Montana Politics The Media


Ever wonder why politicans and their PR hacks repeat the same tired talking points over and over? It could be because the press keeps printing them, no matter if they are true or not.

This morning, the IR ran an AP article about Burns proclivity for large, lobbyist fundraisers, including one that costs a minimum of $500 per person, hosted by five lobbyists at Patton Boggs.

The Burns response?

Burns spokesman Jason Klindt declined to comment on specific fundraisers but said the campaign will continue to stockpile resources to compete with out-of-state money they project will flow to Democrats after next week’s primary.

"We have wide and deep support from the Yaak to Alzada and we don’t intend to let East Coast liberals buy this seat," Klindt said.

Now, that quote probably sounds even more familiar than you are used to. Why? Because on May 22, the Lee Newspapers ran a story from Mike Dennison that found that 83% of Burns’ money actually came from non-Montanans and PACs. Not too many PACs in Alzada. Jason Klindt’s response then? About the same as always.

"Conrad has as much money from within Montana and more donors (in Montana) than all his opponents combined," Klindt said. "We have wide and deep support, from the Yaak to Alzada."

Three things come to mind.

  • First, when someone repeats the same thing over and over again, it’s not ‘news’ for your ‘news’paper anymore. Don’t print it.
  • When a spokesperson refuses to comment on the specifics of a story, why do they get a free pass to make a demonstrably false claim unrelated to the issue of the story? Don’t print it.
  • When a spokesperson’s PR spin is not true, and your own reporting shows it, don’r print it…or call them on the lie.

I’m not sure when the role of the media switched from informing the public to providing a platform for false, partisan spin, but maybe it’s time to switch back. Demand accountability from politicians, and truthfulness: if the media won’t do that, then what’s the point of reading, other than writing ranting blog posts?

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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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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