Today is the 2,600th column posted here at The Western Word.
Please, no parades.
It all started January 10, 2005, and when it will stop nobody knows. One day I envision TWW ending like Forrest Gump ended his run across the United States by saying, “I’m pretty tired…I think I’ll go home now.”
But TWW won’t end today…
What recently caught my attention was the story posted by the Montana branch of the Media Trackers about U.S. Senator Jon Tester, a Democrat, and his schedule and fundraising. It was titled “Tester Omits $10K a Ticket NYC Fundraiser with Obama from Schedule.”
In case you don’t know, Media Trackers leans to the right. They have been called the “Right’s New Oppo-Research Attack Dog” by the left-leaning Mother Jones magazine and “partisan hacks” by others on the left. Yes, the lefties have groups doing the same work for them.
I don’t pay too much attention to these groups. They have one goal and that is to make the people from the opposite political party look bad, but the story posted by the Montana branch of Media Trackers got my attention, so I must comment about its absurdity.
First of all the issue of Tester posting his daily schedule is a gimmick. It’s a publicity stunt used by Tester just like when he said he would ask a Montana judge to conduct an ethics audit of his office every year and that he would post a list of every lobbyist with whom he meets.
I think he’s years behind providing that information…
The real media in Montana thought the publicity stunt was really cool and praised Tester as being transparent in what he was doing. It was pitiful to watch. It was terrible journalism.
But Montana Media Trackers is pretty much full of it, too. Those who posted or linked to the story, fall into the “full of it category” too. People who write about politics as much as the Media Trackers should know that an official (taxpayer funded) website such as where Tester posts his schedule (tester.senate.gov), can’t be used for campaign purposes. It’s illegal and against senate ethic rules to use taxpayer funds for campaigning.
In other words, posting something on his official schedule like a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) Fundraiser with President Barack Obama would be illegal under senate rules.
As for those who gripe and complain about Tester’s schedule being posted late or after the fact, they need a little dose of realism, too.
This is 2015 and the world is a freaking dangerous place. Folks who want a real-time schedule posted ahead of time fail to realize there would be security concerns if U.S. Senators listed their schedules ahead of time. The events that are announced in advance probably have security in place although you may not see it if you attend the event. Rest assured, there are wackos out there (yes, even in Montana) who would like to do harm to a U.S. Senator or disrupt the senator’s meeting.
The posting of Tester’s senate schedule is and has been nothing but a gimmick, but he’s won a couple elections peddling his purity. The 400 or so words written by Montana Media Trackers about Tester not listing a DSCC fundraiser on his U.S. Senate schedule shows the folks there need a crash course in Senate rules and ethics.
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