UPDATE: Valley News Live news director Ike Walker has responded to Schafer’s criticism and acknowledged that Wrigley did offer a phone interview.
Earlier this evening I wrote a post about a news report from Valley News Live which claimed that Lt. Governor Drew Wrigley was dodging questions about an extramarital affair.
Tonight in response to that post former Governor Ed Schafer, a friend of Wrigley’s, blasted Valley News Live in the comments accusing them of “blatantly false” and sensational news reporting.
As I said in my previous post, Wrigley dodging the media looks very, very bad for him. If that is indeed what he was doing. Clearly the folks at Valley News Live felt that’s what was going on.
It would be interesting to know if they had tried to interview Wrigley previously and been denied. If so, that would give them a firmer footing in the face of Schafer’s criticism. But even if they hadn’t, wouldn’t it behoove Wrigley to make time for a few questions? Or tell Valley News Live, if he truly didn’t have time, that he would schedule an interview later in the evening or the next day?
One thing that does give me pause is that Valley News Live apparently didn’t send a reporter to the Grand Forks event (I emailed Ike Walker about this incident and haven’t received a response yet). If Wrigley has been spiking repeated requests for interviews from Valley News Live then the the Grand Forks event seems like too little, too late to me. But if this was VNL’s first ask for an interview and they went nuclear despite an apparent opportunity later in the day to ask their questions?
Well, that doesn’t look good for them.
But still, Wrigley is the original transgressor here. He’s the one trying to rehabilitate his image and rebuild trust. Even if Valley News Live is guilty of being too aggressive, and too sensational, he’s just not going to get a lot of sympathy from the public.
UPDATE: Walker’s response:
We asked Jeff Zent several times today to give us the location of the event in Grand Forks as well as a time that Wrigley could meet with us, he declined to do so. He said repeatedly that he did not have time for an on camera interview. He also said several times that Wrigley has already answered questions about his affair in three different interviews so that should be sufficient. Zent then went on to say that because we also wanted to ask Wrigley about the governorship that would fall into a campaign question and because he was “an employee of the state” he would not facilitate the interview.
Zent is the spokesman for the governor’s office.