After throwing shade on Gov. Mike Dunleavy over rural public safety issues in a story that the Anchorage Daily News ran the first day of the Alaska Federation of Natives annual conference, ADN reporter Kyle Hopkins didn’t bother to show up for the governor’s press conference on Tuesday, in which Dunleavy announced a sweeping package of public safety measures, many of them aimed at rural Alaska.
Instead, ADN reporter Alex DeMarban phoned into the press conference and asked the questions for the newspaper, while Hopkins hid.
Hopkins’ story, which had been completed days earlier, had been held by editors to coincide with the opening of the AFN conference. It’s what the newspaper is doing to shape the narrative in the public arena, just as it did during the Parnell Administration, strategically timing stories to land at key moments.
As Dunleavy was winding things down with his comments during the Public Safety “People First” press conference, he took a moment to publicly criticize the ADN and its reporting, calling on the newspaper to start presenting the facts and to stop politicizing their reporting of public safety.
The Hopkins story posited that people in rural Alaska are hiding from active shooters because there aren’t enough Troopers and that Gov. Mike Dunleavy has abandoned rural Alaska. Those who live in rural Alaska know that most every adult is armed, and hiding from active shooters is a rarity. They also know that every community cannot have its own Trooper.
Dunleavy said his wife was born in the Kobuk Valley, grew up living off the land, that his children were born in rural Alaska and he’s proud of his Inupiaq family. He lived in rural Alaska for many years and said he probably has more friends in rural Alaskan than reporter Hopkins.
“The idea that I somehow look at rural Alaska as somehow less than, or somehow not desirable of resources to help out my fellow Alaskans … to me that gets pretty darned close, I gotta be honest with you, to race-baiting,” Dunleavy said.
“And as a governor, you have to put up with a lot of shots, that’s just the way it is, you hop into the ring and you have to put up with it,” Dunleavy said. “But I’m going to ask the press, and especially our largest newspaper in our largest city, to try and give it a shot at being balanced, reporting the facts, the fact that the crime rates overall are down, that we’ve increased the number of Troopers in rural Alaska and will continue to do so.”
The ADN has a long history of left-leaning bias, and it wins them Pulitzer Prizes. As a for-profit entity, its reporting is now underwritten by left-leaning nonprofit foundations, such as ProPublica and Report for America.