The suspicion that “Inside Man’s” production crew scripted peoples’ appearances before the Stockton City Council last Tuesday — and therfore a hatchet job is in the works — appears to have hardened into certainty over at the Chamber of Commerce. CEO Douglass Wilhoit (writing in angry capital letters) and Chamber board President Gary Long fired this letter off:
“LISA (Kalikow, producer):
“GARY AND I GAVE YOU AN HONEST TOUR OF STOCKTON ON 10-1-2012 AND ANSWERED YOU QUESTIONS HONESTLY IN KEEPING WITH YOUR HIGHLIGHTED WORDS YOU SENT TO ME VIA EMAIL, SEE BELOW, ON 9-25-2012 AND REPEATED IN PERSON ON 10-1-2012!
“WE EVEN OFFERED TO HELP YOUR CNN CREW SEE MORE OF STOCKTON WHEN THEY WERE HERE SINCE (you) COULD NOT SPEND THE TIME WITH US THAT WAS PLANNED SINCE YOU CHANGED THE TIMING FOR OUR LUNCH RESERVATIONS WHICH WAS TO BE USED NOT ONLY SHOW YOU MORE OF STOCKTON BUT HAVE AN HONEST DIALOUGE. GARY EVEN OFFERED, UPON YOUR CREWS ARRIVAL IN STOCKTON, TO SHOW YOU MULTIPLE EXAMPLES OF OUR VARIOUS NEIGHBORHOODS AND CONTINUE A MORE DETAILED TOUR OF OUR GREAT CITY…
“BUT, NEVER HEARD FROM YOU OR ANY ONE ELSE CONTECTED WITH THE CNN CREW!
“COUPLE THAT WITH THE NOW KNOWN FACT OF HIDDEN MIKES, CAMERAS AND SCRIPTED QUESTIONS AT THE 10-23-2012 CITY COUNCIL MEETING ( YES, WE HAVE WITNESSES THAT SAW AND HEARD ONE OF THE “PRESENTERS” WALK UP TO ONE OF YOUR CREW AND AS THE MICROPHONE WAS BEING REMOVED HE “HANDED THE SCRIPT BACK TO YOUR CREW MEMBER AND SAID (I WILL PARAPHRASE) “SORRY DID NOT ASK ALL YOUR QUESTIONS BUT I GOT NERVOUSE UP THERE”!!!!!!
”YOU MAY DENY ALL YOU WANT OR SAY YOU HAD NO CONTROL BUT AS A “PRODUCER” YOU SHOULD.. BUT IT PROVED OUR POINT AND REAL FEAR OF TRUSTING OUTSIDE MEDIA, ESPECIALLY CNN!
“WE REGRET EVEN TAKING OUR HONEST AND VALUABLE TIME WITH YOU! TOO BAD YOU AND YOURS DID NOT RETURN THE SAME COURTESY AND HONESTY!
“GARY J. LONG
“PRESIDENT, GREATER STOCKTON CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
”DOUGLASS W. WILHOIT, JR.
“CEO, GREATER STOCKTON CHAMBER OF COMMERCE”
When I read sentiments such as these, a part of me thinks, “You tell ‘em, Doug!” But a part of me has concerns about this city’s appropriate relationships with media.
Outfits like Warrior Poets, Morgan Spurlock’s production company, need backgrounding from community leaders (I gave them an hour). They do not need a scolding, especially before they even air their show. And no attempt should ever be made to censor media or arm-twist them.
Because you can’t. Real reporters see self-appointed censors as motivation to man up and get the job done. If that peeves a censor, so much the better.
I’m not saying the Chamber or Stockton Forward or anybody else are censors. I commend their efforts. What I’m saying is what you can and cannot do. You can background outside media so they truly understand Stockton. You should, so their reportage is balanced not skewed. But you cannot manipulate them into doing PR. they smell such efforts coming a mile off and dismiss them as part of their code.
All that said, I really don’t know what to expect from “Inside Man.” The First Amendment comes with a case of jitters.