Montana Politics The Media

Representative Rehberg Draws MASSIVE Crowds, Commensurate Media Response

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In events across the state yesterday, Representative Rehberg drew crowds of nearly a handful of people as he promised to “Liberate Main Street.” And the media was there to cover his tiny crowds and even smaller ideas.

Rehberg’s personal reporter at the Billings Gazette, Tom Lutey, neglected to mention the size of the massive crowd, but a photograph shows that at least six people unrelated to Ken Miller attended Rehberg’s session in his hometown. He also neglected to mention Mr. Rehberg’s opponent in the Senate race, who spent the day actually earning his pay, working in the Senate.

Contrast Mr. Lutey’s story with the one on the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and you might begin to see why find Lutey’s perpetual boosterism for Representative Rehberg is so objectionable. The Chronicle story mentions the size of the crowd (near twenty) and gave the Democratic Party an opportunity to respond to Rehberg’s spin.

We were even treating to this insight from Mr. Rehberg’s brain:

“It’s just more of the same from Jon Tester and Montana Democrats,” he said. “A press release has never created a single job in Montana. Today Denny held and organized events all across the state, highlighting the need to liberate Main Street from policies that are coming out of Washington, D.C.”

I think Mr. Iverson may want to do a bit more research into job creation. I’m hard-pressed to understand how awkwardly fumbling through some prepared remarks to a clutch of Republican candidates for elected office created many jobs for Montanans today.

In the end, though, Rehberg and Iverson achieved their goals from a press far too willing to fill column inches with trivia and showmanship.

While I understand the cutbacks that make media coverage more complicated these days, news outlets would do a great deal to enhance both their credibility and the depth of their coverage if they stopped treating these manufactured theatrical productions as if they were worth covering—and spent some real time investigating the records and results from candidates.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a seventeen-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. 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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