The truth about who hates the Independent, and why 

After a full decade of serving western Montana, you’d think that everyone would love us. After all, for 10 years we’ve dedicated ourselves unselfishly to reflecting the community as well as shaping it, to casting attention on Montana’s most prizable virtues, while shining the harsh light of scrutiny on its hidden evils. We’ve covered the region from every vector. And what do we get in return? A little praise, a bit of recognition, and some shiny objects given to us in lieu of payment.

That, plus enemies. Lots of enemies. When you make a policy of never giving up, never choosing your battles, never thinking things through and never accepting a compromise, you’re bound to wind up with some people not liking you. And we’ve done that in spades. Ten years’ worth of muckraking, fun-poking and truth-to-light-bringing has taken its toll on a few of our professional relationships, and it’s time we admitted it. There are people who refuse to carry our paper in their stores. People who decline to advertise with us. And plenty of people who won’t return our phone calls. But as the numbers roll over onto our 11th year in alternative journalism, while everyone around us is celebrating, we thought we’d own up to the fact that not everyone here likes us. To which we say, let’s make up. Let’s go out and have a few beers, off the record, and talk. Hopefully in another 10 years, you won’t find yourself on this list.
4B’s (all locations)
Refuses to allow the Independent to be distributed on premises, due to “corporate policy.”

Axmen South
Pulled its advertisements after our coverage of the Hells Angels police riots in August 2000.

U.S. Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.)
Has not returned a phone call from the Independent since 1997, though some of his lackeys have. Reasons for his silence have never been explained.

U.S. Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.)
Has never returned a phone call from the Independent since 1997, though some of his lackeys have if it’s an election year. Reasons for his silence have never been explained, but they probably have roots in the fact that our writers have described the senator as “a buffoon,” “embarrassing,” and “detestable,” among other things.

Coffee Cup Café
Refuses to allow distribution of the paper for reasons unexplained.

Grant Creek Inn
Asked to have the Independent distribution rack removed after our cover story on the Hells Angels police riots.

Lone Pine Conoco
Called for the removal of the Independent from its convenience store rack after a photograph of a naked male at the Rainbow Gathering appeared in our “Year in Photos 2000” issue.

Taco Bell (all locations)
Recently called for the removal of the Independent from all its franchises, due to “corporate policy.”

Wal-Mart (all locations)
Refuses to allow the Independent to be distributed on premises, due to “corporate policy.”

Dennis Washington, billionaire railroad magnate
Won’t return phone calls from the Independent.

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