by William Skink
Media criticism is more important now than ever, especially when so many members of more traditional media platforms have overtly chucked out any vestige of objectivity to fight whatever threat they use to rationalize their decision to let agendas take priority over journalistic objectivity.
The Missoula Current, an online cheerleader of development and gentrification in Missoula that masquerades as a news platform, has just compromised its disguise as an objective source of news by doing that thing you’re not supposed to do as a reporter or journalist: become the news.
When you click the link you will be taken to the latest installment of The Outer Limits reporting on the Brandon Bryant Affair. Their phenomenal coverage has included taking issue with how Martin Kidston, the creator of the Missoula Current, has reported on recent developments surrounding escalating tensions at public city council meetings.
The Outer Limits crew must have scored a direct hit, metaphorically speaking of course, with this post outing Martin Kidston as Missoula’s Gomer Pyle. This piece came on the heels of my contact with Martin Kidston after he claimed in an article about a City Council meeting that an individual made a public comment that allegedly included an assertion the individual also made a threatening video.
Kidston removed that part of the quote after the individual contacted Kidston and contested he said anything to that effect, a fact that is easily proven by watching the publicly available footage of the public meeting. For some odd reason Kidston didn’t take the step of reviewing this footage before possibly defaming a member of the public for allegedly doing something very similar to what Brandon Bryant is being accused of doing.
This is the backstory to the breaking news that Martin Kidston has successfully retaliated against the Outer Limits by aggressively pressuring KBGA to kick them off the air.
You will no longer be hearing The Outer Limits from 2-4pm on Saturday afternoons. If you would like to contact Gomer Kidston to let him know how much you appreciate his bullying tactics against his critics, here is his contact info:
Now, to shift gears slightly, I want to highlight another reason to NOT consider the Missoula Current a credible, objective source of local news, and that’s a recent blog post the Missoula Current asked Don Pogreba if it could reproduce about…IRONY WARNING…Fake News.
Long time readers of this blog know Don Pogreba is a partisan hack who rebranded his blog a few years ago to appear like a real journalistic endeavor instead of the partisan site it actually is. I wrote about that transformation of “Intelligent Discontent” into “The Montanan Post” here, including how each post USE to conclude with this appeal for money:
If you appreciate our efforts to hold Montana Republicans accountable and the independent journalism here at The Montana Post, please consider supporting our work with a small pledge. (emphasis added)
After bringing attention to this little tidbit of fake news–that The Montana Post solicited money on the false claim it produced “independent journalism”– Pogreba wisely changed it to this:
While still not totally accurate, it’s better than pretending they are independent journalists. Right, Don?
Now, I don’t want you to just take my word that The Montana Post is not considered a credible news source, so here is a quote from Rob Saldin from an edition of Montana Public Radio’s Campaign Beat a few years back. The emphasis is mine:
You know, there is one other element of this ad that I think is notable and that is pretty deceptive, actually. When it accuses Gianforte of gutting Medicare to enrich himself – which of course is not how he would describe his position on Medicare – but leaving that aside, the visual you see is of an apparent newspaper headline that reads, Gianforte guts Medicare to give himself massive tax break. Well, the source for that headline is the Montana Post, right? Which sounds like a credible news outlet, but it’s not. The Montana Post is one of the state’s most prominent political blogs. It’s authored by Don Pogreba, a progressive writer based in Helena. (Editor’s Note: The specific post in question was authored by Nathan Kosted) And his blog is very well regarded for what it is, and it has a wide following among those interested in Montana politics, but it operates just in a very different space than a newspaper that’s committed to objectivity and to nonpartisanship. But this ad presents it as an authoritative, dispassionate, journalistic source. Not quite.
Maybe Kidston doesn’t know that this “voice” he’s lending his platform to in order to call out “fake news” has itself been accused of misrepresenting its content as “independent journalism” when it is, instead, partisan political attacks and agenda-driven media criticism. I would text Gomer a link, but after reading the Outer Limits post, I’m not sure I want an alleged former marine coming after me with all his rage.
Hmmm, an angry Veteran who seems to be acting in a threatening manner, maybe the County Attorney’s office should consider throwing Gomer Kidston in jail in order to keep our community safe?
If you are interested in what entities financially support the Missoula Current through advertising, there is a handy list below. I’d like to specifically highlight Mountain Line, because it gets public money and has to adhere to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. This is from Mountain Line’s website:
The United States Department of Transportation ensures full compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, by prohibiting discrimination against any person on the basis of race, color or national origin in the provisions of benefits and services resulting from federally assisted programs and activities. Any person, who believes the Missoula Urban Transportation District (MUTD) has violated his /her Title VI protections, should contact MUTD at 406-543-8386 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. MUTD has also developed a policy to assist individuals who are Limited English Proficient (LEP). Translation services, in order to assist LEP individuals, shall be made available to MUTD’s customers upon request. MUTD’s Title VI policy, complaint procedures and LEP Plan shall be made available upon request by contacting the MUTD at the above-noted information. For Federal Title VI information, please contact the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), Region 8 at 720-963-3300. Federal Title VI information, including filing complaints, can also be accessed on the FTA web site at: http://www.fta.dot.gov.
Now, here’s the list of entities I would encourage anyone in Missoula to consider boycotting:
1st Security Bank
Clearwater Credit Union
Missoula Market Watch
Sterling CRE Advisors
Birkshire Hathaway (Home Services)
INK Realty Group
Annelise Hedahl Realty
Missoula’s Office City
Contract Design Associates
104.5 The U Radio
103.3 The Trail
Missoula Community Theater
Fish Window Cleaning
Painting With A Twist