Saturday, June 30, 2007

Where is the Montana press when our Senators need it?

The weekend leading up to Independence Day is not the time to do extensive blogging -- much better things to do both for writers and readers.

But it is interesting to note that there seems to have been little or no attention paid in the Montana press to the role that Sens. Tester and Baucus played in bringing down the recent immigration bill. The Senators themselves weren't shy about taking credit.

Montana Headlines pointed out that it was the amendment by Sens. Baucus and Tester that ended up bringing down the house of cards, and a commenter asked the rhetorical question of how the Montana media would respond. We were interested in that ourselves.

Other than the Flathead Beacon, the matter hasn't been mentioned. Among the major papers, the only other mention of the matter at all has been in the Tribune, which notes our Senators voted against cloture, but nothing else.

Given that the defeat of this legislation was the top story last week in the national media, one would expect the Montana media to take note of the Baucus/Tester press release -- whether to congratulate them, scold them, or to make the case that there was nothing special about our Senators' roles.

But to ignore it completely seems a bit odd. Or maybe our search engines just aren't working right.


Dave Rye said...

Media sources have had more than 30 years of Max taking credit for something or other several times a week, so they're numb to the occasions, such as this one, when the credit is actually deserved.

Montana Headlines said...

Excellent point. We have to admit that when we get forwarded e-mails from Baucus, we pretty much ignore his extravagant claims ourselves.

Still, one would think that the Montana press would have enough political junkies to see the significance of the Baucus amendment, and have given it bigger coverage in Montana when the story was at its hottest nationally.

Don't they want to sell papers?

He actually did something that had a national impact on a big issue -- that doesn't happen every day for Baucus.

Anonymous said...

To give credit where credit is due, the Daily Inter Lake has an editorial in its Sunday paper that salutes the two Montana senators for playing a key role in defeating the immigration bill. Meanwhile, the other Montana dailies, unless I somehow missed it, still have not mentioned the prominent role of Tester and Baucus in the defeat of the immigration measure.

It is astonishing that Montana's dailies, except for the Inter Lake, continue to ignore such an important story. Perhaps it is because the Inter Lake seems to be the only daily in Montana where political correctness seems not to be one the one central ruling newsroom dogma.

Anonymous said...

Here's the link to the Inter Lake editorial, by the way:

Montana Headlines said...

Thanks for the link. It does seem to be the only mention by a Montana daily so far.

Anonymous said...

There were 37 Republican Senators who voted against the bill and just 15 democrats. The Republicans should get the applause. 33 democrats voted for it.
Dave Rye is correct; Baucus takes credit for everything he can. He's also teaching Tester to do the same. For example, the Approps bills that Baucus and Tester have not even voted on yet. They are sending out press releases touting their work on it. They get one and maybe two votes AFTER the hard work is done. Someone on an approps committee may get four votes. It's easy to say "I requested it" when all you have to do is do a letter or make a call, but not get down and dirty on the subcommittee to fight for funding.
The same with grants that come to the states anyway. These two senators are jokes in DC. The Montana press lets them get away with it.

Montana Headlines said...

Of course Republicans are more responsible for defeating the bill than are Democrats. But without Democratic support, the bill would never have been defeated.

Furthermore, Baucus and Tester voted right on virtually every amendment and cloture -- only Tom Coburn and David Vitter can be numbered amongst Republicans who had a better voting record on this bill.

This doesn't mean that our Senators are powerhouses of some sort in Washington. In fact, when one looks at the ratio of clout to time in office, it would probably be hard to find someone with a poorer record than Baucus.