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Journalists See Similarities Between Nixon, Blunt on Controversies

Nixon Signing Bill

Some Missouri journalists say they are beginning to see similarities between Governor Jay Nixon and former Governor Matt Blunt regarding their accessibility to the press on controversial issues. KSMU’s Jennifer Moore reports.

By the time he left office, former Governor Blunt had a reputation among journalists for being unwilling to talk to the press candidly about the firing of a staff attorney and the office’s email retention policy.

The currentlcontroversy facing Nixon is surrounding the fact that the Department of Natural Resources delayed releasing a report earlier this year that showed high levels of E.coli bacteria at Lake of the Ozarks.

Phil Brooks, the dean of the statehouse press corps, has been covering Jefferson City politics for over 30 years, and says Nixon has been less than accommodating to requests for information in the past couple of weeks.

He says Nixon has not had a sit-down event in his office with the press, where it is easier to have a conversation. The last press event, Brooks said, was a conference call with the governor in which questions were not allowed to be asked.

Journalists are trying to follow a trail of who knew what, and when regarding the delayed release of the report, which safety experts say endangered Missourians.

Nixon has placed one official from the department on two weeks’ leave as a result of the incident.

For KSMU News, I’m Jennifer Moore.