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Trying to understand what has occurred I went to Chief Rubin’s Twitter account to see if he tweeted a rebuke of WWBT-TV for getting the original story so wrong and corrected the record. This is what I found:
I guess blocking me fits with a decade of the silent treatment. So, I used by super, double-secret Twitter account and found no evidence of the record being corrected by Rubin or even a scolding of WWBT-TV for screwing this up. Interesting that there’s also nothing on WWBT-TV’s website or social media correcting the original story or offering an apology. In fact, the TV station’s original tweet, Facebook post and website story still stand as of 9:00 am today (Tuesday). I’m so confused.
On Friday, Richmond, Virginia’s WWBT-TV reported Petersburg Chief Dennis Rubin “plans to resign after about a year on the job.” Today (Monday), The Rube tells the Petersburg newspaper he’s not planning on leaving, saying it was a “non-story”. Very strange goings on in Petersburg. Wonder who was telling the TV station that wrong information.
Having had some experience with Chief Rubin saying a reporter’s reporting was wrong, I’m watching this situation with great interest. In July, 2009 Rubin went on the all-news radio station in Washington, DC, WTOP, and disputed my reporting that Mayor Adrian Fenty had ordered the shut down of the flow of information at the deadly Metro rail collision 10 days earlier. Mayor Fenty wanted no one to talk further until he arrived at the scene and held a press conference. My information was later matched by The Washington Post and WTOP.
Despite the PIO for DC Fire & EMS Department confirming, on the record, that my account was accurate, Chief Rubin told reporter Mark Segraves and the radio audience, “I know Mr. Statter had described that fact, but that just simply isn’t true” (see the video above). The Rube went on to say, “I would have to give us a very high mark, that, of course, is the Mayor’s Management Consequence Team, that worked at that event providing accurate, timely and effective information.”
Despite saying rather clearly it wasn’t true, three years later, Chief Rubin confirmed the accuracy of my reporting in a column for Fire Engineering. In that column he said one of the lesson was “Shutting the ‘news tap’ off altogether is never a good idea.” (For the record, it was exactly the point of my reporting and my own column at the time at STATter911.com. In fact, a few years back, DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier, very graciously and unprompted, verified for an audience of PIOs in DC that my reporting had been accurate and that she was wrong in how she had her officers deal with the press that day.)
After the first hour and a half on location, the mayor’s office directed the fire department PIO team to prepare for a mayoral press conference. From the time we received the press secretary’s phone call until the mayor was on location and talking to the media, about 45 minutes passed. It was amazing to hear negative comments about “blacking out the news media” and that we only play up to the national media (neither statement was true). And this was all because we waited about three-quarters of an hour to get organized and conduct a press conference with the mayor and the chief of police.
Obviously, there’s confusion once again about the truth of news reporting surrounding Dennis Rubin. Let’s see how this one shakes out.
“I do not plan on leaving,” he said. “I couldn’t be working harder. We just had meeting this morning where we’re working on long-term plans.”
Rubin also questioned the source the NBC cited, saying he would “love to see any documentation.”