“As journalists, those of us who produce content for Lee Enterprises’ five Montana newspapers are firm believers in free speech. But free speech isn’t always without consequences or ramifications.”
And thus begins an Op-Ed by Jeff Welsh, the man currently running the newspaper monopoly in the State of Montana. Though not commonly known, Lee Enterprises owns and operates 5 Montana Newspapers, The Billings Gazette, The Montana Standard, Helena Independent Record, Missoulian and the Ravalli Republic.
This is why these papers, which have been plagued by lay-offs and decreased production over the years, even losing half their stock value in the last 5 months, all generally sound the same. They have one editorial spirit, and that is infused with a liberal, progressive bent that seemingly goes out of their way to uplift the ideals of the democratic party and not cover events unfavorable to them (Contrary to MDG, which is completely independent and unapologetically conservative.)
Welsh goes on to explain:
“Our pages on Facebook and Twitter have become landing pages for too many trolls, bots and content we’d never allow in print or in online stories. So starting this week, we’re committing to more rigid monitoring regardless of political persuasion or affiliation.
In addition to post hiding or bans for profane or obscene language and content, hate speech or bullying, personal attacks and content that promotes, fosters or perpetrates discrimination, we will also ban outright trolls.
In an effort to help limit such consequences Lee Montana has compiled a (lengthy) list of inappropriate words and phrases that will either be automatically removed or hidden.
Translation: too many people are talking about things we don’t like and challenging our narrative, so we’re going to label them as “trolls” engaging in “hate speech” in order to have an excuse to ban and silence them.
We reached out to Welsh to ask him what this “lengthy” list of words and phrases might be. If you’re like us you can guess a bunch of them, and it doesn’t take long to see that this is little more than a sad attempt to control a losing narrative and punish anyone who might have a countervailing opinion.