2017 Special Election Greg Gianforte Montana Politics The Media

About That Independent Record Endorsement of Greg Gianforte

Today’s endorsement of Greg Gianforte was bizarre on at least a couple of different levels. The most bizarre element, perhaps, was that the IR saw fit to endorse. Over the past few election cycles, the IR has taken an incredibly inconsistent position on endorsements, ignoring them all together in some elections and fitfully endorsing in others.

Worse, the IR’s endorsement of Mr. Gianforte is based on a definition of “Montana values” that smacks of support for exclusion and discrimination. While readers were informed that they should vote for Mr. Gianforte because his record as a hunter and fisherman suggests he better understands what it means to be a Montanan, the endorsement chooses to ignore a far more fundamental element of the values Mr. Gianforte will bring to office.

  • He’s worked for years to undermine public schools, which are the heart of the small towns that Gianforte pretends to champion.
  • He’s given rhetorical, legal, and financial support to efforts that seek to keep LGBTQ Montanans and second-class citizens.
  • He’s argued that women should not have the right to make their own health care decisions.
  • He has donated to and taken money from white supremacists.
  • And on and on and on…

Hardly Montana values.

And even if one puts aside (as we shouldn’t) Mr. Gianforte’s support for discrimination, the endorsement ignores Mr. Gianforte’d well-chronicled financial support for groups that want to close off public lands and his own decision to sue to block access. Protecting public lands is as “Montana” as a value gets, and the IR simply chose to ignore that Mr. Gianforte has actively worked against that.

The only other justification the author of the endorsement could muster was to argue that Mr. Gianforte’s business experience would serve Montana well in Congress. Opening with a strawperson argument that those who oppose Mr. Gianforte say he should be disqualified because they believe Gianforte’s “business accomplishments as bad things,” millionaires the piece also ignores Gianforte’s former CFO, who has repeatedly argued that he cannot be trusted and that his business experience is “eliminating jobs.”

And when it comes to representation, it’s hard not to be concerned that, if Mr. Gianforte is elected, 2/3 of Montana’s Congressional delegation will be two millionaires from the same company in the same town. No amount of wearing hunter orange or a cowboy hat will change the fact that the vast majority of Montanans will not be well-represented by a pair of millionaires, both of whom made at least part of their fortunes by outsourcing.

Finally, the IR editorial even acknowledges that, on the most important policy question facing our next member of Congress, Greg Gianforte is decidedly wrong and will vote strip health care from tens of thousands of Montanans, seriously undermining their health and perhaps irreparably harming the small town hospitals who serve them. While Mr. Gianforte has hedged on this issue with the Montana press, he was far less circumspect with D.C. lobbyists when he told them he was thankful the ACA repeal vote had passed the House. There is no way we (or the IR) should believe that a candidate who is running on the “Trump Train” would vote against the President on this issue.

As a teacher of rhetoric and logic, I would love to see the reasoning that led the author of this editorial to conclude that hunting licenses matter more than human life.

In the end, the IR’s endorsement perhaps best underscores just what a bad candidate Mr. Gianforte is. That the best arguments the IR can muster are a business record that wasn’t good enough for the IR to endorse six months ago and a collection of hunting tags demonstrate that Mr. Gianforte simply isn’t qualified to represent Montana.

Written on my phone. Apologies for any typos. Will revise.

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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      • Found a needle in the haystack. There are still real few real journalists in the world. Now, we need to work on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and CNBC and good for the young crew when the heads roll and ratings take a plunge.

          • Darn, wish there were icons to express dislike//like.

            I’d sure tap most liked icon for: what’s it like to live in a world where there are few facts?

            What a racket. Bill posts at Iintelligent D. Tin posts = or similar at Cowgirl. Ho hum drum drum.

  • I don’t agree. I think that depending on where you look, bias in the media can be found on all sides of the political spectrum. Do you think Fox News is biased toward the conservative viewpoint? I do. Do you think MSNBC is biased
    toward the liberal viewpoint? I do.

  • As to the comment that Republicans wail and gnash their teeth about liberal media bias. You are correct. They do. Constantly. It would be interesting to do an un biased scientific study on this issue. Get the actual numbers. How many people in the media lean right, and how many lean left. Then, we could all see the percentages.

    • It’s been done, Jeff. Reporters tend to lean left but work hard to keep their views out of news stories. I wish I could find that study. But why do they vote more Democratic than Republican? They’re better educated, better informed and more worldly — not in all cases, obviously. This site isn’t bad but it’s just an overview:


      One also has to separate news stories from opinion pages. The Wall Street Journal does some reasonably objective reporting, or did, but its Opinion Page is to the right of the right.

      According to 2013 poll, 78% of conservatives think the mass media is biased, as compared with 44% of liberals and 50% of moderates. Only about 36% view mass media reporting as “just about right,” which is interesting since in the run up to the Iraq War, most media outlets were in favor of invading:


      But since you keep asking for facts, let’s see some… “actual numbers” as you would say, Jeff, from you.

      • Pete, I will submit that you will find more of the liberal arts and lower income lean to the left and even some to the point of socialism, i.e. single payer health care, etc. The interesting thing now is the Rankin file trades union.members are now leaning right and away from their administrations. Liberal arts academia (very vocal) still seems left or far left, but technical and scientific communities (not vocal) tend to be moderate or lean to the right including the well to do families, business/small business, and ranchers.

        • You can “submit” all you want, Jeff, but to paraphrase you, how about some “actual numbers, actual facts?” As to you’re “scientific communities … tend to be moderate or lean to the right,” if that were ever true, I’ll bet it’s changing, dramatically, as the current administration and Congress is anti-science.

          BTW, What are Rankin file trades?

  • Get your Zinke file dusted off. He is 8th in line for the presidency, and the line will be looking a little sparse in the coming weeks.

  • Don, don’t you like the idea of actual numbers? Actual facts? Oh, that’s right. You are a self admitted partisan. I looked up the definition of partisan on Dictionary.Com: “An adherent or supporter of a person, group, party, or cause, especially a person who shows a biased, emotional allegiance.” That kind of bias cannot be taken as fact. What is it like to live in world where there are no facts?

  • Also think about what church both Daines and GG go to: Grace Bible. Millionaires, same corp, same town, same church… Also many smaller papers, ones that are still delivered to doorstep in the wee hours of the morning, are being bought to serve conservative interests. While liberals often believe being strategic is cold calculation and a character flaw conservatives are more than willing to play a long game that involves disinformation, strategic acquisitions, manipulation, voter suppression, gerrymandering, strange alliances, manipulation of legislation and nefarious promises. Just say’n.

  • First the main stream America media is super conservative. All the papers supporting Gianforte are Lee Enterprise papers. Second Gianforte is an entrepreneur not a business manager. He is an engineer whose wife started a company he takes credit for starting. He only came to Montana because this is where the water is, and water is the new gold. The reason he bought property next to a river is so he can make laws so he can buy the river. Then sell you the water. Also he has had some illegal hunting issues.

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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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