My Brief Time As Newspaper Subscriber Comes to An End. Farewell, Great Falls Tribune

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I’m not the kind of person who would typically cancel a subscription to a periodical because I disagree with its content. I enjoy reading critical perspectives from multiple viewpoints, because I think having your ideas challenged is an important part of becoming educated.

Unfortunately, today’s opinion piece by James Smith in the Great Falls Tribune was neither insightful nor well-written, and made it impossible for me to continue supporting a newspaper that would publish such vapid tripe.

James Smith was given prominent placement on the Viewpoints page to offer a childish, inaccurate screed attacking Jon Tester, with nothing resembling a fact appearing anywhere in the piece.

The writing level of the piece is somewhere between cretinous and imbecilic, featuring hard-hitting, incisive commentary like this:

Montanans might respect senators who bravely stood up to the questions and objections back home, even if they voted in D.C. against the wishes of the majority. But to fear your constituents? To hide from them? That is a political sin that spells Disaster, capital D, pronounced Dee-zaster.

In the end, it’s just a series of Rehberg talking point buried in the kind of language you’d find on Fox and Friends. A newspaper owes its subscribers more than that, especially when three quarters of the thickness of the Sunday paper is already advertisements.

Now, a critic might point me to yesterday’s piece by Melody Wall, written in support of Senator Tester, as evidence of balance in the newspaper. I’d remind them that someone made the decision to run Ms.Wall’s thoughtful and interesting piece on Saturday, with far fewer readers, while running Mr. Smith’s rant on Sunday.

Every newspaper editor and publisher certainly has the right to publish what he wants in his newspaper, but I certainly don’t have to—and won’t—pay for it.

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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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JockoPogiePaul E ReagorNorma Duffy (@Ilikewoods)Don Pogreba Recent comment authors
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Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers
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Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers

Ya know, Pogie, I’ve always LOVED our J School tradition here in Montana of producing some of the finest journalists in the country. The U of M Journalism School was one of the premier schools in the country. Nathanial Blumberg must be rolling over in his grave. The anti-intellectualism of the rightwing is having the desired effect. Idiocy and becomes legitamized as having equal weight of reasoned argument. http://nathanielblumberg.com/ K. Ross Toole said it best. “It remains incredible, however, that in so many instances there is no correlation between the mortality of a bad idea and the weight of the… Read more »

James Conner
Guest

Those of us who receive Rural Montana, the bumwad house organ of the Montana Association of Electrical Cooperatives , know Smith as a know-next-to-nothing opponent of wind energy. I’m glad he’s no longer working for Rural Montana, which I hope can recover from his tenure.

Given the poor quality of his argument against Tester, I’m not sure Smith’s helping Rehberg.

Craig Moore
Guest
Craig Moore

Don: “…with nothing resembling a fact appearing anywhere in the piece.” Smith: “…the Lee poll shows Tester behind only 3 and within the margin of error, a statistical tie.” Isn’t this a fact? True or untrue? Smith: “…A glance behind the curtain shows a sample of 625 respondents, 36 percent Republicans and 34 percent Democrats, the rest Independents. Which matches the 2008 results when John McCain won Montana by a slim margin, 50 percent to 47 percent.” Isn’t this a fact? True or untrue? Smith: “…Montanans do split their tickets.” Isn’t this a fact? True or untrue? Smith: “…Montanans might… Read more »

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Wow! The dude’s a regular geenieus! Here, Snuffy, HERE’S a suggestion for your NEXT letter. You teatards hated the stimulus and the bailout, SO, let’s do a leetle cost/benefit analysis, shall we? You’re a lifer, a maggot, a fly, a dude who SUCKED offn’ cammo titty for your entire life. Well, just WHAT successes have you military dudes HAD since WW II? Nuthin’, I’d say. So, why are we PAYIN’ for you dipsticks? You see, Snuffy, we’d have been better off bankrupting our country on its PEOPLE instead of worthless lifers and flies! We got NUTHIN’ but disasters and the… Read more »

Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers
Guest
Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers

Ooops! That’s my post. Somehow I lost my handle when my puter turned off.

James Conner
Guest

“Smith: “…the Lee poll shows Tester behind only 3 and within the margin of error, a statistical tie.” Isn’t this a fact? True or untrue?” (1) Tester is 3 points behind according to the Lee poll. True. Rehberg 48, Tester 45. (2) Within the margin of error. True. The MOE is +/- 3.9 percent. (3) A statistical tie. False. There is a 69 percent chance that Rehberg is leading. See the paragraphs on MOE and ballot lead probability at: http://www.flatheadmemo.com/archives_2012/july-sept/2012-09-25_tester_still_trails_rehberg.html By convention, pollsters report the MOE at the 95 percent confidence level, which is the level the social sciences usually… Read more »

Norma Duffy (@Ilikewoods)
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Norma Duffy (@Ilikewoods)

Save it Craig the real world doesn’t work without varying degrees of opinions and realistic facts. Democracy notwithstanding the vote against your bullspit is now at 3 to 1. I guess You lose in the Opinion and fact department now. Fact!

Paul E Reagor
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Paul E Reagor

I’m sorry that you felt that way. I’ve known Jim for more than 10 years, ever since he was editor of the Shelby Promoter. He’s a fine man, a veteran who was instrumental in getting our memorial & big flag site off the ground. I agree that his “stream of consciousnesses” method is a little hard to follow. However, your dropping the best and arguably the most non-partisan paper in the state says more about you than him. Calling everyone who disagrees with you a cretin and an imbecile says more about you than him. I pray that you are… Read more »

Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers
Guest
Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers

Um, Paul, I graduated in ’69. Dude, find me ANYONE my age who isn’t a “veteran”! Don’t mean nuthin’, dude. We all went, but we didn’t ALL stay in! Only the losers did, dude. And Snuffy Smith is a loser! You see, when military serviced DEFINES who you are, you got no life. You’re just a cammo TITsucker.

Pogie
Guest

Actually, I called his writing level somewhere between cretinous and imbecilic, not him–and I stand by that assessment.

I have no doubt that he’s done good things in his life, but that was no justification for the Tribune publishing this juvenile piece that offered nothing to the discourse about this election.

As a teacher, I would suggest you look up what “stream of consciousness” means. Rambling incoherence doesn’t make one James Joyce.

Jocko
Guest
Jocko

Guest opinion: Tester will back Montana Air National Guard legacy Written by Col. Michael John McDonald Oct. 14 greatfallstribune.com Earlier this month, both the Unites States House and Senate approved a vital piece of legislation to prevent the federal government from shutting down. That bill, which has been signed into law, was a rare example today of bipartisanship. Republicans and Democrats worked together to do what is right for our nation. This important bill also included language keeping the Montana Air National Guard’s F-15 fighter mission in Great Falls until next year. Montana’s U.S. Senators supported it. However, Congressman Rehberg… Read more »

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