Sioux Falls Argus Leader editor Randall Beck has made a fool of himself in an over-the-top backlash against those examining the altogether too cozy connections between political reporter David Krantz and Tom Daschle. (Background information on Krantzgate can be found at South Dakota Politics.)
Beck’s comments can be found here. If this is the way Beck handles criticism, he needs serious help. A sample of his comments:
You and I have been to a certain extent down this road before. There is somewhere out there in internet-land a small cabal I call them—and they’re small—and they’re a cabal of folks whose hatred of a certain political affiliation is so strong and so violent that they’ll stoop to any level to muddy the waters and confuse the issue. And employing one of the time-worn tactics they shoot the messenger, in this case the largest newspaper in the state and more specifically Dave Kranz, the best political reporter in the region, and to a certain level myself.
Examine South Dakota Politics coverage – “violent” is not remotely an appropriate adjective to describe the tone of the coverage. Beck is ignoring the fact that the Abourezk memos do show that Krantz has ties to the Democratic Party that clearly has an impact on his objectivity. There is absolutely nothing illegitimate abou examining the records of a public individual, especially one who may be abusing their position.
But rather than make a factual case as to why Krantz is an unbiased reporter, Beck engages in a childish game of name-calling and conspiracy mongering. None of the major writers investigating the Krantz case are truly anonymous – and considering that Beck is reporter, one would think he’s be able to do the basic legwork to figure that out. Considering that Andrew Sullivan is an editor with The New Republic and Glenn Reynolds is perhaps the most famous blogger yet, the argument that there’s some anonymous cabal trying to smear the Argus Leader is more than a little rediculous.
If this is the way Beck handles criticism, he should find a new profession. It is becoming increasingly clear that the dean of South Dakotan political reporting has some very questionable ties to the Democratic Party – and if Beck isn’t willing to take that seriously, his credentials as a journalist simply must be called into question.