The Insufficient Record Gives Congressional Corruption a Free Pass

The IR just keeps the hits coming. It’s an accomplishment to be considered one of the worst editorials in the recent history of the paper, but today’s special edition must be a nominee.

The IR staff, you see, is relieved that Democrats have also been implicated in the Abramoff fundraising scandal, because it will remove the temptation to make the money a campaign issue. The IR staff writes:

But with contributions from Abramoff of their own to deal with, Democrats might be wise to find other issues with which to go after Burns. Given the president’s low poll ratings, that shouldn’t be all that hard to do. And it is likely to turn off fewer Montana voters.

In other words, we’d all be better off if this issue just went away. Voters shouldn’t trouble their pretty little heads with complex issues like the wholesale corporate purchase of our national government. It’d be better to put our heads in the sand and just give Baucus, Burns, and Rehberg a free pass because ‘everyone does it’. Rather than demand an investigation into just what all that money bought, or god forbid, investigate themselves, the IR would rather just have controversy go away for the sake of the status quo.

Responsible journalism is hard. Journalism is more than summarizing AP stories about corporate donations. Editorials have a powerful role in a community–especially a small one like ours. But when newspapers abrogate their responsibility to the public, refuse to do in-depth reporting, and give free passes to politicians who reek of corporate filth and outright bribery, is it any wonder that the public in increasing numbers refuses to be a part of the farce?

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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  • Just got off the phone with Mr. Skidmore ([email protected]), who wrote the editorial. He is unable to appreciate the distinction of money (and favors)directly received from the indicted lobbyist Mr. Abramoff by Republicans and the contributions received by Democrats from entities who may have been clients of Mr. Abramoff. I asked if I might send him the online documentation that Mr. Abramoff and his firm contributed NO money directly to ANY Democrat. He responded (in a rather ungentlemanly tone, I might add), “Why don’t you just write a letter to the paper”? He was not willing to consider a correction of his flat-out untrue statements.

  • Thanks for the comment. I have been amazed at both the intellectual dishonesty and sloppiness that characterizes editorials by the IR. It’s not surprising at all that Mr. Skidmore was disinclined to actually look at real research.

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