Our state's editorial boards just love to give Rob McKenna sloppy blowjobs for his alleged championing of open government and reporter shield laws, but for a politician with a reputation for defending the rights of journalists, he sure has a funny way of showing it.

To be clear, last night's snub was no oversight. A "wide cast" of news outlets received invitations to McKenna's kickoff—The Stranger did not. When I showed up anyway and attempted to sign in, I was told the space was full. Had I not buddied up with my pal Kirby Wilbur (and whatever nasty things people say about Kirby, including me, he's still a helluva nice guy), who knows, they might have had the police remove me. As it turned out, the auditorium was at most three-quarters full, and the press section half empty, so their excuses were bullshit.

It was only when I was blocked from entering the post-speech press conference that I realized I was specifically targeted. Erik Smith of the Washington State Wire also lacked campaign-approved credentials, but Reagan Dunn personally ushered him in. Not me. As McKenna campaign communications coordinator Adam Faber makes clear in the audio below (my camcorder battery died, so I pulled out the voice recorder on my iPhone a few seconds into our conversation), we were intentionally "not invited":

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It's an odd idea that candidates for public office (let alone an open government champion) should get to pick and choose which professional journalists get to attend their press conferences—and yes, that paycheck I get from The Stranger makes me a professional journalist as defined in McKenna's own reporter shield law, so suck it up. Granted, I haven't exactly written glowing prose about McKenna, but politics is a tough business, and besides, it's not like denying me access is going to stop me from writing.

Personally, I wear McKenna's scorn as a badge of honor; if anything, it's the "in" journalists like Josh who should be asking themselves what they're doing wrong. But there's no way getting around the fact that this whole incident is an insult to The Stranger's readers. Apparently, McKenna doesn't want your vote, at least not enough to brave the few tough questions necessary to reach out to you through the paper you read. So don't expect him to represent your interests should he get elected.