(AP) Three Palm Beach Post reporters were turned away Wednesday from a year-end interview with Gov. Jeb Bush because his office said the newspaper’s bureau chief has treated staff members inappropriately.
No other capital news organizations were excluded from the end-of-the-year interview sessions. The newspaper’s bureau chief, Shirish Date, met with the governor’s communication’s director, Jill Bratina, Tuesday and was told an invitation would not be extended.
But Date and two other reporters, Mary Ellen Klas and Jim Ash, arrived at the governor’s office and asked if they could participate. Press office staffer Leslie Steele said simply “No.”
The Post said the inappropriate behavior cited by Bush’s office stems from a phone call during which Date cursed at Bratina.
Date “asked for specifics and they said ‘You said a curse word back about three months ago.’ If there’s more I don’t know about it,” said Palm Beach Post Deputy Managing Editor Bill Rose. “It’s just sad that the governor’s office would take an action which in effect punishes the readers and the public in Palm Beach County and Martin County.”
Bush, when asked why the Post was not invited to the interview sessions, said only “You know I don’t have any comment on that.” His press office also refused to comment Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Bratina said she wanted to keep the matter between herself and Date.
“I have addressed those issues with the individual. I think that’s the appropriate place for that discussion to take place, between the two of us,” Bratina said. “I’m hopeful that we will be able to work in a mutually respectful and professional manner in the future.”
The Post also said the governor’s office is refusing to provide public records requested by the newspaper’s reporters. In a letter mailed Dec. 5, attorney Martin Reeder said the office was breaking the law by not providing public records or imposing exorbitant fees to obtain them.
The governor’s office wouldn’t comment.