Vice President Mike Pence has called for an apology from the Associated Press for publishing his wife’s email address. Publicly releasing a letter addressed to Gary B. Pruitt, president and CEO of the Associated Press, Pence announced that the news organization had refused to remove Karen Pence’s email from a published story, and declared that she is owed an apology.
Leaks of information at varying levels of presumed privacy, and varying levels of public interest, has been a recurring theme of the 2016 election and the first weeks of Donald Trump’s presidency.
There were the WikiLeaks documents during the primaries, which were read by some voters as implicating Hillary Clinton and the DNC in a variety of bad behaviors, from misrepresenting the level of neutrality the committee held for the candidates in the Democratic primary, to leading media coverage.
Donald Trump spoke of these leaks, calling for the press and the public to give them more attention.
I hope people are looking at the disgraceful behavior of Hillary Clinton as exposed by WikiLeaks. She is unfit to run.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 11, 2016
Very little pick-up by the dishonest media of incredible information provided by WikiLeaks. So dishonest! Rigged system!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 12, 2016
He has expressed a different view on leaks regarding his own administration.
The real story here is why are there so many illegal leaks coming out of Washington? Will these leaks be happening as I deal on N.Korea etc?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 14, 2017
Mike Pence also addressed the information released by WikiLeaks, which included not only contact information for those participating in the email exchanges, but, according to Associated Press — the very organization with which Pence is currently having a dispute about such information — the names and other private information about, “sick children, rape victims and mental health patients.”
These are the emails about which Mike Pence, then the Republican nominee for vice-president, said, according to a Washington Post report, to “tell your neighbors and your friends,” advising the public to spread the contents of the emails far and wide.
On Saturday, however, Pence again took a different stand on the publication of personal information of individuals who are not elected officials, speaking out about the AP‘s publication of Karen Pence’s personal email address in a story about both Karen and Mike Pence using their private email addresses for government business during Pence’s time as governor of Indiana.
Vice President Mike Pence tweeted an image of a letter to the Associated Press.
— Vice President Pence (@VP) March 4, 2017
Primary points in the letter from Pence’s legal counsel were that the publication of Mrs. Pence’s private email address had subjected her to “vitriolic and malicious” messages, as well as creating security concerns, and that the news organization had refused to remove Mrs. Pence’s email address from the article, or issue a correction.
The sole requests in the letter were for an apology to be issued to Karen Pence, and for the organization to “observe the basic tenets of fairness, decency, and journalistic integrity” when covering the Pence family in the future.
Pence’s commentary, added in the tweet, was a reiteration that the AP refused to remove the email address, and that Mrs. Pence is owed an apology.
The Associated Press did respond, assuring that Mrs. Pence’s email address has been removed from all subsequent stories, but stopping short of an apology, instead stating a stance of standing by the original story.
Though Pence defended the use of a private AOL email address while serving as governor of Indiana, the website he used for his campaign has listed a range of contact options over the course of his time as governor, including email addresses at that website’s eponymous domain, and a directive to simply visit the official state government site. If it ever listed a contact address for Karen Pence, the Internet Achive’s snapshots of Pence’s site, which currently redirects to Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign website, do not maintain a record of this.
Though both Karen and Mike Pence have official Twitter accounts, social media is a different level of access, and, of course, of privacy, compared to email.
[Featured Image by Alex Wong/Getty Images]