Reporter Pulled from Dem Club Meeting After McConnell Call

Mar 14, 2013

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The Lexington Herald-Leader is denying claims Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell’s office pressured the newspaper to cancel a reporter's appearance at a Democratic club meeting.

Lexington Herald Leader Journalist John Cheves
Lexington Herald Leader Journalist John Cheves

Journalist John Cheves was invited to the Louisville Metropolitan Democratic Club this week to talk about an investigative series he wrote on McConnell in 2006.

The event caught the attention of McConnell’s office after it was promoted by the Kentucky Progress super PAC.

A Democratic source tells WFPL McConnell’s office questioned the newspaper’s “journalistic integrity” and requested Cheves not appear.

Herald-Leader editor Peter Baniak says a McConnell spokesman did ask about the event, but made no demands.

“And it was my decision that having a reporter who covers government and political issues speak to a group affiliated with either party frankly just as a new campaign is getting underway would not have been wise,” he says.

Baniak says staff reporters do often speak before a variety of civic groups.