State Rep. Jan Angel, the Port Orchard Republican running for a state Senate seat against appointed incumbent state Sen. Nathan Schlicher, a Gig Harbor Democrat, issued a press release Tuesday explaining that she will do interviews with the media. She listed four television appearances she will be making in the coming days.
This follows our story Sunday, As 26th campaign winds down, Angel silent to media requests, and declined invitations to KUOW and the Associated Press. I knew Angel had declined AP’s request, but didn’t put it in the Sunday story in case she changed her mind before the AP story ran Monday.
We wrote the Angel/media story, not out of any personal indignation. People refuse to talk to us all the time. It doesn’t happen often in a political campaign, so we thought it an interesting strategy for a campaign to be silent to the media. We talked to a couple of political experts who weighed in, one who provided several reasons why that would be the preferred option.
Angel’s press release from
Wednesday Tuesday states, “Rep.
Jan Angel’s position on accommodating media interviews remains
As mentioned before, last week Angel turned down requests from the Associated Press, KUOW and us. The press release doesn’t mention those interviews, but references a move made by KOMO-TV’s Keith Eldridge on Monday. Eldridge apparently showed up at campaign headquarters and her house asking to talk to her. Part of that story included this exchange:
Keith Eldridge: “There was a complaint that she’s dodging the
Keith Schipper (Angel’s campaign spokesman): “I’ve heard that complaint. It’s not true at all.”
To be clear, I did not show up at her doorstep, figuratively or literally, when I tried to get her to talk to me for a story for Sunday. I called her cell phone on Wednesday, hoping to speak to her for 15 minutes on Thursday. When I didn’t hear anything I e-mailed Schipper on Thursday at 10:34 a.m.:
“Keith, I left a message on Rep. Angel’s cell phone and have not heard back yet. I’d like to meet with her today for about 15 minutes for a Q&A story. I could do this over the phone if necessary, but in person would be cleaner audio and I would like to record it.
“The plan is to have a Q&A story on Sunday and include the audio on the Kitsap Caucus blog. I’m meeting with Schlicher at 3 p.m. today in Gig Harbor. What time other than that one would work for Jan? I can be reached at 360-792-3343, or 360-620-9630. If we do this by phone I will give you another number, a Google Voice number that I use to record calls. Thanks.”
He replied four minutes later:
“Steven, Jan isn’t doing any press interviews at this time. With ballots dropping over the next few days, she is 100% focused on using any spare time she has on our grassroots efforts during these last few weeks of the campaign.. I apologize for any inconvenience this may present,”
I read that to mean she would not be doing media interviews for the rest of the campaign. “At this time,” did not suggest that. ” … she is 100% focused on using any spare time she has on our grassroots efforts during these last few weeks of the campaign,” did.
At 10:41 I responded:
“We are going to do the interview with Schlicher and write a story and in that story we will indicate that Jan Angel was not doing press interviews.”
At 1:16 p.m. Schipper responded:
“I understand where you’re coming from, but Jan sat down and was filmed by your editorial board for an hour, you’ve interviewed her in the past, and you’ve attended their forums, so it’s not as if she hasn’t been available and you should be able to get plenty of great answers from those. Also, I am always available so please use me as a resource if you have any other questions on this race as well. This campaign is going to be won in the field, and that is where we’ve set our attention to right now. Again, I apologize for any inconvenience.”
That afternoon I recorded the interview with Schlicher. The next afternoon I e-mailed questions to Schipper and he responded within a few hours, so we had the Q&A story for Sunday to go along with the media story.
Sometime around 2 p.m. Tuesday Jordan Schrader at the Tacoma News Tribune posted an update to an earlier story about the media silence, that Angel had called him and said she never intended to shutdown the media entirely.
At 3:55 p.m. the campaign emailed the press release saying her position on media interviews was “unchanged.”
The press release states that Angel needed time with constituents to clear up issues with ads from Schlicher and the committees campaigning against Angel saying that her backing a bill removing state mandates would have cut off funding for mammograms. I’ve made a request to get clarity from the campaign on that particular issue.
Angel’s press release follows:
Angel Outlines Position on Media Interviews
PORT ORCHARD, WA – Rep. Angel has had dozens of interviews over the course of this campaign and continues to schedule interviews with news agencies wanting to interview her. For example, Angel has the following media interviews: a television interview tomorrow afternoon with King 5 for their Wednesday evening broadcast, a sit down interview with her opponent for Sunday’s edition of Inside Politics on King 5, an interview with TVW on October 28, and a sit down with her opponent for Northwest Now on PBS on October 29.
Sometimes, it is not possible to accommodate news media interviews when very short notice is provided, such as what happened with Keith Eldridge from KOMO TV on Monday. The campaign has a communications director who is responsible for accommodating every news agency and is directed to provide as much information as possible that is being requested. The LD 26 Senate race has taken on statewide and regional significance, and interest by news agencies is unprecedented. In addition, because of the vicious attack campaign coming in from California against Rep. Angel, she is having to spending an unusual amount of time talking to voters to inform them of the facts. In fact, Rep. Angel’s campaign filed a Cease and Desist order with Comcast TV on Friday, October 18 demanding various TV ads be taken down due to them being untruthful and distorting Rep. Angel’s legislative record.
Rep. Jan Angel released the following statement on questions surrounding her media availability:
“I have had to spend more time than usual reaching out to voters in my community that are distraught over the lies and distortions my opponent and his allies have been spreading about my legislative record. After surviving my own scare with breast cancer, to be slandered for not supporting mammogram funding is beyond the pale. My opponent knows that I’ve never voted or sponsored legislation that would have cut funding for mammogram and cancer screenings – and yet he and his special interest supporters continue to spread these lies. We’ve sent a Cease and Desist order to Comcast and our opponents regarding these false ads. We are prepared to take further legal action to hold these parties responsible for the false statements made in this campaign.”
Any media seeking or wanting an interview with Rep. Angel needs to contact Keith Schipper, and provide enough time so the schedule can be accommodating.