A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Rural Blog: Bevin among group of prominent politicians using social media to bypass traditional reporters

Perhaps taking a cue from President Trump’s approach to the media, other politicians have followed suit with attacks on stories that don’t show them in a favorable light.

One such politician is Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, a Republican elected in 2015 who had never held a political office. Bevin has been ramping up his attacks on journalists, on Tuesday on Facebook Live referring to some as bugs, saying, “They make a lot of noise. They’re like cicadas,” Morgan Watkins reports for The Courier-Journal of Louisville.

“In recent months, the governor’s office has largely ignored requests for comment from some of Kentucky’s major news outlets, including The Courier-Journal, the Lexington Herald-Leader and [Louisville’s] WAVE3 News, choosing to go on social media or do radio interviews with friendly hosts instead,” Watkins writes. “Reporter Joe Sonka of Insider Louisville has even started a running tally of how many emails he and his colleagues have sent to Bevin’s spokespersons without getting a response.”

Bevin “also has publicly criticized several individual reporters after they wrote stories he disliked. He didn’t name names in his Facebook video on Tuesday, but he did single out The Courier-Journal and the Lexington Herald-Leader as newsrooms that ‘don’t actually seem to care about Kentucky’,” Watkins writes. “The reporters whose requests aren’t returned ‘are not serious journalists,’ Bevin said, adding that Courier-Journal subscribers are throwing their money away.”

Joel Christopher, The Courier-Journal’s executive editor, told Watkins, “Anytime a politician tells you not to read the work of watchdog journalists, it should raise a red flag. It’s like the circus magician telling you to watch his hands.”

Bevin “said voters are capable of making their own decisions about the information he and his administration provide without the filter of the media,” saying of Facebook Live, “There is nothing more transparent than live video, me talking straight to you. There is plenty of access. You will always be able to hear directly from me.”

* * * * * * * * * * * *

The Rural Blog is a digest of events, trends, issues, ideas and journalism from and about rural America, from the IRJCI, based at the University of Kentucky. The Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues is an extension program for rural journalists and news outlets. It takes no positions on issues and advocates only for strong news coverage, responsible commentary and things that make them possible, such as open-government laws. For more information see www.RuralJournalism.org.

Related Posts

One Comment

  1. Jack Kerley says:

    Politician used to lie though their mouths. Now they lie through their fingertips. I liked the old way, when reporters’ questions at least gave politicos a subject to lie about. And eyes to lie into.

Leave a Comment