Axios has reportedly fired reporter Ben Montgomery after he referred to a press release about a Ron DeSantis Roundtable as “propaganda.”
Florida Department of Education communications director Alex Lanfranconi shared a screenshot online of Montgomery’s answer to a press release email, with the capture displaying a release titled, “Governor Ron DeSantis Hosts Roundtable Exposing the Diversity Equity and Inclusion Scam in Higher Education.”
“This is propaganda, not a press release,” wrote Montgomery in a brief email.
Lanfranconci’s post was reshared by DeSantis press secretary Bryan Griffin, who remarked, “This is modern journalism.”
.@AlexLanfran is our @EducationFL communications director.
A Tampa-based @axios "reporter" responded to a press release email with "this is propaganda, not a press release."
This is modern journalism. https://t.co/s3xDt75Ibl
— Bryan Griffin (@BryanDGriffin) March 13, 2023
“Today, Governor Ron DeSantis held a roundtable discussion on divisive concepts such as Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives, Critical Race Theory (CRT) and the impact that these concepts have had on Florida higher education institutions and the students that attend them. These concepts are in no way inclusive, and instead force exclusion and division within higher education, and do not in any way contribute to learning or knowledge; as such, no funding from hardworking, tax-paying Floridians, including the parents of higher-education students, should be spent on these divisive initiatives,” reads a press release on the event.
Ana Kasparian, who is a host on “The Young Turks,” reacted to the news, asserting that Axios is a group of cowards over its decision to fire Montgomery over his remarks. She read a statement by Axios editor-in-chief Sara Kehaulani Goo, which read, “This reporter is no longer with Axios. Out of respect for our employees, we do not discuss conditions of departure.”
Kasparian offered her own interpretation of the statement, saying it simply means that Axios affiliates chose to let Montgomery go because they are afraid of the DeSantis administration.
Montogomery’s firing was reportedly first revealed by Vanity Fair reporter Charlotte Klein, who wrote online about it Monday. The former Axios reporter appeared to make a joke out of the situation, replying to the post online, “Some personal news: I made crepes this morning for the first time in years. Strawberry compote and whipped cream. They were delicious.”
Fox News reported that Montgomery expressed he does not regret sending the email as it made his teenage daughters proud.