November 8th, 2010

Campaign 2010’s Biggest Loser: The Des Moines Register

It seems that with every election cycle that passes, the Des Moines Register’s bias towards Democrat candidates and liberal causes has become more and more apparent.  Not only has the Register’s liberal bias more noticeable, the state’s largest newspaper acts like it doesn’t even care about how it is perceived anymore.

There is no better example of the Register’s bias and their willingness to mess with Republican candidates than its presidential debate right before the 2008 Iowa Caucuses.

Carolyn Washburn, editor of the Des Moines Register, opened the debate by telling the audience, “We won’t talk a lot about the issues like Iraq or immigration. They are important issues, no doubt, but Iowans say they know where the candidates are coming from on those. Instead we’ll dig in on issues that need more clarification.”

While the Register didn’t have time for questions on the war in Iraq or immigration, they devoted plenty of time to the issue of global warming.  Nobody was surprised about the issue set that the Register wanted discussed at its debate, but what surprised many was that they invited Alan Keyes to participate in the debate even though he never held campaign events in Iowa or let the Republican Party of Iowa know he was even a candidate.

After the caucuses, the Register continued its liberal bent by insisting that Becky Greenwald, the Democrat running against Congressman Tom Latham in 2008, was destined to be the first woman to be elected to federal office from Iowa.  Latham got 60 percent of the vote in a year that Obama won Iowa big.

It’s hard to believe, but the Register was even worse in the 2010 cycle.  They constantly talked about Roxanne Conlin’s attempt to break Iowa’s glass ceiling, but never mentioned Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks.  They never gave the time of day to another female candidate, Brenna Findley, a Republican who was running for Attorney General.

Throughout Governor Culver’s four years in office, the Des Moines Register constantly provided the Culver administration with favorable news coverage.  Rarely did the Register write about the state’s huge budget gaps that were created by spending more than was collected in revenues.  The Register also failed to report on Culver’s flip-flops on important subjects ranging from the state’s finances to gay marriage.

The was no better example of the Culver administration’s sway over the Register than when their State House Reporter, Jason Clayworth, published unflattering pictures of Culver participating in a triathlon, who quickly yanked them down after Culver’s office complained.

The stories that appear in the Register always tilt to the left or aide Democrats.  Look at what they did with the research file that soon-to-be former State Senator Staci Appel seems to have provided them on her opponent, Kent Sorenson.  Look at the stories that they simply chose to ignore in the final days of the 2010 campaign, like Attorney General Tom Miller borrowing almost $100,000 for state employees for his campaign.

Yet, maybe the best example of the Register’s bias came on election night, when they published a story on its website that declared Secretary of State Mike Mauro had defeated his opponent, Matt Schultz, 58 percent to 40 percent.

I’m sure Secretary of State Elect Schultz got a chuckle out of that too.

It’s likely that the biggest loser of all on Election Day was the Des Moines Register.  Iowa voters soundly rejected most of its endorsed candidates.  Culver lost by 10 points, Bill Maske lost to Latham by 34 points, and Matt Campbell lost to King by 33 points.  The Register was also one of the biggest proponents of the three Iowa Supreme Court Justices who were voted out of office by the people of Iowa.

Either the Des Moines Register is attempting to become a liberal news outlet like MSNBC with commentary that would be suitable for The View or the Huffington Post, or they are content with being a subsidiary of the Democrat Party.  With Iowa being the home of the First in the Nation Caucuses, it’s unfortunate that the state’s largest newspaper is pushing a liberal agenda instead of trying to be trusted source for news.

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About the Author

Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a political news and commentary site he launched in March of 2009. Robinson’s political analysis is respected across party lines, which has allowed him to build a good rapport with journalist across the country. Robinson has also been featured on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press, ABC’s This Week, and other local television and radio programs. Campaign’s & Elections Magazine recognized Robinson as one of the top influencers of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses. A 2013 Politico article sited Robinson and as the “premier example” of Republican operatives across the country starting up their own political news sites. His website has been repeatedly praised as the best political blog in Iowa by the Washington Post, and in January of 2015, Politico included him on the list of local reporters that matter in the early presidential states. Robinson got his first taste of Iowa politics in 1999 while serving as Steve Forbes’ southeast Iowa field coordinator where he was responsible for organizing 27 Iowa counties. In 2007, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa where he was responsible for organizing the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and the 2008 First-in-the-Nation Iowa Caucuses. Following the caucuses, he created his own political news and commentary site, Robinson is also the President of Global Intermediate, a national mail and political communications firm with offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. Robinson utilizes his fundraising and communications background to service Global’s growing client roster with digital and print marketing. Robinson is a native of Goose Lake, Iowa, and a 1999 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he earned degrees in history and political science. Robinson lives in Ankeny, Iowa, with his wife, Amanda, and son, Luke. He is an active member of the Lutheran Church of Hope.

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