US Governor Resigns, Joins Shanghai “Geek Squad”

SHANGHAI, China (Shanghai Scrap) — During a planned visit to Shanghai’s first Best Buy retail outlet on Friday, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty abruptly resigned when he noticed that – minus coat – he fit right in with the company’s local Geek Squad tech support department.


Ok, the truth is …

The truth is that Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty paid a 36 hour visit to Shanghai late this week, and his sole public appearance was at the Shanghai Best Buy (Best Buy is a Minnesota-based Fortune 100). There, he participated in a grand opening ceremony that included the presentation of US$50,000 worth of computer equipment to a Global Volunteers project in An Shang, Shanxi Province. There were no members of the Minnesota media present for the event, and so far as I can tell, the governor’s China visit received zero coverage in the Minnesota media – outside of a brief slug filled with errors on KARE 11’s website (Ari – is that your photo?). That’s a pity, because the visit included some important meetings with Chinese investors looking at Minnesota as a destination for their cash. If the local media cares, there’s a real story there (perhaps the StarTribune – the state’s largest media organization – could divert some of the resources that it will waste sending reporters to the Olympics to this more consequential story?).

[by the way – I was at Best Buy as member of the media, though I was not covering it as news.]

Finally, I should mention that Governor Pawlenty spent two hours with the Minnesota Club of Shanghai at a club-hosted reception. Though his comments were brief and (presumably) off-record, I think it’s ok to mention that they included a Sven and Ole joke — perhaps the first ever uttered during a public address in China.

[UPDATE 11/6: Three weeks have passed, and nobody at KARE 11 has noticed, much less bothered to correct, the errors in the station’s brief report on Pawlenty’s visit to Shanghai. The most egregious – and dumbest – is in the lede:

Governor Pawlenty took a slight detour on his trade mission to India to stop in China’s Shaanxi Province. That’s where Shanghai is located …

Um, no. Shanghai is roughly 900 miles from Shaanxi. The sing-song certainty of the geographic location (“That’s where Shanghai is located,” exclaimed the bubbly newsreader) makes it funny; the fact that KARE 11 didn’t have a reporter there makes it depressing. What else are they getting totally wrong?]


  1. Fun photo, but why the cheap shot at the StarTribune? It’s not like they aren’t covering Pawlenty’s trip – it’s just that they’ve sent their reporter directly to India instead of covering the Shanghai photo-op. Budgets are thin, at least they cover that.

  2. Dan – My point is this: for the price of sending, say, two reporters to cover the Olympics for, say, two weeks next August … the Strib could send one reporter to Shanghai for six to eight weeks. The Olympics will be covered by thousands of reporters, some of whom are wire reporters offering coverage that the Strib could purchase for a minute fraction of the cost of sending someone to Beijing. In the latter case – there is nobody covering the China-Minnesota relationship (especially the commercial side), and any journalism accomplished by a Minnesota reporter in Shanghai is unlikely to be duplicated by another reporter elsewhere.

    The Strib can do something imaginative and important with its limited editorial resources – or it can waste them on something that everyone else is covering. That’s my point.

    [I should add that Brian Lambert’s blog has had – to my knowledge – the most interesting reporting on the Strib’s changing editorial focus. For example, here:

    I don’t always agree with Lambert – for example, I think the Strib SHOULD focus its editorial resources on local stories and not on issues that can be covered by the wires (including editorial wires). But I think that a China story with Minnesota focus is an important and necessary compromise in age of shrinking editorial budgets. If the Strib doesn’t do it, who will?]

  3. Adam,
    KARE 11 is a misnomer, they don’t actually care! The sing-song certainty you hear is because their listeners don’t want it any other way. I assure you the things that are wrong with that station are too much to list here!! I think it’s great that our governer made a stop in Shanghai and sad that it didn’t get much press.

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