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The Butte Daily Post
In January 1913, John Durston, long-time editor of the powerful Anaconda (Montana) Standard, reconstituted the Butte Inter Mountain as the Butte Daily Post, a seven-column, 16-page daily. National news filled the front page of the Post, often at the expense of local stories that might reveal the dominance of the paper's owner, the Anaconda Copper Mining Company, in state politics.
From 1914 to 1921, labor unrest dominated the pages of the Post. The paper condemned the activities of the Industrial Workers of the World and blamed striking miners for slowing the production of copper needed for the war effort. When Congresswoman Jeannette Rankin condemned the Anaconda Company for provoking turmoil in Butte, the Post retaliated with political attacks.
On June 9, 1917, the paper carried the horrific details of the Granite Mountain/Speculator Mine Fire--the worst hard rock mining disaster in American history. Labor unrest followed, and on August 1, several masked men dragged union activist Frank Little (1879-1917) from his hotel and hanged him from a rail trestle. A coroner's inquest failed to identify the killers. During the year after the Speculator disaster, some 67 men died in the mines, but the Post's coverage of these deaths was minimal. In 1921, the Anaconda Company instituted an open shop system, dealing a crippling blow to organized labor in Butte from which it would not recover for over a decade.
In 1924, the Anaconda Company worked to unseat progressive Governor Joseph Dixon. When the company's newspaper, the Butte Daily Post, ran stories critical of these efforts, Editor John Durston was reprimanded. Shortly after, Durston retired from the newspaper. Later in life, Durston lamented the failure of Montana journalism to illuminate the powerful forces as work in local and state affairs. The Butte Daily Post finally halted publication in 1961, when the newspapers owned by the Anaconda Company were purchased by Lee Enterprises.
Provided by: Montana Historical Society; Helena, MT