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Politics

DeMaio On The Media: 'Muckraking' Outlets Are Low Priorities

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Carl DeMaio on the Media

The subject of media accessibility came up at two open government forums this week with Democratic Rep. Scott Peters and his Republican challenger in the 52nd Congressional District, Carl DeMaio. The events were hosted by Open San Diego.

The group did not ask Peters about his relationship with the news media, but moderator Ben Katz did ask DeMaio about his reputation for not always being available to some news outlets.

"I'm available to my constituents, and I want to make sure that my constituents get honest, unbiased information," DeMaio said. He said he prefers direct communication with the public either in person or over email, and makes media outlets that are "just muckraking and not interested in the truth" low priorities.

"I want to make sure that when people hear from me, that they know this is a reputable news source that's going to provide the facts in a balanced way," he said.

DeMaio said that "a lot of old media companies" don't like that technology enables direct contact with the public, "because they feel they are the arbiters of what gets coverage."

He said he does not have a blanket ban on access for any news outlet and evaluates each story on a case by case basis.

Mark Walker, the U-T San Diego reporter who is covering the 52nd District race, said he has been able to interview DeMaio when necessary. Liam Dillon, a Voice of San Diego reporter, said DeMaio refused a request for a sit-down interview in August, but hasn't been denied access other times. He added he hasn't requested many other interviews with DeMaio.

Tony Perry, the San Diego bureau chief for Los Angeles Times, said after his May profile of the 52nd race, DeMaio's campaign consultant Richard Grenell complained the story was biased toward Peters and requested a meeting with Perry's editors. Perry said his second request to interview DeMaio, which he made a week and a half ago, was denied.

DeMaio has refused at least five interview requests from KPBS, including for profiles of the 52nd race in May and October. He did appear on KPBS Evening Edition and Midday Edition after the June primary.