Portland Press Herald refuses to print facts about Warden Service raid

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Portland Press Herald refuses to print facts about Warden Service raid

May 11, 2016

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, (207) 287-2531

AUGUSTA – After the Portland Press Herald refused to print a detailed response with the facts from the Warden Service to correct the many inaccuracies in the paper’s fictionalized account of a 2014 raid on Allagash poachers, Governor Paul R. LePage issued today the entire response. Click here for the response in its entirety.

“The Maine people have heard me complain repeatedly about bias in the Maine press, especially in the Portland Press Herald,” said Governor LePage. “But this hit piece on the Maine Warden Service by Colin Woodard is one of the most outrageous examples of the Portland Press Herald’s complete and total lack of journalistic principles. It’s even worse than the Portland Press Herald’s story that said a heroin addict was a former state trooper, which was easily proven to be false.”

Woodard’s 6,000-word-plus piece, “North Woods lawless,” was rife with his own opinion and clear personal bias against the Warden Service. Woodard printed unsubstantiated hearsay as if it were fact; he did not report answers provided to him by wardens; and he even ignored an audio recording he had of the raid. When asked if the Warden Service could submit a 3,000-word response to rebut in detail all of Woodard’s falsehoods, Portland Press Herald editor Greg Kesich flatly refused. (See email from Kesich below.)

“Let’s be perfectly clear: Colin Woodard is not a journalist; he is an activist and a novelist who never lets the facts get in the way of his fictionalized stories,” said Governor LePage. “Sadly, Woodard is the kind of guy the media elite celebrate as a Pulitzer Prize-worthy author. This kind of purposeful and blatant disregard for the most basic tenets of journalism is why the AP reported last month that only 6 percent of Americans have any confidence in the media. With its eagerness to print this kind of malicious, unethical and fabricated version of events, the Portland Press Herald has sunk well below the standards of the National Enquirer.”

Email from PPH editor Greg Kesich, refusing to print a response to Woodard’s 6,000-word-plus hit piece:

From: Gregory Kesich [mailto:gkesich@pressherald.com]
Sent: Wednesday, May 11, 2016 11:21 AM
To: Steele, Peter A
Cc: Bennett, Adrienne; Woodcock, Chandler; MacDonald, John

Subject: Re: IFW response to Woodard's hit piece
Hi Peter, I'm out of the office today but wanted to get back to you quickly. I will not accept a 3,000 word submission from anyone. I don't have the space and that's not what the opinion pages are for.

If there are errors in the story you should communicate with the reporter and editor (copied here) to discuss corrections. The opinion pages is not where we correct errors of fact. I would be interested in a piece that defends the wardens' service policies, but that can be done in a regular length column. I will circle back with you when I get back to the office


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