Thursday, June 26, 2008

The governor's campaign's silly lies about Roy Brown -- (why no fact-checking?)

You'd think that if you were going to lie about something, you'd make sure that it was a good one -- one worth getting busted over.

So why lie about whether Roy Brown went to school in Montana? (Cf. our recent post.)

Let's review the statements by the governor's campaign manager, Harper Lawson (our emphasis):

"Governor Schweitzer does not need a lecture on the needs of rural Montana from a retired oil executive who grew up in Wyoming."

"What does Roy Brown know about Class AA schools in Montana, anyhow? Governor Schweitzer went to a Class C school here in Montana while Roy Brown was growing up in Wyoming."

Whether the better man running for Montana governor grew up in Wyoming didn't bother us, but neither did these statements ring quite true. So how about a little fact-checking?

Roy Brown was indeed born in Wyoming, and did grow up there... until he was about 6 months old or so. His family moved to Montana when he was the ripe old age of 4 -- in 1955, which was the year, incidentally, when the governor was born.

So, for the statement to be true about the governor going to a Class C school in Montana while Roy Brown was "growing up in Wyoming," well, the governor would have had to have started high school quite early -- several years before he was born, actually. Oops.

Again, all we can say is, "wow." Brown is really, really busted by the governor's campaign -- he didn't make it to Montana until he was 4 years old, carpet-bag in hand, no doubt!

How does the governor's campaign come up with such damming information about Sen. Brown?

If spending part of infancy there means that Brown "grew up in Wyoming," then that is a pretty innovative definition of the term "growing up." But then, Montanans are familiar with the liberties the administration occasionally takes with facts -- and shouldn't be surprised at this creative license.

And how about this one: all of Brown's grade-school and high-school were done in Billings, and he worked his way through college in Butte.

And since the governor's campaign brought up the issue, we would note the following: The governor, it seems, went to a private Catholic boarding school in Colorado for high-school, stayed in Colorado for college, and only returned to Montana for graduate school. It is pretty amusing for Lawson to wax eloquent about the governor going to a class C high-school when he apparently only did so for all of a year, before leaving the state.

Little white lies by the governor's campaign? Sure.

Who on earth cares about who went to high school where and when? Nobody with any sense.

Silly stuff? Yup, that's how we'll label this post.

But when the governor's spokesman lies when there is no reason to lie, that should raise some eyebrows. Is lying (or at the least a casual disregard for the truth) just a habit or reflex for the governor's campaign?

The original point to a Brown campaign spokesman making a reference to the governor only wanting to do debates in Montana cities where there are AA schools was to illustrate the point that the governor apparently doesn't want to be bothered with debating Brown in front of audiences in smaller Montana communities. The governor's spokesman tried to divert attention from that question by making up stuff about Brown that he thought no-one would fact-check. He thought that Montanans would see red at the horror of a purported out-of-stater running for governor. (How "old Montana" is that, anyway?) Well, the facts have been checked and found wanting.

And the question is still out there -- why won't the governor debate Brown in places like Miles City and Sidney?

One can understand why Chuck Johnson wouldn't think to fact-check something as basic as Lawson's comments -- but this episode should let Mr. Johnson know that he might, in the future, want to consider fact-checking every statement that comes out of the mouths of the governor's spokesmen before commiting them to print.

7 comments:

Jack the Blogger said...

Good info MH. These Montana reporters don’t want to do too much work, huh? When they write a story, it’s like they cut and paste from press releases from their favorite candidates.

In today’s climate, Democrat Mike Mansfield would be hit hard for not being a “native” as he was born in, of all places, New York. He arrived in Montana at around 3 years old. My gosh, he even stayed in DC after he left office.

Anonymous said...

It's been a really long day - so forgive me if I'm missing something here - but I'm confused. You say that,

"Roy Brown was indeed born in Wyoming, and did grow up there... until he was about 6 months old or so. His family moved to Montana when he was the ripe old age of 4 -- in 1955..."

Where was he between the age of 6 months and 4 years? Wyoming, Montana, Mars????

Just wondering.

Montana Headlines said...

The 6 months old part is something I had heard elsewhere. I'm not sure where his family lived for that next 3 1/2 years.

Didn't even cross my mind to care whether it was Arizona or Alabama, because it doesn't matter.

That was sort of one of the points in this post.

Anonymous said...

Brain Schweitzer will say anything---because he really beleives that he is all things to all people. I want to yell everytime I hear his ads about lowering taxes. Taxes on my pickup went up--but we won't talk about that. And you won't see anything about his dishonesty in the Tribune--the press worships the ground he walks on.

Keep up the good work--he needs to be exposed forwhat he is.

Anonymous said...

Brain Schweitzer will say anything---because he really beleives that he is all things to all people. I want to yell everytime I hear his ads about lowering taxes. Taxes on my pickup went up--but we won't talk about that. And you won't see anything about his dishonesty in the Tribune--the press worships the ground he walks on.

Keep up the good work--he needs to be exposed forwhat he is.

David said...

Anonymous 605,
Saying it twice doesn't make it true.

Katie Brown said...

This is Roy's daughter. Roy's family left Casper, WY when he was six months old and moved to Texas for a few years. They moved to Montana in 1955 when Roy was four years old. That should clear things up!