Watchdogs, or Attack Dogs? Lee Newspapers Changes Coverage After GOP Wins
"Oh sure... They abandon their Capitol bureau during Bullock so he can do anything he wants, but a Republican gets elected and it's all hands on deck! Where was this sudden awareness for the need of government transparency the past 8 years?!"
That's how one of our radio listeners responded after seeing the news that the Lee newspapers in Montana would be expanding their capitol bureau in Helena to four reporters covering state government. Lee newspapers announced the news in The Helena IR over the weekend:
The sheer size of our new bureau dwarfs anything that’s been done here in decades. It directly defies a trend of shrinking state government coverage, here and elsewhere across the country.
The Lee newspapers, you may recall, gutted their state bureau back in 2015. Corin Cates-Carney detailed the decision at the time to sideline the two longtime capital correspondents, Chuck Johnson and Mike Dennison, in a piece for The Montana Journalism Review:
Johnson’s 40 years of state political coverage began in the 1970s, and he covered the Montana Constitutional Convention in 1972.
Dennison clocked over 30 years as a reporter with more than two decades in the state capital and the last 10 years with Lee Enterprises.
Anyone following the media over the last 4 years can easily see that the media has acted like attack dogs when covering President Trump, but then lapdogs when covering Governor Steve Bullock (D-MT). Bullock has clearly gotten a pass on multiple fronts, and yet he lost the US Senate race anyway.
So, with a Republican governor of Montana about to be sworn in this January, can we expect the roles to reverse? We're already seeing the cat and dog reporting of a potential president Biden. How soon before the knives really come out for a Governor Gianforte?
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