Monday, May 11, 2015

Open Records and Governor Pence's Continued Communication Failure

At the end of last week, Governor Mike Pence did something that was great for transparent, open government, something that was also popular.    He vetoed Senate Bill 369, a bill that would have allowed agencies to charge up to $20 an hour to retrieve public records.  The charge would have effectively shut down much of the investigatory work being private citizens.  Any more it is bloggers who first break stories, not the traditional news media.

Governor Mike Pence
Government officials didn't like being embarrassed by these nosy private citizens.  The news media meanwhile didn't like being scooped.  So they joined together in an unholy alliance to allow agencies to impose a hefty charge for document retrieval knowing it would block "regular people" from getting access to the documents..  The Hoosier State Press Association, which represents newspapers across the state, claimed it was a good deal to get open records requests in electronic form whenever possible. 

Nonsense.   Getting documents in electronic form has never been a problem.  In fact, agencies strongly prefer to do it that way.  Rather HSPA and the agencies just wanted to shut down citizen journalism.  Senate Bill 369 easily passed both chambers.

In steps Governor Mike Pence who, with veto pen in hand, repelled the attack on open government.

It was the perfect opportunity for the Governor to brag about what he did, to counter some of the unfair attacks on his integrity and begin to restore his popularity.  So how did Governor Pence take advantage of the opportunity?  Did he hold a press conference or send out a press release with the veto message, both which would have given him free, positive media coverage all across the state?

No, he sent out a Tweet:
Not only that, but a Tweet sent late Friday afternoon, the time you release BAD information when you want to kill a story?  Needless to say, the story which could have been a huge win for Governor Pence, got little coverage.

Even though a new communications director was appointed post-RFRA, the PR failures continue to mount.


Anonymous said...

Who the hell advised our wooden governor to tweet as you report, Paul? Idiotic... wrong medium, wrong time of day and week, wrong message, wrong-wrong-wrong on so many levels. Pence again proves he is not a master of new technology and he is such a poor leader that this Republican cannot wait until he is out of office... and I believe where ever Pence is going, it is NOT to the White House. POTUS material? Really- they guy cowered... COWERED in his RFRA response to 'splain what he had signed.

Who the heck is advising this incompetent Governor? Is it Establishment "David Brooksian" type guy we know as near south side hardware store owner Jeff Cardwell... the former Indy Council who proved he would do ANYTHING, perform ANY ACT to get crony deals through for corrupt attorneys and corrupt attorney firms? And just how much business did that south side hardware store do with the City just as I wonder how much printing work Nytes' hubby's firm did with corrupt Greg Balard's City of Indianapolis???

Why Pence relies on such an obvious RINO crony anti-taxpayer individual like Jeff Cardwell is simply another proof Pence is not the Conservative he pretends so often to be.

Melyssa Hubbard said...

Good PR is hard to find.