Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) has a striking track record for inflammatory and offensive rhetoric, much of it directed at the media. A few years ago, for example, the Republican governor climbed into the cockpit of a fighter-jet simulator and declared, “I want to find the [Portland] Press Herald building and blow it up.”
Yesterday, LePage added to his greatest-hits package with a new curious claim.
Gov. Paul LePage lashed out at the media for reporting he planned to leave the state during a budget impasse, and he suggested he sometimes concocts stories to mislead reporters. The Republican governor also characterized the state media as “vile,” “inaccurate” and “useless.”
“I just love to sit in my office and make up ways so they’ll write these stupid stories because they are just so stupid, it’s awful,” he told WGAN-AM on Thursday.
LePage added, “The sooner the print press goes away the better society will be.”
Note the phrasing: in the governor’s mind, it’s a foregone conclusion that the print press will die. He just hopes it happens sooner rather than later.
We’ve come a long way from Thomas Jefferson writing in 1787, “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”
I’m curious, though, how the taxpayers of Maine will react to learning that they pay Paul LePage to sit in his office “and make up ways so they’ll write these stupid stories.” In context, it sounded as if the governor deliberately concocts false claims, in the hopes that reporters will pass along bogus information to the public.
That’s not generally what we see from a chief executive of a state – who presumably has actual work to do – but LePage is not a normal governor.