In case you didn’t notice, I haven’t put up a political post in about a week.
Does that bother you?
I figure it goes about three ways:
- You could care less;
- You were happy that I didn’t post, and hoped it’d be the start of a longer trend;
- You were damn anxious to not get your thumb-in-the-eye political commentary each day.
Chances are good you probably fall into one of those three areas.
So…what shall we discuss today?
Lots of stuff is going on…right?
Or are the state newspapers and blogs and TV stations just filling their websites with fluff and filler and there hasn’t been much of substance lately?
Let’s take a look.
First up is the darling of the Montana blogosphere, MT Cowturd.
The State’s Propaganda Organ for Establishment Democrats
For Gianforte it’s mostly the stream access story (boy, that died down, huh?), then talk of his money and his lack of concern for LGBT issues.
As usual with this site, it’s “gossip, satire, and” just a bit of the “analysis” that they suggest they’re giving you.
I don’t hear much on this site about true problems in your life, like your taxes or our infrastructure or college costs or the price of food or drug abuse or homelessness or high suicide rates in the state.
When I want to hear that stuff I go to Reptile Dysfunction.
Hard-Hitting Analysis of Our Modern Problems and Dilemmas
Since then they’ve kept up the posting schedule we’ve come to expect from serious Montana analyzers.
For May we’ve had 13 posts, most dealing with the national presidential race, the disconnect between the establishment Democrats of Montana and regular voters, the corruption of the Montana University System, and Jon Tester’s move away from Montana and more toward the corporate oligarchy that’s based in D.C.
Please, take a moment to read my post Is Tester a Wheeler or a Murray to get some historical perspective on the challenges that Tester – in my opinion – doesn’t even know he’ll be up against.
I’d like to see him primaried in 2018 and I’ll be profiling the Montana Democrats’ bench (I too wonder if it actually exists) to determine who can do this.
A Real Shit Rag Pretending It’s Something Else
At that point I figure I’d just keep my distance from that one.
I call the site a shit rag because it pretty much just hammers us over the head with how bad Zinke is.
In that regard, it’s a perfect partner to Cowturd, which just hammers us over the head with how bad Gianforte is.
Seeing a pattern?
So this is the other side of the mouth that’s spewing out so much political propaganda in Montana, the vast majority of it telling us how bad the GOP is.
What I find interesting is how often the site feels the need to change its design.
First of all, no dates on posts, just like the Montana Democrats’ site. Really, do you think this makes you timeless or something?
To me it’s just a big hassle, and I have to scroll down to the comments to see when exactly the post went up.
Also, how about the design look? The Montana Democrats’ site decided to redesign their look recently, hiring a North Carolina firm to do it.
I feel that this site is funded and written, or at least guided by on that last one, the Montana Democratic Party.
Remember, the Montana Democratic Party elites made some kind of deal with Pogreba back in 2008 to run in the primary against Schweitzer so the governor could raise money in the primary.
After that run, and the fundraising that Pogreba engaged in, the site got a big facelift…as we see in the campaign finance reports.
So that’s why we get the stuff we get this month, 12 articles so far, most of them dealing with Zinke’s lies, Zinke’s money, Zinke’s presidential endorsement, Gianforte’s tax ideas, Gianforte’s education ideas, Art Wittich’s past, tons on how bad guns are, and lots of posts rehashing the posts that other sites put up.
Lots of Democratic Party talking points, lots of bashing people for their ideas, and lots of telling me what’s best for my family and my life.
Honestly, I think Don could save himself a lot of time each day by just posting the following over and over again:
Democrats are good, Republicans are bad. Vote Democrat, you fool!
Analysis from the Flathead
There isn’t anything too exciting here, however.
Actually, the posts are quite staid and tame and won’t do much to get your knickers in a knot. Even the ‘outrage’ posts are timid.
It’s another Montana viewpoint, however, and one that’s free.
Heck, even to read the editorial opinion of our state newspapers it costs us one of our free articles (I haven’t paid for the Missoulian in nearly 2 years now).
Please, take a look at the post I put up last year about getting all your Montana news for free from 25 media sources.
Again, it’s not so much about the news – every Tom, Dick and Harry has that – it’s about what we should think about that news.
Perspective, viewpoint, opinion…that’s what people want. Oh, and to be entertained.
You see the lack of this when you visit the TV news station websites and see a paragraph for a story. Yeah, you’ve got the facts…but that ain’t much of a meal.
We go to the newspapers and TV stations to get a taste of what’s happening in the world but we go to the blogs to sate our appetites.
Montana’s Free Press
The site is dying.
They have one post in May, and that’s nothing more than copy/pasted emails.
Before that they had a post on April 20, and four total posts in April.
The end of March saw three posts in quick succession, then nothing for nearly two weeks.
So it’s fits and starts here, with no real posting schedule, no real indication to you on when you should visit.
So you don’t.
And that’s why the site is dying.
Missoula News, with a Dem Slant
I say this because every time you click on an article now you see a request for $50.
When I first saw that a few days or a week ago I knew that Martin Kidston was getting desperate.
You might remember that he was a reporter for the Missoulian for some time, and before that he was a communications director for the Montana Democratic Party.
He does a good job with the site, putting up several new posts each day.
Mainly, he’s picking up the slack from the Missoulian, and making the paper look bad in the process.
Honestly, when will the Missoulian go out of business? It’s terribly run, and I suspect we should have realized that profits and not press are the main motivator.
Gosh, they even have a math major as publisher right now, a sure sign that online metrics are more important than cutting-edge journalism, which really, just means good stories.
People want stories and Kidston gives them stories. They’re news, not much analysis, but at least you can leave comments now.
Will it be enough?
Maybe, but I’m not confident that this site will still be operating even six months from now.
Great Falls News
Mostly, it’s a rehash of news that I’ve already seen elsewhere, with a bit of analysis thrown in.
It’s the analysis that I want.
If there were more of that, perhaps even a more firm and vocal stand on some of the issues, I might visit more often.
A View from Billings
Those guys used to be reporters for the Billings Gazette, I believe, but now they do this.
They also do fundraising to stay afloat, and though they say the last round went well, I always wonder.
Is it sustainable?
It’s the same problem Martin Kidston and John Adams have – they’re used to getting that paycheck for this, and now they’re doing it for free.
Many times, it makes you resentful.
And that starts you on down the path to quitting.
I visit this Billings site each day but I find the news is mainly targeted at old people, very old people.
I don’t identify with most of it, and I feel many younger people (remember, I’m in my mid-30s) don’t identify with it or many of the news sources in this state.
It’s why they often have less of a connection to Montana than older people.
I don’t see that trend changing anytime soon.
So we have 5 major cities giving us news.
Most of the news sources are coming from Western Montana. All come from urban areas.
It’s sad that we have nothing from Butte, but that’s a sad town, a shell of it's former self.
I don’t see that trend changing anytime soon.
I don’t see the terrible trend in reporting changing anytime soon.
- I’d love it if we had some of that red-leaning viewpoint that Scobey and Plentywood and that corner of the state was known for 100 years ago.
- I’d love to have something coming out of Hamilton again, like we had the Western News back under Romney and his son.
- I’d love it if we had more coming to us from the Hi-Line around Havre and Shelby so we knew the problems they faced up there.
I’d love to have those things, but I don’t feel that I will be having them anytime soon, if ever.
Someone could start a blog there, but it’d be hard.
What is there to write about?
Finding topics is tough, and it’s not for everyone. The two Democratic propaganda blogs of the state have a sidebar littered with dead blogs, as if keeping them there will somehow ward off the same fate from befalling themselves.
Perhaps it will, but perhaps posting something, anything, each day is a better strategy.
So keep posting, people – someone’s reading.