LIKE all relationships, the relationship between a local newspaper and local politicians has its ups and downs.
Sometimes we see eye-to-eye and sometimes we view the world very differently. And sometimes it seems easier to give up altogether rather than trying to work out the differences.
ABC-TV’s Media Watch program ran a small segment on Monday night looking at the relationship between Calare MP Andrew Gee and local media outlets.
It followed an extraordinary dummy spit by Prime7 News last week when they cried foul over apparently being excluded from one of Mr Gee’s press conferences.
This newspaper was aware that Media Watch was preparing the segment and was contacted last week for comment.
Presenter Paul Barry alluded to that contact during the segment but said we did not wish to comment for “obvious reasons”.
We cannot be certain what Mr Barry perceived those “obvious reasons” but if he was suggesting we were afraid of being somehow black-banned by Mr Gee then he was very wrong.
There have been times when Mr Gee has chosen to speak to this newspaper and other times when requests for an interview have instead resulted only in written answers from his office.
We believe written responses are often a way to avoid having those answers properly interrogated by a journalist but, at the end of the day, Mr Gee is not obliged to say anything to us.
If he chooses not to speak to his constituents through a particular media outlet then he must live with those decisions.
If voters believe that is not an appropriate way for an MP to behave then they should register their disapproval at the ballot box. No other currency works with a politician.
And while being frozen out by the local MP can present operational challenges for a newsroom, any journalist worth their salt should be able to find more than one way to get the story.
The reason we have not previously spoken about our relationship with Mr Gee – in good times or bad – is that we don’t believe our readers really care.
It’s for that same reason that we did not provide comment to Media Watch. This newspaper can fight its own battles without the need for a third party to intervene.
Prime7 can make itself the story if it wants. We’ll just keep telling the stories that really concern our readers.