Lazy Political Reporting 101: The AP in Montana


Why doesn’t the Montana political press just let Erik Iverson write their stories for them? In today’s big news—that Senator Tester is crushing Dennis Rehberg in fundraising for the 2012 race, we’re treated to this bit of information:

Rehberg campaign manager Erik Iverson aimed to discredit Tester’s larger total by pointing out that he was the recipient of more campaign cash from lobbyists than any other member of Congress, according to a study by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

The group found Tester has about $200,000 in such donations to lead all of Congress, while Rehberg lagged far behind in such donations, with about $60,000 from lobbyists.

What the Iverson press release  news story failed to mention was this minor tidbit: Representative Rehberg has the 6th most contributions from lobbyists in the entire House of Representatives—a body with 435 members.


Given the difference in size between the House and Senate, I’d say Representative Rehberg is pulling down pretty good cash from lobbyists—who certainly got their money’s worth in his Appropriations bill.

While there’s certainly too much money involved in politics—on both sides—it’s just irresponsible and inaccurate to suggest Rehberg isn’t having lobbyist cash thrown his way, too.

When writing a news story based on a press release, maybe run a Google search afterwards? Just a thought.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is an eighteen-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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