Op-Ed: Montana Free Press’ Insult Toward Montana Gazette Explains Why We Are Winning


In a recent article in the Montana Free Press, Amanda Eggert referred to the Montana Daily Gazette as a “polemical rightwing commentary site.” It’s the type of insult that one can expect from a journalism school graduate at a liberal public university (Eggert graduated from the University of Montana) toward mere bloggers, who everyone knows are on the lowest rung of society’s level of accomplishment. But her smarmy back-handedness aside, Ms. Eggert exemplifies why Montana Daily Gazette is now the state’s #1 online news publication.

Speaking of footage from Montana Gazette Radio (formerly Northwest Liberty News) hosted by James White, who is also the editor-in-chief of the Montana Daily Gazette, Eggert wrote…

In a video interview with “conservative news blog and video information website”Northwest Liberty News that appeared on the polemical right-wing commentary site Montana Daily Gazette, Manzella said a poll she conducted on social media about social media censorship factored into her decision to sponsor the bill. 

Of course, journalism school may prepare someone to write public interest stories in airline magazines and tourism publications, but seems to be inadequate training for real reporting. But what it does do, apparently, is prepare the student for a lifelong career of snobbery toward citizen journalists.

In reality, whether legacy press journalists like it or not, I’m the most cited journalist in Montana and have been quoted in everything from the New York Times to The Chicago Tribune to the UK Daily Mail, London Telegraph, and South China Sun. Our articles have been featured everywhere from The Today Show to the Rush Limbaugh Program to Newsweek. I’m sure that my lack of a journalism degree from UM means these career accomplishments are meaningless, so I digress.

After all, we are only a polemical right-wing commentary site.

And to that, I might argue, fair enough. I don’t fault Ms. Eggert for the claim. After all, we are polemical (I popularized the term polemics with the Gideon Knox Group’s Christian publications). That means, for those who don’t know, argumentative. And we are also right-wing; of this, there’s no question. We also provide commentary, usually with every article and sometimes in an op-ed, like this one. And finally, we are a “site,” much like the Montana Free Press.

The phrase, “polemical right-wing commentary site” is not an insult to me subjectively, even if Ms. Eggert meant it as one. To me, it’s just the kind of truth in advertising that has given the Montana Daily Gazette seven times the readership of the Montana Free Press (by Alexa web-rank).

What has made me guffaw at Ms. Eggert’s term is what I presume is a lack of self-awareness that is betrayed in that which is deduced from the expression. By deduction, I presume she is unaware that the Montana Free Press is a polemical left-wing commentary site. And by the way, if someone asked, I would tell them that the Montana Free Press provides reporting that is usually far-and-away better than the biggest publications in the state, including the Billings Gazette, Missoulian, Independent Record, and the Chronicle. On a personal level, I respect the attempt at journalism at her publication much more than that by state newspapers owned by Lee Enterprises or Adams Publishing Group.

Something here should be pointed out for the sake of transparency. The Montana Daily Gazette always has, from the beginning, advertised that our commentary is biased even though our facts are impartial. Facts, of course, have to be impartial by their very nature. We provide irrefutable facts in our reporting, always with hyperlinks to primary sources and with painstaking citations. However, our commentary is unapologetically derived from a Judeo-Christian and conservative worldview.

Her publication makes a special note that they want the gender-confused to apply, for example. Our publication makes a special note that they need not bother. To each their own, but let’s not act as though bias doesn’t exist in either publication.

It’s at this point that the J-School graduate might pounce, then insisting, “See, they’re not real news. They’re just a right-wing commentary site.” And here I object.

One of the reasons the Montana Daily Gazette is thriving, other than that we’re capable of real investigative reporting and journalism people actually care about, is that we are honest about our bias. On the other hand, the Billings Gazette, Flathead Beacon, Missoulian, Chronicle, and other statewide publications lean strongly left. The difference is, legacy press publications fraudulently claim to be neutral, and news consumers are rightly offended by the lie. It turns out, news consumers appreciate it when the publication is honest about their bias.

For example, claiming in a headline that legislation “targets trangender youth” is tantamount to bias, considering that “transgender youth” do not exist because no one has ever transitioned their gender in the history of man. It’s bias in the form of a presupposition, evident from the very title. Bias is unavoidable.

You tell me, which is the “neutral” news outlet in the United States? Is it Fox News or MSNBC? Newsmax or CNN? The New York Post or the New York Times? The Federalist or Huffington Post? Is it Zero Hedge or the Daily Beast?

There’s no such thing as a politically neutral news publication, no matter how much the Montana Free Press claims to be one. It doesn’t exist. Everyone has biases. Some just have gile, while others don’t.

But while Montana’s mainstream media and their blogging acolytes insist on refraining from referring to Montana Daily Gazette as news, we repeatedly – day in and day out – route them on important news stories, breaking important story after important story that the readers want to know about. We are doing the investigative reporting (consider this article on Drenda Niemann from earlier today) and deep-dive research (consider this article about the funding sources of the Montana Public Health Institute, also from earlier today) that the legacy press can’t be bothered to do. In just the last few weeks, we have reported major stories that the lazy and biased legacy press won’t even look into (even though we have emails of their readers requesting it).

For example, we broke the story last week of the federal government using three armored troop carriers, 30 federal vehicles, and a helicopter to confiscate guns in the Flathead Valley from someone they released without charging three days later. A few days ago, we broke the story of a Lewis & Clark health official who was removed from an establishment by the police for yelling profanities at customers without masks and the employees who refused to remove them. Despite there being police reports of the incident, the kids with journalism degrees refused – and still refuse – to report the matter.

Whether or not you like the style of reporting coming out of Montana Daily Gazette, the fact is, we have the facts. The facts are always irrefutable. But what makes our publication successful is that readers can always determine where facts and opinions intersect. With legacy press outlets, however, there is a blurring of those two matters that makes distinguishing between the two next to impossible. Their opinions are not as blunt, but they’re weaved into the fabric of each article in a symbiotic relationship betwixt the two. This makes their reporting wildly unreliable, and news consumers know it.

Meanwhile, supply-and-demand is an incontrovertible law of Capitalism that works with journalism as well as textiles or manufacturing. In short, there is a low supply of honest but conservative news in Montana, so people have to come to Montana Daily Gazette to get it. On the other end of the spectrum, there is a plethora of supply for liberalized, biased news written by progressives. Therefore, the demand for what the legacy press does is dwindling and they’re going bankrupt accordingly.

– Jordan Hall, Publisher at Montana Daily Gazette

[Publisher’s Note: I have seen some very good reporting come out of Montana Free Press that is above and beyond the quality commonly seen in most legacy press outlets. Furthermore, I do not know Ms. Eggert but she seems like a lovely human being and I wish her very well with her endeavors]


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