Journalism review features Tom Cotton's press dodging. They couldn't get comment either. | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Journalism review features Tom Cotton's press dodging. They couldn't get comment either.

Posted By on Thu, Jul 20, 2017 at 3:01 PM

IN REVIEW: Tom Cotton's treatment of local reporters.
  • IN REVIEW: Tom Cotton's treatment of local reporters.

Columbia Journalism Review, in a new piece
 by Trudy Lieberman, gives a searching look at Sen. Tom Cotton's general avoidance of questions by local media about a leading issue of the day, health legislation.

Cotton’s media strategy has made it difficult for local news outlets to offer his constituents any substantive thoughts from their senator on potential changes to their health coverage, or on his role in shaping an Obamacare replacement.
Well, yeah. Among those who were critical of the senator was the writer of this blog, though I thought I was relatively understanding of my special status. I'm on the darkest end of Cotton's blacklist as a critic of his politics. He won't talk to me. He won't talk to anyone who works for the Arkansas Times, no matter how straight the reporter. His taxpayer-paid staff won't respond with even a prepared statement to the most innocuous question. Other reporters might get a prepared statement now and again. Real interviews are rare, mostly to be found on the Sinclair-owned KATV in Little Rock. National conservative media — Hugh Hewitt, Laura Ingraham — are also favored. The article notes approvingly some recent tough columns by John Brummett of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on Cotton's silence.

The article seemed fair, including the mention that most politicians understandably prefer talking to friendly media. Lieberman didn't include one comment I made that I think is worth adding. It was this:

I don't think the public much cares about the difficulties faced by reporters in doing their jobs. There's even less care in a Trump state, where many of his voters share his disdain for the fake news providers. That's OK.  The game will continue. Voters will continue to decide the final score.

Oh, and by the way, to close the circle from CJR:

Caroline Rabbitt, Cotton’s communications director, did not respond to CJR’s questions about Cotton’s media practices.
PS — In deigning to go to one of his regular go-to interviewers this week on KATV, Cotton got some pointed questions for a change. Bottom line amid the usual mush: He'll screw Arkansans if the Senate bill comes to another vote.

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