Newspaper article

Facebook Follies: 2012 Backbiting Finds Its Way into '14 School- Board Race

Newspaper article

Facebook Follies: 2012 Backbiting Finds Its Way into '14 School- Board Race

Article excerpt

In terms of hyper-local politics, it might be helpful to think of the Internet as a house made of very thin glass. You like, you share, you comment, forgetting how porous social media can be.

Facts? Feh -- that's so old media. Does anybody even read the stories at the other end of the links anymore? Or do they just click?

I raise this because during the last school-board election, candidates who were trying to play on the up and up got in trouble because of innuendo, mistruths and gossip their supporters circulated in service to their campaigns.

In recent days, a link has been circulating on the Facebook pages of several Minneapolis residents who are interested in the upcoming school-board election. On one page, incumbent Rebecca Gagnon's campaign manager "liked" the link; on another, candidate Iris Altamirano "liked" a comment about her candidacy appended to the post.

The link in question leads back to a December 2012 blog post by Nick Coleman decrying then-City Council member Don Samuels' decision to enter the city's mayoral race.

"It is important that people have a chance to remember that Mr. Samuels (and his political ally, Mayor Rybak) launched a highly inflammatory -- and inaccurate -- attack on the public schools of Minneapolis in early 2007 (although neither man had made the schools an issue during their election campaigns)," Coleman posted.

The purpose of said attack, he continued, was to further the interests of private and charter school operators who sought to siphon off tax dollars for themselves. He was republishing three columns he had written as a Star Tribune columnist at the time, which he complained had since "gone down the memory hole" and had to be retrieved from the library.

As promised, reproduced there were three columns taking Samuels to task for saying that Minneapolis' North High School should be burned down in an interview with David Brauer published in Mpls.St.Paul Magazine. In the same sentence, Samuels decried the school's deplorable track record with African-American boys, noting that three-fourths were failing academically.

"Samuels says he read that 72 percent figure somewhere," Coleman added. …

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