What Ryan Zinke and his staff think of journalists, not much

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Sec’y Zinke Spokesperson Swift Denigrates Reporter, Calls Them “a F***ing idiot”

You can read the expose by the Huffington Post here: Article Link

On Oct. 6, Marsh sent two more emails to the agency’s press team. In the second she wrote: “We have repeatedly asked the press office for answers to the below questions and for 4 days now we have been told you are working on it and today we’ve received no response at all. We are asking questions that the public has every right to know as these are their tax dollars and for Interior not answer any of the below questions is really hard to understand. Is the DOI issuing a no comment on all of the below questions?”

Interior finally sent a response that evening but failed to answer several of Marsh’s specific questions. Emails show that Marsh again insisted that the Department of the Interior provide answers.

And here is the email exchange where Heather Swift calls a reporter a very disturbing name.

I wonder if Heather Swift will have “no comment” for the press on this topic as she seems to have on almost everything other topic these days.

It is superficially true that disagreement is the heart of politics, but for those who have worked the long hours on a campaign or tried to cover elected officials, you know that the true nature of politics when done right, engenders a certain camaraderie. The disagreements over policy fade away as working that long and that hard creates a fellowship amongst those who know what it’s like to do the long hours of travel and tight deadlines. You can be heated on your foreign policy differences, but head to get a cup of a coffee after.

Sadly in the age of President Trump’s war on the media and democratic institutions, respect is something that seems to be a thing of the past in American politics, but it used to be the norm. Even when George W. Bush was President a certain amount of decorum between opposing parties was the norm and the press was treated with respect.

I witnessed firsthand how the ability to disagree without being disagreeable eroded quickly during President Obama’s administration as the rise of the Tea Party created an unquenchable anger in American politics. President Trump took the next step in starting fights and being openly disrespectful to the fourth estate and those tasked with investigating and reporting on the current events. When candidate Donald Trump saw a news story that he didn’t like he created a false narrative around the bogeyman of those out to get him in the press.

President Trump has continued this false narrative that candidate Trump started and it looks like Secretary Zinke and his office have decided to start using the tactic as well. It is possible Secretary Zinke is using this tactic as he saw its success for Candidate Trump and has decided to use it to further his ambitions.

We’ve all heard the rumor that Secretary Zinke is exploring something in Iowa, some presume a presidential run, though that makes no sense as the next opportunity for a non-incumbent Republican is 2024, so it’s probably just a distraction from the many scandals that plague him and the Department of Interior.

If Secretary Zinke is interested in running for a higher office, then he must understand that the hard-learned lessons of 2016 will be applied in the future and the tactics that were successful for President Trump will not be successful in the future. A disregard for and denigration of the free press is a huge mistake and will not reap rewards, rather it will mean political failure.

 

 

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