It was good to see Gov. Matt Bevin made time during the busy holidays to castigate the media. In a five-minute video, posted to Facebook the day after Christmas, titled, “Courier-Journal: A Nonsensical Tabloid,” Bevin unleashed a sarcastic, at-times ironic, assault on Courier Journal editors and reporters.
“Apparently they just discovered that I’m now the governor and they want to do a profile, they want to get to know me,” he said, grinning at the camera.
Bevin mocked Courier Journal for not covering stories the way he wanted them covered — including Braidy Industries opening a plant in Greenup County.
This is the same Braidy Industries for which he bamboozled lawmakers into approving a $15 million investment, not telling them it was going into a company that has yet to produce anything. The same company for which he protected the identities of other shareholders (the CEO has since done that).
Now, governor, do you want to know why CJ wants to get to know you better?
Your response shows exactly what kind of insecure, narcissist you truly are. You also suck at sarcasm. (Get off LEO’s lawn, Governor!)
Maybe, Bevin, if you ever answered questions from journalists, instead of blasting your message on Twitter and Facebook, they would be less skeptical of your motives.
But Bevin doesn’t answer tough questions. Or easy ones for that matter.
Maybe he is on the offensive because he has something to hide, something he knows the CJ profile will turn up.
Bevin said in the video, “I found it interesting that during the course of all this time, the only person you hadn’t bothered to contact, was me … this month, finally, here in December, you finally decided maybe you wanna talk to me. So, you were very kind to send me a letter, you sent it to my communications department.”
Did he answer their questions? Did someone on his staff get back to CJ?
Of course not!
Instead, Bevin, responded with this Facebook video: “People who want to know understand what I’m about and what we’re doing, they follow our Facebook page … They don’t, frankly, read your newspaper. The people who do are people like you, that are looking for scurrilous little things and trying to find dirt.”
I got your questionnaire right here CJ! (Insert middle-finger emoji.)
But, Governor, do explain, if they are so insignificant, why devote so much time attacking them. Why do you try to marginalize them as a tabloid?
The answer reveals a lot about Bevin’s character.
You know the adage: You can tell a lot about a person’s character by how they treat those with the least, among us. Well, in politics, you can a tell a lot about a person’s character by how they treat the press.
We all know how little President Trump and his band of deplorable sycophants view the media — that’s not fake news, that’s old news.
On the other hand, look at Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. Recently, he pushed back on how the media has covered crime in the city. He didn’t attack the media. He didn’t tell them that they don’t care about the city. He pointed out that, in his view, they’re focused too much on city homicides and ignoring the improvements that have been made in other areas of crime. This is a fair criticism, but that’s not the point. He treated the reporters with respect. He answered their questions without demeaning their professionalism.
Both behaviors are strategies that each thinks will benefit their political position: One is right, and the other is devoid of any integrity, dignity or character.
The tug of war between politicians and the press is healthy, and no politician can totally avoid that part of the job. But politicians with strong character can endure frustrating questions and stories while treating journalists with respect for doing a job that is vital to democracy.
When journalists question Bevin, he doesn’t just pushback… he moves to destroy them and their employers. His constant, bitter attacks on the media don’t reveal a leader of strong character, but one who is thin-skinned and insecure. It shows more about who he is than his tax returns would… but probably not as much as the forthcoming CJ profile of him.