By Kat Riddler, Editor-In-Chief
This week the “St. Louis Post-Dispatch” and the “Kansas City Star” took the unprecedented step of running a joint editorial. The topic of their concern was the lack of transparency on the part of the administration of Missouri Governor Eric Greitens.
Taking a move from the Donald Trump playbook, Missouri’s new Governor steadfastly refuses to release financial details about who is funding his frequent flights to Washington, D.C. or who donated the funds for his lavish inauguration celebration. He has also emulated the President in his disdain for the press and seldom holds press conferences or grant interviews.
Instead, Greitens chooses to communicate through Facebook and Twitter, where he can carefully craft his message and control his own image.
The Governor posted a picture on social media of himself on the phone in his office fist-pumping into the air in celebration. The photo explained he had just heard that a company was going to bring some new jobs to Kansas City because Missouri had passed the legislation for “Right-To-Work.” The post was February 10, and he had signed “Right-to-Work” legislation on February 8. First, we have to believe the company executives made a near split-second decision to drop everything and move to Missouri from California. Second, it seems somewhat incredulous that Governor Greitens just happened to have a photographer in the room at the very moment he got the phone call from the company announcing the job causing his completely not-fake, natural, fist pump in the air to occur. Perhaps he pre-screened the call and asked if it was going to be good news, then asked them to wait until he could get a photographer to record the special moment. But who wants the pesky press around to point out the obvious flaws in a staged publicity photo opportunity?
A few weeks later on February 23, another photo of the Governor was posted to Facebook. Again, a photographer just happened to be present at the very second the Governor heard about a company which was going to expand in Macon, Mo., because of all his great pro-growth policies. We wondered if that photographer has to sit in the corner of the bedroom in the Governor’s mansion in case Greitens gets a call in the middle of the night.
The propaganda machine will really crank up now that a new nonprofit founded by Governor Greiten’s campaign treasurer, A New Missouri Inc., can start taking millions of dollars secretly.
This raises an interesting question: why? Why does he need a secret slush-fund with dark money and hidden donors? Why is he spending so much time in Washington? It looks to us like he is being groomed to run for national office—not president just yet. He might even have his eye on the U.S. Senate seat up in 2018. While that may seem a rather sudden leap for the newly elected Governor, Greitens knows that if you stick around too long slashing budgets and ducking questions, you might just become unpopular.