More on Patrick and the press

Last week, I argued that our Deval Patrick's post-election courtship of the media contrasted unfavorably with Barack Obama's. In retrospect, I may have exaggerate Obama's willingness to cultivate the press as a whole; among other things, he's been surprisingly cool to the New York Times.

Still, Obama seems to know that it's better to build relationships with the media rather than needlessly antagonizing them--and, when he feels like it, can do so pretty smoothly. Whereas Patrick still seems oddly awkward when it comes to the Fourth Estate.

Consider, for example, Patrick's press availibility prior to last week's State of the Commonwealth speech, as described by the Patriot Ledger:

Gov. Deval Patrick invited the State House press corps to his office on the morning of his highly-anticipated State of the State address, a day after the Legislature granted him power to make sweeping budget cuts.

His staff laid out the ground rules: You can only ask the governor about the presidential inauguration, his speech and his mid-term record. Hot-button issues like transportation and the budget crisis would be off the table, they said, due to the governor’s tight schedule.

Before the roundtable-style meeting began, an Associated Press reporter objected to the format.

Patrick – who has had a somewhat rocky relationship with the media – leaned back in his chair and smiled, “OK, then,” he said. “Ask me anything you want.”

That is, you can ask, the governor doesn’t have to answer. The meeting lasted 45 minutes with Patrick answering most questions, but declining to answer several.
Strange. And not an approach that'll serve Patrick well as he seeks re-election.




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