Why Did the Missoulian Print an Op-Ed Its Own Reporting Disproved?

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I’ll admit that  I don’t know The Missoulian’s policy for op-ed pieces, but I would have assumed that they fact check the claims made in them or at least would fact check claims that are in direct opposition to their own news reporting. With the publication today of an op-ed by Utah’s own Carl Graham, the Missoulian seems to be saying that facts don’t matter at all.

Graham, who has abandoned the Montana Policy Institute now that there are no elections to taint in Montana, claimed that conservatives only spent a total of $336,000 on “independent expenditures” in Montana politics during the 2012 election season:

But that’s probably not in the cards, so let’s take a snapshot of who’s spending the “dark money” in Montana. During the 2012 election cycle, independent expenditures supporting liberal candidates and causes outpaced those of conservatives by an order of magnitude: $4.3 million to $336,000. So much for the vast right-wing conspiracy.

Graham is engaging in an utterly absurd obfuscation. He’s redefining dark money as the announced public spending of PACs and ignoring the tools of the right wing dark money machine, 501(c)(4) groups that pretend to engage in “social welfare” or education. His claim that less than $400,000 was spent in dark money expenditures supporting Republicans in the 2012 election is transparently false.

For example, on Sunday, the Missoulian itself reported that one group, Jason Priest’s Montana Growth Network raised $500,000 during the year, with almost half coming from five donors.

The $336,000 figure cited by Graham laughably ignores the expenditures of American Tradition Partnership and Americans for Prosperity, both of which funneled Koch money into Montana elections. Even more laughably, it ignores their own expenditures as right wing mouth pieces. Graham’s organization is the Sutherland Institute, which  is also a member of the State Policy Network and ALEC, and supports the right-wing fake journalists at the The Franklin Center. Funding for the Sutherland Institute comes from the right-wing Sam Adams Alliance, the Charles Lamb Foundation, the CATO Institute, and of course, the Koch Brothers.

Remember the wave of terrible online “journalism” that mysteriously appeared in Montana during the 2012 election and vanished right after it ended? Funded by dark money.

It’s Graham’s job to promote his group’s absurd position that “billionaire Koch brothers funding libertarian causes” is good for democracy, but it’s not a newspaper’s job to give credence to claims that simply are not true. That the Missoulian have editorial space to a partisan not bound by measurable, objective reality, reality their own reporting illustrated, is a damn shame.

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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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MarkTokarskiLarry KraljIlikewoodsIn2itPete Talbot Recent comment authors
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Larry Kralj
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Larry Kralj

The day the Mizzolian died.  The day they fired Richard Manning.  They have been sucking corporate Koch brothers ever since. And they KNOW it.  They are cowardly little pieces of feces. And yes, they can quote me on that.  Oh GOD how I miss Nathaniel Blumberg and K. Ross Toole!  We used to have the best and the brightest among us.  GIANTS!   But now, we have the worst and the dimmest, the venal and craven, the  abject and pathetic!  THIS is what our “newspapers’ have become!  Once we were Montana.  Now we have the numbnuts news!

Larry Kralj
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Larry Kralj

If you took the nuts of EVERY male working for the  Mizzolian, it STILL wouldn’t make a half a nut for a real reporter like this dude!  These duds at the Mizzo are nutless wonders!  And they’re happy bein’ good little Kochk brother servants!
http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=pv&GRid=28112738&PIpi=32575834

steve kelly
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steve kelly

Whatever makes ordinary fiat money “dark money” is unclear to me.  Whatever it is, however, hardly matters because both parties are wallowing in it.  I suppose it may be emotionally satisfying to believe one dark-money party is better than the other so the faithful can carry on as good little consumer/slaves.  Don’t want to disturb their neoliberal/neocon fantasy.  So, what’s going to happen when the curtain is finally pulled back for all to see?

Larry Kralj
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Larry Kralj

UH oh!  Looks like our very own p-ass-tor chucky cheesey buldim of the Montana First Inbred Irregulars and a member of the TeaOcracy just MIGHT get the prison ministry he’s always wanted!  And the first one he can bring to JAYSUS just might be his new best friend and cellmate Big Bubba!  Bring plenty of soap on a ROAP, p-ass-tor, for you’re gonna NEED it when the FBI starts asking who WAS that inbred preacher inciting others to violence!  I will pray for you p-ass-tor…….bwhahahhaaaa!  Sorry, that slipped out.
http://crooksandliars.com/2014/05/fbi-investigating-cliven-bundy-supporters

Pete Talbot
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First, on the dark money debate: it is abhorrent that both parties accept these funds.  The main difference I see is at least most Democrats are critical of Citizens United and other, recent campaign finance rulings that allow big money to play such a big role in campaigns.  Many Democrats are advancing a Constitutional Amendment to limit corporations’ influence in elections.  (Some of these Dems could be just giving it lip service but most of them are sincere, I believe). Republicans, on the other hand, applaud Citizens United, McCutcheon v. FEC and other campaign finance disasters, calling it “free speech.”… Read more »

Pete Talbot
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P.S. Don, I don’t know why the above paragraphs have three lines of separation.  I didn’t write it that way.

In2it
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In2it

“most Democrats are critical of Citizens United”
Pretty much the problem. Obama was highly critical of CU in his first SOTU after the decision, and of course, since then has done nothing. Not even bully pulpit. Words. You give us words.
If there are sincere Democrats who want change, it appears they are boxed in by the regular ones.

Ilikewoods
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Ilikewoods

In2it  Looking for links to prove your case….. or is it all hot air Mark with no substance. Equivalency is your biggest fail here

Larry Kralj
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Larry Kralj

Ever seen the human penis up close?  Well, this is NOT for the faint of heart!  My fellow Murcans, I give you the human penis!

Larry Kralj
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Larry Kralj

I like this article.  See, ya gotta have sumthin’ IN your nutsack to be a good reporter.  Unfortunately, all the Mizzoolian has are a bunch-o  sad sack EMPTY sacks writin’ for them now!  Sad, so sad.  They do our great state a great disservice by not calling out the nazzis, christofascists, and their TeaOcracy!    
paul would have.
http://missoulian.com/uncategorized/the-other-maclean/article_cf560cd6-1523-5985-99f0-e2138939c090.html

MarkTokarski
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MarkTokarski

The word “prove” is a tell, as they say in poker. I am dealing here with a black/white thinker, and so there exist for you no gradations. Consequently, there is no reasoning with you. Your mind is already made up. Links? You might try something more thoughtful, like burden of proof. Since nothing has been done about Citizens United, I claim that your party is OK with it. There are good Democrats. They never seem to rise to power. “Prove” to me that your leadership, your Obama’s, Bullock’s, Tester’s, Walsh’s are using their brains and power to undermine CU, and… Read more »

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