Some Hot Insight in the Insufficient Record

I think Montana newspapers need a new motto.

Report: It is a noun and a verb.

The Insufficient Record, in its effort to compete with the Tribune as the worst paper in America, wrote an editorial that can hardly be understood. Instead of looking into the Burns-Abramoff scandal, the IR decided to equate the complaints about it with the Republican carping about the Schweizter innagural. For the love of God, they didn’t even mention Abramoff by name in the article, so that Beulah, reading at home, could fire up her AOL and check herself online.

The comparison, of course, is utterly specious. Schweizter’s sin is to have run a large, successful innagural that raised money for the state, without a full audit, something that no Republican governor has ever done.

Burns, on the other hand? He is linked to one of the most sordid Republican lobbyists around–at least according to the Washington Post, who seem pretty certain that Abramoff will bring down some members of Congress.

“What they’re looking for is how many names can they give — and by names I mean members of Congress or other prominent people — and what kind of message do they want to send,” said Mike Missal, a former government lawyer now practicing white-collar-crime defense in Washington. “If just Abramoff goes down, it is not that big a deal for prosecutors. If he brings down members of Congress, it is a much more noteworthy case. That would be the ultimate target here.”

Josh Marshall makes the connection to Burns explicit:

Decisions like that go right to the top. And since Abramoff’s shenanigans are closely tied — to be generous — not just to members of Congress (DeLay, Ney, Burns, et al.) but to key GOP power players (Norquist, Reed, et al.) and quite probably Karl Rove himself, you can see why he (i.e., Abramoff) might have a harder time than your usual perp cutting a deal to implicate those above him.

So the IR (like other Montana papers) equates the governor’s party with connections to someone that even Michelle Malkin can tell is a sleazebag, one connected to dirty donations, quid quo pro deals, and more.

The best part? Why won’t the IR cover this? Because reporting is hard:

But journalists really don’t care. Without a new news peg — new information on which to figuratively “hang” a story — they’re loath to keep running old news as though it weren’t stale.

Maybe they could devote a few less resources to student news, the Butte slaughterhouse, and hard-hitting journalism like “Billings Man Dealt Cards at World Series of Poker” to do their real function–keeping an eye on our government, and keeping the citizens informed.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a 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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