I have some more on this story. I say ‘more’ because Reptile Dysfunction also took notice of this fight, and wrote a short piece on it.
Hell, the writer of that site has been noticing Missoula media shenanigans for over a decade. We’re lucky he chooses to write about them.
Anyways, the whole story revolves around this tiny article from UM News that ran on Missoula Current on Thursday.
I first noticed the fight when Brock Lowrence tweeted out that people should take a look.
So I took a look.
Right away I noticed that Martin Kindston was in the mix, and that meant I had to log out of my Twitter account to see his tweets.
You see, he blocked me on Twitter about 3 years ago.
After logging out I was able to see the whole mess, and get screenshots of it.
Here’s the screenshots of what happened:
Oh, I love it!
Here we have the ‘cream of the crop’ when it comes to Missoula reporters.
Boy, they sure hate each other, don’t they?
Let’s get into some explanations.
First of all, Martin Kidston has very thin skin when it comes to criticism about his site or his methods. But we’ve known this for years - it’s one of the main reasons he chose to disable the commenting section on his site; one of the main reasons he blocks lots of people from commenting on the Current’s Facebook posts.
We see this thin skin quite clearly in the reply he gives to Dan Brooks when Brooks says the article looks like a press release:
“It is a press release. Clearly says so, just like your former Lee Enterprise employer does every day. What did you do with your day other than troll? We don’t really care or want to know.”
I think Kidston took a little offense to the tweets that said his story resembles a press release.
I’m not sure why this offends him, as many times he does have stories that sound like press releases. Many times he gives the Democrats very favorable coverage as well, and this should make sense - a decade ago he was the Montana Democrats’ press secretary.
I went ahead and looked at Dan Brooks’ tweets for the day and the day before that - I didn’t notice any trolling. So that was clearly a knee-jerk reaction from Kidston at his being challenged.
I don't know why Kidston got so offended at Brooks, who used to write for the Missoula Independent before Lee Enterprises closed it down.
Later on in the exchange, Brooks asks “where does it say the article is a press release?”, but Kidston chose to ignore him.
I didn’t see any labeling of the UM News article as a press release when I checked. Missoulian reporter Dillon Kato also made that observation.
At that point Kidston was glad to go after Kathy Best. She’s the editor of the Missoulian, and she waded into this exchange (a short time later, the former editor of the Missoulian - Sherry Devlin, who now works for the Current - got into it too).
Kathy Best getting into it really tipped Kidston over the edge.
“Sorry things are so miserable down there,” he says to Best in regard to the Missoulian offices, and then later, “It’s really a shame you all have stooped so low. In 20 years I’ve never seen local reporters attack their peers the way you are now. You all have now truly hit rock bottom. And the funny thing is you still think you’re superior to the rest, as if you don’t print press releases.”
I think we have it right there - Kidston feels the Missoulian views itself as superior to his news blog, er...site.
That’s kind of how Reptile Dysfunction and I feel about Kidston’s views about us.
Personally, I’ve noticed that Martin Kidston and his Missoula Current are blowing the Missoulian away.
Many days I’ll see the Current put up an article, and then that night or the next day the Missoulian will have almost the exact same story.
Clearly, Kidston is hitting it out of the park when it comes to beating Lee Enterprises. I think that pisses off Kathy Best. Her paper is doing a terrible job. I rarely click on their articles anymore.
Now, we’ve profiled all of these folks before. I’ve been writing on this site longer than the Current has been operating, and longer than Best has been in town. William Skink at RD has us all beat.
It’s kind of fun to see them all pissed at each other, but a bit troubling too.
We’re lucky we have the Missoula Current because they have stories the other media sites miss. At the same time, they’re terribly biased towards Democrats and the local government here.
The Missoulian used to be a really good paper, but then online news exploded and the paper’s profits plummeted. Since then the corporate mindset has been to cash out what the paper has left for the company executives in Iowa. Missoulians suffer because we don’t know what’s fully going on in our community.
I can understand why they get mad at each other. Kidston never would have started the Current if he didn’t leave the Missoulian in disgust over three years ago.
Anyways, I thought I’d bring this little tiff to your attention.