Here is the "other" side
I had to laugh this morning when I read an anonymous comment written by an editorial writer from the Great Falls Tribune, (Gee Guy actually posted the whole Tribune rant in the comment section here) The Tribune was taking me to task for not posting all the “facts” about the Free Prime Rib Dinner story we posted on Wednesday.
My Bad – I guess when I posted the link to the Flint Report and also to the audio tape of the interview with Monica Lindeen’s Communication Director Lucas Hamilton I just naturally assumed all bases were covered. Apparently newspaper reporters are not quite as smart as those that read blogs for information and you have to spoon feed them slowly by repeating information over and over.
The fact of the matter is that Mr. Lucas Hamilton is claiming that these dinners cost the taxpayers nothing. The money is taken out of a “victim’s fund” that was set up to try and educate folks about how to be wary of con artists. The income for this fund comes from fines and penalties against the criminals perpetrating these crimes. It would seem that compelling the criminals to make restitution to their victims in not as important as generating income for this “education” fund in the minds of Mr. Lucas and the Commissioner of Securities and Insurance, Monica Lindeen. I wonder if some of the folks that are taken by these con-artists would actually prefer to have restitution or just leave the money in this fund to warn others about the potential for wrong-doing by other unscrupulous sorts? While trying to downplay the waste of money for these prime rib dinners Hamilton failed to mention that Commission staff plan, travel and attend every one of these events which is not included in the cost of the dinner. Of course they are on the state payroll anyway so they may as well be doing something is the rationale behind this thinking. My thought is that if they have plenty of staff to do all of these kinds of things maybe, just maybe, we have too many people on the state payroll.
The whole jest of the irritation portrayed by the Tribune was against bloggers in general. They said “Often it is too much trouble for bloggers to actually check out the facts behind what they are writing about.” If the Tribune anonymous editorial author was truthful he would have also mentioned that newspaper revenue is way down and nearly every newspaper in the country is cutting staff in an attempt to survive. Bloggers are not professional news people nor do we claim to be. We can however, point out the obvious in the hopes that voters and our so-called professional news people will do some of that investigative reporting they always yammer on about and uncover the complete story. Isn’t that why we pay money for a newspaper? To get the whole story? Don't they find it odd that Commissioner Moncia Lindeen, who is running for state-wide office, is funding free prime rib dinners all over the state albeit not on her own personal or campaign dime?
If it wasn’t for bloggers “secretive empires” like Electric City Power would still be scamming Great Falls citizens out of millions of dollars of their hard earned taxes. Blogs like the Electric City Weblog not only broke the story of fraud and corruption but they continued pressing until the truth came to light. I read nothing in the Tribune about the city’s power company failures that I hadn’t first seen being questioned on The Electric City Weblog. Bloggers like us are only enjoying a degree of success because of the very failures of the newspapers like the Tribune so kindly pointed out this morning.
Did any Tribune readers know anything about free prime rib dinners in Havre until after bloggers such as The Corrector pointed it out in the article The Governor is Right: We have Plenty of Excess Money? Many sources have published stories about this in the last couple of days after seeing it on The Corrector. The Northern Ag Network reported this prime rib nonsense in the Flint Report. I have saw references to the story in several blogs and Face Book postings and The Corrector even obtained a copy of a news letter from the local GOP group here in Havre that had this to say;
I say let's all go to http://www.csi.mt.gov/GoldDiggers and RSVP to go have a free prime rib dinner on Monica--er Pat Davison or Bernie Madoff or whomever is actually "paying" for this. Let's pack the Elks club next Thursday evening May 3rd at 6:00 PM!!Instead of chastising bloggers for breaking stories for them perhaps some of these “professional” investigative reporters should use us as another free source in their oft failed attempts to report on what is happening around the state. I am beginning to think that most newsmen really don’t have it in them to write any stories at all that actually criticize the waste, fraud and corruption that bloggers easily and routinely uncover in our local government entities.