Hennen Column: Liberal Media Already Looking To Box Cramer In

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Congressman-elect Kevin Cramer has received his first dose of disdain from the liberal media establishment in Washington, D.C. Environment & Energy Daily is a well-read resource among energy power brokers, but has become an increasingly liberal tip sheet. They ran a story this week that combines factual comments about Cramer’s impressive energy resume with bizarre references to his faith. They selectively and creatively quote from a 25 minute speech that Cramer gave before an October 5th meeting of the Lignite Energy Council. See if you detect a pattern from the first few lines of the story:

“North Dakota Republican Kevin Cramer not only supports the production of domestic coal, oil and natural gas, the incoming freshman House member believes it’s a moral responsibility.

“In my view, it would be immoral to leave it there,” Cramer told the Lignite Energy Council at an October event in Bismarck. “God put it there for us,” he said.

The former chairman of the state Republican Party, who almost entered the ministry, says North Dakota has been successful in energy production because most of the resources were developed on private and state land, where the government couldn’t over-regulate producers.

Cramer, 51, now plans to take his spiritually rooted support for domestic energy and hands-off federal approach to Capitol Hill as one of the two new members of the North Dakota delegation in January.”

Catch that? I’m not sure reporters Hannah Northey and Manuel Quinones consider it obvious that our energy resources came from God or that it would be immoral to leave them there. They also were quick to add the out-of-place reference to Cramer’s decades old decision to pass over the ministry as “news” too. And trust me, the “spiritually rooted” commentary was not intended to be a compliment.

Still with me? Any guesses on the not-so-hidden agenda here? But wait there is more.

“Cramer, who has enjoyed tea party support, has been an outspoken opponent of regulating greenhouse gases and in 2010 signed onto the “No Climate Tax” petition circulated by the Washington, D.C., group Americans for Prosperity.”

This would be the liberal journalist version of a hat trick. All in one sentence they paint Cramer as a wacky tea party type who’s crazy enough to oppose regulating greenhouse gases and signed on to the sensible American’s for Prosperity pledge. Too bad they missed an opportunity to remind readers of the Koch brothers funding for AFP, but who can argue with a hat trick.

Then it was quickly time to once again remind readers that Cramer is a man of faith. I guess that’s like being an alien in Washington, D.C.

“Cramer wasn’t always headed for a political career. The native of Kindred earned a pre-seminary degree in social work from Concordia College in 1983 when he decided to jump into politics.

“I saw my ministry going a different direction,” he said. “I just felt more compelled to other areas of service in politics and government.”

After a brief re-cap of his impressive record of service to North Dakotan’s, it was back to the “religious” angle for their story.

“Though he entered the world of politics, Cramer said he is still very much involved in church and plays various roles at the University of Mary, a Catholic university in Bismarck.

He also hopes to find like-minded religious lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

“I hope to find others that share that and have that fellowship,” he said. “It’s important for lots of reasons … [including] the accountability that comes in this heady place.”

Wow. Is it a very important piece of additional information for the readers to be told that the University of Mary is a “Catholic” university?

While profiles of incoming members are not uncommon and I’m glad that Cramer’s impressive record on energy is worthy of reporting, the only real “news” in the story was that he was being considered for a position on the powerful House Energy and Commerce committee. Sadly, Cramer did not get one of the coveted spots. I suspect leadership is a tad worried about any voices that might compete for the spotlight.

The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead picked the story up and placed it on their front-page Friday. The on-line edition blared with the headlines:

“Cramer says “it would be immoral” to leave coal, oil and gas in ground. Incoming congressman calls ND deposits a gift from God.”

Congressman Kevin Cramer will be a breath of fresh air in the sea of insanity known as Washington, D.C. I’m sure nothing in this article will bother him since it’s all common sense, factual information. But the obvious agenda to “taint” Cramer with the label as a religious extremist is glaringly obvious to me.

Scott Hennen hosts a daily radio talk show from 11am to 2pm on AM 1100 “The Flag from Fargo, ND and WBKK AM 820 in Bemidji, Minn plus heard from 2 to 5pm on AM 1090 KTGO in Tioga/Williston, N.D. Listen at ScottHennen.com, join him on Facebook and Twitter too.

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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