In an interview earlier today longtime Alaska journalist and current blogger at Craigmedred.news, Craig Medred confirmed that he has entered into a consulting contract with the State Senate Majority.
Medred, who is well known for his criticism of the Walker administration said, “They had some extra money so we kinda talked and they have some interests and I have some interests, we have some mutual interests,” Medred said. “They have some things they want looked into and I’m looking into them.”
So what will Medred be looking into exactly? That is a matter of some disagreement.
Medred said, “I contracted with them to do some work, but I’m not really working for them.’ Not sure what that meant I inquired further and he said, “It means I’m working for them, but I’m a contractor so they have some things they want looked into and I’m going to look into them.”
He continued, “I’m putting together some history of the Alaska Gasline Port Authority and some other things that the press hasn’t really done and that they (Senate Majority) are curious about and wanting to get some background on,” he said. “We appear to be charging towards a gasline, the history of that, Walker’s involvement, where he in the past has thought he was going to find contracts in Asia, I think all of those things at this point are worth pursuing.”
Reached this afternoon for comment on the contract Senate President Kevin Meyer cast Medred’s roll in a much more different light. He said Medred was being brought in largely to fill the shoes of recently departed Senate Majority Press Secretary Michaela Goertzen, who left in June for a job in the lower 48, “We’ve been trying to go as long as possible without filling that position, and we aren’t planning to fill it anytime soon, but we did realize we do need help in writing…so when Craig’s name was brought up, I thought, “well he’s perfect” because he’s a well-respected writer and journalist.” Meyers continued, “He could help us with research…help us on writing various opinion pieces, op-ed pieces, help individual Senators on writing their newsletter writing, and serve as a kind of consultant and guide on communication method and strategy.”
When asked directly if the contract was for writing and consulting or for research Medred said, “I’m sure if they ask for advice on anything, you know me, I’ll offer advice, but mainly I’m putting together some history on the Alaska Gasline Port Authority and some other things.”
Medred said the contract is for six weeks work and will pay out between $15,000 and $20,000 depending on expenses.
In a unique aspect of the contract that appears to marry the political concept of opposition research with the new media idea of sponsored content, Medred will be allowed to use anything he digs up as material for his popular personal blog. According to Medred, “The way the contract is written, if they don’t use it, I am free to use it on my website.”
Medred went on to say:
“It’s the new world order my son. You gotta make a living somehow and I think there are some issues I think everyone in the state needs to know more about and we had a mutual agreement about what some of those things are. How much of what I find I’m gonna use, I don’t know. There is information they (The Senate Majority) may want that isn’t very newsworthy, and I don’t know how much I’m going to find that is very newsworthy. It’s like anything else you do in this business, you start digging around and it may be that there is nothing very interesting there and it may be there is some really interesting shit there. I just don’t know.”
Medred did say, however, that while under the Senate Majority contract he feels it would be inappropriate to write about that body. “I won’t be writing about anything related to the State Senate on my blog while doing that. Some of the stuff I’m looking into, I may very well be writing about on my blog.”
The State Senate Majority contracting with a media figure to research a political rival and their policies, then potentially disseminate the findings of that research isn’t the norm conceded Medred. “It’s hugely unorthodox. It’s not the way things have normally been done. We are in an age where things don’t get done the way they got done.”
An old school journalist famous for his irascible demeanour, Medred said he didn’t take the contract before thinking through how the matter might appear, “I contemplated this and said, you know, is this going to sully my reputation? It’s kind of like, ‘What do I have to lose?’ It isn’t like anyone thinks I can be bought. I’m a stupid, obnoxious dick and I’m gonna say what I’m gonna say no matter how much someone pays me.”