Media access in one state: Tom Hauser’s complaint

KSTP-TV’s Tom Hauser is an old-school political reporter. He’s a pro. He plays it down the middle. He is widely respected.

Tom is the guy who asked this question at one of the daily press briefings conducted by the Minnesota Department of Health: what share of all deaths attributed to COVID-19 is accounted for by long-term care residents and others with serious medical conditions (as defined elsewhere by the CDC and the governor’s executive orders). The answer was 99.24 percent. It has since fallen to 98.46 percent.

The daily press briefing conducted by the Minnesota Department of Health set Tom off yesterday. He took to Twitter to unload. The media angle to COVID-19 in Minnesota is an important sidebar to the crisis.

Among Tom’s complaints are the following. He has a hard time joining the call and getting called on to ask a question. He finds the conference call software wanting. He notes that the public officials on the call consume time on nonsense (my translation). He notes that the lineup of reporters picked from the queue to pose questions is short and has a certain sameness about it day after day. He thinks the reporters picked from the queue have missed an obvious question or two (my translation).

I take it from Tom’s tweets that MDH nevertheless continues to apprise Tom of the calls and invite him to join. He hasn’t been blacklisted. MDH responds to Tom’s questions by email. I feel Tom’s pain, but I think I can top Tom’s complaint(s). I will take up my complaint in the adjacent post.