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Ventura stops talking to hometown press

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    NMU         MINNESOTA         Newsgathering         Oct 9, 2001    

Ventura stops talking to hometown press

  • The Minnesota governor said he won’t grant any more interviews with the local news media after reporters upset him with questions about his paid trip to New York City.

Gov. Jesse Ventura was very upset with local reporters who questioned him about his paid trip to New York City by ABC News, so much so that he refuses to speak with them.

Ventura visited the site of the terrorist attacks in New York on Oct. 3, during an exclusive with ABC’s morning show “Good Morning America.” After a Minnesotan reporter asked about ABC paying for the trip, Ventura said he would cut off all future interviews with local news media.

The arrangement between Ventura and ABC restricted news media, including those from Minnesota, from accompanying the governor to the site. John Woodele, Ventura’s spokesman, said he tried to get access for local media, but Gov. George Pataki of New York refused to grant it.

According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Ventura is extremely selective in granting interviews anyway. As of late, he has refused to address state issues, included two union strikes that have slowed state government down. He has also announced that he will not release his schedule in advance.

“He resents our ability to ask him difficult questions,” said Jim Ragsdale, a political columnist for the Pioneer Press. “When he won’t answer your questions, it’s very hard to know what he thinks about taxes, school funding and the strike.”

Last year, in an interview with Geraldo Rivera on CNBC, Ventura said he prefers national interviewers to local reporters because he gets treated with more respect nationally.

“He wants people to ask him superficial questions that make him look good. And national media does that,” Ragsdale said. “When an issue is going on, he owes it the people who elected him to talk about it.”


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© 2001 The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

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