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As others see it: Don't blame media for self-made mess

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Disgraced politicians aren't the only ones who pull the ploy, but they sure seem to have it down as well as anyone: When the heat is on, play the victim and blame the media.

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Minnesota Sen. Satveer Chaudhary, DFL-Fridley, seemed to be drawing from that strategy Friday when he posted on his website that the News Tribune "should have held their story until they had all the facts." Chaudhary was referring to a story a day earlier that he and his wife failed to pay $100,000 in income taxes in 2007 and $151,000 in 2008. The News Tribune contacted Chaudhary prior to publishing the story, inviting him to share whatever facts he wanted. He explained the delinquent taxes were due to his wife's wrongful termination from a biopharmaceutical company. He further said he had a plan with the IRS to pay off the taxes "pretty quickly."

So what facts were missed? None that Chaudhary divulged, suggesting a mighty hollow accusation. On his website, Chaudhary simply repeated what was reported, that he and his wife were working closely with the IRS to make good on the more than $250,000 owed to the federal government and that his family's tax problems resulted from his wife's employment issues.

Chaudhary's hollow jabs at the News Tribune continued Friday when he told a Twin Cities television reporter he "could only speculate as to who leaked the tax information to the Duluth News Tribune." The suggestion, of course, was that the newspaper lacked the reporting skills to get the story on its own. But good, old-fashioned, shoe-leather reporting was what got the story. ...

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