Former Axios journalist Ben Montgomery crossed the line and was given the boot by his employer for calling a press release from Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis’s office “propaganda.”
Montgomery tried to explain his juvenile, partisan antics (antithetical to journalism) to Joy Reid on MSNBC but fell flat. He did slip up and give up the game when he said, “I was talking to my agent today about whether there was a book in this…”
JOY REID: There is a bullying aspect and a lot of trolling. They do a lot of Twitter trolling. They tried to bully my dear friend and colleague Andrea Mitchell for asking a question not even to DeSantis, to the Vice President, Kamala Harris. Did you experience, before this, any kind of bullying behavior from the DeSantis camp?
BEN MONTGOMERY: Look, I mostly write about fluffy kind of things. I cover the news, of course. I’ve been an investigative reporter for a long time but not with this administration.
By and large I have not had the opportunity to really do any kind of depth–in-depth reporting on a DeSantis administration. I’m not a person that they should be afraid of, I don’t think.
I’m not writing about them every day. I’m not digging deep, in other words. So yeah, but this was propaganda & it was a waste of my time.
That’s ultimately what I was saying to them. It’s wasting my time and it’s done in a clear vein of propaganda.
This is objectionably propaganda.
And I read the whole thing because I give them the benefit of the doubt because they work for the people of Florida.
And I want to do right by my readers.
And so when this wastes my time and it’s just propaganda, I feel like I have a right to say so.
And I feel like what Axios did to me has a chilling effect on the entire news media. It’s a very sad thing.
REID: Oh, it 100 percent does! It shows that bullying works. And that sends a message to every other journalist.
You put up a pretty a sort of fun tweet after this all happened. Saying that you made a quiche. What are your next plans?
MONTGOMERY: I was talking to my agent today about whether there was a book in this, and maybe there is.
Maybe it’s time that somebody isn’t afraid to stand up to DeSantis, write a true biography of him. So I might be the guy to do that we’ll see.
REID: Yeah, good luck. He has his military records, people have lots and lots of questions.
Maybe you can pull it off. Ben Montgomery, thank you man.
Really appreciate you being here and best of luck in whatever you do next.
— Alex Lanfranconi (@AlexLanfran) March 13, 2023