Media access in one state: My complaint

KSTP-Tv’s Tom Hauser has a complaint or two about the daily press briefing conducted by the Minnesota Department of Health. He took to Twitter to unload yesterday afternoon. I compiled a bunch of those tweets in the adjacent post. Tom noted somewhere in his tweets that he hasn’t been blacklisted. I have.

MDH included me in the press briefing conference call notices and responded to my questions by email until April 27. Then they cut me off. They won’t tell me why. They won’t respond to my inquiries. Something happened. I don’t know what it is.

It seems to have had something to do with the questions I was asking. Working on a story about my experience, however, the Washington Free Beacon’s Collin Anderson elicited a statement from MDH to the effect that they only allow “professional journalists” on the briefing. And yet I was included until April 27. Collin’s story about my experience is here. I wrote about Collin’s story here.

I think my blacklisting by MDH is illegal and have retained counsel to do something about it. Theresa Bevilacqua of Minneapolis’s venerable Dorsey & Whitney law firm has agreed to represent me. Yesterday afternoon Theresa forwarded a draft complaint asserting my section 1983 claim against MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm and the department to Malcolm’s lawyers at the department. I will post the complaint on Power Line when we file it (probably on Friday) unless someone at MDH decides to do the right thing.

Theresa previously represented me in my Freedom of Information Act case against the Department of Homeland Security when the department withheld documents regarding its Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport security tour for local Somali community leaders. Once Theresa obtained the documents on my behalf, I wrote the City Journal column “Magical Mystery Tour, Minneapolis Version.” City Journal gave me permission to post the column together with the documents Theresa sprang for me on Power Line in “(DHS) Magical Mystery Tour.”

Theresa is chair of Dorsey’s Minneapolis trial group. She is a meticulous and aggressive attorney. She has enlisted the assistance of Dorsey associate Ian Blodger on my case. Ian worked hard to get the facts straight over the holiday weekend. He reviewed emails, asked me good questions, and threw himself into the case. I want to express my gratitude to Theresa and Ian for undertaking the case on my behalf. It proved to be too hot to handle for the local office of one prominent firm.

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