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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Mike Pence is not Vladimir Putin. Stop freaking out.

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM (#)

From the freakout in some quarters regarding the Pence Administration's plan for a "state news agency," you would think the conservative Republican governor was setting up a Ministry of Information and Press like they had in the former Soviet Union. That's not the case. This is not state-run media. In fact, it is boringly normal.

What Pence is proposing is putting all of the state's press releases from multiple agencies into one easy to read and easy to navigate website, and providing additional content. It is not fundamentally different from what any number of elected officials have done for nearly twenty years now, from the White House blog and the President's weekly radio address (a tradition started by Franklin Roosevelt) to the State Department's Tumblr page.

Many elected officials do this. U.S. Senators such as Elizabeth Warren archive their press releases and editorials online. Literally hundreds of elected officials have press secretaries to release statements and talk to the media. They have official websites, blogs and social media accounts. So what exactly is the big deal here?

The answer is simple: This is not a big deal. Elected officials have always looked for ways to reach the people directly with their message and their policy agenda. If anything, the people complaining about the proposal should be praising it as a step toward greater transparency by government. We live in an age where many people get their news online, and this is just one more information source - much like Governor Pence's profiles on Facebook and Twitter.

If Pence's critics have a legitimate criticism, let's hear it. This story is much ado about nothing.

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At January 28, 2015 at 12:35 PM , Blogger TableTopJoe said...  

Mr. Tibbs, here is my criticism, and it is twofold:

1. If this is all that you say it is (and that is a big "if"), then this is a waste of resources coming from a governor who brags about his fiscal responsibility every time it gives him a convenient excuse to cut social services for the poor. If this is more than you say it is, i.e. a competitor news agency, then this is nothing more than a government attempt to bypass the 4th estate.

2. Beyond that, I can't help but imagine what your reaction would be, along with that of all of your "conservative" fellow travelers, if President Obama were to do the same thing.

You see, Mr. Tibbs, that is one of the difference between liberals and conservatives. Liberals constantly attack their own for the violation of liberal principles. For example, read what liberals have to say about Pres. Obama's drone policy or failure to close Guantanamo Bay. Contrarily, it seems that "conservatives" generally all line up and spout the same talking points: "this is no big deal; it's just a combination of what is already happening, not some sort of Pravda or anything." Were this a liberal, you would be howling about it.

Intellectual Consistency: keeping liberals honest and eluding conservatives for decades.

At January 28, 2015 at 6:14 PM , Blogger Scott Tibbs said...  

The point is, TTJ, that President Obama (and the hero of the Left, Elizabeth Warren) have done the same thing and are doing the same thing right now. This is not fundamentally any different than what Elected officials have done with their websites for almost twenty years now.

And as far as your absolutely absurd accusation of hypocrisy, you obviously haven't been following this blog for very long. I have a very long and very well-documented record of attacking my fellow Republicans when I believe they are wrong.

At January 30, 2015 at 8:29 AM , Blogger Mike Newton said...  

Alas, Commander Pence's plan has bitten the proverbial dust. Can't wait to see what crazy scheme he hatches next, in his boundless zeal for self-promotion.

At January 30, 2015 at 8:54 AM , Blogger Scott Tibbs said...  

It's so shocking that a politician would engage in self-promotion.

At January 30, 2015 at 9:55 AM , Blogger Salt & Knowledge said...  

This comment has been removed by the author.