Days after Governor LePage and Republican House Leader Ken Fredette declared checkmate on Speaker Sara Gideon and her allies, Maine’s mainstream media was clamoring over a voicemail of supposed “vacation” threats from the Governor.
For a man who is known for speaking exactly what’s on his mind, the vacation voicemail was hardly the most controversial thing Governor LePage has ever said. Furthermore the point of clamoring over a voicemail where the Governor said he would leave town for 10 days is moot, since at the end of the day he never did. He was there in Augusta to negotiate a deal and sign the amended bill. Sure the Governor said something in a message, suggesting that should the bad budget pass, without the change he was requesting, he would not make himself available for the constitutionally authorized 10 days to sign a budget that he thought was bad for Maine. This does not change the fact that he never went on vacation. Despite the media speculation and hype, it never happened.
What did happen which is possibly even more interesting (and disturbing) than the voicemail, has been the media’s reaction.
Twitter turned into a safe space for members of the media to mutually pat each other on the back and complain about the Governor’s press staff (who tried to correct the record, informing media that the Governor was in state and not leaving, which was true).
Although obnoxious, the chorus of “I have been personally victimized by the LePage administration” is what we we have come to know as par for the course from the Maine media, who has had a rough relationship with the Governor, partly due to their desire for ‘likes’ and ‘clicks’ for gossip over the reporting of actual facts.
What wasn’t par for the course though was the reaction from Journal Tribune staff, including one of their staffers who serves in the Maine Legislature, State Senator Justin Chenette.
Staff Writer Alan Bennett at the Journal Tribune shared a story from WMTW about the Governor suggesting he makes up stories to mislead media with the caption “HIIIIIIIIIIIII!!!! DROP DEAD PLZ!!!!!!”
A share and caption which was liked by fellow Journal Tribune Staffers Ryder Schumacher and Maine State Senator Justin Chenette, the Tribune’s “Digital Advertising Executive.”
If this is the type of comment they are willing to make and celebrate publicly, we can only imagine what the Journal Tribune staff says behind closed doors.
The media wonders why complaints of #Fakenews run rampant, why they are so openly criticized by politicians and the public, but I have to wonder if it could have something to do with openly wishing that people they report on would drop dead and then writing a story about that person with the expectation that we as readers accept the story as truthful and unbiased.
It could also have something to do with the amount of time the media wasted complaining and feeling validated over a voicemail about a vacation that didn’t even happen, but hey, that’s just my opinion.
In the meantime, we will be over here celebrating the amazing reforms that come from the Governor signing the budget, things like increasing the amount of taxpayer money that makes its way into Maine’s classrooms ( 70 cents per dollar over the next 5 years as opposed to 59 cents now), the elimination of over 200 positions at DHHS, photo IDs on EBT cards becoming law, and allocating funds to help Maine’s most vulnerable citizens among many other victories.
READ MORE ABOUT WHAT’S IN THE BUDGET HERE
You know, things people actually want to see reported on by the media.