Double Talk from a Right-Wing Publisher

Montanans have reacted with outrage to the lies being spread by the fake newspapers called the Montana Statesman and the deceptive mailers that arrived on doorsteps courtesy of the American Traditions Partnership.

But the reaction from Randy Rickman, the right-wing publisher of the Helena IR and Montana Standard looks more like jealousy.

Whatever his “reasoning” Rickman has decided to get into the double-talk game himself.

Last month, the Montana Standard and the Helena IR, the Lee Newspapers controlled by right-wing publisher Randy Rickman, sent letters [PDF] to democratic candidates saying they “decided not to endorse the statewide offices this year.”

This week however the Montana Standard endorsed Steve Daines for Congress.  

The letter reads:

Dear candidate:

The Helena Independent Record and the Montana Standard editorial boards has decided not to endorse the statewide candidate offices this year. However, we are going to provide space starting Sunday, Oct. 7, and going forward to candidates and their opponents to outline their vision and goals if elected. To that end, we would like you to submit a 450-word personal editorial outlining your goals. It will run adjacent to your opponent, but we insist that you not take the space to bash the opposition, rather promote yourself. If you have questions please feel free to contact me. Deadline is by 5 p.m. Wed., Oct. 3. Thanks for your attention to this matter.




12 Comments on "Double Talk from a Right-Wing Publisher"

  1. So by the IR’s terms, if your opponent is a cheat, proven liar, and still in the slammer for pederasty, and his character is the overarching issue of the campaign, you can’t call attention to these facts or quote the judge who handed down your opponent’s sentence. All in the name of making nice-nice.

  2. I posted this in the “On The Rocks” comments, but it applies even better here. The Montana Standard listed flawed bases for endorsing Steve Daines, including:

    “before returning to Bozeman to work at Rightnow Technologies for 15 years.” False. He returned in 1997 to work for his family’s development company. He was not part of the RightNow startup. He joined in 2000.

    “he helped RightNow grow to employ more than 1,100 people.” Misleading. All RightNow employees contributed to the business’ growth. Greg Gianforte, RightNow’s founder who is suing the Democratic Party, claims responsibility for that growth in his lawsuit. (“The Plaintiff started the business himself and grew it to over 1,100 employees in 15 years.”)

    “‘The only political office I ran for prior to this was student council president,’ he told our editorial board recently.” False. Daines was the 2008 Republican nominee for Lieutenant Governor and a 2010-2011 Republican candidate for the US Senate.

    “He obviously knows how to grow a business, and not just a small business, but one that is tech-savvy and has international ties.” Misleading. Repeats the claim that he grew RightNow. Suggests he knows how to grow a small business, but he has never started small business. Daines international ties for RightNow resulted from a 2006 Baucus-led trade mission.

    “Daines is also a bridge-builder. … [H]e obviously prefers to work across the aisle to accomplish goals.” False. He has never held public office and he has never demonstrated bipartisanship (e.g., attacking Governor Schweitzer).

    “You’ll be hard pressed to find any kind of attack ads by Daines about his opponents, either. He’s run a clean campaign and is focused on the issues.” False. This Daines advertisement is one example of his negative campaign against Gillan: It also documents that he is not a bridge-builder in that he demonizes Gillan along with Obama, complete with B&W pictures and ominous music.

    Either Daines or the Montana Standard was dishonest. Tell the Standard to retract their endorsement of Daines.

  3. Disgusting – if you can’t trust the publisher not to lie, how can you trust the reporting? The Billings Gazette and the Bozeman Chronicle are far superior papers.

  4. The IR needs to finally close its doors and stop hanging on to a paper that is operating under false pretences and lies. Rickman has been a definate contributing factor in its demise, and has proven to be a failure time and time again by blaming others for his mistakes! Rickman is roasted!

  5. It’s always fun to be on the receiving end of a “gotcha” (just ask your boss), but unfortunately once again it is only part of the story. The IR did not endorse and did publish the personal editorials on Sunday, October 7th. We did this at the IR for reasons that were outlined in an editorial. The personal editorials did not publish in The Montana Standard on October 7th because the editor, Gerry O’Brien decided to go ahead and make some endorsements. The Montana Standard didn’t have the same set of circumstances going on so he changed his mind (and that’s OK). I also noticed that you left out The Standard’s endorsement of Jon Tester. Picking and choosing material to attack seems to be a common thread on this site. It’s quite unbecoming but predictable. On another note, we have hired an Opinion page/community outreach editor that will start soon. At that time we’ll develop a community advisory board for the editorial page. If you want to get the whole story and be part of this group send me an email at

    • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | November 9, 2012 3:58 PM at 3:58 PM |

      “At that time we’ll develop a community advisory board for the editorial page.”


      A “community advisory board”?? What BULLSHIT! Yeah, that’s a great idea. What the hell ARE you, afraid to let ordinary folks write? You need a friggin’ board?? Is THAT why this site scares you so much?

      Free speech is a very dangerous thing in the wrong hands. It must be board certified!


      You’re so predictable, dude.

  6. What were the “different set of circumstances ” at the Standard that made it different than the IR? These papers have the same editor and the same publisher, which is you.

  7. But the IR did endorse, Rickman, it endorsed Tester. Well, if that spineless editorial was an endorsement, I mean. Double talk, more double talk. And Kathy nails it even before Rickman on throwing others under the bus. It’s just what he did to O’brien in his troll rant! Too funny and too predictable.

  8. Helena business owner | November 9, 2012 4:58 PM at 4:58 PM |

    Jekyll & Hyde – Double talk, double standards and double personality. Being a resident of Helena for over 20 years and owner of two reputable, established businesses, I have seen the IR decrease over the last couple of years among many businesses in the area have found alternative advertising methods, due to the bad reputation you have created throughout the community. Not to mention the over priced ad space and lousy sales team. Please tell us as a community why you continue to run the paper into the ground??

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