February 17, 2012

Honolulu Civil Beat
Former Hawaii Gov. Ben Cayetano is running for mayor in Honolulu. And he does not like what Honolulu Civil Beat’s been writing about him.

“There is no point in talking to a reporter who accuses me of lacking in ‘believability,'” Cayetano writes to Civil Beat editor John Temple. Of City Beat reporter Michael Levine, Cayetano says, “I will not answer his questions, his phone calls or emails.”

“If Civil Beat wants my opinion on issues — send another of its reporters,” Cayetano writes.

One problem with the former governor’s media criticism: Levine didn’t write the piece Cayetano felt impugned him. Temple did.

“People in public life do not get to choose who covers them,” Temple writes.

In a phone interview, Temple says his past relationship with Cayetano has been good. “He’s been very gracious to me in my coming to Hawaii, and I’ve shared a couple meals with him, and he’s given me a lot of insight into the place. I’ve always appreciated that about him.”

Temple says not speaking to Civil Beat or Levine is “completely” Cayetano’s right but may be a hazard when it comes to voters; the decision “is potentially indicative of his demeanor and his approach to people who disagree with him,” he says.

Also, Cayetano camp’s sent some mixed messages on the ban. On Tuesday, his website encouraged voters to read and comment on a Civil Beat article, and a party in Cayetano’s lawsuit regarding rail transit in Honolulu replied this morning to a question Levine sent him.

Civil Beat will  continue covering Cayetano as before. “We’re just going to send the same reporter, we’ll ask him the same questions,” Temple says. “If he doesn’t want to talk, that’s his right and we’ll report back. The next press conference he holds, Michael will be there.”

I’ve put in an interview request with Gov. Cayetano and will update if I hear back.

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Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at TBD.com and managing editor of Washington City…
Andrew Beaujon

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