Minnesota’s governor supports a free press
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz is pledging to make “One Minnesota” as he settles into his new role of leading this great state. He’s not just spewing campaign rhetoric, but seems committed to making it a way of operating his large administration.
I had the opportunity to hear Minnesota’s new governor speak a few weeks ago during the Minnesota Newspaper Association convention in Bloomington.
What intrigued me the most about Walz is how he handled our group of editors and publishers. In a room full of community journalists, he praised the work of journalism.
Wait a minute, I thought the press was the “enemy of the people.” After all, our dear president says so.
Walz was sincere in his comments about how he expects the media to hold government and its officials accountable and for informing him on issues around the state.
“Your job is to hold the government accountable, a job you have done well,” Gov. Walz said. “Minnesota journalism is alive and well.”
He went on to say, “The press is foundational to a free and democratic people,” Walz said. “The press is the friend of the people.”
I about choked on my lunch when I heard that after the snipes our president keeps feeding the public about the media. He stressed several times how a free press is fundamentally crucial.
The new governor repeatedly talked about the importance of a free press in a democracy. Walz said that attitude was reinforced as a visiting teacher in China when restrictions on media were even further tightened following the Tiananmen Square protests.
He shared how he reads small daily and weekly newspapers to stay informed about all corners of the state. He even talked about the recent 80th birthday party for his mother-in-law in Ivanhoe. Turns out, a sitting governor had not visited Ivanhoe in anyone’s memory, and the birthday gathering may have set a Lincoln County record for most media coverage.
“Four newspapers showed up,” Walz said of the birthday party. “I’m a hero to my mother-in-law.”
The media definitely won some points with the governor over the coverage of his mother-in-law.
Walz is bringing fresh energy and a sweeping agenda to the State Capitol. In the past, he has made it clear that he is “done with the drama” in Washington, D.C.
It’s a breath of fresh air to not have a dominant political leader continually criticize and humiliate the media. As Walz alluded to in his remarks, the relentless, ugly, mischievous attacks against the media are unwarranted.
I think Minnesotans are in for a real treat over the next four years as Walz settles into his new role of leading the state. While his voice probably got lost in the chaos of Washington when he served as U.S. Congressman for southern Minnesota, Walz is one of the most common sense and level-headed politicians I have seen in decades. He truly is committed to making “One Minnesota,” despite the differences we may all have with each other. At least he will be able to keep things together on the home front for us in Minnesota.
Isn’t it refreshing to have a political giant like Gov. Tim Walz vowing to go in hot pursuit of making “One Minnesota” while at the same time not ripping apart the media and actually praising journalists?