Montana Politics The Media

Charles Johnson on Apologies

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In another valuable use of his weekly column, Lee’s Charles Johnson suggests that a number of our political leaders need to apologize for various misdeeds over the years. It’s a bizarre little piece, striving, I imagine, for some sort of balance as Johnson jumps from politico to politico. It’s unfortunate that the piece doesn’t have any real teeth, and in what passes for ‘balance’ in journalism these days, manages to equate some very significant trangressions for those that are much less serious.

Johnson makes the connection between Governor Schweitzer’s criticism of two Montana professors and George Wallace. Boy, that’s subtle. I would have guessed that Senator Burns might be a closer fit to Governor Wallace, since he is the only one quoted in a newspaper for having said that it’s a ‘hell of a challenge’ to live in Washington, D.C., given its African-American population.
Does anyone really think that the automated calls used by the Tester and Morrison campaigns rise to the level of criminal activity by the Burns staff? Balance does not mean equating the claims of the two partisan sides. It’s laughable that the Johnson column equates the two.

Finally, this little tidbit stood out. In a criticism of Max Baucus, Johnson writes:

We know you’re a political survivor, serving in Congress since 1975, but just where do you stand on the issues?

This passage illustrates the real apology that Johnson and Lee owe us. Where is their coverage of the issues? Why aren’t the candidates for the Senate being asked to define their views? Why haven’t we learned any specifics, other than press releases issued by the campaigns? Keep running flufffy political commentaries and self-serving editorials about the need for press coverage, but for God’s sake, start covering the issues that Montana voters need to know about to be informed voters.

If you do, I’ll offer an apology for my constant criticism.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a seventeen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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