Murkowski Staffer Confuses 'Reporter' With 'Tape Recorder'

Nov 22, 2009 | Updated May 25, 2011

There is so much to enjoy in this piece on Enviroknow, in which a blogger contacts Senator Lisa Murkowski's office to ask about a bogus set of talking points her office has been promulgating over cap-and-trade legislation. The blogger ends up getting into a tiff with Robert Dillon, a Murkowski staffer who also serves as the Republican Communications Director for the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. You really should read it all. But to drill down on a small point, I really had a good laugh at the moment in the conversation when Dillon reveals that his working concept of what a "reporter" is literally amounts to pure stenography.

After just a few minutes, Mr. Dillon became openly exasperated. In a comical display of his understanding of journalism, which was strikingly similar to a Stephen Colbert parody, Mr. Dillon said:

"Why can't you just listen to me and write down what I say?"

Seconds later, he shouted:

"You're not a reporter!"

Moments later, Dillon exasperatedly admits that Murkowski's "talking point[s] on costs of climate legislation has nothing to with legislation that is actually being considered."

Later in the conversation, after I had repeatedly pointed out that the documents Senator Murkowski's claims were based on had nothing whatsoever to do with any legislation Congress has actually considered, came the admission:

"We are not talking about Waxman-Markey."

At this point, Mr. Dillon became openly angry and began shouting:

"It will never pass the Senate. It will never be introduced in the Senate. Don't you know how this works?"

Sadly, this tends to indicate that Dillon's belief that reporters are supposed to "listen to [him] and write down what [he says]" is one that's been instilled in him by reporters.

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