In this morning’s paper, the Montana Standard offered an apology of sorts for its decision to allow a highly suspect co-sponsor of the Burns-Tester debate last week. The editorial (though unsigned, presumably written by Standard editor Gerry O’ Brien)opens the right way:
Up front, the corporate sponsorship of the public debate was a mistake on the Standard’s part, and solely rests on our shoulders. No question about that.
Unfortunately, from that point on, the editorial continues the pattern of deception and self-righteous justification that has marked coverage of the event.
For example, despite never covering his connection to Burns and the MT GOP, the editorial provided a platform for Larry Farrar, president of Resodyn, to cover his ass:
Larry Farrar, president of Reodyn, said that Resodyn Corp. was glad to see the debate in Butte, and thought it was an exciting opportunity for our city.
“Sponsorship of the debate was not an endorsement for either candidate by Resodyn Corp.,” Farrar told The Standard. And no one was coerced to wear Burns stickers in the reserved seating section, he said.
The article does not include the statements of anyone who disputes that point, including the Tester campaign, Jennifer Hensley, or the non-partisan reporter, Gwen Florio. Interesting, isn’t it, that the Standard, while trying to absolve itself of claims of partisanship, only found it necessary to get one side of the story for this piece?
It’s also interesting that Mr. Farrar was not available for the Charles Johnson/Jennifer McKee news story about the debate, but was able to find time to sit down with the Standard for this whitewash.
The editorial continues:
Resodyn is the recipient of millions of dollars in federal grants. The company is very good at securing federal dollars that support high-tech research and development projects. Some of the money did come through the actions of Sen. Burns.
Odd, isn’t it, that a newspaper isn’t a little more specific about just how much money Senator Burns has given Resodyn? It’s easy to find: Senator Burns’s web page breaks it down pretty nicely and Charles Johnson wrote about the $10 million Burns claimed to have brought to Resodyn.
The editorial also ignores the repeated lies offered by Mr. O’Brien in his initial defense of the newspaper–about the number of seats given to Resodyn, the amount of their sponsorship, and the number of complaints about their poor decision.
It seems that Mr. O’Brien is as confused about the meaning of ‘responsibility’ as he is about the word ‘journalist.’ Taking responsibility isn’t about justifying your actions or trying to cover them up with half-truths and outright lies. It’s about accepting the blame and learning from your mistakes.
And the word journalist? It just means someone who tells the truth.