Brad's Blog: A presidential snub

By Brad Kessie - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - When word leaked that President Barack Obama was making his first trip to the hurricane ravaged gulf coast, WLOX News did what it always does.  It requested an interview with the president.  We were certain Mr. Obama would want to talk about the recovery along Mississippi's shoreline.

So, we quickly e-mailed a letter to the White House press interview request office.

Here's an excerpt of what we wrote on September 30, 2009.

"WLOX-TV is in a very unique position.  We have the only on air news department across the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  This ABC affiliate is where people at Keesler Air Force Base, the Gulfport Seabee Base, Northrop Grumman, the Stennis Space Center, and a host of communities across the area get their news when they want to know what's happening in their backyards, in their communities, and in the country.

As I'm sure you're aware, south Mississippi leaned on WLOX after Hurricane Katrina to get all of its storm recovery information.  We're an award winning news department for a reason.  People count on us.  And we deliver.

I mention that to you, because when President Barack Obama visits south Mississippi in October, WLOX News would like an opportunity to sit down and interview the Commander-in-Chief. "

It turned out we wrote the letter for nothing.  The president's itinerary didn't include south Mississippi.

We aired an editorial that questioned his decision to skip this area.  And we collected viewer comments for and against President Obama's trip to New Orleans and not to Hurricane Katrina's ground zero.

Why bring all of this up now?  Because from 9/30-10/15, WLOX News never heard back from the White House.  On October 15, President Obama got a look at the damage in New Orleans.  He told the people in the Crescent City, his administration "will not forget" them, or the gulf coast, as they work to rebuild after Hurricane Katrina.

On October 16, with the president back at home, WLOX News received this e-mail.

Dear Brad,

Thank you for contacting the White House regarding the possibility of an interview with President Obama. 

We regret to inform you that we are not able to accommodate WLOX-TV's request at this time. The President's busy schedule does not allow for many personal interviews and forces us to turn down many creative media opportunities.

Thank you for your interest in covering the President and we look forward to continuing to work with you as you do so.


Office of the White House Press Secretary

Can you believe it?  A day after President Obama's trip, the Office of the White House Press Secretary finally let us know it couldn't accommodate our request.

Hopefully, Mr. Obama will visit the Mississippi Gulf Coast someday.  And hopefully, he'll marvel at how this community has turned a horrible tragedy into a remarkable success story.  When he does visit, we hope he'll make time for WLOX, because we'd still like him to be a guest on WLOX News and on

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