After lashing out at Rhode Island’s press corps for not giving her the positive media coverage she desired, Democrat Governor Gina Raimondo spent yesterday facing intense criticism from journalists around the state, and was eventually forced to apologize. Raimondo found herself in hot water after she singled out NBC’s Rhode Island affiliate for setting up a “fight motif” in her weekly interviews, and then said that Rhode Islanders “can’t rely” on the Providence Journal for accurate news. The debacle has put Raimondo’s growing frustration over her administration’s lack of results on full display as she blames journalists for not being softer on her. Here are some highlights of recent coverage:
After Raimondo’s anti-media rant, members of Rhode Island’s press corps took aim at her comments, calling them “unfortunate:”
In response to Raimondo, the Executive Editor of the Providence Journal put out a statement slamming her that was reported on by Rhode Island Public Radio, claiming: “if the governor has a hard time getting her point of view across, that’s pretty stunning:”
“’While it’s true that we have fewer reporters than in the past, our audience across all platforms is larger than it’s ever been. And if the governor thinks we are a shadow of our former selves, she should tell that to the readers who have been outraged as they follow our continuing investigation of the horrible state of the Department of Children, Youth & Families, or who faithfully read the work of reporters such as Katherine Gregg, the best State House writer in Rhode Island, or Kate Bramson, who so carefully dissects the work of the state Commerce Corporation.’
“If the governor has a hard time getting her point of view across, that’s pretty stunning, considering the 73 public-relations staffers on the state and state-college payroll, at a cost of $5.4 million annually (as reported by Kathy Gregg last month),’ Rosenberg said. ‘More meat in the press releases, as opposed to contrived events celebrating the governor’s accomplishments, might help.’”
After a full day of taking heat for her comments, Raimondo was forced to apologize to journalists in Rhode Island for “slamming” their coverage, the Associated Press reports:
“Gov. Gina Raimondo apologized Wednesday for slamming Rhode Island’s biggest media outlets over what she sees as critical or insufficient coverage of her administration.
The Democratic governor said she regrets her characterization of media outlets in the state and apologized to reporters, editors and publishers she offended.
At Brown University on Tuesday, Raimondo said she’s relying more on social media and spending a lot more time with ‘micro local media’ in Rhode Island. WPRO News first reported her comments.”
In its report on Raimondo’s comments, WJAR-TV noted that she “never has expressed any concerns or complaints” about her weekly interviews with the network before likening them to “a fight.” The network also showed Raimondo addressing her comments earlier in the day, appearing to double down on them hours before she apologized that evening:
The Executive Editor of the Providence Journal further criticized Raimondo and her communications staff’s conduct toward the media in an interview with WPRO radio, saying “she might be upset over the lack of a ‘splash’ the journal chose to make over her 1,000 days” PR blitz on Monday:
“Rosenberg also expressed general frustration with the Governor’s communications staff in that they are, ‘certainly quick to call and make sure we’re coming to certain events, to send out a release with news they want to trumpet; they’re far less quick to respond to requests for information that might not be something they’re interesting in putting out.’
When asked why Rosenberg believes Governor Raimondo targeted The Providence Journal, he shared that he believes she might be upset over the lack of a ‘splash’ the journal chose to make over her 1,000 days coverage, ‘it wasn’t what she wanted and it wasn’t what she hoped for.’ Rosenberg explained that the paper had a responsibility to underscore the mass shooting in Las Vegas.
Governor Raimondo did not only antagonize leading television and print outlets, she took specific aim at talk radio. The Governor compared the combativeness of a weekly segment on WJAR to the medium, ‘News, broadcast news, has become almost like talk radio.’”