Montana Politics

Morrison Affair and News Coverage

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While I think that Lee’s coverage of John Morrison’s alleged extra-marital affair was pretty fair today, I hope that this doesn’t become the focus of campaign coverage in the days and weeks ahead. It seems like scandal sells newspapers, and I worry that a campaign that should be about issues important to Montanans will become focused on decade-old family issues.

Some predictions.

Jon Tester won’t make an issue of it. Nothing about his campaign has suggested that he will use personal attacks, ala Curt Weldon, to advance his campaign.

Jason Klindt, Conrad Burns, and Montana’s right wing blogs and radio (Dave Berg) will harp on it endlessly, days after going negative on the lack of issues in the campaign. No doubt, this will breathe life into a struggling Burns campaign–and I would be astonished if they didn’t keep this story alive. I wouldn’t be surprised if they weren’t involved in its publication. Just wait; within days the ‘pro-family’ ads will start running strong.
Finally, a request for the Montana media. Use this same energy to cover the issues in the campaign. Start printing weekly issues summaries–where the candidates are given the opportunity (forced to) to articulate their position on issues that matter. Your role should not be defined by scandal, but by providing crucial information.

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.

6 Comments

  • For your suggestion to work, Morrison would actually have to tell you where he stands on issues. But as a typical Democrat, he probably will NOT tell you where he really stands on issues because if he does he gets killed at the ballot box!
    I’m sure this exposure of Morrison will be labeled as some kind of a ‘vast right wing conspiracy’ but this is an internal problem for the Democrats at this point, and in no way benefits the GOP.
    Senator Burns campaigns on optimism, and his own achievements, not personal attacks.

  • Eric:

    You just don’t get it. It is an issue if a Senator is selling his votes. Influence peddling claims are not smear, not the politics of personal destruction, not inappropriate. It is AN ISSUE.

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