LAST CALL: Jesse 'the Joker' Ventura irks press

Who says reporters can take a joke? Apparently some covering Gov. Jesse Ventura (I-MN) have suffered a slight sense-of-humor failure.

The governor's office on February 20 issued media credentials carrying the title 'Official Jackal' to 32 reporters who regularly cover the governor's movements. (Ventura called reporters 'media jackals' in one of his books.)

'We just wanted to have a little fun with it,' says David Ruth, who handles media relations for the governor.

Media outlets responded to the jackal badges with indignation. The St. Paul Pioneer Press returned the credentials and AP's Minnesota bureau chief told his reporters not to wear them. 'While this may have been intended as a joke, we take this matter seriously and will not subject AP newspeople to wearing something that may be intended to demean them and their profession,' he said in an AP story.

'We really found it surprising,' Ruth said of such reactions. The jackal badges received national media coverage. The governor's office hasn't decided whether it will issue new, more straight-laced media credentials, although maybe it should consider some that read 'overly somber person in the house.'





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