Loose Lips

The Undecided: Interview Request Edition

AUGUST 6: Press Relations

Today's Event: Gray spokesperson Traci Hughes offers me a chance to interview Gray about local-employee and living wage laws—if I was willing to snag him after an event. Wait a minute! This smells a lot like a certain incumbent mayor whose preferred way to meet the non-televisual press is while striding from a ribbon cutting to his Smart Car. I'm not going to base my vote on which candidate offers Jason Cherkis the best access. But I think openness to the media—especially about non-sexy issues involving local workers and government contracts—is a big deal. If this is Gray during a campaign, where he desperately needs free media, what is he going to be like as mayor?

Influence: This undercuts a lot of the pro-transparency happy talk of Gray's campaigns. And it gets me thinking about his record: I called Gray many times last summer for reactions after a federal judge essentially demanded that the D.C. Council respond to the administration's mishandling of the Pershing Park case. Gray didn't return a single call. Only during the campaign has he called for the head of Attorney General Peter Nickles, the man at the center of the controversy.

Net impact: Back to neutral.

But: Gray has promised to reporters that if he becomes mayor he would bring back the weekly press conference—a pastime Fenty dropped. I'm still pretty sure that, unlike the current mayor, Gray would relish boring the pants off of Sherwood, Jonetta, DeBonis, and Loose Lips.

  • incredulous 2

    Right. Not even Vincent Gray's ardent supporters believe he would be, as Mayor, what Adrian Fenty promised to be be, with respect to disciplined openness. The best of Gray -- smart, funny, unburdened of a lifetime's punishments for good (and some bad) deeds -- isn't always on display. Man, none of us believe there's a Nixon in there.

  • http://distcurm.blogspot.com/ IMGoph

    kind of reminds me of how, at the first blogger meet-up with gray, we were given ground rules on how we were to behave. the campaign moved quickly to apologize, and everything was copacetic, but it was strange to read that if you look at it from an openness point-of-view.

  • SuperS

    Are you serious? Get a life the man is running a Council and running for Mayor, so you couldn't get him this time, get over yourself.

  • Brahmin

    There isn't going to be any interview from dog catcher to Martha Stewart, that doesn't have rules.

  • downtown rez

    It's about showing the press who's boss. Gray is just setting the ground rules. As in, I'll talk to you on my time if and when it fits my schedule.
    AKA Power and Control 101.
    I understand Power and Control 102, "How to Make the Press Think you are their Friend", was canceled due to lack of enrollment.

  • Adrian Bent-Me

    Rez- I guess you prefer Fenty's press etiquette better. Deer in the headlights with tough questions, glazed over crack-head when he deems a question below him, or my personal favorite, the straight stonewalling approach- "I'll have to look into and get back you". I think he's got that line tattoed on his fore-arm.