McMorris Rodgers denies repeated requests for interviews, invites Spokesman editor to inauguration
WASHINGTON, DC — After weeks of either ignoring or denying repeated requests for interviews, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ office confirmed Wednesday the congresswoman’s guest at the inauguration was the editor of the Spokesman-Review newspaper.
A picture tweeted by Rep. Jenniffer Gonzalez showed Rep. McMorris Rodgers arriving at the inauguration.
Inlander reporter Daniel Walters pointed out that the man with Rep. McMorris Rodgers Spokesman-Review editor Rob Curley.
4 News Now reached out to Rep. McMorris Rodgers office, asking for confirmation and, again, requesting an interview with the congresswoman about the events of the last few weeks.
“Yes, Rob was her guest,” wrote communications director Jared Powell. “Unfortunately, Cathy doesn’t have any media availability this week. I will let you know if that changes.”
This marks the fifth time since the insurrection at the Capitol that 4 News Now has requested an interview with the congresswoman. While she has sent statements about issues such as changing her mind about certifying the election results and about the violence at the Capitol, she has yet to agree to an on-camera interview with us where she responds to questions from reporters and her constituents.
We reached out to Curley, who said he was there in a reporting role. Curley said, “Her office reached out to The Spokesman-Review on Monday to ask if we would like to see the inauguration from the perspective of members of the house and senate. The newspaper paid for all travel, hotel and food costs. We asked specifically if there were any expectations or agenda attached, because if there were, we weren’t interested. We were told they understood we were going to write whatever we wanted. And we are.”
Curley said he was covering the event from the perspective that the elected officials see and confirmed he did not obtain press credentials or work in areas designated for media. Curley said he was wearing a Spokesman-Review mask so it was clear he was there in a journalistic role.
Standard journalism ethics dictate there should be reasonable separation between journalists and the politicians they cover. Curley changed newspaper policy last fall after the Spokesman endorsed Donald Trump for president. Curley acknowledged at the time that editorials were written by the owner of the paper, and were old-school journalism that didn’t really have a place anymore.
Most of the journalists at the Spokesman-Review did not know that Curley was at the event until the tweets started posting online. This afternoon, a memo went out to the staff explaining the coverage decision.
Curley said he didn’t inform the staff sooner because they didn’t get the invitation until late Monday morning and he still had to clear COVID-19 testing at the Pentagon before being allowed to attend the event. When asked why he wasn’t posting about the event throughout the day, Curley said “I wasn’t here to brag, I was here to report this. I wanted to see what happens.”
When asked why the Spokesman-Review didn’t have its DC-based reporter as the guest, Curley said that reporter needed to focus on the event itself and that his coverage was more of a sidebar to the bigger story.
Curley said when people read his reporting, they’ll see that he didn’t have an agenda in covering the event in a way that was favorable to Rep. McMorris Rodgers.
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