It started in April of 2021 when Governor McKee was trying to figure out how he would select his new number two. WPRI asked fair questions but Governor McKee was caught off guard and even mentioned “the media” as his biggest adjustment as Governor on a taping of CH 12 Newsmakers. August lead to Tony Silva, hit a new level on the ILO contract and has blossomed into a full war with Governor Dan McKee and WPRI CH 12. To be clear, the war is one way with a Governor who shifts all blame of his problems to a TV station of reporters, who have uncovered mistakes and flat out lies by the McKee administration. The friction really began building in August of 2021 when CH 12 broke news regarding the Chief of Staff to Governor McKee, Tony Silva, and a land deal he was trying to push through in Cumberland. McKee assured the press that Silva did nothing wrong, Silva did a horrible interview with Tim White of CH 12 and Silva was gone, but not before the AG began an investigation of him. September brought the news of the ILO contract and McKee again insisted there was nothing to the story. While CH 12 was trying to investigate the ILO contract, the McKee people played games on releasing emails based on how the request was phrased. ILO leads to an FBI probe, with Governor McKee laying blame at the style of CH 12 reporting. McKee also ran into trouble with bonuses to state workers and again blamed CH 12. McKee had a temper tantrum this summer with a ProJO story and proceeded to call a last minute presser so he could yell at the reporter.
Enter the debates where McKee was very defensive in the Democrat primary debate and was fast and loose with the truth regarding the FBI probe. On primary night, it was CH 12 that first reported on the “Eva hang up on them” and again McKee felt CH 12 and the media were trying to ruin his victory night. Things hit a new level when McKee openly lied about “I don’t have the test scores” during the last CH 12 debate, only for WPRI to turn around and prove the state has in-fact been in possession of the test scores but the state was trying to hide the release of the scores until after the November election. You now have a Governor increasingly growing impatient with his staff and lashing out at the media for his woes. To their credit, CH 12 reporting has been solid and they are guilty of nothing more but doing their job and due diligence. The last three weeks of the campaign should be just wild with a Governor channeling Trump/Nixon and a local press realizing they have a slippery public official who plays word games around the truth. Should McKee lose the election, you may see a full meltdown of media blame from the Governor and his staff.