Ohio

Pinterest Post Gets Reporter Blacklisted by Gov. Kasich’s Spokesman

Campaigns GOP demands silence

Rob Nichols, Governor John Kasich’s press secretary, warned reporter John Michael Spinelli in a September 24 email that unless Spinelli retracted and apologized for a Pinterest post about Kasich’s tax policies, he would never be permitted to speak to the governor again.

Spinelli provided Media Trackers a copy of the email from Nichols, which Nichols sent from his official governor’s office account. Following is the body of the message from Gov. Kasich’s spokesman, as originally formatted:

http://pinterest.com/pin/170573904610126319/
if you were drunk and popped off, I can respect that, and you can apologize to me to fix this. but if you want to stand by this, you will never talk to the governor again.

The subject line of Nichols’s email to Spinelli was equally blunt, “retract this or I will never talk to you again.”

Media Trackers contacted Nichols about his threat, asking what prompted the demand for a retraction and apology. We also asked whether Gov. Kasich’s office maintains a formal blacklist of journalists whose opinions preclude them from receiving the same access as obsequious reporters.

Nichols did not respond.

And what of Spinelli’s offending social media post? Although it was certainly opinionated, nothing about the post was lewd, profane, or misleading.

Below is the entirety of Spinelli’s September 24 Pinterest pin, which linked to an Examiner.com story critical of Gov. Kasich’s revocation in the latest biennial budget of a homestead tax exemption:

Funny. Ohio’s governor said the state shouldn’t take the Medicaid expansion deal because the feds couldn’t be trusted to pay their promised share into the future. Making seniors pay more property tax because the state decided to stop paying its share to fund tax cuts for people who don’t need them is called transitioning to job creation. Really?

“What demon got into you last night? Tell me what’s incorrect about it,” Spinelli wrote in a reply to Nichols, according to a September 25 Examiner.com story about the incident.

“For the past 13 years I’ve dedicated my energy and talents to reporting on Ohio news. My production portfolio during this time speaks for itself. From September of 2009 to today, I have published 1,510 reports covering mainly Ohio politics and government, although I also write on national and international topics from time to time,” Spinelli added.

“I spent three years from 2003-2006 as a credentialed Member of the Ohio Statehouse press corps. During this time, I wrote thousands more stories for a Capital Square insider publication not unlike The Hill or Roll Call in coverage of the administration of Gov. Robert Taft and the Ohio legislature.”

“I first met John Kasich in 1977, when he and I were young 20-something Senate staffers,” Spinelli explained to Media Trackers.

“Later, when he was a full fledged congressman, I was working as the Director of Neighborhood Development for the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce, where my path would cross Kasich’s on various occasions at which community leaders like me and politicians like Kasich would show up for some event,” Spinelli continued. “We would exchange pleasantries and go on our respective ways.”

“The response from Nichols to me, as seen from the perspective of one seasoned and schooled Republican who has been around and seen it all, is that Nichols and others on Team Kasich fear their inevitability may not be inevitable if critics of Kasich can gain traction with voters on just how back [sic] the budget will be to them.”

Spinelli concluded, “Team Kasich understands that while next year’s election is theirs to lose, given Kasich’s incumbency and fundraising prowess from that and the poor name recognition of FitzGerald or Charlie Earl, the recently announced Libertarian candidate, and the uphill fundraising climb this presents, Kasich could be hurt by seniors realizing they’ve been played big time in the budget, as they come to understand that they’ll been a pawn in the game of budgets that raises their taxes, among others, so Gov. Kasich can reduce income taxes for himself and his wealthy special interest friends and benefactors.”

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