James Clay Fuller

Things We're Not Supposed to Say

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Unhappy dawdling: No explanation needed

The front page of the June 6, 2006, Star Tribune carried three stories in close proximity on the right side of the page.

First, in the top right hand corner of the page, was an article with the headline: “Food shelf visits take huge leap in suburbs.” The story supported that headline and noted that the great leap in the number of hungry folks took place in traditionally affluent – and very affluent – suburbs as well as in older, inner-ring towns. Mention was made of the widening gap between wages and rent and mortgage payment levels, among other things.

At the bottom center of the page, with a photo, was a plug for columnist Doug Grow's piece in the metro (local) section. His column told the story of how a Minneapolis middle school with a very culturally and racially mixed student body, came to the point where the school band could play two concerts that day.

Grow said that before March, the “band” had no instruments, but a small group of parents went out and raised the money to buy some so that the kids could learn how to make music. The band director is a part-timer who also teaches at another school and works part-time at a truck-rental outlet in order to be able to continue teaching music. Why did the band have no instruments? Funding cuts under the tight budgets imposed by Minnesota's right wing governor, Tim Pawlenty, and supported by the largely Republican-controlled legislature.

And next to the band-story promo, bottom right of the page, is the story headlined: “Bush ignites new fight to try to ban gay marriage.”