The Top 10 most viewed commentaries on the Daily Montanan for 2022

December 30, 2022 7:20 am

Photo illustration by Getty Images.

If Minnesota has 10,000 lakes, then Montana should be known for having at least that many opinions on any given subject.

Montana isn’t the type of place that is accustomed to biting tongues. It’s a full-throated kind of place where everyone weighs in. As such, the Daily Montanan continues to bring award-winning commentary and opinion pieces as part of its state coverage.

And would you lookee there? Montana’s longest running columnist, George Ochenski, has topped this year’s list of most read commentaries on the site. Here’s a list of the Top 10 most-read columns of 2022:

1. ‘A river runs through it … no longer’ by George Ochesnki

By now it’s becoming undeniable that mankind is not succeeding at mitigating the planetary consequences of our continuous and increasing pollution of Earth’s natural systems. From mountaintop to ocean shore to the upper atmosphere, the deleterious effects are stacking up and interacting in ways we seem incapable of understanding or positively influencing. And no, it doesn’t take a genius to see the changes all around us — just a firm grasp of the obvious.

For more, please continue to read here.

2. ‘A river of sewage’ by George Ochenski

The latest national “news” that extremely wealthy people are buying up Montana and the West was about as revealing to Montanans as telling us the sky is blue. We know, we live here, and we see it every day. While many laud the benefits of such economic activity, the very real consequences are stacking up – and nowhere is it more obvious than in the destruction of the world-famous Gallatin River that just turned neon green downstream from Big Sky for the fifth year in a row.

For more, please continue to read here.

3.’How far, how fast Montana’s reputation has fallen’ by George Ochenski

As most people know, building a good reputation doesn’t happen overnight. In the case of a state like Montana, it took a long time to become known as “The Last Best Place” — and we did it primarily due to the long-term care we took of our natural wonders.

Now, only one year after the GOP took over every statewide office, the Legislature, and governorship, Montana’s national and international reputation is on the ropes and going down thanks to the thoughtless, short-term, and brutal policies that have replaced long-term stewardship for the land, waters, and wildlife with which the Big Sky State was once famous.

For more, please continue to read here.

4. ‘Parents want to take back schools, but when did they ever leave?’ by Darrell Ehrlick

I have to give credit to the wonderful marketing job some politicians have done at creating a controversy out of nothing. That would perfectly describe the movement that urges parents to take back their schools.

To hear some worried politicians and aspiring school board members tell it: Communism, immorality and self-hatred have seeped deeply into the classrooms, textbooks and discussions, and our kids are being brainwashed by critical race theory.

For more, please continue to read here.

5. ‘Adding more grazing land so close to Yellowstone is bear baiting’ by Mike Garrity

Montana’s Paradise Valley is aptly named, sitting between two towering mountain ranges, it cradles the mighty Yellowstone River that flows from its headwaters in America’s first national park and provides critical habitat to the native species still present 200 years after Lewis and Clark’s expedition.

Yet, the Forest Service decided to expand cattle grazing on six allotments on the valley’s east side, including in a grizzly bear recovery zone.  It is a formula for destruction of native vegetation, sedimentation in cutthroat spawning streams, and dead wolves and bears – which is why Western Environmental Law Center is representing the Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Native Ecosystems Council, and other conservation groups in a lawsuit filed in federal district court in Montana on Sept. 12 to challenge the agency’s decision.

For more, please continue to read here.

6. ‘Let the cat out of the bag, governor’ by Darrell Ehrlick

On the day Yellowstone National Park turned 150, we learned that Gov. Greg Gianforte had celebrated in his own Gianforte way: By shooting a mountain lion out of tree – one that had been tracked for research by park scientists.

It turns out that our state leader was taking a break from his busy schedule of criticizing the Biden administration and carefully scripting meetings of fawning fans during the holidays to have hounds chase the lion, tree it, and then have Gunslinger Greg knock the collared cat right out of the tree.

For more, please continue to read here.

7. ‘Trump isn’t going to jail and that’s a good thing for Democrats’ by Bruce Ledewitz

Democrats are aware that the search of former President Donald Trump’s home by the FBI hurt the Party politically. This Aug. 17 headline from The New York Times, referencing the Inflation Reduction Act, says it all: President Takes a Bow, but Spotlight Stays on His Predecessor.

Yet, even with this knowledge, 88 percent of Democrats want Trump charged for fomenting the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Slightly over half of Democrats think he will be.

For more, please continue to read here.

8. ‘Grizzly bear expansion needs our welcome, not our weapons’ by Barrie K. Gilbert

When grizzly populations expand, they run up against more armed people.  This has resulted in unsustainable mortality for bears, especially where livestock graze on public land.
Many more grizzlies are ending up dead in recent years. Same for confrontations in elk hunting camps in the backcountry. Bears learn gunfire means dinner and they smell and approach gut piles where they’re frequently killed.
Is this the future or is there a solution?

For more, please continue to read here.

9. ‘The problem and solution to old, white men (as told by an aging white man)’ by Darrell Ehrlick

The problem with old White men is other old White men.

(And please, don’t bother pointing out that I am feeding into the stereotype by beginning a column with “the problem with …” a classic way for an old White man to begin a conversation. Old, White men just hate to be reminded that we’re sounding anything less than brilliant.)

For more, please continue to read here.

10. ‘Saving our state, one logo at a time’ by Darrell Ehrlick

I want to thank the Montana State Library Commission for … um … straightening out its logo.

Our state crisis has come to an end.

No, not COVID-19. Or housing. Or stagnant wages. Or healthcare. Or public education funding.

For more, please continue to read here.


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