Rachel Maddow has been reporting on a wide-ranging scandal in the Arizona statehouse. The local CBS affiliate in Phoenix has been investigating Governor Jan Brewer and her staff for alleged improprieties surrounding the passage of SB1070, the anti-immigrant bill. The investigation has shown that members of Brewer’s advisors and staff are also lobbyists for private prison enterprises who stand to gain from the bill’s passage:
“As CBS station KPHO-TV has revealed, two of Governor Brewers advisers, Paul Senseman and Chuck Coughlin, have extensive ties to a private prison company called the Corrections Corporation of America, CCA. As a prison operator in Arizona, that company stands to benefit from every person detained under SB1070.”
Since the story broke the Brewer campaign has removed all campaign advertising from KPHO-TV. Maddow followed up and learned that the decision was Brewer’s and that the reasons were specifically due to the station’s investigation.
What this amounts to is a sort of blackmail on the part of the Governor. It is considered inappropriate and unethical for a public servant to seek to punish members of the press for doing their jobs. This is very different than declining to grant interviews to an adversarial reporter. This attacks the news enterprise financially by refusing to purchase advertising.
However, there is a bigger question here. While KPHO-TV is to be commended for their integrity in pursuing this story in the face of these repercussions, I have to wonder where the rest of the Arizona media is. I have not heard any reports that Brewer’s campaign has halted advertising on any other Arizona television station. Maybe that’s because I have also been able to find any stories on this subject by any other station. This is clearly a matter of importance to residents of the state. So why haven’t the other stations covered it? Are they now afraid of losing ad dollars? Are they deliberately suppressing the news to facilitate the Governor?
These would be great questions for Maddow to raise when following up further on this story. If the media in Arizona has been either biased in favor of Brewer, or intimidated by her or her staff, it needs to be revealed and reported to the citizens who have an important election coming up in a couple of months. Are you listening Rachel?