At a Sept. 3 Jackson Hole Tea Party event, U.S. Senate candidate Liz Cheney said that “newspapers are dying, and that’s not a bad thing.” She added that “we’re not depending on the Jackson Hole News & Guide to get the news out. We’re depending on ourselves. We’re going to go over their heads.”
Cheney accused News & Guide editor Angus Thuermer Jr. and his staff of having a “left-leaning” bias and not being fair and balanced. (A few weeks before the rally, Thuermer wrote about Cheney making a false statement to get a fishing license.)
How are the editor and the candidate getting along now?
“We sat down and had coffee” on Sept. 7, Thuermer tells Romenesko readers. (He sent the invite.) “I had never met the woman before. I did stand behind her at a park dedication about ten years ago. But she’s never written a letter to the editor called to express an opinion about anything we had done.”
The meeting, he says, was off-the-record — Thuermer never told readers about it — “and I agreed to that just to get to know her.”
The editor of the 10,000-circulation weekly says “we disagreed about what constitutes [legitimate] news coverage regarding her campaign. She felt the issues facing the country and the state are more important than her term of residence or her fishing license.”
By the time they finished their coffee, “we got to know one another” and “I had my questions answered quite plainly.”
Thuermer suggested I check Cheney’s Facebook page to see her softened views about local journalists. She wrote: “We are blessed in Wyoming to have a number of hardworking objective journalists and important local papers. Too bad the same can’t be said of the establishment mainstream media across the country.”
The editor also advised me to read what Cheney’s opponent, U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi, wrote about the press. He said that “Wyoming newspapers play an important role in our communities” and “If you like Wyoming newspapers as well, show your support by sharing this post and ‘liking’ your local paper on Facebook today.”
Eighty-eight people “liked” his post, while 887 liked Cheney’s criticism of mainstream media.
UPDATE: Thuermer told me that the Cody Enterprise wasn’t allowed to cover a Cheney rally after his paper wrote about her comments at the Jackson Hole Tea Party event. Enterprise editor Bruce McCormack tells Romenesko readers what happened:
Yes, the Cheney camp did not allow our reporter to attend a reception Sept. 5 which had been advertised to the public in our newspaper. The excuse was that some members of the public like to ask questions without the press reporting on it.
I was invited personally, but had to be out of town. As a courtesy to the campaign in my absence, we decided to send a reporter – but when she called to make arrangements, they said, No.
Dunno what would have happened if I had attended and started taking notes – they would have either had to let me continue or ask me to leave.
In the aftermath of it all, I told them I consider the whole episode to be an “insult” to the Cody Enterprise and that I couldn’t remember the last time in several decades the newspaper had been denied entry to a public event.
* Tea Party crowd hears Liz Cheney knock Obama and newspapers (jhnewsandguide.com)
* U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi and challenger Liz Cheney spar on news coverage (jhnewsandguide.com)
* “Ms. Cheney, if you have a problem with newspapers, write a letter” (trib.com)