Editorial – Another broken promise: Hochul excludes media from northern hospital visits | Editorials

When politicians start talking about their transparency after taking office, you can bet they won’t be that transparent.

Kathy Hochul pledged to usher in a “new era of transparency” when she became governor in August. But recent events cast doubt on this claim.

On his first visit to our region as governor, Hochul excluded members of the media from his Wednesday meetings with health workers at Canton-Potsdam Hospital in Potsdam and Samaritan Medical Center in Watertown. She also chose not to hold any press briefings during her stay, so reporters couldn’t ask her questions about what people were telling her about the novel coronavirus pandemic.

This tight travel schedule was made possible on a private plane – it’s not like she has to wait for a connecting flight at Syracuse Hancock International Airport. We find it hard to believe that she couldn’t answer reporters’ questions by visiting at least one of those two hospitals.

Hochul found time in his tight schedule to hold a press conference at Clinton Community College in Plattsburgh. She visited the pop-up vaccination clinic organized that day, organized by the state health ministry and SOMOS Vaccinations at the college, an article published on Wednesday by the Republican Press reported.

The Watertown Daily Times asked why its local visits were closed to the press: “Wednesday’s briefing in Plattsburgh was broadcast live and the governor responded to reporters’ questions via video conference on Monday, officials from the Hochul office said.” , according to our article.

Live and video conference events are certainly useful for journalists to remotely cover government meetings. During this healthcare crisis, it has been crucial to have alternative methods to visualize such gatherings.

But neither option has benefited us this week.

We were unable to ask Hochul questions on Monday about what health workers told her when she was here two days later. And being able to watch her live in Plattsburgh is good, except we weren’t there to question her about her time in Potsdam and Watertown.

This pandemic, which has lasted for nearly two years, continues to puzzled government officials, public health officials, medical staff and residents of New York state. Many of us are very concerned about the latest developments and how they will affect our well-being.

So people are wondering what the state government is doing to address these issues. Those of us in the news industry take on the role of asking these questions of our elected officials as often as possible.

In this sense, Hochul has dismissed the fears of local residents by not allowing us to do our job. She should submit to the scrutiny of the press – it is part of her job as a person in public office.

When we think it’s necessary, we’re going to ask him tough questions and blame him for his mistakes. This governor shouldn’t expect to get a pass.

However, Hochul doesn’t need to take any extra hits from us to exclude journalists from local events. Her presence here is certainly newsworthy, but we can’t report what’s going on if she keeps us on the other side of closed doors. Need he be reminded of how keeping the operations of the Executive Chamber in secret helped end the career of former Governor Andrew Cuomo?

If she truly believes in transparency, Hochul must take the concerns of local residents seriously by making herself available to journalists when she visits our communities. Otherwise, his promises of open government will ring as hollow as those of his predecessor and his colleagues in Albany.

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