First Rule of Journalism: Never Admit You're an Obnoxious Lib (Even Though You Are)

Axios fires reporter over snarky email to DeSantis press office

March 16, 2023

What happened: Axios fired a reporter who replied to a press release from the office of Gov. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.) and denounced it as "propaganda."

Details: The Florida Department of Education emailed reporters on Monday to highlight the governor's participation at a "roundtable exposing the diversity equity and inclusion scam in higher education."

• The Tampa-based reporter, Ben Montgomery, replied to the department press office, writing: "This is propaganda, not a press release."

Context: Journalists and other obnoxious liberals don't like DeSantis because 1) He's a Republican, 2) He might prevent former president Donald Trump from winning the presidential nomination in 2024, and 3) He thinks schools should educate students to become productive members of society, rather than bully them into becoming a bunch of identity-obsessed grievance-mongers.

Be smart: Most people become journalists because they are committed ideologues who want to take down Republican politicians and fight back against right-wing propaganda (by regurgitating Democratic Party propaganda). Most of them know better than to come out and admit it in an email to their political enemies.

• Alex Lanfranconi, communications director for the Florida Department of Education, posted a screen shot of Montgomery's email on Twitter less than an hour after it was sent.

• "Is this journalism?" DeSantis deputy press secretary Jeremy Redfern wrote in response. (It is not.)

• Montgomery was reportedly fired that same day.

What they're saying: "This reporter is no longer with Axios. Out of respect for our employees, we do not discuss conditions of departure," Axios editor-in-chief Sara Kehaulani Goo said in a statement.

• "Perhaps he should have considered being a journalist, not an activist or propagandist," wrote DeSantis aide Christina Pushaw in response to news of Montgomery's termination.

• "What the hell is wrong with you Axios? You can’t cave to authoritarian politicians this way, it sets a terrible precedent," argued Twitter user @EcoSexuality in response to Tommy Vietor, the Obama podcast bro, who described the outlet's decision as "pathetic."

What he's saying: In an interview with Talking Point Memo, Montgomery described his firing as a "sad day for democracy." He expressed no "regret" about sending the email, which was prompted by his disgust at the "coded" and "racially coded language" in the press release, and predicted significant "blowback" for his former employer. "This is going to suck for Axios," he said.

House of carbs: Montgomery consoled himself by making crepes for breakfast with strawberry compote and whipped cream. "They were delicious," he tweeted.

A bad week for Smart Brevity™: The firing occurred the same day former Axios reporter Lachlan Markay, a Washington Free Beacon alum, was vilified on social media for describing Meg White of the White Stripes as a "terrible" drummer. He has since apologized.

Bottom line: Learn to code.