The Media

Media Falls For Republican Bias Claims Again

Quite the lede opens Tom Lutey’s piece in the Billings Gazette about how Billings-area legislators saw the first half of the session:

Citing extreme media bias, Republican lawmakers home on their midsession break Friday told supporters that their best work was being ignored by the press.

What follows is an awfully one-sided look at the Legislature’s first half, with significant omissions about what the Republicans have done—and not done—to open this session. It’s clear that Republicans are getting nervous that the public is understandably frustrated by the absurdity coming out of the session, but rather than fixing the problem and focusing on jobs, they’re going back to the old tried and true strategy of blaming the media. In this story, it worked.

Lutey got played like the referees get played by Phil Jackson during a playoff series; after so much crying about media bias, he let the Billings Republicans get away with saying whatever they wanted—in the name of “balance.”

Lutey lets the Republicans (without any response from Democrats or labor) claim that their punitive worker’s compensation bill will create jobs and that (without a response from Democrats or environmental groups) that there MEPA rollbacks will not harm the environment.

Finally, Lutey even makes an argument for the Republican legislators, without even troubling one of of them to make it for him:

Many of the social and political bills that have captured headlines in the first half of the session will not in the second half, because several weren’t transmitted to the opposite House. Those that don’t cross by the halfway point are done.

That’s a handy way to throw away the first half of the session—none of those pesky “social” bills really mattered because the work of the Legislature happens in the second half anyway. If true, couldn’t the fiscal conservatives in the GOP have started work immediately on the the budget and left sex ed. and constitutional scholarship at home?

There is a reason that Montana is becoming a national laughingstock. It’s not media bias; it’s Republican extremism. For a reporter to indulge these paranoid fantasies and lame excuses is a real shame. Republican Representative Walter McNutt said it best: “Quit scaring our constituents and quit making us look like a bunch of buffoons.”

If only.

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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  • I immediately e-mailed Rep. McNutt when I saw him on the TV news chastising the wackos. It was great. That took tremendous courage. He e-mailed me back thanking me and stating that he felt like "a voice in the wilderness" down there amongst the wackjobs.

    He is a good, decent man. He's a REAL Republican I guess you'd say. E-mail him and let him know that he has a lot of support out there.

    I gave up on the press long ago. They're wussies. They would rather HAVE a job than DO their jobs! In other words, the corpos cut their nuts off long ago. Now, they simply do our country a great disservice by pretending to be the Fourth Estate. To be a real press, they must have courage and integrity. The ONLY courageous journalists in Montana were fired loong ago for doing their jobs. ie. Richard Manning, Cathy Siegner, etc. There are none left. Some lefties like to brag up guys like john adams, but I'm not impressed. Mayb adams should look into Manning's life some time to see what a REAL journalist looks like.

    There are none left with courage or integrity.

  • "When you hear in the press that we're not doing anything, it's quite the contrary," Knox said. "We're making severe cuts."

    Reminds me of this nonsense I just read in the Havre Daily News:

    “From headlines and in-depth articles, you probably think we’re doing nothing but crazy, ” she said. “I wanted to just give you a couple of minutes of some of the things that don’t get a whole lot of attention, some of the things that don’t get any headlines at all. ” 

    One of her examples was a bill that will allow landlords to not put carbon monoxide detectors in some of their units. Hansen said that may seem small, but it is doing many small bills that will make a difference.

  • Also from the Havre Daily News…

    "`A vote on a bill sponsored by Rep. Kris Hansen, R-Havre, effectively overturning a Missoula ordinance prohibiting discriminating against gays, has raised a firestorm.

    The battle has included threats that have been turned over to law enforcement.

    Hansen told the Havre Daily News Wednesday that she has received numerous threatening e-mails regarding her bill, which passed the House 62-37 and has been transmitted to the Senate.

    “Two of them were so threatening that the House sergeant-at-arms turned them over to the Helena police for follow-up investigation,” she said."

  • The GF Spitoon had another brutally hardhitting editorial this a.m. on….you guessed it, concussions! In student athletes! They're not in favor of them. Amazing, truly amazing that anyone would subscribe to that rag.

    It's been probably three years now since the Spitoon actually HAD a real editorial. Eric Newhouse used to write some very good eds regarding the mining issues. But those days are long gone. The Spitoon may as well re-name itself as the GF Koch Bros. Old Timey Robber Baron Rag! At least if they believe in honesty in journalism!

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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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