Thursday, KREM 2 did a story about how some constituents are frustrated with Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers.
We got considerable response from our viewers – both positive and negative – and wanted to take a moment to follow up.
The following is a response written by 2 On Your Side Investigator Whitney Ward:
I appreciate all the comments! WOW!! My story set out to highlight local frustration about town hall meetings, as well as my repeated attempts to question Rep. McMorris Rodgers directly about pharmaceutical donations from Political Action Committees to her re-election campaigns. As expected, some of you hated the story.
"Wow: The media bias has hit Eastern Wa… Who are these angry voters? Love George Nethercutt, But when he served, verses todays political atmosphere, Is completely diferent [sic]. This goes beyond political donations. Smells of CBS, and your liberal sister in Seattle." - Steve
"My wife and I are tired of the left leaning of your station and the CBS National News and have made the decision to turn off the TV as much as possible. The attacks on Donald Trump, the attacks on WSU, the horrific attacks on Cathy McMorris Rodgers are unacceptable to us." - Don
But for all the negative comments KREM received, we got twice as many messages from viewers who said they appreciated our report. I'm not exaggerating!
"Thank you for you story on McMorris-Rodgers, as a constituent I have tried to meet, or talk with her to no avail also. The 5th District deserves better representation. She has been getting by with her canned press releases and deflections far too long." - Mark
"Great story on trying to get questions answered by our representative... Why should that be so difficult? I will contact her requesting that she gives an interview. Keep up the pressure and good work..." - Helle
"Congratulations on a terrific story about our 5th district rep hiding from her constituents... I live in a city where the communications school is named after Edward R. Murrow and what you do for a living has never been more important. Keep up the good work." - David
"I have become increasingly frustrated with Cathy McMorris Rodgers' behavior since Prez Trump was elected. I appreciate the reporting you are doing and I hope you keep after it... I'm counting on journalists to figure out how to navigate the propaganda and get the facts to viewers. You seem to be trying, so thanks!" - Julie
And, among the feedback, we also got some questions. So, because we always strive to be transparent here at KREM, I have some answers for you.
First off, some of you wondered why we didn't include contributions made to our two Washington Senators, Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell.
"How much money do our two senators, our governor and all the democrat representatives from the west side accept from big pharmaceutical and out out state lobbyists?" - John
Actually, I did that story back in December. I pointed out that, of the three, Senator Murray accepted the most PAC money from “Big Pharma” -- nearly $360,000.
When I reached out to Sen. Murray in the fall, she responded right away with a statement. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers did not.
(You can watch that original story about all of our Washington and Idaho Congressional leaders by clicking here.)
Some of you also asked why we are showing such leftist bias.
"Whitney Ward and her investigation into Cathy McMorris Rodgers is not only very bias but also very rude! Maybe she doesn't know that the majority of Spokane and the surrounding area are conservative …" - Greg
I want to make this very clear: my story was not about left or right. Rather, it was about voters repeatedly denied the opportunity to meet face to face with their U.S. Representative.Town hall meetings are a recurring topic KREM 2 has been hearing about for months, on Facebook, through email, and in person. And it is always my goal to try and get answers from our elected leaders, regardless of political party.
Lastly, a few of you asked why we keep "picking on" Rep. McMorris Rodgers, and pointed out that she has repeatedly won her re-elections by huge margins.
"Remember, Cathy is well supported by a majority of us. She is doing very well as our representative." - Del
Here's my response to that: I am very aware of the Congresswoman's margins of victory, which is why I think it was so important to do this story.
My job has never been just giving you the story that you want to hear. It's my job to ask questions and get answers. On Thursday, I showed you the process we follow here at 2 On Your Side to get answers. There were a lot of people involved in that story within our KREM 2 Newsroom. Frankly, we knew some of you wouldn't like it. That's okay. We're still going to hold our elected leaders accountable, at every turn. And that's what you can expect to keep seeing here on KREM 2.