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Noem Still Shutting out Local Press, Breaking Gubernatorial Tradition of Openness

KELO-TV notes that the Noem Administration continues to distinguish itself in shutting out the local press. Angela Kennecke, one of KELO-TV’s most experienced and respected reporters, has had trouble getting interviews with state officials since 2020. Yesterday Kennecke tweeted that she apparently remains in the Governor’s doghouse:

Angela Kennecke, tweet, 2022.08.16.
Angela Kennecke, tweet, 2022.08.16.
Angela Kennecke, tweet, 2022.08.16.
Angela Kennecke, tweet, 2022.08.16.
Angela Kennecke, tweet, 2022.08.16.
Angela Kennecke, tweet, 2022.08.16.
Angela Kennecke, tweet, 2022.08.16.
Angela Kennecke, tweet, 2022.08.16.
Angela Kennecke, tweet, 2022.08.16.
Angela Kennecke, tweet, 2022.08.16.

Long-time radio newsman Randy Achterhoff seconds Kennecke’s complaint about the Noem Administration’s resistance to speaking with local journalists:

Randy Achterhoff, tweet response to Angela Kennecke, 2022.08.17.
Randy Achterhoff, tweet response to Angela Kennecke, 2022.08.17.
Angela Kennecke and Randy Achterhoff, twitter conversation, 2022.08.17.
Angela Kennecke and Randy Achterhoff, tweet-conversation, 2022.08.17.

KELO-TV also runs this story noting that, right from the start of her reign in Pierre, Noem abandoned the long-standing practice of past governors to alert the press and the public to where the governor would be going each week:

From the early 2000s to January 2019, South Dakota news outlets received a weekly “heads-up” from the governor’s office about planned public events for state government agencies and public appearances on the governor’s schedule.

The weekly notice was called “News Tips” and it started during Bill Janklow’s fourth term as governor and continued under two more Republican governor administrations. From 2003 to 2011, Mike Rounds continued to use “News Tips” and Dennis Daugaard used “News Tips” through his two terms which ended at the end of 2018.

Governor Kristi Noem stopped “News Tips” and typically sends media advisories for public appearances one day or less in advance. In 2021, KELOLAND News was told through an attorney with the governor’s office “calendars, or logs of appointments of public officials, are not subject to South Dakota public records law” [Eric Mayer, “A Public Schedule for South Dakota’s Governor?” KELO-TV, 2022.08.17].

Indeed, I’m only able to piece together Kristi Noem’s itinerary from tweets, usually after the fact though occasionally beforehand from press reports and invitations, showing Noem’s cross-country jet-setting. Unlike past Governors, and in contradiction of her own 2018 campaign promise of openness, Noem doesn’t want to tell us where she’ll be, and she doesn’t want to talk to the local press that would dare provide an objective look at what she’s doing in state government.


  1. Nancy Ogle 2022-08-18 08:43

    Better sign up for frequent flyer miles if you want to try to get an interview with her. A disguise as a FOX NEWS reporter wouldn’t hurt either.

  2. All Mammal 2022-08-18 09:08

    Although the our governor would rather muck stalls than deal with us and is flippant to our gumshoe reporters, I am grateful Mrs. Noemb is absent from South Dakota. When she comes home, she messes with things she isn’t qualified to mess with. She treats SD like it’s not good enough for her and finds ways to punish us. I’m curious about the person who rep Adam Kinzinger described when he spoke about Kristi Noem before she got a big head. He said she was a great, down to earth colleague back in the day serving in DC. Now her head could be a float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. She is a gender traitor. And trader. No, not stocks.
    SD needs to elect people we like having around.

  3. 96Tears 2022-08-18 09:24

    AWOL Governor Noem’s promise of transparency is the same grift as her wicked policies of shapeshifting kids’ history curricula to pander to racists and protecting women’s sports to pander to bigots. A string of big, fat lies. She lies about her father’s death. She lies about her long criminal driving record (hey, who’s got more citations, Kristi or Ravnsborg?). She lies, and she’s a coward when it comes to owning up to her distortions.

    This AWOL governor views her tenure in the legislature, in Congress and as governor as inconvenient steps to national fame and prominence. It’s just like running for and winning South Dakota State Snow Queen of 1990, except there’s more stuff to do before winning the tiara. If what all of what you’re running on is your looks, then what you do or say doesn’t matter. Right?

    This is the truth of Noem’s shallow mind. She’s an imposter. A two-dimensional image riding a horse across the Missouri River hills in West River. That’s all she has to sell you. Do like blue skies?

    She knows an Angela interview could very well be her Palin/Katie Couric, deer in the headlights moment. That would be too soon if she’s found out to be a fraud as the AWOL governor of a low-population, sleepy rural state in flyover country. She’s stonewalling the local small-time press until she’s strutting across the RNC stage with her tiara and sash, winning the title of Donald Trump’s Lieutenant President nominee.


    No doubt Pat Powers will declare it “a game changer,” just as he did for Sarah Palin’s announcement for John McCain’s campaign. Totally worth it, right?

  4. Loren 2022-08-18 09:37

    If there were a “like” bottom on 96’s comments, I would hit it several times. Nuf said…

  5. BobJ 2022-08-18 09:57

    Noem is leaning NAZI, like all of these big lie promoters. I think we should stop electing beauty queens and reality TV people for government positions. Their relationship with reality is questionable at best. They surround themselves with ‘yes men, and women”. Sad state of government!

  6. P. Aitch 2022-08-18 10:08

    Hear, hear All Mammal. Thanksgiving float idea is excellent. 🙌🙌🙌

  7. Bob Newland 2022-08-18 12:11

    I think Kiplinger may have been a recipient of Noem’s apparent generosity with her vagina while in Congress. That could lead one to think she’s “down to eatth.”

  8. David Newquist 2022-08-18 12:18

    I recall when Noem served her first term in the state legislature. One of our representatives reported to the county party that he had encountered a snotty airhead who couldn’t think her way out of a wet tissue paper bag, but other legislators were smitten with her because she was somewhat cute. That cute edge has grown into a harsh coarseness, and we are left with blundering incompetence. And some enterprising journalists need to look into how she eventually got a college degree.

  9. 96Tears 2022-08-18 13:19

    There really is nothing new in politics, so why not learn from the masters … like Mitch McConnell?

    McConnell used this in his first campaign for the U.S. Senate. The opponent, Sen. Dee Huddleston, had a reputation for being AWOL too much of the time. Sound familiar? Enjoy these two ads from 1984 which told the truth on good ol’ boy Dee. They were remarkably successful – and funny.

    They worked so well and the folks back home in Kentucky enjoyed them so much, Mitch had to roll out another one for then-challenger Bruce Lunsford who had a problem of running away from his record.

    It doesn’t matter which party you subscribe to, a good ad tells the truth on your opponent and gets folks to laugh at her/him. Once people start laughing, it’s all over.

    AWOL Governor Kristi Noem started this campaign showing folks she really can high-tail it on a horse. Maybe an effective ad can tell us why she needs such a fast horse.

  10. Bob Newland 2022-08-18 14:01

    I swear I wrote “Kinzinger” and proofread it. Not “Kiplinger.”

  11. Donald Pay 2022-08-18 14:16

    The problem is Noem’s, for sure, but if you can’t get information one way, get it however you can. Noem’s Iron Curtain of Secrecy is much like Janklow’s on certain issues. Janklow did a lot of gabbing, but how much was true and how much was just misdirection. There are plenty of state employees who will talk off the record, or on the record if you can protect their identity. But you have to be in Pierre, a part of the community. If you abandon Pierre, don’t expect a lot of folks to trust you.

  12. larry kurtz 2022-08-18 14:19

    If Republicans failed at marketing sex appeal with Sarah Palin they have more than made up for that with South Dakota’s governor. If you wanna sell a heartless christofascist autocracy with BDE get a pretty girl in jeans and eff me pumps to say it.

  13. Arlo Blundt 2022-08-18 15:32

    Mrs. Noem is practicing a fairly recently minted strategy used by many Republican state and national leaders to ALWAYS shape and control their message by allowing no give and take with the press. They rely fully on “think tank” generated talking points and avoid any spontanious, conversational exchange. Our Governor doesn’t know what she’s doing, is obliquely interested in what state government does or should do, and assumes the press believes that she is a dolt. A dolt is as a dolt does, and she fills the bill. Rather than hiding her shortcomings, her reluctance to be forthright reveals her weakness.

  14. grudznick 2022-08-18 16:07

    I just bet you every John Q. Public and his cousin knows that Ms. Angela is out to get them and they probably know the KELO teevee station is not a good one so they run screaming.

  15. larry kurtz 2022-08-18 16:23

    That anyone still uses commercial broadcast for any reason remains a mystery.

  16. Donald Pay 2022-08-18 16:34

    Grudz, South Dakota media are not that tough, and you know it. I mean if I were in Kennecke’s job I’d set up a dummy, and ask it questions. A couple weeks of such treatment hey would change their minds, or you might actually prefer the dummy. I bet ratings would go through the roof.

  17. Ian Fury 2022-08-18 16:34

    So far this week, Governor Noem has interviewed with the Argus Leader (twice), the Mitchell Daily Republic, KWAT radio, KORN radio, WNAX radio, Red River Farm Network, and Ag Week. She’ll talk to several more local reporters tomorrow.

    Don’t believe everything you hear from Angela Kennecke.

  18. mike from iowa 2022-08-18 16:53

    Let’s see some visual proof Noem was interviewed by anyone of note. Noem is not the most believable source of info out there.

  19. larry kurtz 2022-08-18 17:08

    Softball interviews where nobody gets Mrs. Noem’s goat are par for the Kristi course. A real debate with a real opponent will be a far better display of her lack of depth.

  20. DaveFN 2022-08-18 17:16

    New rootin’-tootin’ commercial out of the Old West, right off the ranch. The ole guns, god, guts, and glory approach, somewhat reminiscent of Gunsmoke:

    “When the powerful came after your job and your kids,
    Governor Noem and I fought back.

    I’m lieutenant governor Larry Rhoden.

    When they tried to shut down small businesses,
    We stayed open and our economy thrived.

    When they tried to put boys in girls sports,
    We passed the strongest law in the nation to stop it.

    And when they came after our kids with critical race theory,
    We blocked their propaganda.

    Governor Noem and I will never stop defending our state and your freedoms.”

  21. Bonnie B Fairbank 2022-08-18 17:30

    Mr. Newquist. You are far more experienced and connected than I when it comes to political candidates; I’ve lived in South Dakota for merely twenty-one years, but I’ve paid attention to and listened to male voters in Fall River County re: Noem.
    Remarks: “She shore is a cutie.” “I wish she’d suck me off like she did Scalise.” “I gotta tear me off a piece of that p*ssy.”
    Considering Noem’s alleged educational accomplishments, a friend that worked for the State Department said there was no evidence she actually took those online tests herself and her aide(s) may have done so for her.

  22. Bob Newland 2022-08-18 18:55

    Ian Fury: glad you checked in. You were extremely informative. Wait. Did anyone who was interviewed say anything worth listening to?

  23. Bonnie B Fairbank 2022-08-18 20:04

    I’m totally confused, as usual. I thought Fury resigned from Noem’s office and went to work for Brownback, and I’ve no idea who Kennecke is because I’ve no TV.
    However, the last thing I read online about Mr. Fury was he and Miss Lindsay Graham were sequestered in Louisiana and joyously rim jobbing each other. I’m sure this is just scurrilious nonsense, though.

  24. Bonnie B Fairbank 2022-08-18 20:45

    To be specific, I should have written “Senator Miss Lindsey Graham.” Gotta look spelling up more often.

  25. O 2022-08-18 21:25

    DaveFN, when I saw that commercial, I was left wondering who “they” were. Why not name the boogiemen who wanted to contain a pandemic, recognize the struggles with gender dysmorphia, and . . . well the last one didn’t actually happen according to their own report, but the folks who want to have a discussion about impediments to success people-of-color face.

    What I find most concerning is how detached Governor Noem has become from SD. I can understand that a conservative is not in step with my leftie political leanings, but her political agenda is not coming from SD righties either. This is all driven by a political inner-circle who have NO regard for SD beyond its usefulness as a political petri dish for ultra-right dogma. Owning the libbies to score political points and grab FOX News headlines carries more weight than considered decisions to help real people in crisis — evermore driving her further and further from listening those who would advise more mundane policies do do REAL good.

  26. Kurt Evans 2022-08-18 21:34

    Ian Fury writes:

    So far this week, Governor Noem has interviewed with the Argus Leader (twice), the Mitchell Daily Republic, KWAT radio, KORN radio, WNAX radio, Red River Farm Network, and Ag Week. She’ll talk to several more local reporters tomorrow.

    Don’t believe everything you hear from Angela Kennecke.

    Thanks for your response, Ian.

    Jason Ravnsborg looked down at the speedometer as he was transitioning between speed zones, and Joe Boever entered the driving lane to commit suicide. Joe’s impact with the extreme right side of the car angled it suddenly onto the shoulder, and Jason reflexively swerved back to the left before he could even process what was happening.

    The collision ten feet outside the white line happened when Joe’s body came off the hood. That’s why all of the blood from that collision was on the bottom right side of the car, with none of it on the top of the car. It didn’t angle the car into the ditch because Joe’s body already had westward momentum and because Jason was already swerving back to the left.

    Why would Governor Noem say the collision on the extreme right side of the car roughly a foot from the edge of the pavement didn’t angle it into the ditch?

    Why would she say the amputation of Joe’s leg didn’t leave any blood on the top of the car?

    How would she say someone knew to add Scott Odenbach to the billboard attacking Jason’s supporters in the legislature?

    Did she ask Joe Desilets to resign?

    For the record, I don’t believe everything I hear from Angela Kennecke, or from the governor, or from the governor’s cronies.

  27. DaveFN 2022-08-18 22:32


    It’s the we/they dichotomy., of course.

    “We” are the asserting (and therefore by implication the assertive) ones (asserting that “those who are not for us are against us”), and “they” is nothing but a sausage-casing into which the sorehead viewer fanned into agreement can stuff whatever version of grievance sausage they have to stuff.

    There were once political opponents. Now there are no opponents, only enemies to be crushed into oblivion. Not at all unlike islamic extremists who vow to kill the infidels.

    “Kill them wherever you find them.” (Quran 2:191)

    Or as extremist Christian fundamentalists would have it:

    “Do not think that I came to bring peace on Earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (Matthew, 10:34).

    [Note: Mark 9: 40 “For whoever is not against us is for us.”
    Yet see: Matthew 12:30: “He who is not with me is against me”}

  28. Guy 2022-08-18 22:50

    Nancy Ogle: “Better sign up for frequent flyer miles if you want to try to get an interview with her. A disguise as a FOX NEWS reporter wouldn’t hurt either.” Yep, Nancy’s right on this one. If Angela Kennecke wants to interview Kristi Noem so bad, she better ditch KELOLAND and try to get a job with FOX News Channel. Kristi doesn’t give two hoots about our state press. It will be nice to have Governor Jamie Smith talking with Angela Kennecke and all our state media. At least Jamie won’t waste his and OUR time and money talking to Sean Hannity.

  29. Guy 2022-08-18 22:56

    FOX News Channel is Kristi Noem’s cheerleader. You will NOT find one story on FOX News that does not glorify Kristi. All of Kristi’s scandals have covered by other national networks EXCEPT Fox News Channel. Fox did not even touch the Real Estate Appraiser Investigation, although ABC, NBC CNN and CBS covered it. It’s quite apparent that FOX News wants to crown Kristi “Queen of America.”

  30. DaveFN 2022-08-18 23:07

    Kurt Evans

    Many will balk when I say Ravnsborg was a victim.

    But to Noem and others (including the SDHP who would stop Ravnsborg over and over again but then let him off the hook when he flashed his badge, total favoritism) Ravnsborg was indeed a scapegoat used to distract the public from Noem’s and other’s own excesses and trespasses.

    In short, Ravnsborg made Noem and other agencies in the state look bad and made them look bad, just as bad as he himself and they themselves. He therefore had to be dismissed. Very much serving the function of a sacrificial lamb.

  31. Guy 2022-08-18 23:09

    Ian Fury: “So far this week, Governor Noem has interviewed with the Argus Leader (twice), the Mitchell Daily Republic, KWAT radio, KORN radio, WNAX radio, Red River Farm Network, and Ag Week. She’ll talk to several more local reporters tomorrow.” Sure, Ian…if that is REALLY you…why would we believe anything you have to say? If it REALLY is you, you must think Cory and his blog have SOME INFLUENCE or you wouldn’t bother commenting on here, and in that case you must be worried about the election. I do not believe this is the REAL Ian Fury.

  32. DaveFN 2022-08-19 01:12

    Ravnsborg reminded them too much of themselves.

  33. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-08-19 05:40

    Fury does not refute Kennecke’s statement that state officials have refused Kennecke’s requests for interviews on multiple issues, including issues like opioids that seem not to have much relationship to any gubernatorial politiciking.

    Fury does not refute Kennecke’s statement that Noem has been particularly resistant to offering on-camera interviews with local TV journalists.

    Fury does not refute KELO-TV’s report that Noem has broken precedent and refused to release a public schedule.

    Mr. Fury, why won’t state agencies respond to Kennecke’s requests for information?

    Mr. Fury, why do none of the examples you claim (and could we have links, please?) include local TV interviews?

    Mr. Fury, why won’t the Governor provide the press and public with a weekly preview of her public appearances?

  34. tara volesky 2022-08-19 06:03

    Is there any truth that Noem is stalling on the marijuana until her husband is setup and fully invested in it. Just what I heard.

  35. grudznick 2022-08-19 07:25

    Young Mrs. Volesky is righter than right on this one. grudznick has heard this also.

  36. grudznick 2022-08-19 07:36

    Mr. H, I am sure as I blogged earlier that the state agency fellows simply choose not to respond to Ms. Kennecke because she is a hack jobber. This seems obvious to all. But those young fellows Messrs. Goss and Wright seem to get their questions answered so your other question seems mooter than most.

  37. Donald Pay 2022-08-19 08:22

    Grudz, State agencies don’t Heismann particular journalists or members of the public unless they get directed to do so. I know from personal experience how this works.

  38. larry kurtz 2022-08-19 08:26

    Since Republicans hate a free press they love news deserts.

    In my home state Pierre was made the capital of South Dakota to be a media desert by design. There is an exodus of journalists leaving the profession for public relations jobs as the media lurch to drive the message to the extreme right. Bill Janklow’s idea of public broadcasting can’t cover Pierre effectively because its funding is reliant on the South Dakota Republican Party, the Associated Press can’t do it because they’ve been neutered so has the Sioux Falls Argus Leader. South Dakota’s teevee stations are bound to Republican advertisers and nobody reads college publications. In 2015 the Center for Public Integrity even gave the state an ‘F’ for its culture of corruption and it just keeps getting worse.

    I quit following the South Dakota Newspaper Association on twitter because its feed reads like a bulletin from the South Dakota Republican Party. The Pierre Capital Journal is a joke so are the radio stations based in the capital city. Reservation border towns like Pierre and Santa Fe have always been influenced by the Klan, John Birch Society, the TEA movement and now by the extreme white wing of the Republican Party.

  39. grudznick 2022-08-19 08:31

    The reality here, Mr. Pay, is that since young Ms. Kennecke can’t come up with stories to write she fabricated one about herself to make her the center of attention.

    You don’t see Mr. Austin Goss having to do that, since he seems to be able to talk to government employees as he wishes.

  40. 96Tears 2022-08-19 11:16

    DaveFN – I waited up late last night, switching channels to find the ad featuring Lt. Gov. Larry Rhoden kissing up to Noem. Instead, I found it this morning on You Tube. Very insightfully done, consider Rhoden’s general capabilities. Blends very well with her horsey ad.

  41. Arlo Blundt 2022-08-19 14:41

    I too am pleased that Mr. Fury is still on the job and has chosen to join this site as a correspondent and pundit. I believe he’s leaving the employment of the State of South Dakota after Labor Day, seeking greener pastures which is his God given right under our free enterprise system. The Governor seems to quickly tire of her hired gun, out of state, spear carriers but there are a vast number of eligible, ambitious Young Republicans prowling the halls of C-Pac and other gatherings, eager to lend their talents to Mr.s. Noem for a six figure salary. That the Governor has a quick trigger with the pink slip does not concern them as they have embarked on a long journey leading to a retirement on the putting green at 29 Palms or Palm Beach. There is a generous reward awaiting those who stand and serve, no matter how briefly. There are always other opportunities. Until then, Fury will have plenty of pocket cash to spend on rib eyes and top shelf booze, as he and his friends enjoy the Labor Day weekend. It’s a living.

  42. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-08-20 10:39
  43. John 2022-08-20 17:34

    Cory! Thanks!
    Angela! Thanks!
    Angela’s notes and tweets on the lack of access and transparency to SD government tremendously increased my appreciation of her, her colleagues, and her employer. That FSD public affairs / press release media machine printed from Iowa has a LOT to learn, as does the rest of the South Dakota press.

    It would be WISE for Jamie, Brian, et al., to announce reasonable policies of access to the press that they intend to uphold. Beginning now. And give us samples / examples in a format they like. I.e., one a week, one interview or one news conference, or alternate weeks, perhaps in October more often twice a week, every 3d day, per their desires. And use technology (Zoom, the internet web tubes, etc.) Perhaps even a time-delay one with the public (time delay so they can filter the crackpots and epistles that have a question in them somewhere).

    For the first time since George Mickelson, Daschle, and Tim Johnson I’ve an iota of hope for governance in South Dakota.

  44. larry kurtz 2022-08-20 18:44

    Speaking of obesity and slovenliness, it’s important to remember Pat Powers uses a multitude of aliases and anonymities to libel whoever contradicts his fascist-intense narrative.

  45. 96Tears 2022-08-21 10:23

    Larry – That’s one intensely stupid and paranoid mob!

  46. Guy 2022-08-21 22:27

    Kristi is shutting out and disrespecting one of the longest serving journalists on South Dakota television. Angela Kennecke has served on Keloland for over 30 years. Angela started out first serving with KELO’s well-known Steve Hemmingson and Doug Lund. Kristi has no respect for one of South Dakota’s statewide legacy stations and that is a major disservice to the people of South Dakota.

  47. SDBlue 2022-08-21 22:39

    I’ve searched and I can’t find a video. In 2012, Angela moderated a congressional debate between Noem and Matt Varilek. Her bias and deference toward Noem and her disdain for Varilek was palpable. I wonder what happened to change Angela’s perspective that she fell so far from grace that Noem now ignores her.

  48. 96Tears 2022-08-22 21:47

    Must be a lot pressure inside Noemville these days. Ian Furry’s injection to this thread seemed out of sorts last week. Who cares about a little ol’ liberal blog when your boss is spending 110 percent of her time and our taxes to run for president or lieutenant president? Just pissing away that political capital, right Ian? Well, as former Governor Mickelson once said in an address to the state legislature, when you see a turtle on a fence post, you know it get there by itself.

    I was wondering what was eating Ian Furry so badly that he felt compelled to jump into a thread on Dakota Free Press to defend his jerk boss. Another shoe must be ready to drop. Hmmm. And today it did.

    No doubt Furry must’ve known about this report coming out some time last week.

    Who’s got more traffic violations, Kristi Noem or Jason Ravnsborg?

    No doubt, it’s close. But who violated her oath of office to intervene on behalf of her daughter and harassed and booted out a trusted expert and loyal public servant Sherry Bren? Who violated the state law passed by the people of South Dakota to misuse the state aircraft? Who has stronger violations against him/her to require impeachment, Kristi Noem or Jason Ravnsborg? Both of them lied to cover up their violations of law. Jason killed someone, but that wasn’t the point in his impeachment.

    Hey, Snow Queen, read it and weep.

  49. John 2022-08-22 21:53

    Oh, oh, oh, the republican justices referring the matter to the republican AG office.
    Whose morals will fail next?

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