Nixon up for prestigious award

Any time a high-ranking public official is receiving national recognition from a journalism group is worth special note. And special congratulations. We can’t think of anybody in state government who deserves an award from the national group, Investigative Reporters and Editors, more than Governor Nixon.
Danny Wicentowski with the St. Louis Riverfront Times has informed us that IRE has announced Governor Nixon is a finalist for its Golden Padlock Award.
We’re so excited.
The award is given to the most secretive government agency or individual in the United States. IRE President David Cay Johnson says it “acknowledges the dedication of government officials working tirelessly to keep vital information hidden from the public. Their abiding commitment to secrecy and impressive skill in information suppression routinely keeps knowledge about everything from public health risks to government waste beyond the reach of citizens who pay their salaries.”
Characteristically, the Nixon information ministry is keeping this achievement a secret. Were it not for Danny’s RFT exclusive story, we wouldn’t be letting all of you share the excitement.
We understand that the other finalist is Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin. We understand both are contending for the honor because of their efforts in their respective states to make sure the public knows nothing about the source, makeup, or administration of Pentobarbital, the execution drug Missouri uses.
This recognition is even more noteworthy because this will be only the second time it has been given. To be among the first to receive an award of such prominence is quite an honor indeed. Last year IRE gave the Golden Padlock to the United States Border Patrol because of its “unrelenting commitment to undermining the public’s right to know.”
We might suggest that this trophy could be considered the Heisman Trophy of government control of the news. And to think our governor is up for it!!
We don’t know if the IRE judges weigh things in this instance other than the Pentobarbital affair, but if they do, Governor Nixon should be (pardon us for this) a lock, as anybody knows who has kept up with our several observations about the tightly-controlled access to people in administration agencies who actually know enough to answer our questions.
In fact, we interviewed a high state agency official just the other day. We are not going to say who it was, nor are we going to reveal the name of the department spokesperson who not only didn’t block our access to that person, but who actually implemented the interview. We cherish people like that. They are increasingly rare and like all rare things, they are to be protected, cultivated, and appreciated.
We congratulate the good folks at IRE for their outstanding nominees for this high award. We’re told they have invited this year’s winner to the award ceremony in San Francisco Saturday night. We doubt Governor Nixon will be able to make it, though. He does need some time to rest each week after all of his trips to every village, hamlet, and town in Missouri explaining why he is picking on the legislature.
Nonetheless, all of us should be proud that our Governor is gaining such well-deserved recognition for the work of his administration.
It’s considered unethical for reporters to take sides on issues. But this is one of those times we’re throwing our ethics right out the window. We’re going to root for OUR Governor to win this prestigious national recognition.

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