Look—I’ve documented my concerns with the partisan “reporting” coming out from Dustin Hurst at The Watchdog before and didn’t really intend to revisit it, but today’s story about Senator Tester’s latest ad makes it impossible not to respond. It’s not only incredibly poorly written, getting the name of the wounded marine and his stepfather wrong; it’s incredibly dishonest, distorting a key part of the story.
Senator Tester’s ad is a powerful testament to his commitment to veterans, the story of a Marine named Lance Cpl. Thomas Parker from Ronan who Tester visited during his rehabilitation following a devastating injury in Afghanistan.
In his story, Mr. Hurst didn’t mention that Senator Tester has a long record of helping Montana veterans, from increasing mileage reimbursement for travel to Veterans’ Hospitals to writing and passing the Rural Veterans Health Care Improvement Act.
Instead, he misrepresented the truth, suggesting that Senator Tester’s staff photographed the meeting with Corporal Parker for political reasons:
However, Tester’s people caught some of the visits on camera. The ad features four different pictures of Tester spending time with Corbett in the hospital and in what appears to be a rehabilitation facility.
Had Mr. Hurst read Vince Devlin’s story in the Missoulian this week, he would know that only person taking pictures was Mrs. Corbett [Parker’s mother]:
“When he does, it’d be like you and I sitting and talking,” Lisa Corbett says. “There’s never any press. He’s doing it because he cares about Tomy.”
The only one present at the meetings with a camera has been Lisa, and it was the images and video taken by Parker’s mother that are used in the campaign ad, including pictures of the Marine and senator shaking hands in Parker’s Bethesda hospital room, and the two visiting in the new wheelchair-accessible addition built for Parker at the family home in Ronan.
What makes Senator Tester’s ad so powerful is that it’s a true statement about a candidate and Senator who is deeply committed to protecting Montana’s veterans. It also shows someone who genuinely cares about the people he serves.
No amount of political spin can distort those truths.
And Dustin, when you write about wounded marines, please don’t call them “soldiers.” They’re marines.