Editorial writers across the state have criticized House Speaker Bill O’Brien for barring Concord Monitor reporters from attending a State House press briefing.
The Nashua Telegraph concluded that maybe O’Brien is “not as smart and calculating as we thought.”
Didn’t he realize the readers of one of the state’s largest newspapers would be the only ones dealt a disservice by his stunt?
Well, he made the news of the day alright, but it was as much about him acting like schoolyard ninny and playing a childish game of keep away than it was about welfare reform.
The unfortunate episode was typical of O’Brien’s reign as speaker, wrote the Portsmouth Herald.
Who knew Bully O’Brien was, in reality, Crybaby O’Brien?
O’Brien’s pettiness overshadowed some legitimate concerns about how food assistance money is used. In some ways, the moment symbolized his failed tenure as speaker, a decent idea obscured by petty vindictiveness.
O’Brien even received a mild rebuke from the Union Leader.
O’Brien is the speaker of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, not a business executive. He is answerable directly to the people, and the way the people access the speaker’s office is through the state’s media outlets. Shutting out the Monitor does not punish the paper, it punishes the paper’s readers.
All public officials should expect slanted and unfair coverage. Intentionally or not, it happens. The way to deal with it is not to deny access, but to point it out and go after it.