarks about one employee.

The allegations:

*As U.S. attorney, Paulose received regular reports about the status of the war on terror, drawing on up-to-date information assembled by intelligence and law enforcement agencies. The reports, classified “secret,” were supposed to kept locked up. For about a year, Paulose regularly left the reports loose in her office, sometimes unattended, where they could have been seen by unauthorized people. Marti spoke to her about it and, as required by regulations, filed a report with the national office that oversees U.S. attorneys.

Paulose began threatening Marti with the loss of his position as the No. 2 attorney in the office. He heard from colleagues and even from a federal judge that Paulose was bad-mouthing him, making false allegations against him and telling them that she was going to replace him.

*Paulose committed large and small acts of retaliation against others in the office whom she accused of disloyalty to her. In one instance, after changing the job assignment of one employee, Paulose allegedly said that she would make the woman so miserable that she would want to quit. In some instances, Paulose allegedly ordered those in charge of performing job evaluations to downgrade the reviews of those she considered disloyal, or turned down requests that they be allowed to perform work outside the office. The allegation is that Paulose took these actions against employees for reasons other than the quality of their work, but rather for offenses like advising her that some actions she was contemplating would exceed her legal authority.

*Paulose allegedly denigrated one employee of the office, using the terms “fat,” “black,” “lazy” and “ass.”

Paulose has got to go.