Home » Axios Caves To DeSantis, Fires Reporter

Axios Caves To DeSantis, Fires Reporter

Pulitzer Prize-nominated Ben Montgomery, a Florida reporter for many years, said he was fired from Axios for describing a DeSantis’ Department of Education email as “propaganda.”

Montgomery replied immediately to the email after reading the 800-word tome, “this is propaganda, not a press release,” he wrote to the Department of Education press office.

Soon after, Montgomery was flamed on Twitter by DeSantis comms director Alex Lanfranconi, to fuel online attacks against him.

Montgomery told TPM he was then contacted several hours later by Axios executive editor of local news Jamie Stockwell, who asked if he did indeed send the email reply.

“She started immediately by asking if I could confirm that I sent that email, and I did immediately confirm it,” he continued. “She then sounded like she was reading from a script, and she said … ‘Your reputation has been irreparably tarnished in the Tampa Bay area and because of that, we have to terminate you.’

Responding to Talking Points Memo’s inquiry, “This reporter is no longer with Axios,” Kehaulani Goo said. “Out of respect for our employees, we do not discuss conditions of departure.”

Montgomery told TPM, “This sort of thing has a chilling effect. Nobody wants to have their life disrupted by this machine,” Montgomery said in a phone call on Wednesday evening. “They call it ‘media accountability,’ and it is not that. It’s meaner than that and more personal and affecting. … It has a quieting effect, and that’s a shame. It’s sad for democracy and sad for all of us.

DeSantis, like Trump before him, attacks the free press every chance he gets to whittle away actual reporting on his governorship and his possible run at the presidency.

The Florida governor only wants fawning Fox News-type coverage.

Axios acted in about as cowardly as a news organization could in this instance. DeSantis now knows he can dictate how he wants to be covered.

The Washington Post reports, “The reaction in the newsroom has been a mix of sadness for losing a colleague and fear that something similar could happen to them, according to a person familiar with internal meetings who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal exchanges.”

The Axios firing also was meant to scare every reporter in Florida to tread lightly on DeSantis’ woke agenda nonsense.

Will any Florida media outlet refuse to be jackbooted?


March 2023