Back when Marc Racicot was governor of Montana, Libby and cancer were beeping on public radar. Since Racicot was from that area, he was thought to have special concerns.
He didn’t care about it of course, not to single him out. It was a big complicated issue, and the appearance of an unusually high occurrence of asbestos-related cancers in the town threatened bankruptcy to WR Grace and Company. That was the problem. The story (naturally) was exposed by non-Montana newspaper (Seattle PI), just as all scandals involving Montana politicians usually appear elsewhere before being reported here, and only reluctantly.
This came to mind because during that scandal Governor Racicot was seen to be AWOL – there were important doings in Libby and he was off gallivanting with W Bush somewhere. His staff went into damage control mode. They rushed Racicot to the scene of the crime, and looked for a photo-op. The next morning in the Billings Gazette, and I imagine in every Lee newspaper in the state, was a photo of Racicot looking at a large map of Libby in some wall, with a very concerned look on his face.
That’s really all it takes in politics. Photos convey the story. Racicot’s contrived picture rescued him from public knowledge of his indifference to human suffering. While in Libby that evening, he did not do anything, and his presence there did nothing to affect the suffering of either Libby residents or his constituent, WR Grace. There was no story!, but it was front-page no story.
The Lee Newspaper chain was shilling for Racicot, covering his ass. That was in the late 1990’s, and I did not understand it well. Why so easy, boys? Why not do some real news? Why not investigate the story, perhaps even beating the PI to the draw?
It is 2014 now, and I am somewhat better educated. Newspapers, not to single them out of all of the lame media outlets, are embedded in the power structure, and so are restrained on reporting on power. That’s why the PI did that story, and not Lee. Politicians are also embedded in the power structure. They are not themselves powerful people, but they do front for them. Racicot at that time was merely the governor, and not involved in the dealings regarding Libby. But he had to appear to be on top of it, as the story was high-profile and could affect his political standing.
Hence his people rushed him to the scene for a photo-op, and the state newspapers dutifully carried it.
The photo above is of Senators Jon Tester and John Walsh visiting Crow Agency. It is a photo-op. There is no story there. But it is important to understand now that Lee Newspapers are actively promoting John Walsh. This can only mean one thing: The power structure in Montana, whose names and faces are not well-known, want John Walsh in office.
My conclusion: Walsh, like Tester, as just another sorry-ass loser, a shill for power, a corrupt bastard. He’s not done a damn thing, fought no battles, confronted anyone with real power nor sought greater good or any people of ordinary standing. He’s military, and so has no original thoughts. He knows to follow orders. He’s on a leash now and being shown about for publicity purposes, and Lee newspapers are actively aiding and abetting him.
Screw him. He’s not worth the ink it took to run his cheap photo-op images.