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Friday, April 28, 2006 

ArkTimes & Huckabee

ArkTimes, this is starting to sound really pathetic...just accept their decision and move on...

If you want to be critical about the Governor citing a "working papers" exemption just remember that your boy Beebe did the same thing to avoid releasing information to the DemGaz...

By Aaron Sadler
Arkansas News Bureau

LITTLE ROCK - Gov. Mike Huckabee and the editor of a weekly political newspaper - long at odds over the governor's politics and practices - squared off Thursday over the paper's access to Huckabee's press releases and public schedule.

Max Brantley, editor of the Arkansas Times, said the publication may sue the governor, claiming possible constitutional and Arkansas Freedom of Information Act violations.

Brantley said he learned this week that the liberal-leaning tabloid had been removed from Huckabee's e-mail list of routine releases and announcements.

"We believe constitutionally they could not deprive us of services provided others on a broad basis on account of them not liking our opinions," Brantley said. "We think that's a First Amendment violation."

Huckabee, a Republican, said news releases and announcements are available on the Internet and that he had no duty to offer special treatment to the paper.

"The Times is whining because we don't go out of our way to personally contact them with information they can readily obtain by accessing our Web site," Huckabee said through spokeswoman Alice Stewart.

The Times has been critical of Huckabee's use of a state police airplane and spending by his political action committee, and it also has raised ethics complaints against the governor.

"Certainly they're free to continue not just reporting what they consider news, but to make actual attempts at creating the news through multiple filings of ethics complaints, and in turn self-congratulate themselves on their own actions," Huckabee said.

Brantley said he believes removal from the e-mail list is clearly retaliatory.

The Times' lawyer is considering whether the action is a First Amendment violation or whether Huckabee is in violation of the state FOI law, Brantley said.

He said his paper's case is unlike one in which Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich ordered executive branch employees not to talk to two Baltimore Sun employees. A federal appeals court panel in February upheld a lower court's dismissal of the Sun's suit.

Brantley said his newspaper would have a stronger case because Ehrlich, unlike Huckabee, did not refuse access to an entire organization.

Removal from an e-mail list prevents the publication from attending news conferences that may be called with only a few hours' notice, he said.

"It makes it impossible for us to do our job as well as we'd like to do it if we can't be made aware of the things that others (are)," Brantley said.

Huckabee criticized Brantley's complaints as a ploy for attention.

"There are hundreds of real news outlets throughout the state and the simple fact is, we don't make phone calls or e-mail every one of them each time we issue a press release or announcement," the governor said.

Thursday, the governor's chief counsel, Milton Fine, denied the Times' FOI requests for all future news releases and for the names of news organizations that remain on the governor's mailing list, Brantley said.

In declining the request, Fine said the paper could not make a standing request for future documents. The mailing list was exempted as part of the governor's "working papers," Brantley said.

Arkansas Times motto: All the hypocrisy fit to print.

Whine about the governor taking plane rides, but say nothing about their boy Beebe doing the same.

Whine about the governor using working papers to deny access to his records, but say nothing about their boy Beebe doing the same.

Whine about "Republican" ethics and never say a word about their boy Beebe getting hit with an actual warning from the Ethics Commission.

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