WHEN TRUTH GETS IN THE WAY OF A GOOD CAMPAIGN STORY
Partisans use the media all the time to score points. In Homer last week, a liberal ceramic artist who supports Alyse Galvin for Congress gave a public broadcasting news reporter a doozy of a quote — one that scores as a whopping “Four Pinocchios” from Must Read Alaska.
The woman told KBBI that she had contacted Congressman Don Young’s office several times and never got a response. Her quote was then picked up by Ms. Galvin, who is using it in a campaign ad.
But it didn’t have an authentic ring. In the interest of journalistic integrity, MRAK made the call for the reporter to verify what she had been told.
Must Read Alaska contacted Congressman Don Young’s office and asked if they had ever heard from a “Ruby Haigh” of Homer. Perhaps there was an explanation. Perhaps the woman just didn’t remember correctly. Perhaps she was right. Or perhaps she was fabricating something for partisan reasons.
Here’s the reply Must Read Alaska received regarding the quote, which originally appeared on the KBBI website story about Galvin’s campaign stop in Homer:
“Congressman Young takes constituent service very seriously, and prides himself on responding to constituent concerns in a timely matter. In the last two years, Congressman Young has received over 110,000 calls and letters, and works hard to ensure they are responded to.
Per our office’s electronic record software, the constituent quoted in the article contacted Congressman Young once this year regarding the current impeachment proceedings on November 26, 2019; Congressman Young responded to her concerns on December 2nd – a response just 2 business days after the Thanksgiving weekend.
Prior to that, this constituent contacted Congressman Young on April 6, 2010 regarding the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC, and received a response on April 16, 2010.
This constituent also contacted Congressman Young about health care reform on March 30, 2010 and received a response on April 23, 2010.
They contacted Congressman Young again about health care reform on August 3, 2009 and received a response on August 7, 2009.
A phone call regarding the bailouts of financial institutions from this constituent was received on October 1, 2008. They received a phone call back from our office on October 10, 2008.
Finally, they are subscribed to Congressman Young’s eNewsletter and have received 64 of them via email, but have only opened three. The last time they opened one was 2013.
In our DC office, there are just six staffers who — in addition to meeting with Alaskans, attending hearings, briefings, and working late hours helping to draft legislation on behalf of Alaskans – are responsible for working with Congressman Young to ensure that the more than 110,000 constituent letters, emails, and phone calls receive a response. That our office was able to respond to their concerns in a matter of days is proof of just how hard Congressman Young and his staff work on behalf of Alaska.
Had the article’s author opted to scrutinize the original claim and contacted our office, the full story could have been quickly revealed. As always, constituent service is Congressman Young’s #1 priority, and he encourages all Alaskans to contact our office by phone, email, or U.S. mail to share their concerns and policy priorities. Citizens have every right to petition, criticize, or praise policy decisions of lawmakers, and our offices in Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Washington, D.C. are always happy to make sure Alaskans’ voices are heard.”
The moral of the story: If you’re going to give a candidate a quote that she can use in her campaign, be sure you’re telling the truth. These claims are far too easy to verify for a reporter — if he or she takes the time to do so.