(Jacob Bruns, Headline USA) The online news source Axios recently fired a reporter for calling one of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s recent press releases “propaganda,” the National Review reported.
The press release in question summarized the discussions at a round table held by DeSantis and his administration regarding the status of diversity, equity, and inclusion, along with Critical Race Theory in Florida’s state colleges.
Ben Montgomery, the recently fired Tampa Bay reporter for Axios, suggested that DeSantis and his administration are engaged in the creation of fake news: “This is propaganda, not a press release,” he wrote in an email to the Florida Department of Education.
In response, Alex Lanfranconi, the department’s director of communications, posted Montgomery’s email on Twitter:
This afternoon, Tampa based @axios journalist @gangrey decided to respond to our press release with the below. pic.twitter.com/XkL5nBwZSs
— Alex Lanfranconi (@AlexLanfran) March 13, 2023
Axios editor-in-chief Sara Kehaulani Goo confirmed the subsequent rumor of Montgomery’s firing in a recent interview.
“This reporter is no longer with Axios,” she wrote. “Out of respect for our employees, we do not discuss conditions of departure.”
Montgomery tweeted his response to his firing: “I made crepes this morning for the first time in years,” he wrote.
In the alleged piece of “propaganda,” DeSantis and company noted that they plan to continue dismantling DEI and CRT programs at state colleges, much like they have sought to do at Sarasota’s New College of Florida with the help of investigative journalist and NCF board member Christopher Rufo.
“In Florida, we are not going to back down to the woke mob, and we will expose the scams they are trying to push onto students across the country,” DeSantis reportedly said at the roundtable meeting.
The state also will consider prohibiting “state colleges and universities from funding DEI programs,” while eliminating “general education courses that distort historical events or that use instruction from CRT and establish new standards and adoption procedures for these courses,” the roundtable report noted.
“Florida students will receive an education, not a political indoctrination,” DeSantis declared.