Archive for March 11th, 2009


by problembear

seems like i meet the best people in montana by starting an argument with them. Matthew Koehler and i swung a few haymakers and broke up some furniture on the internet a few months ago, then we shook hands like gentlemen, settled the damages with the saloon keep and have been occasionally supporting each other in strafing the blogosphere in the same quadrants ever since in defense of wilderness. Matthew is one dedicated environmental defender and i am proud to direct your attention to his new blog.  this promises to be a good one to bookmark. Count on Matthew to keep us abreast of the latest in green, clean, sustainable and wilder-news. check it out.

by Pete Talbot

“Never get in a pissing match with someone who buys ink by the barrel,” my Momma said.

The idea of a Missoulian boycott was shot down but there was plenty of criticism of an editorial that ignored censorship at Big Sky High.

In the end, it was decided that at least three Democratic Party leaders would meet with the editorial board (publisher, editor, opinion page editor) and register their displeasure with the editorial.

I didn’t take a notebook to this meeting because, frankly, I wasn’t there to write about it. I just went because I’m a mighty precinct committeeman but the debate over this resolution was pretty interesting. Lacking some detail, here’s what went down:

One committee member was so pissed at the editorial’s support of a parent complaining about the film, “The Story of Stuff,” instead of supporting the teacher, he proposed a boycott of the paper. He said his wife had already canceled their subscription.

Another member was none too happy with the Tuesday guest editorial that denounced the zoning rewrite. He questioned the writer’s credentials and thought the Missoulian should have, too.

But consensus ran mostly against a boycott: hard to get the numbers to make an impact, could make the party look like whiners, no point in alienating the media …

A teacher in the crowd didn’t like the idea of bringing partisan politics into the debate. He said he knew conservatives who disagreed with the school board’s censorship of the film.

It was suggested that perhaps Democrats could reach out to some Republicans on this one – form a coalition. (A few folks didn’t think the Republicans seemed very receptive to coalition building, these days.)

And another person mentioned taking along a couple of high profile advertisers to the meeting, which got heads nodding.

There was plenty of sympathy for the boycott idea. But there was sympathy for the Missoulian, too: it’s reporters and other staff, the layoffs, the tough times. Democrats were just upset at a couple editorials that lacked vetting and, dare I say, balance.

They also wanted to see more political news and analysis, and in depth coverage of local issues, and the legislature; although again realizing that newspapers are on the ropes and budgets are strained. (There was mention of Missoulian profits being shipped off to headquarters in Davenport, Iowa.)

But there’ll be no boycott.

Having been around the newspaper biz, peripherally, since I was a kid, I understand the many pressures put on an opinion page editor. I personally support a strong, daily newspaper that publishes diverse views on its opinion page. I also hope that the editorial board will take into account the party leadership’s concerns.

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