Darrell Ehrlick

Recent Posts

Prairie Lights: Op-ed defense of Daines aims low, falls flat


I know my colleague David Crisp has already written about Sen. Steve Daines’ role in silencing Sen. Elizabeth Warren on the floor of the Senate, but David’s piece was published on Wednesday. That same day, state Rep. Jeff Essmann of Billings, chairman of the Montana Republican Party, also wrote about the Daines-Warren incident in an op-ed for the Billings Gazette. Essmann’s piece was so crowded with misstatements and misleading information that it demands a response. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Gazette says ‘no comment’ to online readers

The Billings Gazette on Tuesday shut the spigot on the firehose of public comments that had marked its online edition for years. The decision to kill public comments was announced in a Sunday column by Editor Darrell Ehrlick. He gave readers until Tuesday to respond. More than 200 did before the comments section went dark on Tuesday. Ehrlick wrote, “What began as a noble experiment in conversation has been mired in name-calling, epithet and trolling.” He noted that National Public Radio also recently ended reader comments on its website and said that other newspapers are following suit. Continue Reading →

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Story spills the beans on former Missoulian editor


The Missoula Independent is reporting some details about the Missoulian editor who resigned earlier this week, after being suspended for bringing a gun to work. From the sounds of it, Matt Bunk’s brief tenure at the newspaper was such a disaster that his showing up in the newsroom packing heat gave the powers that be an opportunity to get rid of him with little fear of being sued again. Here’s the key paragraph: “Current staffers and former reporters who spoke with the Indy this week describe a newsroom that was nearing revolt against an editor who they say bullied reporters and routinely threatened their jobs during disagreements. Some say they expected further resignations, or even a walkout, had Bunk been permitted to return.” Much of the blame lies with Missoulian Publisher Mark Heintzelman, who hired Bunk seven months ago after demoting longtime editor Sherry Devlin, who later resigned and sued the newspaper for wrongful discharge. Continue Reading →

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Bishop’s letter to parishioners hammers Gazette editorial


Catholic parishioners all over Eastern Montana are expected to find a letter from Bishop Michael Warfel in their Mass bulletins this Sunday, harshly criticizing a recent editorial in the Billings Gazette. The letter, dated Aug. 17 and signed by Warfel, bishop of the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings, takes the Gazette to task for what Warfel calls “an incredibly erroneous opinion piece” that ran last Sunday. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Prairie Lights: Don’t blame Lee’s bad moves on the Web


I suppose it’s still possible that Billings Gazette editor Darrell Ehrlick, in his Sunday column, will formally salute Chuck Johnson and Mike Dennison, the two experienced reporters whose last day as employees of Lee Enterprises was Friday. With more than 70 years of reporting experience between them, Lee’s Capitol bureau team certainly deserved a proper send-off. But because Lee treated them so shabbily, and because it seems to believe that closing the bureau is merely a cosmetic change in the way it covers the news, a proper tribute seems most unlikely. (more…) Continue Reading →

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‘Dark money,’ free speech and a long way to go


In a routine Sunday column about things the Montana Legislature did right in the recent session, Billings Gazette Editor Darrell Ehrlick wrote this sentence: “Free speech is not the right to say anything to anyone without having to sign your name to it.”

Actually, the right to say anything to anyone without having to sign your name to it is pretty much the definition of free speech. That’s why questions about campaign spending have become so tortured in Montana and in the nation as a whole. (more…) Continue Reading →

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From the Outpost: Looking for the ever-elusive truth


Truth can be slippery, as last week’s news showed. Sometimes, the truth comes without relevant facts. In his Sunday column, Billings Gazette editor Darrell Ehrlick noted the decline of press coverage of the federal government in Washington, D.C. It’s a common, and worthy, complaint. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Guest edit: The truth hurts—now, let’s work on downtown

I am of course aware of Billings Gazette editor Darrell Ehrlick’s column and some of the conversation downtown. Ehrlick’s description of downtown Billings on Black Friday, Nov. 28, was unfortunately true. One of my associates and I also noticed most of the problems Ehrlick mentioned around our office that day. (more…) Continue Reading →

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