That Editorial – a Prologue

Rarely have I been so offended by a Duluth News Tribune Editorial as I was this morning when I read, in slack jawed wonder, an offense to journalistic integrity.

Its taken me a long while to process the enormity of its message and the hubris upon which it was constructed. Ostensibly its the product of a collection of leading Duluthians but it is almost certainly the brainchild of a fellow I’ve always liked, Chuck Frederick. Having said that I have a damning thing to say about Chuck right now so, if you are squeamish, please read no further. Here it is: Chuck Frederick is a darned fine feature writer.

Its been a while since I’ve written a part 1, 2, 3 blog post series but this editorial merits such treatment. I will crank out this prologue before midnight and work on the rest of them tomorrow.

Let me begin by explaining why I say the editorial is hubristic (That’s fifty cents for excessive pride and arrogance). The fact is that the Editorial Board, Chuck really, has taken on the lofty goal of bringing peace and amity to our embarrassing school board by guaranteeing the election of new board members who will continue to persecute two stubborn minority members, Art Johnston and Harry Welty. Chuck and the Board are promoting or about to promote one candidate who has made it clear that the Board’s toxicity is all Art’s and my fault; another candidate who is in the early stages of wrapping herself up in an Administration that has colluded with the majority thus bringing disgrace to the entire District and, in today’s editorial, a third guileless candidate whose head has been turned by the slavish praise heaped on her by folks who are counting on her to keep the power of the current School Board in place. In other words, Chuck Frederick is attempting to solve the problem of long standing bitterness over the Red Plan and its unpleasant aftermath by keeping the same sort of stalemate in place that has dogged the School Board for a year and a half.

The unfortunate victim of Chuck’s hubris is one of the most intelligent and thoughtful people I have ever met, Alanna Oswald. I taught her American History at Morgan Park the year before her mother committed suicide. That traumatic event led to Alanna’s discovery of a caring faculty that reached out its arms to nurture her in the suicide’s terrible aftermath. This is a much more hopeful background than the Trib endorsed candidate’s frank belief that our School District failed her.

There is so much more to say but I will end this prologue with the gracious email that Alanna sent Chuck after she was dismissed, in two short paragraphs, as little more than a “mother” who would bring discord to the School Board.

Hi Chuck,

Thank you for the opportunity to interview for endorsement. Although saddened that the DNT chose VanNett over me, and chose to quote me in a light that I do not live by or believe in, I understand we all have different views.

I find it ironic that I have the exact same experiences you chose to highlight with David Kirby, plus a pile more on top of the school PTA member, school PTA board member, District wide PTA seat held (At Large Integration), and attended the State PTA convention TWICE….. yet you are concerned I will exacerbate conflict.

I am a problem solver and work with all to get the issue taken care of. I hope, should the voters choose me, that I can work with the newspaper to highlight the positive changes we will work towards while making our schools the best in the area.


When I resume these posts tomorrow I will not be so gracious. I will be exacting.

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