But I don’t.
I keep going, even though many times I wonder, 'what's the use?!?'
I do this because I care.
I care about making this world a better place for common citizens that are working hard and just can’t seem to get ahead.
So each day I come here and write a little something about the problems we face.
Many others do that as well, and most of the time they have much larger platforms than I.
- These are people like John Adams, a hard-hitting reporter that worked here for a decade before moving on.
- They’re people like Mike Dennison, who continues to work each day chipping away at the hard stories to get us our nuggets of truth.
- Also represented are bloggers like James Conner or Jackie Brown or Pete Talbot, people that get us stories of truth in their own special way.
We’ve lost another one of those people, however, as it was made aware to me last night that James DeHaven is no longer in Montana.
Yep, James DeHaven is now working at the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Tribune Publishing owns the paper, and I see that they have a share price of $17 compared to the share price of $3.70 for Lee Enterprises.
I bet that means the company can pay its reporters better, and probably has a higher opinion of news as well, not just pop-up advertising.
In fact, Tronc – as they’re known – is the third-largest newspaper group in the country…though the Great Falls Tribune’s parent company, Gannett, still beats them out.
Lee Enterprises is the fourth-largest newspaper group in the country, but they have terrible finances and here in Montana we can see firsthand what this has done to reporting.
I thought they had a good reporter in DeHaven, but alas, he’s moved on.
Well hell’s bells…let’s get to the bottom of this!
DeHaven’s DPHHS corruption story came out on September 11.
Then on September 15 the IR announced that city reporter Jesse Chaney was moving up to editor.
We also learned that David McCumber of Butte’s Montana Standard would be moving up to central Montana regional editor for Lee Enterprises.
When this article came out Chaney said that “no immediate changes are planned” and that he’d “want to put plenty of thought into decisions that would affect news coverage.”
Chaney then goes on to say that “we are in the information business, not the paper business, so readers should expect to see our news product expand.”
Personally, I think it’s a little hard to get people information when you lose one of your star reporters, and I also think it’s a little hard to expand your product as well.
Now, why did DeHaven leave?
I asked him today if he’d like to get anything off his chest in regards to this story, but honestly…I’m not expecting a response.
So I’ll just go ahead and speculate on that today.
I’m sure some people won’t like that.
I feel James DeHaven's departure could have gone down a few different ways:
First, DeHaven could have been forced out over his stories about DPHHS corruption.
If you look on Twitter you’ll see that DeHaven hasn’t sent out a tweet since September 11.
On that day he tweeted his story about the corruption involving Montana Democrats and the Montana Department of Health and Human Services.
That story earned DeHaven the contempt of Montana Democrats, though he’d earned it before.
April was the first time the Montana Democratic mouthpiece blog, MT Cowturd, directed their derision at DeHaven.
They chose to shed their anonymity for that, going with Justin Robbins for the post.
It was Robbins that also wrote the second derisive post against DeHaven, which I profiled in my own post, Democrats Shoot the Messenger…Again.
That was just a couple weeks ago, and then we saw two days ago that DeHaven decided to leave Montana.
Maybe the Montana Democrats pulled some strings and got rid of him that way. They really took offense to that story, saying it was “a study in shoddy journalism” and full of “vague allegations.”
Maybe the Democrats riled things up so much that the newsroom was shuffled and DeHaven was unceremoniously shown the door.
Second, DeHaven could have been digging into the rumors of the governor’s affair.
This is what one of the anonymous Democratic twitter accounts said last night, and it’s the only reason I caught on to this story in the first place.
You’ll remember that I speculated that DeHaven could be one of the reporters sitting on the affair story…as the woman who called me in June claimed.
Was he…and was he close to finding something?
You might also remember that AP reporter Bobby Calvan left his position in Helena a couple of months ago.
At the time I believed he’d perhaps stumbled onto something, but in an effort to cover that up, Bullock offered him a job at the Democratic Governor’s Association.
I don’t know if that’s true or not, but it seems like something our wily and corrupt Montana Democrats would do.
Remember, covering up the affair story and all talk about it is the most important thing for Montana Democrats to do at this point, about 40 days before the election.
It's even more important than the issues...whatever they are.
If some real dirt were to come out on that, wow…goodbye Bullock.
Still, I have to say…I don’t think DeHaven found anything, and I’m saying that with the full knowledge that if he had found anything, it would have been scrubbed just as the IR scrubbed their story about it in June.
I think DeHaven would have run into the same problems I did – no one wants to talk.
Third, DeHaven could have been working with the Montana GOP.
Justin Robbins postulated this in that tweet of his on September 24, one that I didn’t see until yesterday.
“Am I right that you were fired from the IR?” Robins asks. “I understand it had to do with unethical collusion with the GOP.”
DeHaven says this was not the case, that he “just took another job.”
Of course, to my way of thinking, blind-to-reason Democrats like Justin Robbins will always see conspiracy around every corner in their paranoid view of the world.
To folks like that, any kind of questions about Democrats – whether negative or otherwise – will be deemed a threat…especially this close to the election.
The fact that DeHaven did his job as an investigative journalist was seen as detrimental to Montana Democratic interests, and you can only conclude it’s because they have something they want to hide.
Whether it’s an affair or corruption at the DPHHS, they don’t want to talk about it and they sure don’t want any reporters asking questions and then writing up their findings.
Those are threats, threats that could cost Bullock his second term.
So the bashing and character assassination and tearing-down takes place, as this is about all the Democratic Party has left in its toolbox when people begin to see through the lies.
Update: This tweet was sent out around noon to corroborate this angle.
Fourth, DeHaven could have been frustrated and quit.
We know that the IR’s last editor, Greg Lemon, left the job in January to work for FW&P. Could DeHaven been vying for that position, but then when he was passed over, did he quit in frustration?
It’s possible…but I don’t find it likely. DeHaven was only at the paper since January 21, which didn’t give him a lot of seniority, or knowledge of Helena.
We know that Greg Lemon left on February 14, so it’s a good bet that Lemon made the decision to bring DeHaven on board in the first place, perhaps with some consent from Tyler Miller, the regional publisher for the IR and the Montana Standard.
Maybe when Lemon left DeHaven saw an opening. Montana Democrats would probably like us to believe he’s cunning and backstabbing and always on the up-and-up…but I believe that describes them more than a reporter from Nevada.
No, I just don’t buy this DeHaven-quitting-angle, myself. If he were to grow frustrated and quit because of it, I feel it would have been because of the Montana Democrats.
- First, they hate the guy.
- Next, they’ll never talk with him or answer questions because of that, making it impossible for him to do his job.
- Finally, in the face of the anti-sunshine environment that Montana Democrats have created in the state, I feel DeHaven would just say something to the effect of, ‘what’s the point?’
Fifth, DeHaven just wanted to move on.
Maybe it was time to say goodbye to Montana.
Winter is coming, and DeHaven already caught the tail-end of it at the beginning of 2016.
Maybe the thought of another one was too much. After all, he’d been in Nevada for a time.
Perhaps Montana never really grew on him…the small towns and cities, the lack of things to do, the smaller social scene.
It could be that he wanted more money, and perhaps in California they can pay him more.
Honestly, this seems the most plausible – that he just wanted to move on. I figure that there were many reasons, and we might have listed some of them.
The animosity directed his way by Montana Democrats was surely a factor, in my opinion.
I said it two weeks ago about DeHaven’s DPHHS corruption story – where there’s smoke there’s fire.
Well, we won’t be seeing those flames now, as the man that pointed out the smoke to us is gone.
And maybe the Democrats are right – maybe there is no corruption, just as there may be no affair.
It’s just that we don’t know, and when humans don’t know about something, they guess at it and ponder and speculate and ask questions and spread rumors and gossip.
That’s what not knowing does.
Montana better get ready for more of that, as we just lost another quality reporter.
I’m getting sick of writing these posts about reporters leaving the state or getting fired from their jobs.
When will it end…or will it?
Maybe this is the new normal, with less news and more advertising and a quick showing-of-the-door when reporters occasionally remember what it was they were trained for.
DeHaven knew what he was trained for, and it wasn’t doing parlor tricks for either of the major political parties in the state.
He was trained for hard-hitting journalism that gets at the truth of the problems facing us so we can better our lives.
Now that’s gone, and it will be missed.