Reporters are funny.
Remember the dust-up last week, when it was discovered that Governor Rick Perry was blocking some Texas reporters from his twitter feed? First reported in Dallas, the story instantly went national.
Except, Perry’s behavior is nothing new. Back in early October of 2010, the Austin American-Statesman‘s Omar Gallaga reported that some of Perry’s fellow Texans had been blocked from Perry’s twitter feed, which not only prevents Perry’s communications from appearing in the timelines of those blocked, but also prevents Perry from seeing any of the blocked Texans’ communications in his own timeline.
The only new news here is that this time, it wasn’t just constituents – the people the governor represents – being blocked. This time, it’s reporters. Since reporters are so special and all, national media couldn’t wait to report on local Texas media being screwed.
But here’s what’s really special: a state’s governor, communicating by using a handle containing the title of his office of public trust, in the process of communicating with his constituents willfully chooses to block messages both to and from some constituents who might not agree.
The symbolism is unmistakable, and terrible: to some Texans, he’s turning a blind eye to their views, and his own are none of their business.
So how many publications picked up the original Statesman story last October, when it was Perry’s constituents being blocked? To my knowledge, none.
Let the Governor block a few journalists, however, and the Washington Post picks it up by sundown.
I can’t imagine why the Governor would choose to block reporters, especially the ones he blocked, who are among the fairest journalists I know. But they’re also among the journalists who never bothered to ask Perry about it until they themselves were blocked – only the Statesman‘s Gallaga had approached him before, to his credit.
I also can’t imagine why they and the national media outlets who pounced last week didn’t think it was worthy news when Perry was blocking regular citizens last October.
Perhaps Gallaga, the original reporter, who doesn’t usually report on politics, tweeted it best on the day the story re-broke last week:
A link to something I wrote that’s five months old is still better late than never! Politics: I don’t get it.
Sadly, Omar, I think you get it perfectly.
As for some of the other reporters, good thing they didn’t instead become fire fighters. They might not show up to put out the fire until it’s their own house in flames.