National eyes on Huck's action against us | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, April 27, 2006

National eyes on Huck's action against us

Posted By on Thu, Apr 27, 2006 at 3:04 PM

The most-read blog on the Internet, Daily Kos, focuses on Gov. Mike Huckabee's decision to cut the Arkansas Times off its press release list:

Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, considered a rising star in Republican politics and a possible future presidential candidate, is obviously a quick study in the meta-GOP game of petty revenge and restricting access of information to the public (a double play!). ...

The larger issue, of course, is not missed by the Arkansas Times, which notes: "The governor has decided to punish us for our opinions by withholding a publicly financed service." Yes, taxpayer money goes to fund a press office, which holds a responsibility to keep Arkansas residents informed of the governor's schedule, policy proposals and stands on legislative action. The burden is not on an outlet to "prove" its legitimacy; it's on the governor's office to make sure as many citizens as possible are aware of what their state government is up to.

The respected national journalism blog Romenesko also has an item about this episode.

UPDATE FROM MAX: We made a series of FOI requests to the governor's office related to news releases and mailing lists. The governor's lawyer, Milton Fine, has denied them all. Suffice it to say we think our legal position is more meritorious. We think legal precedents make it clear that "working paper" exceptions do not apply to the likes of mailing lists. We don't think it is a sufficient response to an FOI request to refer us to a website that has not always been updated in a timely manner, particularly as to such things as notice of press availability. He has imposed obstacles on us on account of our opinions. He is doing it with the public's money. We believe it's not legally justifiable. We're sure it's a stark example of the governor's pettiness. Not that more were needed.

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