The Big Sky Public Policy Institute, a division of the Gideon Knox Group publishing organization, strongly repudiates the activist lawsuit of Montana press outlets against Rep. Barry Usher (R-HD40). One of Gideon Knox Group’s publications, the Montana Daily Gazette, is the #1 press outlet in Montana (by readership), surpassing that of the Billings Gazette, Missoulian, Bozeman Chronicle, Helena Independent Record, Great Falls Tribune, and other Legacy Press outlets. The Montana Daily Gazette is credentialed with the Montana Capitol.
We cannot more emphatically denounce the attempt by the Legacy Press (older, more established local outlets who are largely characterized by systemic bankruptcy of both the financial and moral varieties, as well as death-spiraling readership and influence) to deceitfully affect Montana’s legislative process through the press box.
On January 12, Chair of the Montana House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, Barry Usher, met privately with Republican legislators in a meeting that did not meet quorum, necessary to be considered an official meeting of state government. This is a common, ordinary, and time-established practice common to both Republicans and Democrats who desire to settle personal disputes in private rather than public. The measure is ordinarily not used to discuss policy, but ensure that time on the House floor is not spent diving into to petty personal disagreements and personality conflicts.
Nonetheless, 12 press outlets including the Associated Press, Billings Gazette, Bozeman Daily Chronicle, Helena Independent Record, Missoulian, Montana Standard, Ravalli Republic, Lee Enterprises, Hagadone Media Montana, Montana Broadcasters Association, Montana Newspaper Association and Montana Free Press filed a lawsuit against Usher for a supposed breach of Article II Section 9 of the Montana Constitution, which is widely called the “Right to Know Law.”
The Fake News outlets are represented by Peter Michael Meloy of the Meloy Law Firm in Helena. Considering that almost all of the outlets are going bankrupt, cutting staff, selling their property, consolidating their printing facilities, and being de-listed from the New York Stock Exchange for losing shareholders their fortunes (like Lee Enterprises, who is the most desperate of them all), one wonders how they have resources to file frivolous lawsuits.
However, their lawsuit against Usher is plainly an attempt at meddling in legislative affairs and overturning the will of the Montana people.
Article II Section 9 of the Montana State Constitution reads…
No person shall be deprived of the right to examine documents or to observe the deliberations of all public bodies or agencies of state government and its subdivisions, except in cases in which the demand of individual privacy clearly exceeds the merits of public disclosure.
Please note that the law specifically says that that “the deliberations of all public bodies…” is the requisite for the law’s effect.
The lawsuit stems from Montan Free Press reporter, Mara Silvers, a far-left reporter who specializes in liberal reporting, who tried to follow the Republicans into their private and non-public meeting. Usher excluded Silvers from the room, on the grounds that the number of Republicans did not meet quorum (because fewer than 10 Republicans were present out of a committee of 19).
Oddly enough, the Montana Free Press report on the lawsuit explicitly admits that the gathering did not meet quorum.
Why then is Montana’s Fake News corps suing Rep. Usher for a meeting they acknowledge is not an official meeting of state government? The answer is tragic.
In no uncertain terms, the Legacy Press has joined their Democrat colleagues in an attempt to use the courts to overturn legislation ostensibly and assumptively discussed in the closed-door meeting, which includes pro-life legislation the Democrats so desperately want to stop.
Montana’s Fake News cabal has not filed this suit to increase access to government affairs, but to stop legislation passed in the People’s House. This is precisely why the Montana Daily Gazette has so easily topped every other news outlet in the state. The people are tired of the legacy press’s commitment to the Democratic Party over and against reporting the truth.