Friday, February 23, 2007

Scooped again

Yet again, we've been caught napping -- or rather, The Western Word has done a little better research than we did (or just has a sharper memory.)

We certainly raised our eyebrows at the piece in today's Gazette that told us that Rehberg plans event at resort.

We did a quick search to check on how the Gazette handled Sen Max Baucus's winter get-away for lobbyists and supporters, at which the (ahem) recommended donations are twice as high as those for Rehberg's weekend. We saw that the two events were presented pretty equally and fairly, and called it good.

The Western Word, however, reminds us that a year ago, when Sen. Conrad Burns had a similar event at the same location that Rehberg is having his, the Gazette headline read Burns to host fundraiser at club for rich.

We prefer to believe that the headlines at the Gazette are just being more carefully written these days, but it is hard to escape the nagging question of whether the choice of headlines in each case had a little something to do with whose election was coming up when.


Hallie said...

Thanks for doing the work of keeping track of bias and double standards like this.

Montana Headlines said...

We appreciate the comments. Sometimes the work has actually been done by others, who point things out to us -- as with this particular post.

Some media bias in Montana is intentional, although it is doubtless because the individuals involved truly believe that what they are advocating is what is best for Montana. The fact that they are usually wrong shouldn't take away from those good intentions.

A lot of bias is unintentional and unconscious. Either way, it needs to be pointed out or there will be no chance of correction.

Hallie said...

Are you willing to identify those editors/reporters you think are intentionally biased?

Montana Headlines said...

Most editorial work is essentially anonymous. In one sense, the publisher has final responsibility for the whole product, but often publishers are concentrating on the business aspect of the newspaper.

No-one signs the editorials or the headlines, so one never knows which editor is responsible for what. Even with the stories themselves, while the reporters/writers sign their names, their work has often been edited or may contain a piece of information gathered by another reporter.

So it is important not to be too hard on the reporter or writer.

In any event, it is not really fair to claim to be able to read people's minds and their motivations. That is why we conservatives are so vehemently opposed to hate-crime legislation -- it presumes to know what is in a man's heart, and punish him more harshly for that.

For all we know, a white man who kills a black man without saying a word may have had far, far more racial hatred than someone who happens to use an ephithet while committing a crime.

So, we generally concentrate on what is written and whether we think it is fair or not. Sometimes we might speculate on a partisan motivation, but it must always be remembered that it is just that -- a speculation.