Here’s a modified version of what may appear in a short on-the-air piece tomorrow.
It reflects my impression so far from the e-mails I’ve read. (I think I’ve read the most important ones at first glance, but we’ll see.)
I plan on posting documents soon to show you why I got those impressions.
The e-mails paint a picture of an administration divided over how to respond to university concerns over the film’s balance. One dean who appears to have been on the review panel called it “inflammatory,” but another thought it would be unwise to delay it.
Despite the university’s assertions that it was responding to the concerns of reviewers, the e-mails give the impression that film’s harshest criticism came from Vice President for University Relations Karen Himle — the woman who made the call that canceled the film’s television debut. Her ties to agriculture have prompted concerns over a perceived conflict of interest, something the university has denied.
She called the film “propaganda,” an “organic farming advocacy piece combined with an anti-farm bill agenda,” and appeared to compare it to the work of controversial filmmaker Michael Moore.
The e-mails don’t mention any influence by agricultural interests, but do show an administration concerned about reaction from that sector. One e-mail does indicate second-hand that Himle cancelled the film with the knowledge of President Bob Bruininks.