The South Metro Star Tribune Editor Is A No Show (AKA Liz Sawyer, Tim Harlow, And Their Editor Casey Common Can't Defend Their Coverage Of The Map Kong Shooting)

Monday, April 04, 2016

I've waited (as of Thursday night) for a response from the South Metro Star Tribune Editor - since the South Metro Reporters Liz Sawyer and Tim Harlow haven't responded to any of my inquiries - and as it's about 8:35 PM on a Monday night - I think that's pretty reasonable for a response.

Any response.

Even a response that says "We'll get back to you" or "Are you crazy? We defend our reporting".

Here's the main portions of my email to the South Metro Editor Casey Common (edited out the previous letter for brevity).

Dear Mr. Common,

I left you a voicemail in regard to the Star Tribune's coverage of the shooting of Map Kong, and as I stated in my voicemail I also wanted to leave you an email.

Please note that all of your responses will be on the record.

I sent an email to the two reporters of the article on Map Kong (

Below is the email which I sent to them (no response to the original email and follow-up)

[original email edited out for brevity]


Can you answer the following questions:

1. Why that piece was added to the story and what relevance did you feel it had as an editor, when other news outlets reporting on that same story did not include that piece of information (and in all of the coverage I've read up to this point - from NPR to Kare 11 to Twin Cities Local, etc. - no one else has mentioned Map Kong's past arrests)?

2. Are you able to confirm how the reporters came to the decision to look into his past arrests?

3. Do you feel that the coverage - and that specific piece in the article - was biased since there was no other information on the arrests and there was no other information on any of the police officers involved in the shooting?

If the reporters looked into Map Kong's history - why was there not any investigation into the police officer's histories? For instance: Other shootings they have been involved in, civilian complaints - or no complaints at all? Isn't that the duty of the press and specifically news organizations like yourself to give balanced information and to not skew the information for one party or another?

4. In conjunction with question #1 and #3 - can you explain the difference in the coverage (and the information on the past criminal records) between Map Kong and Michael Kirvelay? I've looked at stories on that specific shooting and there was never any mention (that at least I could find or see) on if Kirvelay had a criminal record/past arrests, etc. from the Star Tribune.

Do you think it makes a difference that Kirvelay was (at least from looks) White and Map Kong was not - to readers who see this discrepancy in reporting?

5. Are you aware that people who've read that Star Tribune article are using that specific passage of the article to defend the shooting of Map Kong - even though the investigation is not over and no other information has been released on what the officers knew or did not at the time of the shooting? Here's at least one example of the aforementioned if you look at the comments (you'll be able to scroll fast as you can see the Star Tribune's logo pretty good or a screen shot of the article [as] well):

Shouldn't the Star Tribune be held accountable for this (based on the premise that it is biased - and I would add bad journalism in this case)? Shouldn't the Star Tribune have higher standards than that?

6. Would you consider retracting that portion of the article?

I look forward to your responses.


Obviously they either:

a.) Don't feel there's anything wrong with their reporting and don't feel like they have to "stoop" to a level of responding to someone like me (a reader of the Strib, someone who lives in the Twin Cities, Asian American, person of color, blogger).

b.) Can't defend it - at all.

c.) Are on a long vacation picking tulips as they try and recreate the Sound of Music

Let me say right away though that technically I have no issues with c because who doesn't want to recreate musicals (sure the Sound of Music may not be the one I would recreate, but to each their own...).

But if you're a journalist and someone asks you the questions I have and you feel you're in the right - just answer the questions - say how you understand my concerns but you felt that your reporting was in the best interests of everyone, etc., etc., etc. Sure, I may disagree - but two reporters and their editor can't respond? You don't have enough conviction in what you wrote to be able to respond to some questions about the article "facts" (because facts and truth are completely different items)? Call me crazy, but if a reader has some questions and concerns on your reporting of a human being who's lost his life - aren't you a little obligated to say even just a little bit on the matter?

The fact that no one from the Star Tribune up to this point can defend themselves against my questions - well - draw your own conclusions.

Right now - I'm going with the fact that they know something doesn't quite smell right and they have no idea how to deal with it.

The fact that two White reporters and their White editor can't respond to the concerns of an Asian American man on the death of another Asian American man - and I've given them ample time and ways to get a hold of me and respond --

That's what they call Minnesota Nice.