Journalists and the Non-Smear Smear

Those who know me understand that I’m not a big Rick Perry fan.  Perry is far too weak in the area of illegal immigration and some other things to be what I would consider a good Republican candidate for president.

But when I witness what can only be characterized as journalistic ineptitude or journalistic malpractice, I can’t stand idly by and watch even a candidate I don’t like be smeared and besmirched.

A case in point occurred Saturday at the Rapid City Journal’s blog Mount Blogmore, when “journalist” David Montgomery attempted to smear Rick Perry as a threat to the First Amendment and U.S. Constitution.

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In that usual “I’m not saying what I’m about to say” manner many of these weasely “journalists” have, Montgomery began with a faux condemnation of guilt by association, then proceeded to attempt to tie Rick Perry to a statement made by a Perry supporter regarding Mitt “RomneyCare’s” Mormon religion.

Montgomery was only just getting warmed up, though, with his non-guilt-by-association guilt-by-association smear.

He then proceeded to paint the Perry supporter, who called Mormonism a cult, as an enemy of  religious freedom, the First Amendment, and by extension the U.S. Constitution:

a sentiment that offends many Americans who see it as antithetical to the spirit of the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of religion. 

In what universe (other than a liberal “journalist’s” mind) does the expression of religious freedom equate to an offense to religious freedom?  By what manifestation of twisted and tortured “logic” can the expression of a person’s freedom of speech and freedom of religious expression be “antithetical to the spirit of the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of religion.”

If there were to be anything at all to this bizarre statement concerning the First Amendment, then it would be Mr. Montgomery’s statement that is “antithetical to the spirit of the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of religion.”  Perry’s supporter in no way advocated limiting Mitt Romney’s freedom of religious expression…but this “journalist” clearly implied that Perry’s supporter should not have said what he said. But this wouldn’t be the first time the Journal has been heard from in an attempt to silence Christians from exercising their freedom of religious expression.

As I am so often forced to do when considering liberals, I have to stop and ask myself: can this “journalist” really by this breathtakingly ignorant regarding the First Amendment, the U.S. Constitution and religious freedom…or is it a deliberate attempt to smear a candidate the “journalist” finds too conservative, especially when a more liberal candidate has been offended?

Given that the “journalist” in question almost certainly has, at a minimum, a high school education if not a degree in journalism, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to assume that a journalist should have at least a proficient grasp of the First Amendment and freedom of religious expression.  After all, freedom of the press rubs shoulders with freedom of religious expression in the First Amendment.  It is also my understanding that Mr. Montgomery has worked in the news industry for more than just a little while, so I would have expected some understanding of the First Amendment to have rubbed off, even if he did not have a degree in journalism.

Therefore, I can only logically conclude that this was a deliberate attempt to appeal to those members of the public who are near completely ignorant about the First Amendment and freedom of religious expression (and given the pathetic state of public education and the mass propaganda distributed by the “mainstream” media on a daily basis, that would include quite a few people) to convince them that Rick Perry is hostile to the First Amendment and freedom of religious expression.

Maybe I’m wrong, and Mr. Montgomery really was clueless about the First Amendment and freedom of religious expression.  I suppose it’s possible.  But if that’s the case, when confronted with his erroneous smear of Perry and Perry’s supporter, why did he not just admit the error and apologize for it?  Further, why didn’t Montgomery’s co-worker Kevin Woster, instead of covering for his colleague’s smear, admit that his colleague had made a mistake and apologize for it?  If they’re supposed to be aloof, objective, detached and unemotional, that should have been no problem…but obviously it was a big problem.

Journalists get pretty prickly when confronted with their own ignorance and/or misdeeds.  Hearkening back to the days when the Left had a lock on the flow of information (there was no Fox News, no internet, no talk radio, no blogosphere, no YouTube or Media Research Center to expose the liberal media bias), they still expect us to wait with eagerness for that morning paper or evening news, then take in with rapt attention their pontifications from on high, as they the demigods tell us mere mortals what we should know about, what we should think, what we should support and what we should oppose.  Most of them still refuse to come to terms with the fact that times have changed–many of us can think for ourselves now, and reject their propaganda.

Journalists are very good at dishing it out.  They excel at pointing out people’s misdeeds and misstatements…but pathetically sore when it comes to having their own pointed out. The best they can do is retreat to non-personalized personalized attacks and non-mean-spirited condemnations that are coated in smarmy faux politeness designed to belie their condemnations.  Give them a little plain talk about their deceptive practices and they start playing the victim card to make you out to be the meany for being outraged at their misbehavior. Mount Blogmore is a liberal blog run by liberals and commented on mostly by liberals who can’t deal with facts, so I seldom waste my time by commenting there, and it’s even more rare that I comment more than once on a post. Trying to reason with fence posts has never been my favorite pass time.

But as I told Kevin Woster, the hypocrisy just gets to be too much sometimes.  If a newspaper and/or reporter wants to be a mouthpiece for liberalism, they have that right.  But it shouldn’t be too much to ask to see them abandon the pretext of objectivity and just admit it openly.  And it definitely shouldn’t be too much to ask for a reporter to get it right on the First Amendment and freedom of religious expression–even if they do want to smear someone too conservative for their tastes with guilt by association.



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Bob Ellis has been the owner of media company Dakota Voice, LLC since 2005. He is a 10-year U.S. Air Force veteran, a political reporter and commentator for the past decade, and has been involved in numerous election and public policy campaigns for over 20 years. He was a founding member and board member of the Tea Party groups Citizens for Liberty and the South Dakota Tea Party Alliance. He lives in Rapid City, South Dakota with his wife and two children.
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