photo: wiki commons
The following blurb from Carla Marinucci in the San Francisco Chronicle, is a classic example of how not to treat the press when running for public office.
“GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, who has been criticized for sidestepping news reporters’ questions, took heat Tuesday after she called the media to an “open” campaign event – then barred reporters from accompanying her on a tour of Oakland’s port and refused to take their questions.
Whitman appeared at Union Pacific Railroad’s office in Oakland after her campaign invited reporters to cover a “discussion” of her views on trade, jobs and the economy. A media advisory said the event for Whitman, which was to include a tour of Union Pacific’s intermodal facility, was “open to the media.”
Instead, reporters were herded into a holding room while Whitman toured the facility. Sarah Pompei, the candidate’s spokeswoman, said they were not allowed to accompany the former eBay executive on the tour because Union Pacific officials “did not want that to happen” and had barred the media.
Pompei invited reporters to listen to Whitman’s discussion with rail officials on “how she can be helpful as governor” on issues like jobs. But Pompei said reporters would not be allowed to ask questions because the candidate was pressed for time.
A Union Pacific spokesman, Aaron Hunt, appeared to contradict Pompei – telling The Chronicle that the company had always expected media to attend Whitman’s tour – and in fact, welcomed coverage.”-SF Chronicle
So they said the event was open, only to confine reporters to “a holding room” (oh, that’s a beauty) and then blamed the railroad when, apparently, it wasn’t the railroad’s idea?
If that’s what happened, then the campaign achieved a double-whammy of both alienating the press and leaving execs at the Union Pacific scratching their heads wondering why the Whitman campaign left them holding the bag for a bad decision they didn’t make. I’d say it was impossible if I hadn’t been in similar situations myself, although at this moment I am having difficulty remembering anything quite so misguided.
Whitman, it appears, needs to sit down with her staffers and work things out.