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Governor Hunt and I were in Wilmington last night for a book signing, which one TV station used to pursue a feud they apparently have with Governor Perdue over her accessibility to the media, or lack thereof.
The same day, I got a call from a veteran Raleigh reporter complaining about the Governor: “I could see Mike Easley easier than I can see her!”
Accessibility is an issue every Governor and his or her communications staff wrestles with.
The Raleigh reporter said: “They talk to us only when she has something to say, not when I want to ask her questions.”
When I was Governor Hunt’s press secretary, from 196 to 1984, we had a policy of total accessibility. He would talk to reporters pretty much whenever they asked. In turn, we never hesitated to call them when he wanted to say something.
In his last two terms, during the ‘90s, his staff wanted a more controlled approach. I went along.
In retrospect, I think I was right the first time around.
There’s a value in answering tough questions. You learn a lot. You get sharper and better. You stay on your toes.
Of course, that opinion may also come from getting older and, I hope, wiser. I get less upset about one bad story than I used to. There’s always going to be another day, another story, another issue of the paper and another broadcast.


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2 comments on “The Media and the Governor

  1. dap916 says:

    Those were the “good old days” when Gov. Hunt could be seen or heard what seemed to be daily in the newspaper (which, of course, the newspaper was a far larger source of information back then) and in local nightly news TV broadcasts here in our fair state. He was a democrat…I was/am a republican but Hunt wasn’t what I consider someone that talked about our state’s problems and needs from the position of simply a need to spend more money. He gave his thoughts and philosophies and seemed to genuinely believe that state government wasn’t the only source to rectify difficulties in North Carolina. Sure, I disagreed with him on various issues back then but all-in-all, you are right….he was out there for the people to see and he didn’t shun tough issues and/or questions.

    Our govenor today seems to believe that remaining allusive will help her be more liked or more successful. Nothing could be further from the truth, of course. GW stayed away from press conferences and was allusive…look what THAT got him. People want to see and hear their representatives and leaders. It’s one thing I absolutely HATE about Richard Burr. Seems you don’t ever see or hear from him unless it’s at a fundraiser or when he’s up for re-election.

    I’ll miss seeing you and Gov. Hunt tonight at your book signing at Friendly Center Barnes & Nobel. Family issues prevail, sadly.

  2. Carbine says:

    On the other hand, last time I was in Washington I dropped by Senator Burr’s office on a whim and he made time to see me (I’m not a contributor or a campaign worker, if that’s what anyone is thinking either). He didn’t know me, had never heard of me, but had no qualms at all about sitting down with me for a few minutes and discussing a couple of issues. His office staff has also been very helpful and responsive when I’ve called them.

    Frankly I don’t care if he never makes the local news. I know and appreciate his voting record, I’m happy with his staff’s constituent services, and I’m confident he’s not a crook. What else do we want or need in a Senator?

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