How’s that old saying go? Never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel? It’s a little antiquated nowadays. Anyone with an internet connection can become the source of something viral. Nevertheless, it’s wise to avoid antagonizing professional journalists, especially when you work in or around public service.
Conrad Zbikowski might be learning that lesson. The president of the College Democrats of Minnesota (a.k.a Minnesota Young DFL) decided to send a threatening email to a television news reporter.
The threat was an apparent attempt to coerce an apology for a report regarding Democrat state legislative candidate Ilhan Omar. The Somali-American claimed victory over a 44-year incumbent in a primary last week, but soon found herself embroiled in scandal when it was revealed that she may be guilty of bigamy. According to public records, Omar appears to have been married to two men at the same time. Along with the father of her children, Omar appears to have also married her own brother in an effort to secure his immigration to the United States.
Television news reporter Tom Lyden produced a segment about the scandal for the local Fox affiliate. Late Monday night, Lyden posted a tweet revealing the content of an email from Zbikowski.
I love this threat from the Pres. of the Young DFL. Petulance at its finest. pic.twitter.com/PRTPhvFOWk
— Tom Lyden (@LydenFOX9) August 16, 2016
Such an attempt to coerce a retraction proves as unwise as it is unethical. If there were truly nothing to see in the Omar fraud story, a request for retraction or apology would include relevant information disproving the allegations. As was the case when a defense attorney working for the Omar campaign responded to the blogger who first broke the story, Zbikowski makes no effort to address the substance of the allegations or explain the public record.