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Gov. Ducey doesn’t consider media ‘enemy of the people’

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, R, speaks at a campaign rally in Tempe, Arizona, on June 20, 2018. (Matt York/AP)

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, R, speaks at a campaign rally in Tempe, Arizona, on June 20, 2018. (Matt York/AP)

PHOENIX — He said it isn’t always a smooth relationship.

But Gov. Doug Ducey said Monday that he doesn’t consider the media the “enemy of the people.’’

“I’ve said before, sometimes I don’t like the questions you ask,’’ the governor said in response to a query by Capitol Media Services. And he conceded that perhaps the feeling is mutual.

“Sometimes you don’t like the answers I give,’’ Ducey said.

All of that, the governor said, is a two-way street.

“This commitment to fair and even-handed reporting is important,’’ he said. “And that’s on all of us.’’

The issue of the media’s relationship with those in power has itself made headlines as President Trump has been lashing out for months at what he calls “fake news.’’

“The FAKE NEWS media is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!’’ he tweeted in February, specifically singling out the New York Times, NBC, CBS, ABC and CNN.

As recently as last week, Trump responded the fact that his daughter, Ivanka, said that she does not think the media is the “enemy of the people.’’ The president said she was correct.

“It is the FAKE NEWS, which is a large percentage of the media, that is the enemy of the people!’’ he tweeted.

Ducey said he doesn’t see it that way — at least not his relationship with the reporters who cover him.

“You’re doing your job,’’ the governor said.

“And I think I’ll be held accountable for the relationship I have with our media, which I think is open and accessible,’’ he continued. “So I don’t see the media as the enemy of the people.’’

The governor was a bit less firm on which side of the fence he is on in the latest dispute between the president and the billionaire Koch brothers.

That erupted after Charles Koch said Trump’s trade policies would be “disastrous.’’ And the brothers and their network of political donors, who have helped Republicans get elected — including Ducey — are balking at supporting candidates who do not take on the president on the the tariffs he has imposed which have resulted in retaliatory actions by other countries.

Trump, taking to his Twitter account, called the network “highly overrated.’’

He said “want to protect their companies outside the U.S. from being taxed’’ and called them “two nice guys with bad ideas.’’

Ducey, asked about the spat, clearly was not anxious to wade into the fray.

“I have a relationship with both,’’ he said. “What I’m here doing is presenting the agenda and interests of the people of Arizona.’’

What that means, the governor said, is sometimes he’ll be on one side and sometimes on the other.

“On things like lower taxes, I’m certainly supportive of that,’’ Ducey said.

And what of the Koch Brothers whose holdings range from insulin pumps and Stainmaster carpets to Dixie cups and Georgia Pacific paper towels and building materials.

“I think they’re for a free and open agenda,’’ Ducey said. “They’re on the libertarian side of the spectrum.’’

And the governor said he finds things to like about them, too, saying he shares their agenda of lower taxes, removing regulations and combining state agencies.

Anyway, Ducey said, he prefers to be on firmer ground of dealing with state issues than what’s happening in Washington.

“Much of the tone that’s been part of Congress over the last decade has been something I’ve chosen not to participate in,’’ he said. “And that’s not going to change anytime soon.’’

Howard Fischer is a veteran journalist who has reported on state government and legal affairs in Arizona since 1982, the last 27 for Capitol Media Services which he founded in 1991. Fischer’s news reports appear in daily and weekly newspapers around the state, and are heard on Arizona Public Radio.

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