It’s Not Quite A Media-Savvy Assembly
I’m not expecting much from these people, our General Assembly, but is it really too much to ask to have them be aware of the media around them? I don’t think anyone expects to be treated like Mick Jagger or something, but a minimal understanding of who media members are would be nice. It would at least show that our Assembly’s members are informed when it comes to the local news.
First we had one state rep being overheard asking “Who’s that?” in reference to Tim White of WPRI testifying before a committee. Then our own Justin Katz being asked multiple times in the State Senate who he is and what he’s doing there. And today, we get the doozy. We get the whole deal. Both a “who are you” and either borderline sexual harassment or complete condescension.
After WPRI reporter Ted Nesi asked State Rep. Lisa Baldelli-Hunt about her mayoral aspirations in Woonsocket, she had a question for him:
BALDELLI-HUNT: Quite frankly – are you Ted Nesi?
Well, points for that one. At least she had an accurate guess. But later in the conversation, after some testy exchanges, she ended it with:
BALDELLI-HUNT: You know what? You’re very cute.
I was not there and am merely reading Nesi’s account, but you can see where it devolved and she may have been baited. However, when you’re involved in politics and you’re not answering the questions directly, reporters will try to get an answer by asking a different way, but that doesn’t excuse her response. Can you even imagine the outrage that would come of this if a male state rep answered a Kathy Gregg or Kate Bramson or Erika Niedowski the same way? Any of those women would probably be outraged to be spoken to that way by anyone on Smith Hill and rightfully so. Should Rep. Baldelli-Hunt get a pass on this for some reason?
I have no idea whether she does have her eyes set on the mayor’s seat in Woonsocket, but if this is the kind of heat that she can’t take in stride, she might want to answer the reporter’s question next time with a genuine “No.”
No question that if, for example, Rep Brien (I know you wouldn’t, Rep!) had gotten really annoyed with Kathy Gregg’s questions and said the same thing, his reaction would have been called sexist and demeaning and he would have been widely condemned.