Dunleavy's explanation for confiscating cell phones doesn't ring true

Since the start of the Dunleavy administration there have been reports that those ushered into the presence of the governor have had to surrender cell phones and other recording devices.

Laine Welch of Alaska Fish Radio said that Rep. Louise Stutes “confirmed that anyone who meets with Gov. Dunleavy must relinquish cell phones, Apple watches and any recording devices.”

Dunleavy tells the Anchorage Daily News that this is not really about a fear that someone will secretly record his words. It’s about his desire to not be distracted. He doesn’t want people meeting with him to play with their phones.

That doesn’t ring true.

If he were really concerned about his subjects texting during meetings, he would treat them like adults, not school children, and ask that they put their phones on silent. This is about a fear of being recorded.

“I don’t like texting in meetings. I don’t like phone calls happening in meetings. I don’t,” Dunleavy told the newspaper.

“So anyone that comes into our meetings, we ask them leave their cellphones so we don’t have to be distracted by any of that stuff.”

Even one of Dunleavy’s loyal followers replied to me on Twitter about the real issue, saying, “Seems like a good policy, not paranoia. These discussions may be off the record & not for public dissemination. Why wouldn't a legislator want to give up a cell phone to talk to the governor?”

Even with a ban on cell phones, there are other recording devices that people could use if they wanted to be sneaky. This is a foolish policy.

In his interview with the governor, ADN reporter James Brooks followed up with the right question, asking whether this had anything to do with people preserving the governor’s words for posterity or Facebook.

“Mainly distractions on calls, mainly distractions on textings. And I would prefer that people didn’t record unless we had a conversation, like you recording now, we know that. But the whole cellphone, the whole playing with the phone, it’s a distraction to meetings,” said Dunleavy.

Translated, it’s all about a fear of being recorded.


Dermot Cole5 Comments