Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Davison watch: yet another tick on the Gazette counter

If we had any earthly idea about what the Republican strategy up in Helena is right now, we'd make some comments. But we don't, so we will just continue to observe what is going on, and wait to see how the end game plays out. Certainly is interesting.

We couldn't ignore, however, the rescheduling of the Pat Davison sentencing.

In our last "Another tick on the Gazette counter" post, we reminded readers of our original prediction that the Billings Gazette would continue to identify Pat Davison as a Republican candidate for governor in every article it would publish about this convicted con artist.

Today's Gazette piece was no exception:

"Davison, 49, who ran for governor as a Republican in 2004, pleaded guilty in December to two counts of securities fraud."

The AP article, by contrast, was more precise and fair:

"He ran for the Republican nomination for governor in 2004 but lost in a four-way primary."

Which is exactly the point that we have been making all along. Someone reading the Gazette article might easily think that this convicted felon was the Republican nominee for governor. He of course was not (thank goodness.)

If the Gazette feels it must discuss the fact that he ran for governor and that he was a Republican, it should at least point out that he only ran in the primary and that the party didn't choose him.

An objection might be raised that Davison was the "Billings guy" in the Republican race, thus justifying the Gazette's fixation on his GOPism. Hardly.

Davison did carry Yellowstone County, but only by a razor-thin plurality. 18,000 Republican votes were cast in the primary in the county -- and a whopping 5300 (29%) of those were cast for Davison, barely nudging out Laurel 's Ken Miller, who took 27% of the Yellowstone County vote. Davison carried only two counties statewide.

As we have pointed out before, the further away the 2004 Republican primary fades into the past, the less relevant Davison's political aspirations are in identifying who he is to the public. Right now, Davison is infamous for one thing, and one thing only -- bilking innocent investors.

If anyone in the general public remembers his failed bid for the Republican nomination, it will only be because the Gazette keeps reminding us of that fact in every article it publishes about his criminal wrong-doing.


Jay Stevens said...

I definitely agree with you. They should be noting that he was Conrad Burns' chief fundraiser.

Montana Headlines said...

We're glad you agree with our post.

You will note that the AP article did mention that fundraising connection, and we didn't criticize it for doing so.

We feel confident that if the Burns/Tester race were still underway, though, the Davison-Burns fundraising connection would not be omitted from Gazette articles.

Our objection was specific and clear -- and, we think, reasonable.