Detroit papers: boycott old news p. 19

By: Editorial Staff DETROIT CONGRESSWOMAN BARBARA-Rose Collins' recent declaration that she would no longer talk to Detroit's two dailies or to two Capitol Hill papers is old news to editors familiar with the peppery 56-year-old lawmaker.
"She has complained when we write about her that we are motivated by racism. She has said she is not going to speak to us because of the strike. And now she's complaining that we're ill-mannered," said Detroit Free Press executive editor Robert G. McGruder.
Collins' spokeswoman, Audrey Wright, says the congresswoman is not speaking to the Free Press, the Detroit News and two Washington nondailies, Roll Call and the Hill, because of "reprehensible conduct of certain members of the press during Congresswoman Collins' recent hospitalization."
In early March, Collins spent more than a week in a Washington hospital for treatment of diverticulitis.
Wright complained in a letter to the Detroit News that reporters, whom she did not further identify, tried to enter Collins' hospital room.
"As described by the congresswoman, the press acted like rabid animals in pursuit of their news stories. They terrorized Ms. Collins and her family and were totally disrespectful to the nurses and doctors," Wright said in the letter.
Officials at all the papers, however, said none of their reporters tried to enter the room, and the Associated Press quoted the hospital's spokesman as saying the congresswoman had not complained about media behavior and that the staff was unaware of any problems from reporters.
In the Detroit and Capitol Hill papers, Collins has been in the news not so much because of her health problems ? but for allegations relating to her conduct in office. All the papers have closely followed investigations by the House ethics committee and the U.S. Justice Department into allegations she misused campaign and office funds.


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