Walz Doubles Down on Deleted Video of Wife at Public TV Forum

DFL Gov. Tim Walz may have hoped to end the controversy over his administration’s role in Twin City Public Television’s deletion of a video of a criminal justice forum featuring First Lady Gwen Walz.

But Walz’s remarks in followup coverage by MPR only served to reinforce concerns over the political pressure exerted behind the scenes to destroy the video of a performance that rattled the First Lady’s handlers.

Public TV Deletes Video of MN First Lady Under Pressure From Top Walz Aide

After stipulating he values “transparency highly,” Walz made it clear he approved of the  destruction of the problematic video by the taxpayer-supported public television system.

“The first lady is out there talking about prison reform and race. That is going to be controversial. I was not at the event or part of this. But I certainly support their decisions they made,” Gov. Walz said.

Walz even put himself in the executive producer’s shoes by pointing out TPT had failed to have all participants sign an appearance release to be on the air. Curiously, he did not say whether the First Lady had signed her release. (As someone who’s overseen the collection of appearance releases as a documentary director and producer for cable networks under challenging circumstances abroad, I can attest this claim is quite a stretch.)

Walz said others involved in the event also pushed for the video to be discarded. He said the lack of signed releases from participants and attendees made it problematic to retain or broadcast the footage.

In effect Walz joined TPT in blaming the messenger for the episode, moderator Toussaint Morrison. But Morrison refused  to apologize for asking tough questions on a lengthy Facebook post doubling down on his criticism of TPT and Gwen Walz.

It is important to point out the panelists who denied the question of racial disparity, were white. The few people who approached me after the forum and accused me of having an agenda, were white. The president of the media outlet that hired me for the forum and apologized on my behalf to the First Lady for causing discomfort, is white.

I would not have to describe this in detail for you, had the recorded tapes of the forum not been destroyed by a media outlet that prides itself on collecting content and archived footage.

There’s no indication of whether the First Lady will participate in Toussaint’s repeat  performance of the discussion on September 30 at Moon Palace Books in Minneapolis.