By Abdul-Hakim Shabazz
I realize that Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita is not a big fan of yours truly; however, I didn’t think he would go so far as to ban me from a recent news conference because I was not “credentialed” media.
You see, it all started when I got a news release from the attorney general’s office saying Todd was going to make an announcement involving a robocall lawsuit. It would be streamed, and if the media wanted to attend, they would have to RSVP, which I did.
So I got done with an event over at the Economic Club of Indiana, and I walked over to the Statehouse to attend the news conference. Todd’s press secretary was outside the door when I got there, and he told me I couldn’t come in because I was not “credentialed media.”
My jaw dropped to the floor.
I told him I was “credentialed media,” and I showed him my press badge, which, by the way, I got from the Indiana Department of Administration, but he said I wasn’t allowed in since I wasn’t credentialed. So I shook my head and said OK and posted what had happened to social media.
Now, let me start by saying in the 30 years that I have covered politics, I have never been denied access to a governmental event. A couple of political events, sure, but never a government event.
And to be more specific, I don’t ever recall former Attorneys General Steve Carter, Greg Zoeller, or Curtis Hill asking me to show my credentials before attending one of their events or denying me entry for that matter. I don’t recall U.S. Sens. Mike Braun, Todd Young, nor former Sens. Joe Donnelly, Evan Bayh or the late Richard Lugar ever doing something like this.
Nor Gov. Eric Holcomb, former Governors Mitch Daniels, Mike Pence, nor state Treasurers Richard Mourdock, Tim Berry, or Kelly Mitchell, or state Auditors Tara Klutz or Suzanne Crouch or, for that matter, Secretaries of State Connie Lawson, Charlie White, or guess who, Todd Rokita. And I don’t think the House and Senate Republican and Democratic caucuses ever denied me entry either.
Heck, even current Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, who has been upset with me on occasion due to my columns on crime in Indianapolis, has ever thrown me out or denied me entry to a news conference.
As a matter of fact, up until Todd’s failed U.S. Senate race in 2018, we never had an issue, nor did he ever deny me access to him because I wasn’t “credentialed media.”
And if I wasn’t credentialed media, why did I get a news advisory and a news release? And why would Rokita’s office subscribe to my Cheat Sheet if I didn’t have some credentials?
Oh well, I guess my point is I’m not sure why Todd would deny me access to a news conference about robocalls unless there’s something else going on, which I intend to find out.
When I do, I’ll let you know. Stay tuned.
And by the way, here’s some food for thought: If Todd can do this to me, he can do it to anyone in the media. Just some more food for thought.
Abdul Hakim-Shabazz is an attorney and the editor and publisher of IndyPoltics.Org. He is also a frequent contributor to numerous Indiana media outlets. He can be reached at [email protected]