A Republican running to be Wisconsin’s schools superintendent has blacklisted five reporters he considers biased.
An internal memo from state Rep. Don Pridemore’s campaign says he will not call the five back or give phone interviews to them or their media outlets.
It names Mary Spicuzza of the Wisconsin State Journal, David Umhoefer and Patrick Marley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Jack Craver of The Capital Times and Scott Bauer of The Associated Press. Craver provided a copy of the memo to the AP on Sunday.
Neither Pridemore nor his spokeswoman, Tina Gorzalski, immediately returned phone calls from the AP seeking comment Sunday.
The memo was dated Dec. 21. Pridemore did not respond to multiple calls from the AP recently seeking an interview for a story previewing his race. The Hartford Republican is challenging incumbent Superintendent Tony Evers, who’s led the state Department of Public Instruction for four years. The job is officially a nonpartisan post.
“If the reporter requests an interview, they must submit their questions in a written form and they will receive a written response to only those questions we want to respond to,” the memo said. “These are all LIBERAL’s and have chosen to parse words, phrases and spin my responses to fit their agendas. If they continue to spin our written responses, they will be ignored in the future.”
The memo also said any dealings with the five and others should be tracked on a spreadsheet. It does not say what reporting, if any, landed them on the blacklist.
At a debate last Wednesday, Pridemore and Evers outlined very different visions for Wisconsin’s schools. Pridemore backed GOP Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed expansion of the state’s voucher system for private schools beyond Milwaukee and Racine, as well as his proposed freeze in public school spending. Evers opposed both proposals and said he wanted to raise spending by $225 per student. The election is April 2.