With All Respect to the Elder Kean…


As a well respected former governor, Thomas H. Kean Sr., commands attention.

He got it a few days ago when asked in an appearance on NJ Spotlight News about the reluctance of his son and CD-7 candidate Thomas H. Kean Jr. to speak to many state media outlets.

The former governor said such a stance could be “unproductive,” but then asserted the problem has to do with a single journalist, the editorial page editor of the Star Ledger, Tom Moran. Friction between politicians and individual journalists is common.

But with all due respect to the elder Kean, that’s not the story here.

Kean Jr. seems to be doing all he can to avoid speaking to just about all New Jersey reporters.

It is understood this may not be a big issue, or any issue at all, to average voters. And it fits neatly with today’s Republican narrative. If reporters get annoyed at the candidate, it’s just the unfair and biased media acting up.

At the same time, should not a man running for Congress – there are only 435 of such people in a country of 330 million – answer questions from reporters?

Most candidates running for school board and town council have no problem doing that.

It is not merely one journalist with the Ledger. Kean, or at least his campaign, has declined requests from many reporters for interviews or even merely to see the candidate on the stump.

National Night Out is an annual event in early August that is centered around local police and other first responders meeting with residents to talk about their jobs and to display their equipment – generally in a ballfield.

This is ideal for politicians who just love being photographed standing next to a police car or a fire truck. But not everyone. The Kean campaign declined to answer a question about which National Night Out events the candidate would be attending.

A few weeks after that, Kean had what was advertised as a Back to School Night to discuss public school; curriculum – an interesting and pertinent subject to be sure. The event was closed to the press.  Why? The campaign declined to say.

I get the Republican belief that “the media” is out to get them.

That makes it worthwhile to point out that many other Republicans around New Jersey to their credit are not following Kean’s lead.

A short time after Kean’s closed school event, the Morris County Women’s Republican Club had nearly an identical event – a panel discussion on school curriculum featuring activists and one lawmaker, state Sen. Anthony M. Bucco.  It was open to the press.

The Republican candidate in CD-11 is Paul DeGroot. I have attended and reported on many of his fundraisers.

Frank Pallotta is the Republican candidate in CD-5. One night last week, I enjoyed discussing the race with him over a few beers at an event he had in a Bergen County brew pub. A photographer from another media outlet was there as well.

Forget about a reporter’s desire for colorful information. Such access allows candidates and the press to relate to each other as people. And better inform the public. That’s important.

It’s too bad some candidates disagree.

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One response to “With All Respect to the Elder Kean…”

  1. The reason Kean Jr. is not speaking to NJ reporters is because NJ reporters are mostly left-wing propagandists that emulate Soviet-style propaganda. They attack anything on the Right/Republican/Conservative. They are not neutral and shouldn’t complain when politicians don’t want to talk to them. Snowflake needs to get over himself and the rest of his ilk. If they want to talk to politicians, stick to the Democrat-Communists. This way they all are in lock-step/goose-step with each other.

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