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Saturday, April 12, 2003

The Murkowski administration is facing its first real test of credibility with the Juneau press corps over the extreme downplay of the Governor's medivac flight ot Anchorage. Juneau reporters feel lied to, and rightly so. But they weren't the only ones deceived, so were the Alaskan people. When Chief of Staff Jim Clark came out with the initial statement late Wednesday afternoon which said the Governor had become dehydrated on the flight back to Juneau and was feeling "poorly," and that he was going to Anchorage for "routine medical tests," we all assumed Frank was dehydrated and feeling poorly.
I must ask though, where were the reporters when they got this statement? Did John Manly, the Governors Press Secretary take any questions when the statement was handed out? If so, what questions were asked? I can see several that begged asking.
Now, here's the kicker- when John Manly was told, Wednesday evening that the Governor had undergone angioplasty surgery, why didn't he make an effort to immediately notify the press of that fact? Why did he wait until Thursday morning?
We aren't dumping on Manly, though- these questions really must be answered by his boss, the Governor's Comunications Director Dennis Fradley and Chief of Staff Clark. Until some real answers are forthcoming about what truly appears to be a coverup concerning the Governors medical condition, a deliberate effort to mislead and deceive the press and the people, Dennis Fradley is going to have a hard time communicating.

Here's the latest:

Murkowski condition a mystery to aides

By MIKE CHAMBERS, Associated Press Writer

JUNEAU (April 11, 8:00 p.m. ADT) - While Gov. Frank Murkowski was undergoing a medical procedure in Anchorage to open a blocked coronary artery, most in his Juneau office were unaware of the seriousness of the condition, said his press secretary.
Prior to the 20-minute procedure, only chief of staff Jim Clark was informed that a cardiologist was about to perform angioplasty on the governor to clear an artery that was between 95 and 98 percent blocked, said press secretary John Manly.
"At the time he went up there, we didn't know he was going to have that procedure," Manly said, defending the administration's handling of the event.
The administration had issued a statement Wednesday saying the 70-year-old governor was flying to Providence Alaska Medical Center for routine tests after complaining of being dehydrated. ... Manly said the administration informed the public about what they knew at the time of the governor's flight and he didn't see any problem with the choices they made at the time.
"I suppose it would have looked a little strange for us to say he went up for some routine tests and report something else (later). But I think you have to distinguish between reporting what we know and speculating on what we don't know," Manly said.

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