A Tale of Two Protests, Watchdog Rips Media

Aaron Flint posted on October 18, 2013 14:35 :: 22154 Views

Montana Watchdog rips local media over government shutdown protest coverage, giving wide coverage to astroturf events put together by the liberal Montana Organizing Project, with nary a mention of a Tea Party group protesting the state’s Democratic US Senators. 

From WatchdogWire.com:

From shilling for political activists to burying the news Montanans have a right and a need to know, establishment media outlets throughout Big Sky Country seem to lean more to the left with each political battle.  The partial shutdown of the Federal government over the last two and a half weeks made this more clear than ever as the primary news outlets in Billings continued to masquerade as objective journalists.

No local media promoted a TEA Party rally that occurred on Wednesday.  In spite of the profound failure of objectivity at KULR 8, the NBC affiliate did take some initiative to mitigate its  gaffe by being the only media agency to cover both sides.

What is more sad is the fact that no one in the Billings media reported on the connection between the Montana Organizing Project and President Obama’s Organizing for Action.  While the Billings protest was not reportedly co-sponsored by OFA, a second protest outside Congressman Daines’ office in Bozeman was co-sponsored by OFA and Forward Montana.

I addressed this question in part earlier this week, but how will the shutdown impact 2014?  Montana State University Political Science Professor David Parker weighs in with this:

I recently wrote in a magazine piece that the Democrats should, just by looking at historical trends, have a bad year in the midterm elections (see the piece here). One take away message from the two week plus government shut down is that the Republican Party was hurt tremendously in the eyes of the public.

Democrats might gloat over all of this, but I agree with other assessments that the voting public is not only notoriously fickle, they are quite forgetful. Republicans can certainly hope with some degree of confidence that by the midterms come along in November, the debt crisis will be a distant memory in the minds of voters.

Daines—like other House members eyeing Senate campaigns—joined 86 other House Republicans for the compromise plan developed in the Senate that reopened government. Daines has also attempted on other occasions to strike a more moderate pose, such as supporting the Violence against Women Act. Daines is carefully trying to keep the Tea Party support with him while also appearing to more centrist elements within the party. It was likely these more centrist or moderate elements that abandoned Rehberg for Tester in 2012—likely costing him the election.

Here’s what I wrote earlier this week:

I think Politico’s narrative may reflect the feeling of conventional wisdom in Washington, DC- that the shutdown is going to hurt Republicans next Fall. However, in Montana, most of the anger has been directed at a federal government which has been blocking veterans from seeing their memorials, and hunters from hunting on wildlife refuges.  Our two US Senators were silent on these issues, and their staff didn’t even answer their phones for the last two weeks, while Congressman Steve Daines was offering solutions to try and open the parks and continued answering constituents. 

At the end of the day, the GOP lost two important statewide races last year because base conservatives, who complained that the GOP was no different than the Democrat party, threw their votes away to a Libertarian candidate.  If the conservative base in Montana will now stay united, the fact that House Republicans stood up and fought Obamacare, and fought the increased federal deficit spending, will actually help the GOP in Montana.     

In other news:  Politifact Knocks Dems on Daines Attack

And, a state senator has been suspended from the tribal council.  How long will he last in the state legislature?

From The Flathead Beacon:

The chairman of the Blackfeet Tribe personally suspended two councilors on Thursday morning, including an embattled state senator charged with drunken driving.

Willie Sharp Jr., council chairman of the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council, took action into his own hands and suspended Browning Sen. Shannon Augare and councilor Leonard Guardipee. The tribe’s governing body, consisting of Sharp and five councilors, did not take a formal vote on the suspensions, leaving it unclear if Augare and Guardipee were legally removed from the council.

David Murray has this for The Great Falls Tribune:

Montana Senate Minority Leader Jon Sesso, D-Butte, said Tuesday he has taken no additional action regarding the status of state Sen. Shannon Augare, D-Browning, in response to a recent request that Augare step away from his duties as councilman on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation.

However, Sesso did express concern at the length of time it has taken for Augare to resolve his ongoing legal difficulties, and said he may be forced to “revisit” Augare’s appointment to the state Legislature’s Law and Justice Interim Committee at some point in the future.
“I have not taken any action to date to ask him to resign,” Sesso said of Augare. “I’m very sensitive to taking any formal action that would relieve Senator Augare of his duties because everybody is still innocent until they are adjudicated. I’m comfortable with the situation right now. That might change in the days ahead. It’s getting on in time.”

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