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2018 Election Culture Featured Matt Rosendale Montana Politics The Media

Matt Rosendale’s Hurt Feelings Aren’t Newsworthy. His Plan to Represent Us Is

When I woke up this morning, I was actually pretty pleased with the Montana media. It seemed they’d managed not to take the bait from the flailing Rosendale campaign and were not planning to run a non-story about a concert poster that deeply upset Mr. Rosendale and the fine journalists at Breitbart News. Both had spent the day yesterday whipping up faux outrage online because an artist made a poster for the Pearl Jam concert that hurt their feelings.

Mr. Rosendale, who has not expressed condemnation of the President’s repeated sexual assaults on women, his infidelity after his wife gave birth, his policy of ripping children from their parents’ arms, his mockery of the disabled or the dying John McCain, sent out a tweet and a press release calling the poster “disgusting and reprehensible.”

And for almost 20 hours the Montana media managed to do the right thing and ignore the non-story. Rosendale’s art criticism doesn’t matter to the workers in Three Fork who’ve been locked out of their jobs, doesn’t matter to the Montanans he wants to remove from Medicaid, and doesn’t matter to the people of Montana who want to continue to recreate on the public lands he wants to sell off to the highest bidder.

His fainting couch outrage is designed to do one thing: boost his failing campaign by generating mock horror from the predictable corners of the right-wing world and enticing the media to cover a story that has no value in helping anyone decide who is the best candidate to represent Montana in the U.S. Senate.

There are times when I am entirely sympathetic to the plight of reporters in newsrooms that are being gutted by corporate vulture capitalism but don’t talk to me about newspaper staffing making it harder to cover the real news when the limited time reporters have is spent on rehashing Breitbart political theater stories instead of covering policy.

Three days ago, for instance, the same newspaper chain gave Mr. Rosendale op-ed space to claim that he supported a health care reform that would simultaneously reduce national expenditures, protect pre-existing conditions, reduce premiums, and lower the cost of prescription drugs. Given that the only thing that would accomplish those goals would be universal coverage, wouldn’t it have been time better spent getting Rosendale to explain what system he would put in place that could accomplish these lofty goals and analyzing whether that would be feasible? Shouldn’t the press spend its time covering how our political leaders will govern, not letting candidates continue the Trumpification of our campaigns and discourse?

In the limited time and space that today’s newspapers can offer for coverage, wouldn’t it be fair to say that a story trumpeted by Breitbart is one you can safely ignore? I’d like to think so.

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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