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  Thursday January 29th, 2015    

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Setting record straight (10/14/2012)
From: Don Evanson

Minnesota City, Minn.

The Winona Daily News is surely “in-the-tank” for the Tim Walz campaign and for gay marriages!

An opinion piece by its reporter, Mary Juhl, “reporting” on Congressional candidate Allen Quist’s appearance and press conference in Winona on Wednesday, was assigned a blatantly false headline and then given prominence above the fold on the front page of Thursday’s paper.

Quist was in Winona to counter a false statement that Walz has been making about him, claiming that Quist would cut veterans’ benefits. When Walz was asked to cite the basis of his claim, it was found that Quist had only warned “that the only way to protect entitlements and to protect our national defense spending” is to balance the budget. Allen Quist is correct. If we don’t balance the budget, we will run out of money, and everything is then threatened.

Juhl gave scant attention to reporting the issues of Walz’s false claim, and Quist’s responding press release, with budget-balancing being the focal point of Quist’s campaign.

Rather, Juhl decided that she had caught Quist in a contradiction of statements—statements unrelated to the purpose of the press conference—and then the editor plastered the headline “Quist weighs in on gay marriage” over it, further subtitled “Says government does not have a role in debate.”

Since I was in attendance at the press conference, and was flabbergasted by the newspaper’s bit of yellow journalism in handling its “report,” I have reviewed a video of the conference to confirm my recollections of what was said.

Responding to a question by another reporter during the concluding “questions session” of the appearance, wherein the reporter asked why we should be preserving the traditional definition of marriage since the divorce rate is so high, Quist responded, “I think that government does not have a role in whether people should get married, or not. I think that’s totally a freedom issue. Where people who want to get married, I think that’s fine. If they chose not to get married, I think that’s fine. I have a real problem with government discriminating against people if they do get married.”

That question and the response were clearly not in the context of gay marriages, but in the context of the traditional definition of marriage. Quist then went on to tell of the discriminating marriage penalty that hides in the Obamacare Act, and how that penalty is going to serve as a disincentive to marry. It was in that context, disincentive or not, that he was able to say that government should not play a role in deciding who gets married and who doesn’t.

While Walz has made it a component of his campaign to laud gay marriages (ostensibly because gays are needed to defend our country)—and Obamacare—Quist has not. I think that I know Quist well enough to know that he is opposed to gay marriages, but that has not been a featured component of his campaign, since it is presently a Minnesota issue, not a federal issue, therefore not involved with the seat that he and Walz are seeking. Indeed, when Juhl had earlier pressed Quist for a statement in response to Walz’s promotion of “Vote No,” Quist simply responded, “I support the marriage amendment because for over a thousand years, Western culture has defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman. I don’t see a compelling reason to change that definition.” 


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