Friday, October 14, 2011

Lobby This!

A mayor in Florida has a novel new excuse not to talk to reporters: He considers us lobbyists!
If I'm going to be a lobbyist,
 I'll need a hat like Jack's

According to the Sun Sentinel, Lauderdale Hill Mayor Richard Kaplan says that under a new ethics law, reporters should be considered "lobbyists," so he won't talk to any of them unless they register as such.

Says Hizoner in an email to the paper,

"Under the Law of Unintended Consequences, it appears that your newspaper, the Sun-Sentinel, is not only a contractor but may be considered a lobbyist, as well as its editors and the reporters. Therefore, until this is clarified, I will be needing all reporters and others from the paper who contact me for information to file whatever is required as a lobbyist to the City of Lauderhill before I can communicate further."

Why are newspaper employees "lobbyists"? Kaplan explains:

"Though reporters do not necessarily consider what they do is lobbying, their work is provided to the editors who use their research to write editorials. Editors do try to influence the final decision making indirectly (which is communication by an means) which is lobbying according to the new law as I see it."

But the mayor said, "Reporters can come to meetings and write about what happens there. There is an exception to that, but that is about it as far as I can see."

Well that's nice.

Fortunately I don't think the Law of Unintended Consequences ever made it out of committee with the New Mexico Legislature.

I just hope the politicians around here don't pick up on this idea and declare us newsdogs lobbyists. Next thing you know, legislators will be expecting us to buy them dinner.