Despite the fact that Libertarian candidates are largely ignored by mainstream media, at least one of those candidates is still a strong advocate of media access and freedom of the press.
Ken Armstrong, the former nonprofit executive, NATO base commander, and elected official running for the Libertarian nomination for President of the United States, has announced the media relations policy that he will take to the White House.
“Openness to the media can’t depend on getting the kind of coverage we want,” Armstrong said. “The more honest and open we are, the more likely we are to get favorable coverage. But even if we don’t, that openness is always the best way to do our jobs.”
Armstrong has laid out a four-point policy that he says will drive his administration’s relationship with the press corps.
• The office of White House Press Secretary will make its first priority to act as advocate for media to the President and executive branch. Rather than a monologue of White House messaging, the press secretary will be tasked with dialogue and maximum coordination.
• The White House Press Corps will be allowed to select its members to be “embedded” on a rotating basis for pooled access whenever possible, if logistics prohibit access by the entire group. This will include many meetings and events to which the media is not normally granted direct access, and will not depend on the administration’s opinion of reporters’ coverage.
• Armstrong commits to being honest and forthcoming in his responses to inquiries, both now and in the future.
• Armstrong says that his administration will explore legal and ethical ways to give the media increased access to classified operations.
Armstrong said that in a recent conversation, a journalist with a major outlet told him they don’t normally cover Libertarian candidates, “because you’re not relevant.”
Armstrong’s reply to the journalist was, “And you’re going to make sure it stays that way, aren’t you?” He said the reporter didn’t respond.
Armstrong said the increased warfare between politicians and press has resulted in increasingly closed and partisan behavior on both sides. “The only way to end this problem,” he said, “is to refuse to be a part of it.”
Armstrong was the media relations officer for the 14th Coast Guard District, covering most of the Pacific Ocean region. During a major human smuggling operation, Armstrong coordinated response to press with the White House Situation Room. During his tour, he received praise from both media and his superiors. His staff won government and private awards for excellence.