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The UofM, my Alma Mater, and that of my kids, today embarrassed me and our state by suppressing the public broadcast of a film about the effect of large scale farming on our rivers and ground water.

The  premier was scheduled for October 5 on public television.  It had already been published and promoted.  Suddenly, a Vice President of the University, whose husband is a lobbyist representing corporate agriculture in Minnesota, decided to take it on herself to cancel the broadcast.  The newspaper quotes a representative as saying the documentary was not "Fair and Balanced".  

University of Minnesota vice president Karen Himle is under fire for canceling the broadcast of a university-produced documentary about farming, pollution and the Mississippi River.

The Land Stewardship Project has called for Himle's resignation, and questioned whether she may have a conflict of interest in the dispute.

Himle is married to John Himle, CEO of Himle Horner Inc., a public relations firm that represents the Minnesota Agri-Growth Council, a trade association that lobbies for agribusiness.

Linky (fixed) :

This whole things stinks, and the VP needs to resign.

If you graduated from the UofM, or you value science over politics, please contact your Alma Mater.  

Here is the contact information for the office of UM President Bruininks.

Via e-mail:

Via U.S. mail:
202 Morrill Hall
100 Church Street S.E.
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Via phone: 612-626-1616

Via fax: 612-625-3875

== Update 1 ==
The presidents office at the UofM puts the blame on the Bell Museum.   There is a statement on the Bell Museums website: (

A Statement from Dr. Susan J. Weller, Director of the Bell Museum of Natural History

In 2008, the University of Minnesota (Bell Museum of Natural History) received a legislative appropriation, and subsequent additional private funding, to develop an educational documentary on the waters of Minnesota, designed to promote watershed understanding and citizen action in protecting, restoring and conserving water resources.

Our standard procedure at the Bell Museum is that our exhibits and educational products have at least one researcher who oversees the project's scientific integrity from inception to completion. Unfortunately, this procedure was not followed by the Bell Media unit for production of the documentary, "Troubled Waters: A Mississippi River Story." As Director of the Bell Museum, I am responsible for ensuring these standards are followed, and I regret our error in this case.

If she was irresponsible during the process, what assurance do we have that she will be responsible during the review?  

Recently, this documentary was previewed by a number of University officials and faculty. In hindsight, this review should have occurred much earlier. As a result of input received from these viewers, I have postponed the premiere of the film at the Bell Museum. I have requested a small group of qualified faculty review the film. These faculty will advise me on whether the documentary as edited meets the specifications of the legislative appropriation to the University, and is scientifically accurate, objective and balanced in its presentation.

 Do we have assurances that the  new reviewers will be identified?   If parts are changed, will the original be released?

The overall purpose of the review is to assure that the University meets its responsibilities under the legislation to provide the best quality product, one that meets the expectations contained in the legislation and provides high-quality educational material for viewers. No outside interests, as erroneously reported by some news sources, have been involved in this internal decision-making process.

The Bell Museum of Natural History looks forward to hosting the premiere of the film when this process is concluded. I ask for your understanding and patience as we produce a film that meets our high standards of excellence as a public portal of University research and education on environmental issues.

== Update 2 ==
I called the Bell Museum and left a message for the Director, Susan Weller.  Her number is 612-625-6253.  

== Update 3 ==
Himle Horner was co-founded by the "Independence Party"'s (IP) candidate, Tom Horner, and only ended the relationship with that company in the last 90 days.  

The Independence Party in Minnesota  is the leftovers from Perot's campaign and from Jesse Ventura's campaign.   The IP is funded by MN tax dollars.    In the past, the IP has delivered elections to Pawlenty and to Bachmann by splitting the dem vote.  

"Himle Horner, Inc. is a public relations and public affairs firm based in Minneapolis. The firm is headed by John Himle and Tom Horner."

Tom Horner is the so called "Independent" candidate for governor.   He also is promoting a new stadium plan for the Vikings.

He represents his corporate clients across the board:

Vikings spokesman Lester Bagley said the team has employed Himle Horner Inc. for the past three years, including the legislative session ...


Doctors in Minnesota have endorsed Horner, but get this:

Horner ".. will continue to provide strategic communications counsel to Twin Cities hospitals, but will do this outside of Himle Horner’s work for the hospitals. Horner will not work with any other clients during his gubernatorial campaign," said a release from his campaign.

Of course, AFTER the campaigm he'll go right to work for the hospitals, the doctors, agribusiness and the vikings owners.

Originally posted to bobtmn on Wed Sep 22, 2010 at 06:52 AM PDT.

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