Governor's Office asks journalists to take one for the team - Must Read Alaska
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Wednesday, July 8, 2020
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Governor’s Office asks journalists to take one for the team

GRACE JANG TO REPORTERS: NOTHING TO SEE HERE, MOVE ALONG

The deputy chief of staff for Alaska’s governor is asking her former colleagues in the media to back off.

Back off of the story about Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott and his unwelcome “overtures” toward a young lady at the Alaska Federation of Natives Elders and Youth Conference.

Back off for the protection of the victim(s).

Back off for the sake of Mallott’s family.

Some things are better left unsaid.

Lt. Gov. Mallott was sent home from AFN on Tuesday and was forced to resign from elected office after a situation became known to the governor on Monday. AFN is the major Native organization that Mallott helped establish AFN in the mid-60s.

[Read the details of that situation, as we’ve been able to piece them together]

In a long and carefully crafted post on Facebook on Thursday evening, two days after the revelations about Mallott came to light, Deputy Chief of Staff Grace Jang said it had been a hard week for the governor, for her, and for the whole staff of the Governor’s Office.

Do us a favor, she said, in essence, in the press conference on Tuesday. Just go away.  You owe us this one because we’ve been totally transparent for four years. Just give us this one. Please.

Jang, who was a broadcast journalist who covered Gov. Walker’s campaign and then became his communication director, defended the privacy of the lieutenant governor and his victim.

He has suffered enough, she implied. He’s a friend of so many and has such a great history, she said. He just fell down.

She did not acknowledge that the second-most powerful man in office in Alaska owes an explanation to the public about what happened, and if he doesn’t explain it, the governor should, at least through his surrogates.

The public has a right to know if something criminal happened, and without a full explanation, Alaskans will always wonder why such a man as Mallott just disappeared from public life in an instant.

But that’s not what Jang wants.

Jang wants it all swept under the rug by a willing press, to ensure that none of the details ever make it into the history books.

History will just show that Mallott simply quit and no one knew why, other than he said something “inappropriate.”

Jang just weeks ago helped craft a statement from the governor and Mallott that disparaged the reputation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Kavanaugh was accused of crimes such as attempted rape and arranging for gang rape, and his name and family’s name was dragged through the mud during his Supreme Court confirmation hearing.

But there was not a kind word from the Governor’s Office to defend the jurist.

This week she wrote that she misses joking with Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott. She misses the camaraderie of his presence.

“Sometimes leaders fall down,” she wrote. And because he resigned, he did the right thing. Therefore, he deserves privacy, she argued.

Here’s what Jang wrote in its entirety, as she admonished the press to step off:

“This has been a tough week.

“Tough for the woman whose unexpected conversation with an elected official led to a resignation. She worried she wouldn’t be believed; that her character and credibility would be undermined; that it would come down to her word against that of one of the most powerful men in the state.

“But she was spared all of that.

“Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallott owned up to it. He took responsibility for his actions. He stepped down.
It’s been a tough week for Byron and his family, too. His wife, children and grandchildren are members of this community. They work with us, they go to school with us, they serve with us. One family member told me he has stayed off Facebook because of the hateful comments, the hurtful innuendos, the outright lies.

“It’s been a tough week for my boss and our whole team. We love, cherish and respect Byron. He made us laugh. He provided perspective. He advocated for voices not at the table. I miss seeing him in the office, hearing his stories and joking with him.

“Sometimes, leaders fall down. It’s what they do after the fall that defines who they are. Byron did the right thing; he did the honorable thing. Governor Walker stood by the man who has become his brother and his best friend, and he also stood by the woman and ensured her identity was protected.

“Yet, somehow, that’s not enough.

“Reporters want to know what was said to whom when and where. Giving those details jeopardizes the woman’s right to privacy. Each little piece of information lifts one more corner of the veil over her identity. As the victim of a traumatizing experience, she deserves to have her identity protected.

“Members of the media,

“During the past four years, I have defended your right to access to information and interviews. But I’m having a tough time with this one.

“As journalists, you have a choice.

“You can choose to elevate the discussion.
“You can choose to not carry water for those with a reckless disregard for facts.
“You can choose to add depth, provide context, and explain nuance.
“You can choose to not compromise the privacy of a victim’s identity.
“You can choose to not lend credence to fear- and hate-mongers.
“You can choose to engage and enlighten readers, viewers and listeners in a way that appeals to our better selves.

“We live in a very small state, where gossip and misinformation can destroy lives. Words matter.”

‘DON’T REPORT THE TRUTH TODAY, BUT ON MONDAY, PLEASE REPORT ON A BIG LIE’

Grace Jang is pleading for her boss and for her own job in her “Words matter” essay. Anyone who sees the situation differently is a hate-monger, she tries to reason. Hate-mongers are those who disagree, of course.

However, in appealing to “our better selves,” what Jang is not telling the public is this:

She knows something you don’t know.

Jang and Press Secretary Austin Baird are fully aware of a brutal hit job that has been prepared for the governor’s top opponent, Mike Dunleavy.

They know the details, they know when the ads are going to hit, and they’ve known it for some time. They know what is coming is not true.

On Monday, when the $100,000 in television ads hit the airwaves, Jang will be nowhere to be found defending the truth. She won’t make the call this weekend to call off the dogs.

She will say, “That’s the campaign, not the official side,” and while Mike Dunleavy is subjected to a smear unlike any that has ever hit Alaska politics, she will remain serene.

Does Must Read Alaska know the details of the smear campaign? Yes. And it is going to hit a new low.

Yet, there’s still time for the perpetrators of the smear to pull it back.

Must Read Alaska will hope the better angels of their nature prevail, but if the governor and his surrogates persist, we’ll look to the media to ask Grace Jang if she will denounce the lies.

We already know her answer: It’s not her problem.

DONNA WALKER SAYS ‘HE PAID THE PRICE’

After the press converged on Gov. Bill Walker at the end of the Resource Development Council debate on Thursday afternoon, First Lady Donna Walker finally intervened to protect Gov. Walker. She told the media, referring to Mallott:

“He paid the price  — you can’t really get much more of a price out of a situation like this, stepped down from the second-highest job in the state,” she said. “And he and his family are suffering. This is a man whose, you know, outstanding career, so many accomplishments. The family is in grief. And we’re in grief with them.”

Nevermind the victim.

They’re not trying to protect the victim. They are trying to protect Byron Mallott. They’re trying to salvage what they can from their campaign.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • NO. If it was a Republican they would be screaming for what he said. We need to know.

  • So Mallott is supposed to have done something significant enough to cause him to resign…. and they are about to smear Dunleavy with something far worse. The conclusion: Do what Mallott did. These guys are really unbelievably devious… The TV stations will run the “political ads” and the Mainstream Press will call for Dunleavy to do what he has to do… step down… Wow ! I was waiting for the other shoe to drop…Thanks for the heads up !

  • Something stinks here.

    No Middle Gound – Part 4

    Woah! Lt. Gov. Mallott was forced to resign? Before, they say he voluntarily resigned.

    Deputy Chief of Staff Grace Jang said, Do us a favor. Just go away. Oh really? This is a cover up.

    Saying something “inappropriate” isn’t something you resign over. What really happened?

    Jang said, You owe us this one because we’ve been totally transparent for four years. Just give us this one. Please.

    Since when does the press owe the Governor’s office anything? Walker and Mallot have not been transparent. They have sneaked around making back room deals and springing illegal surprises on Alaskans since he’s been in office. Taking the PFD is illegal. Taxation is illegal. They are low down yellow skunks.

    Jang defended the lieutenant governor and his victim’s privacy?

    Since when does any elected official get privacy? If he was a Republican, the press would be all over him and his life digging for any dirt they could find, even fabricating it. Is Jang saying it’s okay for Leftists to get away with a real crime while these Leftists try to hang Kavanaugh, an innocent man and Dunleavy, an honorable man?

    As we close in on Election Day, will these same wonderful people give grace to Mike Dunleavy? So, double standards are okay if they say so? Where’s this right to privacy when the press attacks anybody else with lies and fabrications? Where is this right when the Governor chooses a man to replace Dunleavy in the Senate E seat and then when he resigned, this same Governor slams him with the lies the Left created?

    Is Jang now saying Lt Governor Mallot doesn’t owe the People an explanation? He didn’t own up to anything; where do we find out what really happened?

    I like how Jang is accusing journalists of exactly what so many of them are good at, reckless disregard for facts, lending credence to fear and hate mongers. Does she think that, because she was a journalist, they’ll be silenced because this is one of their Leftist leaders? To coin a phrase – words; just words.

    Thank you Suzanne Downing. I agree with you, Jang knows something we don’t know.

    It’s okay for them to slam and smear Mike Dunleavy but oh, don’t do that to us Leftists!

    You nailed it: “They’re not trying to protect the victim. They are trying to protect Byron Mallott. They’re trying to salvage what they can from their campaign.” Good article, Suzanne!

  • A high level elected official does/says something that may be criminal. They resign immediately once it becomes known to a small circle of advisors/friends. The only reparations required are an immediate resignation without explanation? Because he’s a great man with a great reputation that makes you laugh and he and his family have suffered enough?

    And that is the definition of a “transparent” administration? Wow.

  • New term here: JANGED……noun, shut up, shut down, do not speak,hold in silence, 1st amendment rights given up for the good of the party.

  • Let your readers know what they have on Dunleavy.
    That way we can get in front of it and it may dampen the Dems October Surprise

    • Yes! Please do!

  • If this happens in the way that MRAK apparently believes it could then the time has arrived to carry a long gun in the car or truck at all times. Sure, we all carry our sidearms. But if this happens in this way it will be a suspension of democracy and the Alaska justice system by state government. And any Alaskan, under those circumstances, could be called upon at any time to defend themselves, and their families and neighbors. The other side, the AFLCIO will certainly be armed and be ready to further assail our democracy and our system with force. If they control our government, and if the justice systems, laws and procedures in place are to be cast aside at least until the election is over then we must be prepared. We have no way of knowing who among us will be called upon to defend ourselves and our democracy, so we all must be ready. Carry at least 100 rounds in your car and truck. Union goons will be out there if they are going to do this to Alaska.

    • Put your tin foil hat away. You sound like a lunatic and make the rest of us responsible gun owners look bad.

      Besides we already have to carry a hundred rounds of ammunition in our cars just to survive a day in Anchorage from all the meth heads and carjackings.

    • The AFL-CIO already controls the government. Remember the intensive PR campaign in summer of 2016 where these supposedly disinterested organizations pleaded steal, er…”cap and preserve” the PFD? Both of these organizations do one and only one thing with all their might, that’s advance their own interests so when they spend big bucks promoting stealing the PFD, it means they expect to gain from it happening. Turns out they are in a competition to plunder the Perm. Fund before the other guy plunders it first.
      So “NO” to unions having their way with our money.

  • This is outrageous! Jang knows the press has an obligation to do its public service as the watchdog of government. The press is not the friend of government. But, oh, the bitter irony after she unfairly grilled an innocent man, Gov. Parnell, four years ago for the sexual misconduct within the National Guard — that was not his fault, not his doing, and for which he fired Katkus. Walker trumpeted that scandal to profit from it and slither his way into office. Once in office, Walker did his own internal investigation of the Parnell administration and found that Parnell and his administration were not responsible in any way for that scandal and that he did not cover it up — as Walker is doing right now with his right hand man. But, we already knew that. (The press at the time was led by a woman with an evil agenda to get rid of Parnell and Miller at all cost, including the newspaper itself and the people she stole from along the way.) And did Walker admit publicly that Parnell and his administration were innocent? Nah! It had already served its purpose for him. We call that an opportunist.

    Astoundingly, Walker has the audacity to call himself a Christian? The only thing Biblical in Walker’s life is the spirit of Saul, an angry king who hunted down David in his jealousy of David’s anointing. That’s what he did to Parnell in 2014 and it’s what he is doing now with Dunleavy.

    To say Walker is protecting Mallott’s victim is laughable. Walker is the man who scrapped Choose Respect — because it was Parnell’s baby —and he flat out refused to veto SB91, which let a whole host of criminals lose, including sex traffickers! Protect the victim?! Please don’t insult our intelligence, Grace Jang! Walker is protecting himself and covering his dirty hands. How prophetic that now, the lies Walker and Jang planted to smear an innocent man have come to harvest in their own lives.

    Listen up, Walker. Pride comes before the fall. No weapon formed against Mike Dunleavy shall prosper. This fabricated, false and calculated smear campaign will all come down on Walker’s own head and the heads of all of his culpable surrogates, just like the National Guard scandal has come down on their heads.

    Keep reporting like a boss, Suzanne! Hold them accountable!

  • Proverbs 9:7-8 – Truth sounds like hate to those who hate truth

  • Well , what do you expect from the demoncrats !! The present leaders of ALASKA have learned well from their National Leaders (ie Clinton/Schumer/Pelosi/Waters)!! Lie , Deny , Attack and Accuse others to defray damage done to their program to lead the pack of Wolves howling for the Body of the PFD !!

  • I don’t want to repeat whats already been said here because if I start this will be a long post. But suffice it to say I’d rather fall in an Alaskan muskeg hole than read anymore statements like Ms. Jang’s. We don’t even know if there was a victim, did anyone call the police…was the incident even a crime at all or is it being judged by some vague notion of alledged sexual misconduct? Did it even happen or was this some kind of arranged backroom deal to get Lt. Gov Mallot out of the way? I wouldn’t vote for Lt Gov Mallot but maybe he’s the victim here. In today’s cut throat political atmosphere who knows…so now…we can only guess.

  • It’s okay for Walker and Mallot to drag Kavanaugh through the mud for alleged sexual abuse allegations. But it’s not okay for the public to ask questions about Mallot’ s sexual misconduct allegations. Jang and Walker camp – you are clueless hypocrites.

  • “Trust us” and “Do the right thing” are not credible statements from the Walker administration. Byron Mallott is responsible as an elected leader and knows what he signed up for.

  • Grasping at straws,Merlot is taking one for the team so that Walker can have a native women to run with him hoping to get more votes,we need to see what was said and to who,do they think we are that blind and stupid here just drink your Kool-Aid and don’t ask any questions….

  • Mallott is 75. Chances are this isn’t the first time something like this has happened. Rumors have been swirling for years. The press has an obligation to find the truth of this elected man. Dig deep. Talk to Sealaska.

    • My thoughts exactly!

  • “As journalists, you have a choice.

    “You can choose to elevate the discussion.
    “You can choose to not carry water for those with a reckless disregard for facts.
    “You can choose to add depth, provide context, and explain nuance.
    “You can choose to not compromise the privacy of a victim’s identity.
    “You can choose to not lend credence to fear- and hate-mongers.
    “You can choose to engage and enlighten readers, viewers and listeners in a way that appeals to our better selves.

    Journalists cannot provide the public any of that without information.

  • The really, really sleazy part of this is probable knowledge of Jang and Baird as to the ugly attacks that are coming against Mike Dunleavy. Ms. Jang would have been better off not to write two things she does not practice herself: “You can choose to not carry water for those with a reckless disregard for facts.” and “You can choose to not lend credence to fear- and hate-mongers.” Ms. Jang and Mr. Baird are just as much a part of the sleaze as the folks making up the attack media. Both should be thinking about moving out of state.

    The politics of personal destruction seem to be part of the DNA of the Left. It began with the Clintons and has infected the entire Democratic party. In the current situation it is all the more ugly because the candidates of the Left have self-destructed and a majority of voters know it.

    I hope and pray that Mike Dunleavy is well prepared for the attacks to come.

  • This is why Grace Chang is paid $150K a year – to let a story like this smolder for three weeks before the administration flames out. Nice work.

  • I like Linda Mae’s idea of a new word; they just “Janged” their defeat. From these comments posted, it appears the “Walker Team” has only cemented its defeat. So now, I don’t care if I ever know what Mallot really did. Good riddance thieves and liars.

  • Mallott and Walker are DEMONRATS and will do anything they can to cover this up with the adn liberal rag distorting the facts!!! Time they both go the way of the one term senator the big – itch and the unions want to back that scum L.O.L………..

  • why are leftists so homophobic?

  • Maybe it was a sacrifice to promote Val Davidson… Maybe it was calculated to keep Walker and his supposed civility in the news… More likely it was a coldly calculated move to keep the bush vote solidly for Walker. The bush ABHORS disrespect – Byron Mallott, for all his being a lefty, is deserving of respect like any other human being (yes I’m cringing writing that, but it is true). We have lost our ability to engage in civil discourse. A smear campaign against Mike might energize lefties in the city and raise howls from the lefty media, but it will alienate the very bush vote that Walker is depending on, and that Begich wants so badly – they know they CAN’T win without the bush vote. The bush forms a consensus based on mutual respect and civility, and votes accordingly. Would Walker conspire to deliver the bush to Begich as a sympathy vote against Mike? They are that sneaky, they hate the ARP that much, and they fear a Governor Dunleavy like no other phobia ever came close in intensity. The enemy doesn’t play by our set of rules. Be careful of the insinuations my friends – it will only deliver us a governor Mark and more years of disaster. I would keep quiet and just wait – then when they spring their “trap” on Mike, point out their disrespectful hypocrisy and plead for a return to civil discourse. That will drive the left into a meltdown – and out… and deliver us Governor Mike.

  • Let me see. Didn’t Bill & Byron join a lynch mob recently to hang a guy who was 17 years old and allegedly groped a 15 year old girl 40 years ago? The didn’t have a dog in the race other than pandering for a few votes in the upcoming general election.

    • Exactly Truk N, such lying obstructionists. So when do we see the charges or is her mom going to let him get away with it? Sure is not a good example to give to a young girl who has been abused by Mallot. Sounds like she is protecting her daughters victimizer too.

  • Since when does a perp with a victim have privacy rights?

  • No, no, no, this is unexplainable, the Democrats run a man into the ground with false accusations and now they want a freebie on a true story.
    This governor has run Alaska into the ground all while jet setting around the world, eats like a king, and takes away the people’s money, then demands that we pay for it all. No they don’t get a freebie on this.
    Plus the governor said Senator Begich was going to continue with all the governors plans, the governor wasn’t going to get re-elected anyways due to his planing to rob Alaskans
    Now he quits out of the blue! What’s he hiding from? If the media digs into the LT governor improper behavior, are they going to find out that the governor has some secrets to hide too.
    No freebie, no hiding, dig, dig, dig media, find out what is really going on, find out what they don’t want anyone to know, find out what they are hiding…..

    • Agree Bart. Go for it. AFN is protecting so many. Call in the feds.

  • Before Walker was elected, I had a chat with Grace Chang, I asked her several times if Walker was a Progressive pretending to be a Republican, she would never answer that, only would tell me to listen to what he says! well I knew already that Walker was a progressive, only interested in destruction of Alaska ! Walker was and still is no different then Obama, Hillary, the human traffickers that they support. All of them have stolen money from the people one way or another. Had nothing to do what best for Alaska, only how to increase their bank accounts, and to push “THE NEW WORLD ORDER / Elitist/ Globalism”!

  • Are you all part of the coverup of what actually happened at AFN?

    I was there just a few feet away from the janitors closet.

    Come in this should be a fbi criminal investigation.

    • Well pray do tell what you saw. Michah.

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