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The Media

The Ravalli Republic on the Debate (Sigh)

Interspersed with deep insights like “Although Montanans may not have a lot of weight when it comes to national elections, we still elect two senators, just like any other state. We have equal representation in the U.S. Senate…”, the editor of the Ravalli Republic focuses her attention on the behavior of a few members of the audience in Sunday’s debate, rather than the boorish behavior of the Senior Senator from Dishonesty, arguing that:

But at an event so important to voters and our community, immature and irresponsible people need not attend. The boos and jeers directed at Burns didn’t help the Democrat’s cause and diminished the milieu of the event. Tester can hold his own against Burns, a veteran politician, and the behavior of Burns’ critics served to not only embarrass good Democrats but diminish the professionalism of the debate.

It’s an interesting irony that the Ravalli Republic is criticizing the behavior of the audience, when it was clear, even to a radio listener, that their moderator had no control over the debate…allowing back and forth not allowed in the rules, allowing Burns to repeatedly go over the time limit, and asking questions that were often less than thought-provoking, but even that issue is a distraction.

How about reporting on the content of the debate? How about evaluating the claims made by the candidates? How about doing less than one hour of research to find the contradictions, falsehoods and misinformation offered by the candidates? It’s touching that the editors of the Ravalli Republic are concerned about “voter apathy,” but how about the apathy of reporters who are either so jaded or so lazy that they can’t be troubled do actually investigate and analyze?

This is a perfect illustration of how the Republicans do a better job of framing the debate in the media. They know the press won’t look into repeated, blatant misstatements by Senator Burns–and so, hope to divert attention to someone calling him a name or people booing because he was acting boorishly.

For the very reporters and editors who enable the inane, superficial campaigns that pass for political contests in this country to condemn passionate, politically aware partisans for exercising their right to speak is an absurdity.

P.S: “diminished the milieu of the event?” You might want to throw away that thesaurus.

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.

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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