â€œHey, thanks for those tickets to the Greenbay game, now for some (softball) questions.â€
So last week I was shown some photos of Mayor Huether attending the KELO-TV employee Christmas party doing photo-ops with employees. Maybe he was the keynote speaker or the entertainment for the night. ThankÂ Snowplows my work just sets up banquet tables in the warehouse and feeds us fried chicken for about 45 minutes for our Christmas party.
I was also shown photos of the mayor attending a Greenbay game at Lambeau with the general manager of KELO-TV, Jay Huizenga. I guess it didn’t shock me too much (the Christmas party I find stranger then the game trip).
So I sent this email off to Jay;
Jay, I recently was given a couple of photos of Mayor Huether attending the KELO-TV employee Christmas party and you and him attending an NFL football game in Greenbay. No big deal. What concerns me is that the General Manager of a local news organization is crossing the line of journalistic integrity. I don’t think I have to remind you of the 4th estate, and their duties. Sometimes that means you can’t be friends with certain people. Before I post anything on my blog, I would like to hear an explanation from you.
Thank You, Scott L. Ehrisman
Thank you for the email.Â I have no comment on my personal life.
No Jay, thank you for not answering any of my questions. I did think about sending the mayor an email, but I’m sure his â€˜personal’ friend Jay probably already made him aware there are photos of Santa Cheesehead Mayor floating around on the Facebooks. C’mon Mike, didn’t you learn anything from the Lamb Chislic incident?
Though I responded to Jay that â€˜I understood’ I really didn’t know what to think, but the more I thought about them, the more it frustrated me that our local news media would be this cozy with anÂ elected official.
Like I said at first, didn’t surprise me. But then I started thinking about all the very (soft) stories this organization has done about the city, especially when it comes to this mayor or the Events Center (remember, KELO is a sponsor), and it started adding up, that the relationship is way too cozy.
First off, I don’t think there is anything wrong with people in the news industry being friends with local elected officials. Hey, if you want to go for a jog together, meet up for drinks, or even have dinner at each other’s homes, I think it is perfectly within reason. I think the more cordial journalists are to elected officials and vice versa, the easier it may be to get a story. I know my cordial relationships with public officials have yielded me many leads and information. But I certainly don’t take them to NFL games, and I am certainly not a full-time, for profit, news organization. I think more importantlyÂ I share a common interest in transparency, and integrity in government with these officials. I don’t need to scratch their backs, and they don’t need to scratch mine to get truthful information out there.
What makes this situation different is, who invited who? And who paid for the tickets and travel expenses to the game? This is where it gets complicated, and NO longer â€˜personal.’ Someone indicated to me that KELO may have supplied the tickets since that particular game was broadcast on CBS, and the mayor or others in the party paid for travel expenses to make it appear more 50/50. Either way, it’s one thing for an elected official to buy you lunch or even a beer, but a trip to an NFL game? I also find it ironic that a Mayor and an Events Center sponsor would have to travel a couple of states away to â€˜entertain’ themselves when they told us we needed to build the Events Center so we can see world class entertainment here instead of traveling. So which is it? Isn’t Stampede Hockey entertaining enough for you guys?
I want to know what you think. Do you agree with Mr. Huizenga that this has to do with his â€˜personal life’ only? While (political) business may or may not have been discussed on the trip, it seems this kind of cozy relationship may affect the kind of news we hear about this political figure. AND I think it has. But you know what they say at these media organizations, the sales department never dictates to the news department what to broadcast. So I guess the General Manager never talks to the news department either, you know, similar to the relationship Huether has with the city council.
Though Jay did say the football game trip was personal, he failed to say anything about the Christmas party, which leads me to believe Huether was invited.
Like I mentioned above, I have often felt that this news organization has done light hearted and non-controversial stories about the city, mayor and others (I’m convinced that Thune has a staffer with a desk in their studios), and after seeing and hearing the latest about the relationship they share, I have ZERO confidence in this organization ever doing anything investigative or controversialÂ about Huether, or even giving us the full story.
So much for Doug Lund’s post about how much better KELO is at NEWS then the Argus Leader.
I get angry when people I know in the broadcast news business, who work every bit as hard at their craft and are as dedicated to journalistic excellence as anyone at the Argus.
More like working on craft beers at an NFL game with the mayor. Speaking of the â€˜100 Eyed Spaghetti Monster’ I told them about the situation and encouraged them to do a real story about it, instead of just my farting around stuff on my blog. I don’t have much confidence in that happening after reading Whitney’s column on Sunday about the mayor smiling a lot and beating up on Kermit over a wishing well. Stu, was that supposed to be a parody column? You know, parodies are supposed to make people laugh, right? At least you didn’t mention Dan Scott, and well, Janklow is dead anyway.
So much for the 4th Estate in Sioux Falls being the watchdog of local government, more like the lapdog.
I guess it is good to be King, and it only cost a couple of football tickets. I suspect to see another story about evil bloggers after this post gets published. Hey Jay, wanna join me for a Storm game? I’ll even drive, of course we would have to see it in our lousy stadium, be careful not to trip on any of the cracks in the floor and watch out for flying siding.