Gov. Paul LePage brings TV cameras into Blaine House

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Known for speaking his mind, Gov. Paul LePage is launching a TV show to help get his message across to Mainers without any interference from the State House press corps.

Paul LePage
Robert F. Bukaty

Gov. Paul LePage speaks at a news conference at the State House Thursday, March 3, 2011, in Augusta, Maine. The governor wants to help reduce the state's $4.3 billion budget shortfall by changing how Maine's pension system is funded. State workers say they're bearing the brunt of cuts that will hurt their retirements. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

"Inside the Blaine House," to be posted online and aired on Time Warner Cable, will represent an opportunity for the governor to open a dialogue without media interference, said spokeswoman Adrienne Bennett. It will be issue-oriented and will feature the governor, commissioners and senior staff.

"There are no edited sound bites or one-sided stories. We talk about the issues and people are encouraged to follow up with their own research or fact finding on the issue," said LePage, who's had a strained relationship with the media.

Created by Maine Video on Demand, the show is in keeping with the governor's efforts to promote transparency and to reach out to regular Mainers, as he's doing through his weekly radio address, "Capital for a Day" public forums and regular hours he keeps on Saturday for members of the public, Bennett said.

The governor, however, also has come under criticism by Democrats who say he has deviated from his promise of government transparency. Last weekend, state Sen. Barry Hobbins blasted LePage's plan to make his newly formed Business Advisory Council exempt from the state's right-to-know laws.

Maine Video on Demand, a central Maine video production company that first approached the governor about the TV show concept, will be posting the first biweekly segment online on at 5 p.m. Tuesday. Later, the segment will be shown on Time Warner Cable (Channel 9).

When he was governor, Angus King had a monthly call-in show on Maine public television called "Capital Connection." Maine State Historian Earle Shettleworth says he doesn't recall any other governors with TV programs.

King said he think it's a great idea for LePage to use the medium.

"It's a chance for the governor to speak directly to the people in a direct and unfiltered way," King said. "I think it's a great idea. I applaud for him it."

Unfiltered communication is exactly what the creator of Maine Video on Demand had in mind.

Brian Pomerleau, a former electrical engineer, started doing video production five or six years ago. "Inside the Blaine House" will be similar to his "Inside Maine Business," and will be produced with no taxpayer dollars.

For LePage's show, a camera team will shoot video of people asking the governor questions. The governor will respond to those questions on the show, which will be taped at the Blaine House.

Producers will collaborate with the LePage administration on the subject matter, Pomerleau said.

"We're trying to provide a platform where these people can speak directly to the public and eventually have a back-and-forth with people, without being controlled by the media," Pomerleau said.

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Joe Morin's picture

Jury is still out

I for one can not see the future like many of you can, so I will wait to make my determination of the T.V. show until I can see it for myself. Then I will be able to decide the quality of the program and exactly how open the format will actually be. Huh, crazy idea. I'm not saying I will like or dislike it but if you consider yourself a fair minded individual it seems like a logical approach.

 's picture

2nd reply to Dan Breton

No, Dan: Governor LePage is addressing the general public. If he were only addressing a select group of his supporters it would not have been announced publicly. The problem is that not everyone who has TV has Time Warner Cable; and not everyone has a computer; and those who have computers don't all have high speed internet connections without which watching an audio/video program doesn't work. I don't know what percentage of the public is getting left out by this arrangement, but I think it is substantial, and it has nothing to do with who is or is not a supporter of Paul LePage. I'm sure Democrats are as likely as Republicans to have Time Warner Cable or high speed internet.

As for your statement that the advertisers will be campaign contributors, I don't know where you are getting your information, but it seems more likely to me that they will be commercial businesses. Though perhaps it doesn't matter.

I will not keep replying to Dan Breton if he continues to use my questions as an occasion to pour out his contempt for Paul LePage or to make assertions with no factual basis. I posted because I really would like information, and I hoped that maybe the reporter who wrote the article would realize that essential information (about how to view the program) had been left out and would take the trouble to supply it. If I can't get it here maybe I will write to the Governor.

 's picture

Replies to Linda Pelletier and Dan Breton

In reply to Linda Pelletier--it's my understanding that the broadcast will be paid for by advertisers.

Dan, thanks for the suggestion, but I can't see going to a local library and asking to have a computer there broadcast a speech. Libraries prefer quiet; and in any case if I can't watch it at home I'm not inclined to bother.

I'm not one of these people who automatically expresses scorn at anything Paul LePage says or does, but I am quite baffled by his choosing to address the people of Maine via a medium many of us don't have access to. Does he actually think that the mainstream media would censor his talks? And would they?

 's picture

Where do we view it?

Please explain exactly when and where we can view this. I cannot view videos on my computer. I don't know what Time Warner Cable is, but I get my TV through Bee Line Cable. Can it be viewed with Bee Line Cable? If so, when, and what channel?

Waste of time..

This a complete waste of time..big production for so little performance...and of course King would think this was a good idea..anytime he had a chance to put his face on tv, he really, WHO IS paying for this???? Has anyone been informed of this bit of news yet?? I really can't imagine the regular people of Maine watching sounds staged to me..

Craven Wqagner Show

Maybe Bob Stone and Paul Madore could both attempt political come backs so that the Lewiston legis lative delegation could be more fairand balanced like Fox news!
Bob Mennealy

Greg Rose's picture

"...will be produced with no taxpayer dollars."

And just WHERE will the money come from to produce this media masterpiece? That little bit of information itself could prove to be VERY interesting. Who is putting up the money? Lepage himself? the Maine Heritage Policy Center?

Greg Rose's picture

"... no edited sound bites or one-sided stories." REALLY?

So where exactly will the voice of the "other side" come into play? Sounds like a one-sided deal to me... Lepage's side... that being the side that the Maine Heritage Policy Center tells him to take. The members of the media, while not without fault, are the voice of the other side in many instances. They are the one's that ask the hard questions that Lepage doesn't want to answer. The media asks the questions that fluster Lepage rendering him at a loss for an answer which leads to him to blurting out his latest insult or bit of scientific "wisdom."
"For LePage's show, a camera team will shoot video of people asking the governor questions. The governor will respond to those questions on the show, which will be taped at the Blaine House." And just who will choose the "people" allowed to ask questions? Will they be allowed to ask ANY question or just those approved by the Maine Heritage.. oops... approved by the Lepage administration?
Is this Lepage's idea of "transparency? Sounds about like Fox News being "fair and balanced." This will be pablum for Lepage loyalists and nothing else.

 's picture

Ever See the Craven-Wagner Show?

Of course that is not one-sided. LOL


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