To get to Arkansas from Philadelphia, you take 95 south to… you know what? I have no idea how you get to Arkansas from Philadelphia. I’d probably take a plane or just travel diagonally southwest until I got there.
But, if I somehow managed to hitchhike to Arkansas and was magically elected governor — hey, Bill Clinton did! — I would probably send out my press releases to any news organization who wanted to be on the email list. Since it wouldn’t be a big deal to simply add an email address to the list, I would more than happily to have my press staff add any newspaper, website, TV station or random dude who runs a blog to the list of my press releases.
Like, for example, I’d gladly have the Arkansas alt-weekly the Arkansas Times on my press office’s email list.
Then again, I’m not current Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who has refused to add the alt-weekly to the email list because they don’t consider it a legitimate news organization. According to the Arkansas Times‘ Arkansas Blog, the governor’s press spokeswoman, Alice Stewart, released this statement:
We don’t consider the Arkansas Times a news organization. By your own definition, you are a journal of politics and culture. As you said, there are hundreds of news outlets in the state and we don’t attempt to notify every one of them. The major news organizations are on our e-mail list and that’s the way it will continue.
Now, not being on an email list isn’t quite the biggest deal in the world. They could get the press releases off the website, although the blog says they’re not always posted in a timely fashion. Plus, the paper says it’s not being told when public press availabilities are going to happen. It’s unfortunate than an alt-weekly newspaper is being held off of it when adding it to an email list costs the state government of Arkansas nothing. And when it’s an actual newspaper with reporters and editors and people that cover state politics.
It just spikes of an unwillingness to give free and open information to those who want it. The Times has been filing Freedom of Information Act requests and all of them have been denied.
Gov. Huckabee’s office is being childish, amateurish and petty. Part of being a politician is dealing with sour coverage. Events that are free and open to the press should be free and open to all press, not just the ones that politicians feel they can deal with. Gov. Huckabee is quite a chickenshit. Now there’s some alt-weekly writing for you.
The governor’s office goes silent [Arkansas Blog]
National eyes on Huck’s action [Arkansas Blog]