I'm going to add to the dogpile on the Argus on this one.

Greg Belfrage jumped on the Argus, and SDP joined them this morning. I'd have to add a "me too" on this issue.
Now comes a column from the Imperial Editor of the Argus Leader, Randell Beck. Beck is taking issue with those who are concerned the public isn't getting enough information about Johnson's condition.

Beck says, "Anyway, it's my guess those who are griping about the shortage of information on Johnson's health didn't vote for him in 2002 and won't vote for him next year if he does seek reelection."

This is the kind of hypocrisy from the Argus Leader, and especially Beck, that I find infuriating. When he and the Argus want more information on completely trivial matters, such as the names of those attending the governor's hunt, their motives are above reproach. However, those wanting more information about Senator Johnson's condition are "griping" for political reasons. Does anyone really believe the Argus Leader's position would be the same if this were Senator John Thune?
Read that all here. Mr. Beck has been johnny-on-the-spot whenever he's perceived a hint of withholding information on the part of the Governor. But now he's devoting a column to why we don't need to know?

I hope he remembers that the next time he cries foul at being accused of favoritism.


Anonymous said…
I'm so glad you picked up on this. When I was reading the article, I could hardly believe my eyes.... Randall Beck saying that Johnson shouldn't have to give us any more information that he wants to !!!

Hypocracy at its' pinnacle.

Geez, let's hope Johnson's name isn't on that pheasant list. I bet the Argus wouldn't know what to do then.
Anonymous said…
Does Beck know something we don't? Released staff statement are sufficient, so are photo's from staff?

Randall, don't unzip your fly and show your biases so overtly.

ps-I've been to the governor's hunt and never seen Johnson there, so Beck's safe on that one.
Anonymous said…
Ha. In your exposure of the Argus' hypocracy, you find your own. You deny records whenever possible, but demand them in this case.

Beck's point is that the guy is in bad health, and we should back off. The Argus has never asked for health records of state employees, so the situation isn't really comparable.

It does, however, expose Rs to being jerks for demanding updates on the personal health of an individual.

Let's face it - its the Republicans that want it when the want it and how they want it, and its the Republicans that are hypocrites.
Anonymous said…
I urge everyone to join me by boycotting the Argus Leader. I do not subscribe to the Argus Leader because I refuse financially support their reckless, unethical reporting behavior. Let's all join together a send a mesage. In today's society, it seems like money is the only way to have your voice heard.
Anonymous said…
I still believe that the Dems are playing "Weekend at Bernie's" to the max.

They figure as long as they keep the sympathy coming, no Republican will dare announce that they are running against a sick guy.

Sooner or later, the public's going to catch on. I think most of us already have.
Anonymous said…

The whiny cry baby Republicans are mad at Randall Beck ... again.
Douglas said…
Just what South Dakota needs are more Sibson replications.

The ARGUS isn't much of a paper, but the main problem for Republicans is that it is no longer a direct connection from Republican politicians to readers.

Just because it is no longer the "Daily Republican" is really tough on GOP hacks with secrets to hide.

Seems to start at the bottom and go all the way to the top. Bush and Cheney records will be delivered to the Texas library, but all will be pre-shredded.
Anonymous said…
8:54, Wrong!!!
Johnson is an top elected official and we have a right to know his abilty to perform his duties.

State employees, county employees are a different story. The spin doesn't work.
mhs said…
The Johnson story, amazingly, was not the most incredible piece of Argus duplicity this weekend. No, Pat Lalley's column takes the prize. They have relentlessly second-guessed every city decision theses past few years. They hammer nearly every city leader, both elected and non-elected, with innuendo and whispers of inside deals and soft corruption.

Then they adopt a new format this year with a writing style that is little more than juvenile name calling. They print anonymous blog rants and a "coffee table talk" bitch session every week. No attribution, no confirmation, no opposing viewpoint for balance. Just complaining.

They've tossed the venerable AP stylebook out the window in favor of a daily complaining fest, then complain about cynicism?

Fred Friendly and Ed Morrow must be spinning in their graves at the state of corporate journalism today.
Anonymous said…

Yep, IF johnson would decide to try and run there is NOTHING WRONG with the Republicans having someone run against him and announce now.

There is NO SHAME it is what we are supposed to do.

If Johnson ran he might get some sympathy votes and there will be voters who see Johnson hiding and will NOT look kindly on the act.

I agree if the situation was reversed and it was a Republican he Dems and the media would be pushing for informaion and open dialoge.
Anonymous said…
You bet - we NEED to know who was at that pheasant hunt, but have NO BUSINESS knowing if our elected official is capable of doing his job, or not.

Great thinking Randall!!

Wonder what he'd say if it were Thune or Rounds instead of Johnson. Bet the world would be coming to an end then.
Anonymous said…
all you need to know is that the Argus Leader will do whatever is in the best interest of Johnson and the Democrats. Don't expect real scrutiny or any serious reporting from the Argus. Go visit their newsroom sometime. It's like a SDEA convention only more whining.
Anonymous said…
I couldn't agree more with 9:50.
Anonymous said…
this, people, is why the Johnson camp has been willing to get away with a huge cover-up. it's because "the press" is abetting the cover-up instead of actually asking questions. it's nice that Randell makes clear his complicity in the cover-up
Anonymous said…
9:50 - If Thune or Rounds were in Johnson's situation, I would hope their reaction would be the same as it is now for Johnson. And I would also hope that the Democrats would be kind and respectful, as opposed to how bloodthirsty the Republicans are acting now.

Republicans just want to start campaigning for the next election needlessly early like everyone else. I don't think they really care about Johnson's health.
Anonymous said…
10:33 That's the point exactly.

If it were Thune or Rounds, you can bet the Argus would be doing four pages of stories every Sunday about how the Republicans are covering up the story.

If you don't believe that, you haven't been paying attention.
Jezebel said…
Whine, bitch, carp and cry - the four horsemen of the South Dakota republican apocolypse.

Now that you bozos have had your whine fest, blow teh snot out of your noses, dry your eyes and move on to the next Sibby-inspired spazfest.
oldguy said…
10:33-tell me why you feel like that. I think the reps have been very kind to Johnson.
Anonymous said…
So pleased over your concern over open government and accountability of elected officials.

Let's start with Cheney, 'kay?

oops. Records of his visitors at his undisclosed location aren't there. AG Gonzales can't recall much ....

Where's the outrage over those up at the top and their lack of "memory"???
Anonymous said…
Beck says if his condition or progress is worse than they're letting on, we will find out and the Dems do this at their own peril.

This is not apologizing for or protecting the man, but I wouldn't expect all the media haters to recognize this.
Anonymous said…
Beck is wrong that the Democrats will be 'punished' if there's a cover-up. The media will find a way to avoid reporting the story or they will somehow blame Republians. Beck doesn't understand--there's no accountability for Democrats. And the Argus Leader is exhibit A.
Anonymous said…
I say we start a campaign to figure out the condition of Johnson like the Argus is trying to do with the Gorrilla Project.
Help SDWC find out the condition of Senator Johnson, we'll call it "Project Bernie" Anyone leading to verifiable information on his condition will win a 50" flat screen tv!
Anonymous said…
You'd expect all of the left-wingers to defend the argus liar - it's their unpaid spokesman for crying out loud. hence their protection. congratulations - keep racking up those endorsements.

the argus is great at creating news and just plain horrible at reporting it.

oh, and kranz doesn't read blogs.
Anonymous said…
First of all - the nasty spirit of a few is ruining this whole discussion.

Referring to Johnson in a weekend at Bernie's context is flat-out wrong. You should be, but probably aren't, ashamed of yourself. Whether you are a Republican or Democrat, the man devoted his life to serving South Dakota, and has done alot of good for this state.

With respect to the Argus - there's a difference between invading the private life of a public official and maintaining the public's right to know.

Good journalists - moral journalists - know that. There's a point where you don't watchdog a guy.

The Governor's Hunt is a different deal. The Argus asked for the list of names, and they were denied because it could damage business interests. Then, they asked for a list of names that didn't include business leaders - Rounds said no, again.

So, what do you expect, with such a closed-government approach, except for people to wonder what exactly is being hidden from public view.

If it is a big pheasant hunting trip for Rounds family members on the state dime, the public should know that. If it is a big glad-handing event for Republicans to rub elbows and spur donations, the public should know.

Public servants shouldn't be asked to divulge private matters - no matter what. Public figures using public money for private reasons, if that's the case, is something the public has an interest.

I find this blog entertaining, and the comments, from time to time, quite amusing. But, this has to be a new low. The references made about our Sr. Senator are out of line and uncalled for.

Think about how his family must feel.
Anonymous said…
Democrat 101 - Play the indignant card.
Anonymous said…
Don't run for the US Senate if you don't want your health, amongst many other things, open for public discussion. Quit.
Anonymous said…
12:56 The Governor's Hunt is PRIVATE money.

Plus, if an elected official's private life is off-limits, why do we care if the Governor's family is at the hunt?
Anonymous said…
The Argus is correct those who are griping about the shortage of information on Johnson's health didn't vote for him in 2002 and won't vote for him next year if he does seek reelection.

You can't deny that, look at the people complaining. They see Johnson's health as something they can capitalize on, nothing more.

Republicans who are complaining should just come clean and say they don't like Johnson and are using the health issue to try and hurt him.

I wouldn't have a problem with Republican attacks on Johnson because of this health if they would be honest about it. Instead they hide behind the line of Johnson is an elected official and we have a right to know his ability to perform his duties. The truth is that they just want Johnson out and don't care what issue puts him out.
PP said…
Just as an aside, Didn't Bill Janklow's health come up from time to time in the elctoral games of the day?
Anonymous said…
Most of you are missing the point completely.

The Republicans are upset, because it's becoming more and more obvious that Johnson won't be able to run for re-election. However, the Dems are going to stall as long as possible before announcing that. Thereby giving no Republican candidate a chance to announce his candidacy, and get a foothold, because people like the ones who are spinning this issue today, will cry foul... How can the Republcans be so cruel as to start their campaign before Tim's healthy enough to defend himself !

If the Dems delay long enough, Herseth or young Johnson can announce at the last minute, and sail in virtually unopposed.

It's not the Republcans that are politicizing this, it's the Democrats playing political poker, and holding back the truth as their trump card.
Charley House said…

I agree with you here:



Anonymous said…
Ok Anon 1:32 –
Here is what you do. Field a candidate for the office pushing the “I’m running FOR the Senate seat, not AGAINST Tim Johnson” (thank you Stan – that’s a wonderful way to put it)

Then run on ideas. Run on how they would be a good Senator for the state of South Dakota. Do not address Tim Johnson at all except to wish him good health and a speedy recovery. When and if he does recover, debate him on the issues.

Now the down side to this is you will need someone who actually has ideas. Sadly, running on “the other guy is a liberal” doesn’t work when you don’t really know who you are running against. And “President Bush is Right” isn’t going to cut it because no matter what, he won’t be President after the election. “I’ll cut taxes” doesn’t play so well anymore when people are looking at where the money is going to come from. “ABORTION!!!! GAY MARRIAGE!!! ” may not work, as the religious conservatives are figuring out that you haven’t done anything for them in the 6 years you had the keys to the kingdom, why should you start now. You will need honest to god real true ideas to win this type of campaign.
Anonymous said…
2:01 Good post.

You only left out one thing:

What kind of person would blame his inability to campaign for office on a person who is recovering from a massive stroke. That's hypocritical fingerpointing to the max. If you want to run, don't whine, run. Part of being a good leader is the ability to think on your feet, respond to changing circumstances, and make decisions without having all the facts. Get used to it.
Anonymous said…
the holier than thou Argus Leader also ran a story claiming that Larry Pressler was gay. Such morals at the Argus Leader. We are all humbled by the Argus Leader's greatness.
Anonymous said…
Isn't it interesting how the Argus staff has already been on this thread, and moved the focus away from how hypocritical they are, and instead have tried to make it look like this is all about mean-spirited republicans.

Sorry, Randall -- You still got caught with your fly open.
Anonymous said…
The major issue at hand is not Johnson's health, but rather the fact that the Argus Leader would take a stance totally contrary to one previously and vigorously held by them. When such a turn around is made, it should be questioned.

I am sure that everyone wants Johnson to recover. I do not think that anyone wants the Argus telling us what we should want to know. Especially when they have taken the stances they have in the past.

This is not a political issue; this is a media hypocrisy issue.

Good journalists ask the tough questions. The Argus should ask the questions and let the readers decide what to make of them.
Anonymous said…
This is anon 2:01 again.

I’m not saying that the Argus isn’t hypocritical. I kind of thought that it was a given. They are also no more or less hypocritical than any other news outlet you may want to name (Fox News, CNN, The Rapid City Journal). Yes, they are more liberal than the majority of newspapers in the state. Sioux Falls is more liberal than the majority of South Dakota. It’s a good fit. If Sioux Falls began to tend more dramatically conservative, the local daily newspaper would so the same. I do not believe that their number one priority is pushing a liberal agenda…I believe that their number one priority is to sell newspapers. But for those of you who think that the Argus Leader is radically liberal journalism: go pick up any of the following – The New York Daily News, The LA Times, The San Francisco Chronicle.
Anonymous said…
Thanks, David - I'll run right out and get one.
Anonymous said…
Ah conservatives. It seems like they won't be happy until they badger everyone in this country into being mindless drones like they are.
Anonymous said…
Ah, Liberals. They won't be happy until everyone is a sherry sipping atheist entirely dependent upon the Government for support.
Haggs said…
Ah, moderates. They just don't care. (Sorry, I wanted to play too.)
Anonymous said…
Ah, reactionaires, they just post
because they can't help themselves.
(...there Haggs, now we got the whole circle covered. High 5.)
nonnie said…
I don't think Johnson has a choice whether to quit or announce he's not running because that would jeapordize the slim majority in the Senate held by the Dems. If you don't believe this, you really don't understand politics today.

He's playing the political game as every good little Democrat does, and probably if it were a Republican in like situation, the Reps would be doing the same thing. It's all political.

But you can't blame the people, whom these elected politicans work for and who pay their salaries and their trip expenses (listening, Steffi?), if they are getting tired of the game.
Anonymous said…
Seems to me a lot of reporters don't go out and find the news, they let the news come to them.
That is news reporting at its worst!
Mera said…
If Johnson were a REAL public servant with the best interests of South Dakota at heart he would have already resigned!
If Johnson REALLY had hopes of a full recovery he would have already resigned to focus on therapy and a complete and full recovery.
Johnson is a Harry Reid puppet who can't make the best decisions for us or for himself because of politics. Sad as it is that he has had this “bump in the road” in his life it is hard to maintain any respect for a political puppet.
William said…
"Anonymous said...
Seems to me a lot of reporters don't go out and find the news, they let the news come to them.
That is news reporting at its worst!" 6:37 PM

Not only that!

Truncated stories from Gannett and AP, lots of pictures with little content (usually with less content than other local news outlets), a website that looks like it was setup by someone learning Frontpage OJT . The Argus is certainly one of the worst examples of journalism I've ever seen.

I can't see how Gannett hasn't seen the decline in subscriptions and readership that I've seen. If I were a shareholder, I'd really want to know why the present staff is still employed!

I don't know anyone that still has a subscription since they can pick up the movie schedule for free. The Auctions page I can read for free and there's really nothing else I find important that I can get from the Argus that requires paying for it.

I joke with coworkers that I quit getting the Argus when they changed to their new "content free" style. The typical response is "ME TOO"!

I've lived all over the country and have never had a local paper as worthless as the Argus Leader.
Anonymous said…
I have to wonder (disclaimer: I dislike the Argus, the paper version is a rag that's gone downhill lately much faster than it's web edition, and THAT'S saying something)...does PP think the Argus cares if he's buck-buck #4?
nonnie said…
We quit the Argus too. When our subscription ran out, we weren't aware of it, until we got a bill for a month's worth of the paper. It seems they don't stop the paper when it runs out, they continue it for another month because they think people just forgot to renew and you really wouldn't want to miss a single issue, and then they bill you for the extra month along with a renewal notice. Didn't work with us; we complained, didn't renew the paper, and they took off the charge. We too think the new format is terrible, and we don't want to pay for incompetence. Seems like the powers at the Argus just don't get it though.
Anonymous said…
Johnson should be defeated for his vote supporting the Bush war no matter what is his health situation.

Same goes for Stephanie H-S and John Thune however.

That vote was so egregiously opportunistic or ignorant that it should automatically eliminate those war power voters from future office.

That includes Hillary Clinton incidentally.

And, it might as well include Mikey Rounds too. He has spent a lot of time glorifying Bush and war at funerals for SD boys wasted in Iraq.

Blogger ID is not working..post by Doug Wiken
Haggs said…
12:00 PM - You have to realize that Bush fooled everyone at that time. He manipulated everyone into thinking that Iraq was responsible for 9/11. He used the raw emotions this country was still feeling about 9/11 to justify every horrible act he's committed during his time as president.

So I can't really blame Republicans and Democrats back then for agreeing to go to Iraq, because Bush had everyone fooled. But, knowning what we know now, I don't understand how anyone can still support this immoral war.
Anonymous said…
Many thanks to Anon 2:56:

The major issue at hand is not Johnson's health, but rather the fact that the Argus Leader would take a stance totally contrary to one previously and vigorously held by them. When such a turn around is made, it should be questioned.

I am sure that everyone wants Johnson to recover. I do not think that anyone wants the Argus telling us what we should want to know. Especially when they have taken the stances they have in the past.

This is not a political issue; this is a media hypocrisy issue.

Thanks for not distorting the intent of my original remarks, as some have been doing. I was not suggesting a cover-up by Mr. Johnson's staff, nor do I believe he should resign from office.

My outrage is with a self-appointed "watchdog" newspaper that doesn't act fairly in its reporting of the news.

If six months isn't long enough to wait before asking questions about Senator Johnson's health, then what is a reasonable amount of time? One year?

Frankly, I suspect the righteous indignation from some Dems here would be no different had I waited 10 years.

As for those Republicans who are trashing Johnson, you ought to stop. It was never my intention to criticize the senator, only defend those who were attacked by Randell Beck.
feasant said…
Randell Beck is a complete jerk. Move on! All the people of SD ask for is news, ask yourself Mr. Beck would you think the same if this person was a Conservative? I would bet you would change your mind.

The Argus Liar by backing Beck prove they have no credibility!

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