When Wichita ABC affiliate KAKE Television ran a news story critical of Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer, reporter Jared Cerullo wasn’t able to interview Brewer to get his reaction to his critics. The mayor refused to talk to Cerullo.
Speaking last week at the Wichita Pachyderm Club, KAKE news anchor Jeff Herndon said that KAKE has “repeatedly” tried to get an on-camera interview with Brewer. But the mayor is always busy, Herndon said: “They’ve got him on lockdown. He’s not going to answer that.”
Herndon was speaking for himself, and not for his employer. In his talk to the Pachyderms, he was critical of Wichita news media — both television and print — for not covering city government rigorously, telling the audience: “We need more reporters on that city government beat, and not just on decisions they make. We need to hold them accountable for the decision. We don’t do that.”
Brewer is sometimes mentioned as a candidate for higher office, perhaps challenging Kansas Governor Sam Brownback next year. Brewer’s term as mayor ends in April 2015. He is not eligible for election to another term as mayor because of Wichita’s term limits law.
- The KAKE news story referred to is Wichita Mayor Scrutinized For Controversial Vote. Both text and video are available.
- On his radio program, Joseph Ashby had an interesting take on Herndon’s remarks and Wichita new media.
- Video of the city council meeting that was the subject of the KAKE news story is here.
- Explanation of the public policy angle that drove citizens to testify at the April 16 city council meeting is here.
- The original article that identified the problem and to solutions is Pay-to-play laws are needed in Wichita and Kansas. In that article I wrote: “When one looks at the candidates these people contribute to, you notice that often there’s no commonality to the political goals and ideals of the candidates. Some people contribute equally to liberal and conservative council members. Then, when these people appear in the news after having received money from the Wichita City Council, it snaps into place: These campaign donors are not donating to those whose ideals they agree with. They’re donating so they can line their own pockets.”
Van Williams, Public Information Officer for the City has told Mayor Brewer not to be available for interviews with anyone that criticizes his regime. It is interesting to note that Van Williams is the same former Wichita Eagle investigative reporter who was hired by the City of Wichita by former City Manager George Kolb in order to stop Williams for writing critical stories about the City. In addition, Van Williams and Dion Leffler were the two investigating reporters that brought down the previous corruption existing in City Hall with relentless interviews and investigating reporting. Sadly, Mr. Williams “changed sides” from the Wichita Eagle to the City for more money and job security. No scruples here
Oh please, BK. What corruption previously existed in City Hall that Van and Dion “brought down”?
Let’s see the City financial director being in a “clothing optional” hot tub at taxpayers expense. City manager purchasing a lake property at half price from an individual that the City did a favor for, etc, etc, etc.