I can tell you from my viewpoint that spinning Montana’s newspapers was as easy as spinning a top. There’s precious little congressional news that is actually broken by a Montana newspaper. That works to the advantage of the politician. Absolutely. When you are free from a burrowing press, you pretty much have clear sailing. (Pat Williams, on leaving office in 1997)
Speaking of managed news, what I’ve seen today reminds me of an event involving former Montana Senator Conrad Burns back in the election campaign of 2000. One of his campaign staffers called a newspaper reporter and went on a rant about his opponent that year – Bryan Schweitzer. The words and accusations were so hard and furious as to cause the reporter to go directly to press with it, and the story caught wind.
I later interviewed Schweitzer for my little public access show at that time, oddly enough called “Piece of Mind.” I mentioned that event to him, and he gave me a bit of inside baseball. Burns had gone off leash, gotten drunk and went into a racist anti-Indian tirade with enough people witnessing to cause problems. The campaign was in damage control mode, and used the telephone call to the reporter as a deflection device. It worked. The phone call became the story, and the rant never made the news. Our news media is ever so pliable!
This came to mind this morning as I read the following two stories. Judge for yourself what the underlying reality might be.
From RT.com: ‘Whole families murdered’: Syrian rebels execute over 80 civilians outside Damascus
From Huffington Post: The Butcher kills another 76
One might be tempted to assume that the truth lies somewhere between the extremes. That’s a logical fallacy, in my opinion. The truth can lie anywhere, on the edges, in the middle, or not even apparent. From my frame of reference, I am inclined to think that HuffPo is lying or exaggerating or dissembling, as it has been my experience that the US news media is corrupt at the top and clueless at the bottom.
But I am open to suggestion.