Swarens: Gov. Pence's Reputation Bruised by Just IN debacle
Swarens: Gov. Pence's Reputation Bruised by Just IN debacle
By Tim Swarens / thestarpress.com

The public relations disaster known as Just IN would have been galling for any governor. But especially so for Mike Pence, who's worked hard for years to cultivate good working relationships with journalists on the state and national levels.

Those relationships were severely strained this week after The Star's Tom LoBianco reported that the administration planned to roll out a website that would break "news stories" and distribute content to media outlets in the state. A managing editor had been hired to direct the site with the help of an "editorial board."

The initial reaction inside journalism circles, and from much of the public, was incredulous: What in the world are they thinking?

Then came the outrage.

As strong as the push back has been inside the state, it's had an even sharper edge on the national level. The Atlantic, for example, denounced the Pence team's plans with this headline: "Pravda on the Plains: Indiana's New Propaganda Machine."

The words Pravda, propaganda and Pence in the same article is the stuff of nightmares for a governor said to be contemplating a long-shot run for the presidency. The future attack ads almost make themselves.

And it's sadly ironic that this mess ensnared Pence, who is habitually cautious about what he says and how he says it.

After a series of "clarifying" statements on Tuesday and Wednesday about the website's purpose and intent, the governor arrived at the only reasonable conclusion: The project had to be shut down.

He broke that news in a phone call to me on Thursday afternoon.

During our conversation, Pence reiterated his commitment to government transparency and his respect for a free press. He also said he regrets the perceptions created by what he acknowledged was an ill-conceived plan, the details of which he said he learned by reading The Star's original story on Just IN.

This debacle is by far the worst of Pence's two years in office, and came at an especially inopportune time.

In addition to the "Will Pence Run?" watch, which at least until this week was still gaining fuel from the national media, the firestorm that engulfed Just IN also scorched the announcement of a major policy win for the governor and his team. After months of negotiations, Pence secured federal sign-off on his Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0, an effort to provide lower-income Hoosiers with access to health insurance.

But instead of a victory lap, Pence this week has been bogged down in trying to explain the intentions behind a far less important project — a public relations clearinghouse billed as a source for news.

As I argued on Tuesday, it was a doomed effort, devoid from the start of any shred of credibility. And it deserved to be killed swiftly.

On Thursday, Pence reached that conclusion himself. But not before he had been badly bruised.

0.0 ·
0
What's Next
Trending Today
Rap News Special Edition: Hillary Clinton Vs Donald Trump
7 min · 22,170 views today · Hello world. RAP NEWS is back for a special episode on the 2016 USA Election mayhem, feat. Hillary Clinton vs Donald Trump + a touch of Jill Stein & Gary Johnson. This one's...
When You Kill Ten Million Africans You Aren't Called 'Hitler'
Liam O'Ceallaigh · 13,968 views today · Take a look at this picture. Do you know who it is? Most people haven’t heard of him. But you should have. When you see his face or hear his name you should get as sick in...
Ten Ways We Misunderstand Children
Jan Hunt · 8,046 views today · 1. We expect children to be able to do things before they are ready. We ask an infant to keep quiet. We ask a 2-year-old to sit still. We ask a 3-year-old to clean his room...
The Culture of Maximum Harm
Daniel Quinn · 6,168 views today · People have lived many different ways on this planet, but about ten thousand years ago there appeared one people who believed everyone in the world should live a single...
What It Really Means to Hold Space for Someone
Heather Plett · 5,554 views today · How to be there for the people who need you most
The International Criminal Court May Start Prosecuting People Who Commit Crimes Against the Environment
Tara Smith · 3,408 views today · The International Criminal Court is not known for prosecuting people responsible for huge oil slicks, chopping down protected rainforests or contaminating pristine land. But...
Humanity's Greatest Challenges Aren't Technical, They're Human
8 min · 3,296 views today · Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is incomplete as we commonly know it. Later in his life, Maslow wrote about a stage beyond self-actualization. Nichol Brandford explains how to...
The Left Deserves Better Than Jill Stein
Kate Aronoff · 3,113 views today · Stein’s Green Party run doesn’t offer a plan to win, or to build power. The Left is capable of so much more.
Prince Ea Just Put The School System on Trial and Found it Guilty of Killing Free Thought
6 min · 2,818 views today · Albert Einstien once said "Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid". Today Prince...
The Little Engine That Couldn't: How We're Preparing Ourselves and Our Children for Extinction
Daniel Quinn · 2,818 views today · In a recent semi-documentary film called Garbage, a toxic waste disposal engineer was asked how we can stop engulfing the world in our poisons. His answer was, "We'd have to...
The Journey From Syria (2016)
71 min · 2,483 views today · Reporter Matthew Cassel spent a year documenting the journey of Syrian jeweler Aboud Shalhoub as he travels from Turkey to Greece, and through Eastern Europe to the Netherlands...
Debt, Inequality and the Logic of Financial Violence
David Graeber · 1,988 views today · Five years after Occupy, organizer and anthropologist David Graeber speaks to ROAR about the power of finance, the history of inequality and the legacy of the movement.
Caitlin Moran's Posthumous Advice for Her Daughter
Caitlin Moran · 1,931 views today · My daughter is about to turn 13 and I’ve been smoking a lot recently, and so – in the wee small hours, when my lungs feel like there’s a small mouse inside them, scratching to...
This Satirical Trump Vs. Bernie Debate Is Both Hilarious and Highly Disturbing
44 min · 1,605 views today · Comedians James Adomian (Bernie Sanders) and Anthony Atamanuik (Donald Trump) bring two of the most controversial candidates in history, head-to-head, or rather bald-to-toupee...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 1,246 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
10 Photos That Show the Magnificent Light Shining on Standing Rock
Josue Rivas · 1,099 views today · Despite all the news of pipeline regulation, court appeals, and activist arrests, Native photographer Josue Rivas reminds us that it is actually a peaceful place.
Who Are You? Watching This Breathtaking Video Could Be the Moment You Change Your Life
2 min · 1,064 views today · "Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work, driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for, in order to get to a job that you need so you can...
How You Can Support Standing Rock
Thane Maxwell · 1,056 views today · This is your pipeline battle too. Whatever you have to offer, we need it. Wherever you are, take one step deeper. Find your voice. Find your own front lines.
Schooling the World (2010)
66 min · 1,012 views today · If you wanted to change an ancient culture in a generation, how would you do it? You would change the way it educates its children. The U.S. Government knew this in the 19th...
Kids Killed by Guns: America's Daily Nightmare
3 min · 1,011 views today · On an average day in America, seven children and teenagers will be shot dead.Gary Younge tells the stories of the lives lost on one random day - 23 November 2013. Ten children...
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
Swarens: Gov. Pence's Reputation Bruised by Just IN debacle