Wondering why Alaska’s so corrupt? Look to the press
After covering Alaska on and off for a little over a year, I get asked a lot why the state has so much corruption. Well, here’s one idea: maybe the Fourth Estate isn’t really doing its job to check the people in power.
Here’s a reporter from a local Alaska news station, KTUU, at the start of an interview with Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). The reporter asks Murkowski — who has been in the Senate for almost seven years — to spell her name and state her job title.
“Murkowski has been in office for nearly 7 years and the number one station in Alaska has a reporter assigned to the senator who doesn’t even know who she is,” said Dennis Zaki, who runs Alaska Report and captured the video. “The other two local channels didn’t even show up to the press conference.”
To give the reporter some credit, this might not be her fault (god knows I’ve been in plenty of interviews unprepared), so much as her news station for sending her into a situation she wasn’t experienced enough to deal with. But that’s part of the problem. If the top local news station doesn’t have reporters who even know the names of their national representatives, how can they hold these politicians accountable?
Alaska has had some crackerjack reporting in the past, but for a state that gets the most earmarks per capita ($506.34 per person in 2008) in the country, I don’t think it’s out of the question to continue to demand a credulous press asking for some political accountability.