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Montana Politics Ryan Zinke The Media

Secretary Zinke “Blocks” Outside Magazine Editor for Honest Coverage of His Terrible Fishing Ability

[Ed. note the original title of this post incorrectly stated a reporter was banned from the conference call, when it was an editor who was blocked, according to language provided by this Outside Magazine article]

A reporter from Outside Magazine wrote a profile on Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke after they went fly-fishing together. Towards the end of a very worthwhile piece he noticed something worth mentioning:

As Zinke and I casted over the ice-cold water, I noticed something funny about his setup. He kept struggling to strip line out of the bottom of the reel. For a while, I thought he was simply having trouble concentrating on our conversation while casting. No, there was something wrong, and when I asked him to stand for a portrait, I finally saw what the problem was. He had rigged his reel backward, so that the line was coming out of the top of the reel. Every so often when he went to strip line out, he would grasp air where the line should’ve been.

Seems like an inconsequential thing, but in Montana, it’s everything.

After mentioning this at the end of the article the editor of Outside Magazine was “blocked” from the next conference call held by the Department of the Interior where Secretary Zinke was busy attacking the outdoor clothing company, Patagonia, for daring to stand up to him and his illegal action of shrinking National Monuments. Outside Magazine reported:

Ryan Zinke, the secretary of the interior, was not pleased. On a Tuesday conference call with reporters he called Patagonia “a special interest group.” (Outside was not on the call. Despite repeated efforts to join, one of our editors was blocked. The previous day, the magazine had published a critical profile of Zinke by Elliott Woods that illustrated, among other issues, the secretary’s struggles to properly rig a fly rod.)

It was quickly noticed on Twitter:

The fishing incident would be a comical encounter if not for the dangerous precedent set to “block” reporters who tell the truth. This is where we’re at in this country right now. Republican tries to use some Orwellian language to ram through some draconian policy. This is reported on by the free press, often with foibles, warts and factual analysis added. This administration responds with denials, threats, distractions and now, “blocks” reporters. This is the media cycle, in a nutshell, a quickly slipping into an authoritarian regime nutshell.

On a lighter note:

As Don Pogreba mentioned this is not only idiotically comical it also brings to mind a scene from a Montana classic, A River Runs Through It. The classic Norman Maclean novel which was successfully adapted into a film by Robert Redford, starring Brad Pitt, is Montana to the core. Don said:

I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to figure out who @SecretaryZinke is. Jess’s brother in A River Runs Through It: goes to California, can’t fish, can’t stop talking about himself, and leaves Montana never to return.

Here’s the character that Don described:

Ryan Zinke is the epitome of the coffee can of worms carrying character that Norman and his brother Paul detest for being phony and a horrible fisherman. Ryan Zinke already lives in California, perhaps he can try out for the part of Buster if they ever do a remake of the film.


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