Ramsey County Commissioner Jan Parker on Thursday criticized the Minneapolis Star Tribune, saying its property holdings near the Metrodome were skewing its coverage over where a new Minnesota Vikings stadium should be built.
Parker volunteered her comments outside Gov. Mark Dayton’s office after she and other county and Arden Hills officials hand delivered the county’s proposal to use public subsidies to build a $1.1 billion stadium in Arden Hills. Dayton had set a 5 p.m. deadline for stadium proposals, and Minneapolis also submitted a competing stadium plan for the Metrodome.
“I think the Star Tribune has been very biased in its coverage of this from the beginning, and I’ll just say that right here,” she said. “I’m just appalled at the lack of objectivity.”
Parker said she believed the newspaper’s land holdings near the Metrodome, where Minneapolis officials want a new stadium built, were influencing the paper’s news coverage. “Absolutely,” she said.
“That’s the only explanation I can think of,” Parker added.
At a brief press conference outside the governor’s office, county officials were asked repeatedly by reporters whether they felt there was a “bias” in favor of Minneapolis among some officials over where the stadium should be built.
“We don’t feel there’s been any bias,” said Ramsey County Board Chair Rafael Ortega, finally.
The Star Tribune owns five blocks near the Metrodome that could be involved in a stadium deal. The Vikings struck a tentative $45 million deal for that property in 2007 but withdrew, citing turmoil in credit markets.
The Vikings have played at the Metrodome since 1982, and Minneapolis city officials have touted the site as being the cheapest for a new stadium.