Political Columnist George Ochenski Speaks on His Departure from the Missoula Independent

by jhwygirl

Former Indy – now Missoulian – political columnist George Ochenski was guest today on Aaron Flint’s Voices of America statewide talk show this morning. Work unfortunately got in the way for life for me, but Northern Broadcasting does podcast Flint’s show. It’s in two segments, here and here.

That shift to the Missoulian took all of 5 days.

Flint gets to the Ochenski’s sudden and still unaddressed departure from the Indy immediately, and George tells it from his own words. It’s quite clear that editorial interference in Ochenski’s political writings were the heart of the matter. Flint asks “What really happened with the Missoula Independent?” George Ochenski responds:

“From my perspective, what happened is they hired a new editor that came in from out of state and literally started wading in on my columns. Restricting what I could write about – I couldn’t write about national or international issues anymore – just about Montana politics……

“He started cranking down on the scope of my writing, and then he started doing some, what I thought, were some really irresponsible edits. Changing my words. Putting titles on columns that I would never have put on there.”

Ochenski then cites a change in the title of a column from “Collaborators collision to “Hang the Collaborators,” explaining that he’d never advocate violence against those with whom he disagrees and another where a medical marijuana column Damned if you do had “Med pot court case could sway election” attached as a a subtitle. Ochencski explained that using the term “pot” for medical marijuana belittled the necessity of its use for those that need it.

Once that was out, Flint had a great long conversation with Ochenski, talking about the conservative reaction to Ochenski’s departure, his adventures up in the capitol, his non partisan (but liberal leaning) approach to political commentary – and even…well….testicles. So go listen to it.

A big thanks to Aaron Flint for bringing us a good interview. Hopefully he has Ochenski on again.

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