Thursday, February 23, 2023


Right-wingers say it's appalling that Pete Buttigieg isn't nice to hostile reporters. Yesterday there was this in the New York Post:
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg snapped that he was on “personal time” when questioned late Tuesday about his plans to visit the toxic train derailment site in East Palestine, Ohio — before asking if he could take a photo of the reporter.

Jennie Taer, who posted the 46-second video on Twitter, identified herself to Buttigieg as a reporter for the Daily Caller News Foundation as he walked down the street with his husband, Chasten.

“What do you have to say to the folks in Ohio, East Palestine, who are suffering right now?” Taer asked the 41-year-old.

“I’d refer you to about a dozen interviews I’ve given today, and if you’d like to arrange a conversation, make sure to reach out to our press office,” Buttigieg responded. “I’d like to have that conversation with you.”

“Do you have a message for them?” Taer persisted.

“I do and I shared that with the press many times today. I refer you to those comments,” Buttigieg repeated.
("The Daily Caller News Foundation" is, of course, the highfalutin name used by the right-wing site co-founded by Tucker Carlson in 2010.)

Today, Buttigieg visited East Palestine, and the Post has a follow-up:
A press liaison for Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg refused to discuss her boss’s handling of a toxic chemical spill following this month’s train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, saying she would not answer questions on camera and calling a reporter “aggressive” when she insisted on filming her.

“Why did it take you an entire two-and-a-half weeks to actually get here to respond to East Palestine?” Turning Point USA reporter Savanah Hernandez asked a grim-faced Buttigieg as he entered an event in the town near the Pennsylvania border.

“Will you apologize to the residents of this city for the slow response?” Hernandez persisted as the 41-year-old cabinet member walked away. “Do you have any apology?”

Department of Transportation press secretary Kerry Arndt stepped in, telling Hernandez, “I’m his press person, I can help you,” before adding: “I don’t want to be on camera, please.”

After Hernandez repeated her question about why it took Buttigieg so long to visit, Arndt said, “I’m sorry, I don’t want to do this on camera” before recognizing another reporter.
Unacceptable! How dare Buttigieg and his team treat the media this way?

Of course, right-wingers think it's perfectly fine for Ron DeSantis to behave this way:
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ office has announced it would be boycotting both NBC News and MSNBC after pushing back on a report by the network’s Chief Washington Correspondent and Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Andrea Mitchell. “This will be the standard response from our office until @mitchellreports apologizes and your track record improves,” DeSantis’ Press Secretary Bryan Griffin tweeted Wednesday.... [DeSantis's] latest boycott came after an interview Mitchell did with VP Kamala Harris last week. When asking about DeSantis' controversial dismissal of an AP African-American history course, Mitchell asked: “What does Governor Ron DeSantis not know about black history and the black experience when he says that slavery and the aftermath of slavery should not be taught to Florida schoolchildren?” ... Mitchell did issue a clarification to her “imprecise” question on the air—but that wasn’t enough for Griffin, who announced the boycott Wednesday and claimed DeSantis won’t appear until Mitchell corrects the “blatant lie.”
("DESANTIS SHOWING HOW IT’S DONE," wrote Glenn Reynolds.)

DeSantis's people are always this hostile:
Gov. Ron DeSantis’, R-Fla., office had harsh words for the mainstream media’s shift in reporting what they referred to as "forbidden facts" on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rapid response director Christina Pushaw penned a Twitter thread on Tuesday on a New York Times opinion piece admitting "The Mask Mandates Did Nothing. Will Any Lessons Be Learned?"

"Today, the New York Times published a Forbidden Fact. It only took them THREE YEARS. Now, where does @GovRonDeSantis get his apology?" Pushaw tweeted.
Press secretary Bryan Griffin also weighed in:
In an exclusive statement to Fox News Digital, Griffin further decried the media for waiting nearly three years into the pandemic to acknowledge different perspectives.

... "In Florida, we will not let the media or the biomedical security state have the chance to downplay their harms and do this to the public again."
I actually think Buttigieg's handling of East Palestine has been an unforced error. He and the rest of the Biden administration might be doing all the right things, and much of what needed to be done first might have been the bailiwick of the EPA rather than the Transportation Department, but sometimes you need to make a gesture just to get the skeptics and haters off your back, so he probably should have visited the town sooner. And while I don't blame Buttigieg and his team for wanting to blow off right-wing propagandists disguised as reporters, every public moment in which he or an aide appears testy is inevitably going to be exploited by the right. We like our politicians gregarious and glad-handing in America.

On the other hand, Ron DeSantis won a landslide in 2022 while being boorish and unlikable. His relentless hostility doesn't seem to be slowing his rise to national prominence. But if you're a Republican, it's okay if you're an asshole. A third of the country will be delighted, and another ten or fifteen percent will vote for you just because you have an (R) next to your name. Blowing off the media, or anyone else, won't be a problem. It's only a problem if you're a testy Democrat.

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