Newsweek Maybe Should Have Actually Sent A Reporter To ND For Their Earl Pomeroy Story

earl pomeroy

I’ve posted before about the left’s attempts to manufacture a narrative around Earl Pomeroy that has the nine-term incumbent bucking national trends and actually campaigning on his vote for Obamacare. It started with comments by former Senator Tom Daschle and has been echoed by various liberals and liberal-friendly media outlets around the country.

The latest is Newsweek, which issues forth this report about Pomeroy’s alleged embrace of Obamacare that is so shockingly inaccurate its little wonder the magazine has been going out of business for a couple of years now.

The headline of the article is, “Meet Earl Pomeroy, the Moderate Democrat Touting His Health-Reform Vote.” Subheadline? “Can one Blue Dog’s unorthodox ad strategy localize his election and head off the demise of another incumbent?”

The short answer, given everything we know about the Berg/Pomeroy race, is “no.” But what’s funny is that their premise, that Pomeroy has been campaigning on Obamacare, is absolutely wrong. And they know it.

From the article:

Few issues have been as confounding for Democrats this year as health-care reform. With anger at government spending running high, how does an incumbent deal with an unpopular law that, for many voters, sums up the arrogance and big-government philosophy of the Obama administration? Some struggling candidates have responded by lashing out at the law, calling for its repeal. Others have done the campaign equivalent of ducking and covering.

But North Dakota Rep. Earl Pomeroy’s strategy is different. A Democrat running in a reddish state, Pomeroy has been battered by attacks from his opponent for his pro-reform vote. But rather than try to change the subject, Pomeroy’s campaign has embraced the issue. Earlier this month, he cut an ad defending his vote in favor of the health-care bill and he also goes on the attack, challenging opponent Rick Berg’s record on health.

Pomeroy cuts one ad that mentions Obamacare, an ad that even his campaign admits was forced out of them by ads run by the NRCC, and suddenly the media narrative repeated ad nauseum is that he’s running on his Obamacare vote? Please. Nothing could be further from the truth.

One almost gets the idea that this was a coordinated effort to influence, rather than inform, the public.

The truth is that Pomeroy, as the Bismarck Tribune pointed, didn’t even mention Obamacare during the first six months of his campaign. In the Tribune’s editorial endorsement of Pomeroy’s opponent Rick Berg, they said “If Pomeroy felt it was necessary to vote with the Democratic leadership on a contentious health bill this spring, he should have come back to North Dakota and explained why. He should have been more transparent and up front with North Dakotans on his positions.”

That hardly sounds like the campaign of a Democrat running on his vote for Obamacare.

What’s more, Newsweek shows that they know exactly nothing about how this race is going for Pomeroy. They imply that Pomeroy’s embrace of Obamacare has helped him in the polls:

…so far, Pomeroy—who was thought to be doomed at the onset of the race—has closed the gap to within 10 points, according to a Rasmussen poll released Oct. 21.

He’se closed the gap to within 10 points? That 10 point gap is the biggest lead Berg has had all campaign season.

And that ugly poll number doesn’t tell the whole story for Pomeroy. Four of the state’s largest newspapers, the Tribune, the Fargo Forum, the Dickinson Press and the Grand Forks Herald just endorsed Berg on Sunday (though the Herald is a subsidiary of the Forum and just re-printed their endorsement). Berg has led Pomeroy in fund raising in both of the reporting periods this election cycle, a feat made even more significant by the fact that Berg is getting most of his money from North Dakotans whereas Pomeroy is relying mostly on out-of-state contributions.

If Newsweek had analyzed the facts in this race, rather than looking to simply re-publish a liberal talking point, they’d have gotten their story right.

Rob Port

Rob Port is the editor of 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.

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