Sunday, September 9, 2007

Don't Ask!

It use to be that reporters called up government sources and asked questions of them and received answers. Here's the new way, in La Plata, Maryland:

"1. Submit your questions, in writing, preferably via e-mail, to Judith Frazier, La Plata's town clerk.

2. Frazier will forward your questions to the appropriate town official. She also will notify the mayor and all council members of the media inquiry.

3. By the next business day, Frazier will send the official's prepared response via e-mail.

If your question is prompted by something discussed during a Town Council meeting, don't think about asking an official when the meeting ends. Instead, send an e-mail to Frazier, and she will "strive to send the responses the following business day."

I guess this is the state of journalism in the Republican Age. Heaven forbid that an elected government representative would have to answer questions on the phone, or worse,directly at a Town Council Meeting. For this town in Charles County, Maryland with 8,500 residents to have a pompous little press policy of this nature is baffling. Maybe the city officials are just incompetents, unaware of or unable to communicate exactly what it is they are doing. They have to put their heads together with every question and come up with an answer! Tough work.

Can't anyone just say something any more? Must the press refrain from asking a question after a Town Council Meeting? What is a Town Council Meeting FOR? Does even this little town need to prepare "filtered" comments to the press? Is this going to spread?

If you have answers to any of the above questions, please submit them in writing to me no later than the next business day. (My staff prefers duplicate, hard copies. No email.) Please clear your answers through your press / marketing/ communication / executive / campaign staff prior to submission. Thank you and let freedom ring.

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