June 19, 2013

LePage issues new policy: No more talking to 3 newspapers

The policy comes after a series of articles about the Department of Environmental Protection.

By Steve Mistler smistler@pressherald.com
State House Bureau

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Gov. Paul LePage

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Adrienne Bennett, the governor's spokeswoman

Staff photo by Joe Phelan

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Rep. Paul Gilbert, D-Jay, the bill's lead sponsor, told the Press Herald that he was surprised that the governor's staff didn't want press in the room. Gilbert also noted that LePage complained during the ceremony that the press wouldn't cover the event because it was a positive news story.

LePage has had a rocky relationship with the press since the 2010 gubernatorial campaign, storming out of a news conference amid questions about his paying property taxes in Maine.

LePage also said that he would like to punch a reporter from the Maine Public Broadcasting Network, during a taped interview with the network.

He has voiced his displeasure with newspapers on numerous occasions and to varying audiences.

He blasted the press during his inauguration speech in 2011. In 2012, during a presentation at Waterville Junior High School, LePage told 150 eighth-graders that reading newspapers in Maine is "like paying somebody to tell you lies."

In February, during a reading with schoolchildren at St. John Catholic School in Winslow, LePage said: "My greatest fear in the state of Maine: newspapers. I'm not a fan of newspapers."

Tension between the press and governors is not uncommon.

In 2011, journalists covering the Florida Capitol complained that Republican Gov. Rick Scott limited access to public events that were previously considered open, and shut out reporters who had written critical stories.

In 2004, The Baltimore Sun filed a federal lawsuit against Republican Gov. Robert Ehrlich Jr. of Maryland after Ehrlich banned state officials from speaking to two reporters who had written critical stories.

Steve Mistler can be contacted at 620-7016 or at:


Twitter: @stevemistler

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